24-6. That is the Chicago Cubs Major League leading record after Javier Baez’s 13th inning game winning home run yesterday against the Washington Nationals to put a cherry on a 4 game sweep. The incredible 30 game start has been a collective effort – offensively the Cubs lead all of Major Leagues in Runs (184) and On Base Percentage (.368). Their Pitching also leads MLB in ERA (2.53) and WHIP (1.01).
Those numbers combine for an astonishing +102 Run Differential. What makes that number insane? The New York Mets are 2nd overall in baseball with a +44 Run Differential, that shows how dominate the Cubs have been through the early portion of the season. There isn’t a team in baseball that has come close to the combined play of the North Siders.
Why Are They This Good
Jason. Jed. Theo. Since the Cubs brought in the trio of Theo Epstein (President, Baseball Operations), Jed Hoyer (Executive VP, General Manager), and Jason McLeod (Senior VP, Player
Development & Amateur Scouting) the Cubs have been on an upward trajectory towards success. The Farm System has been restocked, Early Draft Selections have hit, and almost every trade made has benefited the organization, and Free Agent signings have been immediate contributors to the success of the team.
Joe Maddon’s psychological impact on this team cannot go without mention. His unorthodox approach has gone to keep the team loose and ready to play no matter the environment or situation. Whether it’s his decrees that the team (Including Coaches) wear whacky suits or hiring a mariachi band – his decisions have a deeper meaning and have influenced the team for the better.
The Cubs also benefit from unbelievable depth at the Major League level. Even with the loss of C/LF stud Kyle Schwarber they have showed the flexibility to thrive without his presence in the middle of the lineup. Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and Javier Baez all have the flexibility to play efficient defense at a number of positions without taking away from their focus at the plate, allowing for Joe Maddon to be extremely creative with his lineups.
1.13 (Arrieta), 1.58 (Lester), 1.85 (Hammel), 3.10 (Hendricks), and 4.02 (Lackey) are the ERA’s of their Starting Rotation thus far. Their combined ERA of 2.34 is again leading all of the MLB and lead the Cubs during the first few weeks of the season while the bats had yet to heat up.
How Far Can They Go
During the 2015 campaign most analysts did not project the Cubs making a run to the NLCS – yet they did. With that success came expectations of a World Series victory, which has not seemed to bothered the Cubs in the least. The entire sporting world is aware the Cubs haven’t achieved a World Series Title since 1908, a streak that could realistically end this season. Barring a slew of injuries this Cubs team is built to not only be good this season, but for the next decade.
This could very well be “The Year” and begin what could become a Cubs dynasty.