Are the Cubs a good bet in the World Series? No time for new rules, DH ranking of the National League, more

Earlier today, I took a look at the solidity of the Cubs schedule under the new 60-game format, as well as his chances of making it to the postseason according to ZiPS. And in doing so, I learned two things: 1) Holy crap … I missed writing about real baseball stuff and 2) Although a tight divisional run should be expected, the Cubs really project as well as anyone in their division this season.

In fact, I think it has been too easy to lose sight of how well positioned they are for 2020, given the way they have been for the past two years (on the field and in the offseason). And it turns out it’s a fairly common assessment.

Game odds v. Projections

While the 2020 projections believe this is ultimately the Cubs division to lose, the nationwide forecasts see things a little differently:

Maybe not much of a difference, but BetOnline has the Cubs with 31.5 wins this season, tied with the Reds and the Brewers, and behind the Cardinals (32.5). Obviously, that’s not a huge deviation from ZiPS, but it’s certainly different. And that’s not all.

Bettors on FOX Bet consider the Cardinals to be a safer pick for the World Series than the Cubs, who are tied with the Mets for the sixth-best odds in the National League:

By contrast, ZiPS has the Cubs only in fourth place in terms of World Series odds (statistics), behind only the Dodgers (9.7%), Nationals (5.0%) and Braves (4.9%). The Mets, meanwhile, rank ninth (that is, they’re not close to the Cubs).

I guess it can be said, then, that strictly by the numbers, the Cubs are a good World Series bet this year. For now.

New Rules, No Advance

From the universal designated hitter, to the 60-game season, to the 30-man / 26-man daily roster, this season will feel completely different than anything we’ve seen before. But I can tell you with certainty that changing the additional entry rule will be the most jarring.

As I’m sure you know by now, all extra entries in 2020 will start with a runner at second base, in an effort to avoid extremely long contests. And to be fair, there is a lot of evidence that it will work. According to JJ Cooper, 45% of the extra inning minor league games resolved after just one inning before the rule change, compared to 73% of all extra inning games thereafter. That is quite significant.

But the existence of the rule, in itself, is not my biggest concern. Instead, I am afraid we are not fully prepared for it. As I’ve implied, this rule didn’t come out of nowhere, but unlike Universal DH, it just didn’t seem like it was that close to appearing in the big leagues. And because of that, I don’t think we’ve taken the right amount of time to really internalize how much strategy and results will affect the end of a game.

Fortunately, JJ Cooper has:

What Cooper is saying here is that although it may sensation How to hit the runner and fly him home is the best strategy, which may not actually be the case for the team that hits the top of the tenth inning. Actually, you may be sacrificing 2 starts in exchange for a race, when in reality you will need at least 2.

Obviously, the calculation is different for the team in the bottom half of the inning, but I think we’ll see managers solve this on the fly. There may be some teams with completely different strategies, because there simply isn’t enough experience or data to confirm exactly the best route. I think it’s fascinating

Pitcher limits

There are other aspects of the game that may seem completely different this year compared to previous years, but I think we will see more uniformity on this front across teams.

For example …

The Dodgers will roll with a five-man rotation, unsurprisingly, but will limit their pitchers to approximately 4 innings per start for at least the first inning of the rotation. Yes, we will see a “Spring Training II” before the regular season begins, but it will not be particularly familiar, that is, without saying anything about the different routine between games that each beginner will be forced to navigate, and master, in a very short time. short

DH Ranking of the National League

For the longest time (more or less from 2014-2018), most Cubs fans believed that Chicago was among the most suitable teams for the designated hitter. Even those who * extremely * didn’t want to see a universal DH could admit that the Cubs’ massive collection of hitters, which at one time included Jorge Soler, Daniel Vogelbach, Addison Russell, Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jiménez, Ben Zobrist, and others ( in addition to the other obvious regulars): they would have an advantage over the rest of the league, if DH reached the National League.

Kyle Schwarber, alone, has received more “should be a DH” comments than any other player in recent memory.

But much has changed in recent years. Not only have all those players gone, but Schwarber’s glove (and, more specifically, his arm) in the outfield has scored slightly better than expected. Meanwhile, other teams in his division have gotten into conflict again and they all have their own quality DH options.

That’s why I’m not surprised to see the Cubs rank 7th in the National League in terms of DH options, behind division rivals like the Brewers (6th), Cardinals (5th) and Reds (3rd).

To be fair,’s focus is on Kyle Schwarber and Steven Souza Jr., who will be long in DH and could be ideal for that role, while ignoring the secret weapon that is Victor Caratini. Add the marginal improvement of getting more rest to Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a bit of a “everything is greater than the sum of the parts” situation in Chicago.


Here are some good frequently asked questions about the 2020 season from

Plus, a couple of awesome Father and Son Griffey moments to complete your Wednesday: