The Chicago Cubs did a lot this off-season to try and be an improved team. The biggest move came in the form of their new shortstop Dansby Swanson who earned a very lucrative contract. With Nico Hoerner moving to second base, the Cubs are set in the middle of the infield.
They also added other players that have had great years in their careers like Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer, and Tucker Barnhart. Most of these guys have won the World Series somewhere else in their careers which means they bring tons of experience.
With Kyle Hendriks being the only one left from the 2016 World Series team, they desperately needed some veteran leadership so they went out and got it. It was a big off-season for them as they try to come back a good team in 2023.
With the aforementioned players in addition to guys like Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, and Marcus Stroman on the team, it feels like they have a chance to be decent this year. A lot needs to go right but there is a surplus of talent there this year compared to the last two.
The Chicago Cubs are a team that has mixed expectations coming into 2023.
Baseball Prospectus doesn’t think very highly of them right now though. They currently have the Cubs coming in third place in the NL Central with a record of 77-85. They have the Pittsburgh Pirates coming in fourth at 71-91 and the Cincinnati Reds in last at 67-95.
Ahead of the Cubs in this projection are the two teams that have finished ahead of them a lot in recent years. They, oddly enough, have the Milwaukee Brewers winning the division at 88-74 with the St. Louis Cardinals right behind at 86-76. These are definitely interesting predictions.
With other elite teams in the NL like the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies, the NL Central could really only be sending one playoff team again in 2023. That certainly doesn’t help the Cubs.
Playoffs aren’t the issue here though. The issue is the team having an improved year so they need these Baseball Prospectus rankings to be completely wrong for that to be the case.