Many projections for the 2014 Major League Baseball season have projected the Cubs as being one of the worst teams in all of baseball this upcoming season.
The doom and gloom forecast for the Cubs is largely the result of the team being relatively inactive this off-season.
The Cubs will field mostly the same team that they did last season. Position player wise, the the expectation is for third baseman Mike Olt to be the team’s starter at the hot corner; Ryan Sweeney is expected to replace David DeJesus in center field; and Junior Lake will have a full-season of being the Cubs left-fielder.
Pitching wise, veteran Jason Hammel will likely be the only new addition to the team’s starting rotation while Wesley Wright and Jose Veras pose as the only additions to the Cubs’ bullpen. Veras is expected to be the Cubs’ closer at the start of the season.
Needless to say the Cubs are hoping that first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro can both bounce back in 2014 after struggling in 2013. On top of Rizzo and Castro regaining their form, the Cubs also may be aided by the idea of top prospects Javier Baez and Kris Bryant joining the team at some point in the second half of the season.
That could be one of the reasons why Baseball Prospectus projects the Cubs to have a marginal improvement from their 2013 season. Baseball Prospects projects the Cubs to finish the 2014 season with a record of 71-91 while scoring 641 runs and allowing 732 runs.
The five-game improvement should be a welcome sight for Cubs fans. The improvement would show that the Cubs are inching closer to being a respectable Major League Baseball team and also progressing towards that C-word that the team has been allergic to in recent seasons. Contention.