The Chicago Cubs are still projected to be one of baseball’s best teams this season, but the forecast isn’t quite as rosy as it has been in years past.
According to Baseball Prospectus’ new PECOTA projections, released Wednesday, the Cubs are forecasted to win 89 games this season, enough to take home their third straight National League Central title. That record is five games better than the St. Louis Cardinals, who are picked to finish in a tie with the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card spot in the National League.
In 2017, the then-defending champion Cubs were picked to win 91 games, and they ultimately picked up 92 wins as they reached the National League Championship Series.
The team that beat the Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are projected to finish with a 99-63 record, good for the best mark in all of baseball. The Houston Astros are projected to finish with an identical record, running away with the American League West.
As for the Chicago White Sox, it looks like it could be another rough year on the South Side, as the Sox are projected to win 73 games and finish in third place in the American League Central.
Last season the White Sox were pegged for 76 wins by the PECOTA projections, but ultimately finished with 67 wins as they traded away high-profile players like Todd Frazier and Jose Quintana in an effort to get more prospect depth in their system.
The Kansas City Royals, after presumably losing Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in free agency, are projected to be baseball’s worst team, with only 66 wins forecasted.