The Chicago Cubs won 103 games and a World Series championship last season, and although they’ve undergone some changes to their roster, a new set of projections still predicts that they’ll be one of the best teams in baseball.
According to the PECOTA system over at Baseball Prospectus, the Cubs are projected to win 91 games this season, which will be good enough to easily win the National League Central crown over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are projected to win 81 games.
The Cubs’ record isn’t projected to be the best in baseball or in the National League, however. The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently projected to win 98 games, which is far and away the best total in the game. The Houston Astros (93 wins) and Cleveland Indians (92 wins) are also projected to outpace the Cubs as they attempt to repeat as champions.
Last season, the Cubs were projected to win the Central Division with 92 victories, and they ultimately went on to a season that saw them win 103 games and cruised to an easy division title.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t quite so rosy for the Chicago White Sox. Thanks to offseason trades that sent Adam Eaton and Chris Sale away, the White Sox are projected to win 76 games and finish in fourth place in the American League Central. They are projected to finish ahead of the Kansas City Royals (who have the lowest expected win total in baseball at 71 wins), but they’re projected to finish well behind the Indians, Twins, and Tigers.
The big reason for the team’s low projected win total is because of their defense. According to PECOTA projections, the White Sox are predicted to have one of the worst defenses in all of baseball, with a Fielding Runs Above Average of negative-17.9. That total is the third-worst in the game, behind only the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals in that category.