On a cold and dreary day in Chicago, we have some bad news for Chicago Cubs fans: according to a new projection, the team will win two fewer games in 2016 than they did in 2015.
The good news? That record is still good enough to be the best in baseball.
According to new projections released by the baseball statistics website Fangraphs on Monday, the Cubs are projected to finish with a record of 95-67 in the 2016 season, which gives them a three-game edge over the Boston Red Sox as the best team in baseball.
They are also projected to have the best run differential in the game, scoring 127 more runs than they allow, and the website also predicts they will have the best offense in the National League, scoring 4.61 runs per contest.
All of those numbers are great, and it’s obvious that the website’s formulas like what the Cubs have done in the offseason. In acquiring Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, the team has added two players that don’t strike out very often, and players that will improve the club defensively as well. Adding John Lackey into the mix also adds depth and quality to the top end of the team’s pitching rotation, and it addresses arguably the biggest weakness of last year’s team.
For fans curious about what a 95-67 record would mean for the Cubs, it would mean that they would win the N.L. Central by 11 games over the St. Louis Cardinals, who are projected to finish at 84-78. That finish would leave them in a three-way tie for the National League’s second wild card spot, where they would have to contend with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets in trying to face the San Francisco Giants (86-76) in the N.L. Wild Card Game.
Unfortunately for White Sox fans, the news isn’t quite as good. The team is projected to improve by five games next season, but their 81-81 prediction isn’t enough to overcome the Cleveland Indians atop the division.