Big Surprise Atop ESPN’s Power Rankings…Okay, Not Really

Another set of power rankings, another explanation of why the Cubs are projected to be the best team in baseball. Determined by a panel comprised of Jim Bowden, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Jayson Stark, this particular list was also influenced by Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections.

The chart above is an representation of the Cubs’ projected winning percentage by month, which, if it comes to fruition, should make for a really fun April. And by “fun,” I mean excruciating. Like, in the same way the first half of last July was, when everyone started freaking out about how the Cubs might actually be not good. Can you imagine the bedlam if the Cubs only win at a .582 clip?

Mind you, that’s still a 94-win pace.

According to ZiPS, however, it’s looking like Joe Maddon’s boys could really go off after the All-Star break.

With series against the Reds, Braves, White Sox and Brewers early in the second half, the Cubs might not feel particularly motivated to make an addition at the trade deadline. They could win 100 games again even without a full season of good health from their rotation — within reason. Kris Bryant is only two years into his meteoric career, Jason Heyward should rebound and Kyle Schwarber will be back for a full season. What was already a very good offense should be even better. Barring the unforeseen, Chicago’s real tests start in October.

Remember how it felt at times last year like the Cubs were just playing out the string until getting their shot at another postseason run? Yeah, well, this year could turn into a downright slog. But at the same time, it’ll be like making a road trip with you friends. The arduous parts of the journey eventually fall by the wayside once you’ve reached the destination.

If you reach the destination.

When you reach the destination.

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