Based on all kinds of projections, the Chicago Cubs are poised to at least make it to .500 in 2015 even if they fall short of the playoffs.
Based on our Cubs fan hearts, the Cubs will fulfill the prophecy set forth by Back to the Future Part II.
When we consider the Cubs of the past ten years, as Jeff Sullivan did for Fangraphs today, they have simply been bad save for a couple of seasons. According to Sullivan’s analysis, the Cubs were a whopping 55 games UNDER their wins projection over that decade, which is far and away the worst in the majors. There are a number of reasons for this that Sullivan discusses in the article and it’s a very fun (albeit depressing) read. You could say that the Cubs have been…unlucky.
There are multiple indicators that the Cubs’ luck is changing for the better. There’s the part where the Cubs scored one of the greatest general managers of all time (whether or not that title is deserved, but I think it is). There’s a semblance of a plan in place to reduce variation in player production by maximizing versatility and depth at just about every position. There’s also the part where the Cubs are getting closer to doing whatever they want to (within reason) their own ballpark.
If this trend continues (and I think it will), the next set of projections should be more achievable, and the Cubs are more capable of exceeding their projections as well. After all, this isn’t your father’s Cubs anymore. This is a new team with a refined plan that is supported by many of the best minds in baseball. There are few guarantees in baseball, but as far as I can tell, this year is going to be the first in hopefully a long-term window of contention. To hell with projections for the time being, just enjoy the ride.