Buster Olney posted his ranking of the top 10 lineups in baseball and based on conversations he’s had with rival evaluators, the Cubs lineup came in third among all 30 teams, and first in the National League.
Olney ranked the Blue Jays and Rangers as the top two lineups in baseball followed by the Cubs.
The Cubs have a balanced lineup with thump in the middle and the additions of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist should give Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber opportunities to drive in runs.
Olney pointed out the Cubs offense took off last season after Kyle Schwarber was called up and inserted in the lineup on a daily basis. And he is expecting the Cubs to be better during the upcoming season.
Joe Maddon should be able to run out a balanced lineup on a daily basis.
According to Olney, “The only thing holding back this group might be the Wrigley Field winds that blow in from right center field on cold days.”
After the break last year, the Cubs were ninth in the National League in batting average (.250), second in on-base percentage (.328), fourth in slugging (.426), third in OPS (.754), third in doubles (135), second in home runs (94), second in runs scored (354), first in walks (274) and first in strikeouts (719).
The Cubs were 19th in baseball in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging, ninth in OPS, eighth in doubles, seventh in home runs and sixth in runs scored among the 30 teams in the second half last season while leading baseball in walks and strikeouts.
Buster Olney’s top 10 lineups: Blue Jays, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, Yankees, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Giants. The best of the rest: Pirates, Mariners, Twins and Tigers.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Ken Rosenthal is trying to figure out the market for Dexter Fowler. Rosenthal told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on Sunday’s Front Office (MLB Network Radio) there is nothing going on with Fowler right now. The draft pick compensation is really hurting him. Rosenthal said the assumption was he would sign with the Giants, but it’s very unclear where he will sign with Spring Training just over a month away.
• Roch Kubatko shared his thoughts on Dexter Fowler just before the Orioles’ new deal with Chris Davis hit the wire on Saturday morning.
• The Orioles re-signed Chris Davis to a seven-year, $161 million contract. Davis received a full no-trade clause with no opt-outs. Davis will receive $17 million per season from 2016-2022 and annual payments of $3.5 million from 2023-32 and then $1.4 million from 2033-37 according to Buster Olney. There is no interest on the deferrals. Chris Davis will be on the Orioles payroll until he is 51 years old, or for the next 21 years.
• Kyle Schwarber said Saturday that Joe Maddon almost put him at third base against the Mets in the NLCS. Schwarber has never played third base but according to Jesse Rogers, he thought he could just block any balls that were hit his way.
• The Orioles are still looking for a starting pitcher and remain in contact with Yovani Gallardo according to Hardball Talk.
• According to Jon Heyman, Yoenis Cespedes should not have to take a short-term offer. Heyman indicated “there’s a lot of interest/activity in Cespedes.” Peter Gammons was told to “watch the Astros on Cespedes.” The Tigers, White Sox, Mets and Astros are at least four of the teams in on him.
• The Royals added RHP Ian Kennedy to their rotation over the weekend. Kennedy agreed to terms on a five-year, $70 million contract. Kennedy can opt-out of the contract after two years. Scott Boras delivered again.
This Day in Cubstory
A Daily Report was not posted Sunday due to the focus on the convention sessions. This Day in Cubs History from January 17 is included in today’s look back at the past.
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Jason Jaramillo
2009 – Cubs traded Felix Pie to the Orioles for Henry Williamson and Garrett Olson
2002 – Kerry Wood avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract.
1972 – Cubs signed free agent Steve Hamilton
1955 – Dave Geisel, born
1946 – Billy Grabarkewitz, born
1940 – Cubs purchased Dick Bass from the Senators
1938 – Grover Cleveland Alexander was elected to the Hall of Fame. Alexander pitched for the Cubs from 1918-1926 and was 128-83 in 242 games, 224 starts, with 158 complete games during his tenure with the Cubs. Alexander posted a 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 10 saves with 24 shutouts. Alexander won 373 games during his 20 year career with the Phillies, Cubs and Cardinals.
1909 – Cubs traded Tom Downey and Kid Durbin to the Reds for John Kane
1901 – Orphans acquired Jack Doyle from the Giants for John Ganzel, Ned Garvin and Sammy Strang
1896 – Babe Twombly, born
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Daniel Bard
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Val Pascucci
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Rob Stanifer
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Campbell
1987 – Jeff Beliveau, born
1986 – Cubs signed free agent Richie Hebner
1986 – Cubs traded John Cox and Gary Jones to the A’s for Bob Bathe and Phil Stephenson
1984 – Cubs selected Damon Berryhill in the first round, fourth overall pick, of January’s amateur draft. Berryhill signed June 2, 1984.
1977 – Cubs released Geoff Zahn
1971 – Tyler Houston, born
1970 – Cubs selected Pete LaCock in the first round, 20th overall pick, in January’s amateur draft. LaCock signed on Feb. 17, 1970.
1970 – Cubs selected Chuck Seelbach in the fifth round of January’s amateur draft. Seelbach did not sign.
1952 – Pete LaCock, born
1931 – Don Zimmer, born
1911 – Hank Leiber, born