Is It Time To Think of the Cubs as World Series Contenders?

Jake Arrieta celebrating after a dominant inning
Jake Arrieta celebrating after a dominant inning

The 2014-2015 season had plenty of ups and downs. There was no bigger surprise than the Chicago Cubs elevating their game and making a run to the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets. It has been well over 100 years since the Cubs have won a World Series, but they are poised to end that streak sooner rather than later.

The Cubs right now have the best odds out of any other team to win the pennant either in the National League or the American League at 2-1 odds. They also have the best odds of any other team to win the World Series at 4-1 odds. Last year they finished third in the NL Central behind the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals (note that the Cubs were only three games away from that first slot). This year, things are a little different. The Cubs are the heavy favorites to finish ahead of everyone else in the NL Central with 1-2 odds.

The Cubs have made some off-season moves to strengthen their already talented roster. In December of 2015, they added RHP John Lackey, second baseman Ben Zobrist, and outfielder Jason Heyward. They also were able to sign Dexter Fowler to a one-year deal in February.

Their roster is also star-studded. They have big name pitchers such as Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, John Lackey and Jon Lester. All four of those pitchers combined for 56 wins, 35 losses, 790 strikeouts, and their combined ERA is 2.91. It is safe to say that their pitching will be able to carry them in tougher situations when their offensive schemes do not.

As far as the offense goes for the Cubs, it is hard to say that they will struggle this year. Kris Bryant made a very strong impression to the League by coming out of the gates on fire and having a stellar season. He batted .274, had 26 home runs, 99 runs batted in, and had an OPS of .852. We also cannot forget Anthony Rizzo who had an even better season. Rizzo batted .278, had 31 home runs, 101 runs batted in, and had an OPS of .899.

The Cubs have often been a laughing stock for other teams and for the MLB as a whole. The times have changed and it is time for everyone to take the Chicago Cubs seriously. They have the pitching to help the offense, and they have the offense to help their pitching. I do not know or even think the Cubs will win the World Series this year, but I do know that after each and every year, the chances of them adding that elusive title to their franchise increases more and more.

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