Cubs overwhelming favorites as Joe Maddon’s team dominates pre-season predictions and power rankings
It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball as six teams begin their championship seasons. The Cubs first game is still a day away. The Cubs open the season Monday night in Anaheim against Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the Angels … Jake Arrieta versus Garrett Richards.
As is the case every year before the first game is played predictions are made for the upcoming season. And the pre-season power rankings are released.
On paper, the Cubs have one of the best clubs in baseball. Joe Maddon’s team spent Spring Training in the spotlight and will spend the next seven months embracing the target while attempting to reach the ultimate goal.
Many of ESPN’s experts predicted the Cubs will not only win the National League this season, but the whole darn thing. Of the 31 writers, beat writers and on-air personalities polled, only four did not pick the Cubs to win the NL Central division. 19 of the 31 think the Cubs take home the National League Pennant and 14 of the 31 picked the Cubs to win The Series.
At MLB Network Radio, 16 of the 20 hosts picked the Cubs to win the NL Central, nine of the 20 think the Cubs represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic and seven tapped Maddon’s team to win it all.
It’s pretty well known by now that Sports Illustrated picked Cubs to lose to the Astros in the Fall Classic. But how do the individual writers think the Cubs will fare this season?
Tom Verducci has the Cubs winning the NL Central and the Pennant in the National League but losing to AL Champs, the Texas Rangers.
Albert Chen also thinks the Cubs will win the division. But he has the Indians beating the Dodgers in the World Series.
Ben Reiter has a Dusty Baker led team finally getting over the hump and winning the World Series. Reiter picked the Cubs in the NL Central, the Nationals in the East and Washington topping the Rangers in The Series.
Jonah Keri thinks the Cubs will be the last team standing. Keri picked the Cubs in the NL, the Royals in the AL and the Cubs coming out on top in The Series.
Cliff Corcoran also has the Cubs winning the last series of the year over the Houston Astros. Jay Jaffe agreed with Corcoran and picked the Cubs over the Astros in the Fall Classic.
And Emma Span thinks it will be the Cubs and the Blue Jays in The Series with Joe Maddon’s team coming out on top.
As for the individual player awards, Verducci thinks Anthony Rizzo will be the NL MVP and Chen has Kris Bryant being named the Most Valuable Player in the National League.
The Tribune posted pre-season predictions from its five baseball writers: Mark Gonzales, David Haugh, Colleen Kane, Paul Skrbina and Paul Sullivan.
All but Paul Skrbina thinks the Cubs will win the NL Central and has the Cubs as a Wild Card team that represents the NL in the Fall Classic and wins The Series.
Mark Gonzales has the Cubs in the NL Central and National League but losing to the Blue Jays in the World Series. Gonzales believes Anthony Rizzo will be the NL’s MVP.
David Haugh thinks the Cubs will lose to the Astros in The Series and Colleen Kane predicted the Mets will win the NL and the World Series.
Paul Sullivan also thinks the Cubs will make it to The Series but he has them losing to the Royals. And the BBWAA voting Kris Bryant the Most Valuable Player in the NL.
Jonah Keri, R.J. Anderson, Mike Axisa, Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder posted their predictions for the upcoming season on CBS Sports. All five of the baseball writers tapped the Cubs as the champs in the NL Central.
Keri, Perry and Snyder think the Cubs will win the National League Pennant while Anderson and Axisa have the Mets taking home the crown for the second straight year in the NL.
As for World Champs, Keri and Snyder picked the Cubs, Anderson and Axisa picked the Mets and Perry took the Blue Jays with his prediction.
Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder have Anthony Rizzo winning the NL MVP award.
Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, C.J. Nitkowski, Chris Myers and Jason Dovitz posted pre-season predictions on FOX Sports.
Rosenthal, Morosi, Myers and Dovitz think the Cubs win the NL Central. Nitkowski has the Cubs as a Wild Card team and the Cardinals winning the division.
- World Series predictions:
- Rosenthal – Cubs over Rangers
- Morosi and Dovitz – Cubs over Royals
- Nitkowski – Cardinals over Astros
- Myers – Pirates over Blue Jays
Keith Law posted his annual pre-season predictions Saturday. Law thinks the Cubs “are everybody’s darling this spring, and for good reason, as they bring back everyone from last year’s 97-win club, plus Jason Heyward, John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Adam Warren.”
Law predicted the Cubs to win the NL Central with a 94-68 record, two more wins than the second place Pirates (92-70) and 10 more wins than the Cardinals (84-78).
More Pre-Season Predictions
• The guys at Hardball Talk agreed the Cubs will win the NL Central. Bill Baer predicted a rematch of last year’s NLCS with the Cubs beating the Astros in The Series. Craig Calcaterra has the Cubs and Giants in the NLCS, like Jeff Samardzija hopes will happen. Calcaterra predicted the Giants will beat the Red Sox in the World Series.
• Jayson Stark decided months ago that no matter what the Cubs did in the off-season he would not pick them to win The Series this year. Plus, the Cubs are not the best team in baseball, according to Stark, the Blue Jays are the No. 1 team in the land and the Blue Jays will win The World Series.