ESPN ranks Cubs as the top MLB club heading into 2016
(Photo by David Banks/Getty)
In the last week, Buster Olney and ESPN have broken down their top 10 unit rankings for major league clubs. The Cubs found themselves in the top five in five of the six lists, and were ranked the best infield in baseball. On Tuesday, the publication released its top 10 clubs heading into the season. Given the lofty spots the organization earned on previous lists, it should come as no surprise that ESPN ranked the North Siders as the best team in the game. Here’s what they had to say:
The addition of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist makes the Cubs even better and deeper, both at the plate and in the field, and they also added a reliable rotation plow horse in John Lackey. Their greatest challenge might be doing everything they can to win the National League Central over the course of the long season, because they’ve witnessed first-hand how a great team like the Pittsburgh Pirates can be reduced to a one-night-stand wild-card game and subsequently eliminated.
The Cubs are the early pick here to take another step forward this year and do something they haven’t done since 1908: win the World Series.
In 2016, the Cubs return some of the best players in baseball, including NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant and two-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo. The club will also open up the campaign expecting a full season of action out of Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler—a trio of 2015 rookies. Add defending NL Manager of the Year Joe Maddon to the mix, coupled with a 2015 NLCS run, and there are plenty reasons to expect the Cubs to be playing meaningful October baseball in 2016.