Remember in “Back to the Future Part II” when Marty McFly traveled to the future? Well, he traveled to 2015 from 1985. In that time travel, a Cubs World Series win was predicted. It is now 2015 (in case you haven’t heard) and the Cubs have a realistic shot for the first time in quite a while to get to the place they have been absent from for quite some time, the World Series.
It has been too long since the Cubs have won really anything. Of course the famous Steve Bartman incident in game 6 of the 2003 NLCS stymied what seemed like a very good chance to finally reach their first World Series since 1908, but that ultimately ended in heartbreak.
Now going into the 2015 season, the North-siders have a lot of things going in their direction. With the offseason addition of ace Jon Lester, a new manager (and a good one) in Joe Maddon, and a good young nucleus of players, the Cubs can realistically compete for a World Series in 2015.
Firstly, with a top three starting rotation of Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and Jake Arrieta, this is a group that can cause some havoc for teams this year because they are all solid options. Lester is finally the ace of the pitching staff that the Cubs haven’t had for a long time. He brings a good veteran presence and experience to a very young team who will need that leadership if they want to be successful. They also have some good options for their 4 and 5 starters with Tsuyoshi Wada, Travis Wood, and Felix Doubront to name a few.
What worries me about the Cubs pitching is their bullpen. They are unproven, but they after last year, they might be ready to take that next step. With the addition of former St. Louis Cardinal closer and World Champion, Jason Motte, they have a solid piece to help this bullpen. Along with Hector Rondon who had 29 saves last year and Pedro Strop who pitched decently last year in the set up role, these three could be the bullpen help that the Cubs need.
Secondly, the hiring of manager Joe Maddon is a great hire for many reasons. He is about the most laid back coach in the majors but also demands the most out of his players. Maddon had little to work with in Tampa with a small payroll and now with a little bit more buying power, he could immediately make a major impact in steering this team in the right direction.
When the Rays went to the World Series, no one really gave them a shot. They were a very young team but had some solid pitching to go along with it….
Hold it a second, this almost sounds like the 2015 Cubs. If it does sound similar, it’s because it is. The comparison between the two clubs is very similar so don’t count this Chicago team out. Joe Maddon knows what he is doing and sharing that knowledge with this young team can only help them to get better.
Lastly, you have to give credit to Theo Epstein for pushing all of the right buttons and getting these hot young prospects for this Cubs team to grow. They are coming up through the Minor Leagues like a freight train and they are ready to do some damage. There have been a few already up and the rest are just around the corner.
Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Arismendy Alcantarra is the first batch up to the Majors. But players like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell are next in line to take that next step up. Putting them in the same lineup as established pros like Rizzo, Castro, and Montero, and you got yourself a team that can do some damage.
What may hold this team back is just the inexperience. There seems to be so much unknown with prospects these days and their production staying consistent from the Minors to the Majors. To go along with that, putting them up against the rival Cardinals within the division could also pose a problem.
This is the great thing about baseball. You have to be prepared for teams like this who seemingly come out of nowhere. The Oakland A’s a few years ago and even the Royals just a season ago were big surprises. But this team being the Cubs presents a whole other issue with them and their World Series absence for so long.
You just never know, maybe Marty McFly and director Steven Spielberg were right about the Cubs from the movie. That’s why they play the game and that’s what makes baseball so exciting.
Seattle sports fan and MLB writer for International Sports Hub