We’ve written a lot about the Cubs over the past year-plus. Nor is there any secret as to why that’s the case. After undergoing a deep rebuild, the organization resurfaced with a roster full of young homegrown stars and talented free-agent additions. The club played at high level throughout 2016, ultimately leading to one of the most exciting games in baseball history. The Cubs’ World Series victory was 2016’s best sports story of the year, and maybe even the best sports story of the past 50 years.
The Cubs haven’t been at the forefront of the winter newscycle. There have been plenty of other notable stories, of course. Chris Sale changed teams! Jerry Dipoto made a few trades! The Rockies signed Ian Desmond! And so on.
But the 2017 campaign is almost here, which means it’s time for projections, discussions about team depth, and then some more projections. So many projections. Most of which tab the Cubs to be the best or second-best team in baseball in 2017. I can’t envision a reasonable objection to either placement.
But what about 2018? How might the team fare in 2019? Using a combination of projection systems and other data sources, I peered into a crystal ball to see how well the Cubs are set up for a five-year run.
WAR Under Control
To project WAR, I used a method proposed by Tom Tango that weights the past three years’ WAR and applies an aging curve. The method isn’t perfect, particularly when it comes to pitchers, but I trust Tango’s methodology enough to go forward. For missing years, I gave the player 1 WAR.