chicago, illinois, city-2064523.jpg


2024 Cubs Season Preview and Predictions

Embed from Getty Images

This past football offseason, Teige asked the guys some questions about how the Bears’ season would turn out. Initially he wanted to revisit those predictions in an episode after the season ended, but we decided to take a break because life happens. Well, we’re going to try again with the upcoming Cubs season. So enjoy it, or don’t. I’m not your babysitter.

1. Last year, Bellinger and Morel tied for the team lead in HR (26) The last time the Cubs had a 30 HR hitter was 2019, when Schwarber hit 38, and KB hit 31. Do you think we finally get a 30 HR hitter again this year? If so, who?

Teige: I think Bellinger can do it easily (but maybe not 47 again). My fun answer would be that Busch comes in and just absolutely destroys pitchers, but Cody is the most reasonable answer.

Nick: Man, wouldn’t it have been awesome if Morel had spent the whole season with the team last year? That would’ve been nice. Anyway, I’m gonna say Morel does it. Let’s have some fun.

Jordan: I’m with Nick.  Morel looks to be our starting 3B, and with that consistency and actually being in whole games instead of just DH-ing, I think he hits the 30 HR mark.  My sleeper/long shot pick is Seiya though.  He hit 20 HR last year, but was streaky.  I think with another Japanese player on the team, maybe he finds a bit more power this year.

Andrew: To me this is a two-man race between Morel and Bellinger. I think whichever one stays the healthiest will be able to pull it off.

2. Last year, 3 Cubs were named to the All-Star Roster (Steele, Stroman, Swanson). Give me 3 names to make the All-Star Team this year. One name has to be a first timer.

Teige: Bellinger, Steele, Morel

Nick: I’ll give you three potential first timers: Hoerner, Alzolay, Seiya.

Jordan: If Dansby and Nico have the kind of seasons they did last year and get snubbed again, I riot.  Also, Belli, Steele, Morel, and Seiya have good shots.  Sleeper pick here is Shota Imanaga if he performs anything like he did in Mesa.

Andrew: Bellinger, Morel and Steele are the easy picks to make the all star team next year. I would say that Seiya and Happ if he can have a bounceback year are candidates as well.

Editor’s Note: Tweet at us @FourStarPodChi and give us your best guess as to which one of us clearly didn’t read the question correctly.

3. Do you think we see PCA (Pete Crow-Armstrong for the uninitiated, not the school Zoey from Zoey 101 went to) earn a full time role in the lineup this year?

Teige: Eh, not really. Defensively, he’ll be the next Kiermeier, but his offense could use the reps at AAA where he’ll actually play everyday. He’d have to absolutely blow away AAA, or wait for an injury to come up and get every day PA. But this year, I would rather not see him get sporadic ABs in the Majors.

Nick: It very much depends on how well the bat translates to the big leagues. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say he can step on the field Opening Day and immediately be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, but in an admittedly really small sample last year, his offensive production was pretty rough. I’ll be optimistic and say yes, and I think he spends most of the season in the Majors unless he struggles mightily at the plate.

Jordan: I think he spends most of the season on the roster, but I think he gets blocked for an every day starting gig.  We need Belli’s bat in the lineup and Craig Counsell has said that Mike Tauchman will be with the big club on opening day.  I’m sure PCA will play a role on the team this year, but I just don’t think there’s currently room for him to be out there consistently.

Andrew: I think PCA is one year away from a full-time role in the big leagues. I think he could benefit from more at-bats in AAA. It also doesn’t help that the Cubs already have proven options in the outfield.

4. Speaking of PCA, along with the Craig Counsell hiring, you could certainly come up with some parallels to the exciting 2015 season (Top prospect waiting to get his shot, Cubs replacing a stop gap manager with an elite one). Do you think this feels like 2015?

Teige: Well I want every year to feel like 2016. This year will hopefully be exciting for Cubs fans, but I don’t think it has the exact same vibe as 2015. Remember, in 2015 the NL Central was highly competitive, whereas this year it feels like 88 wins could honestly win the division and the Cubs are almost “Division or Bust” after re-signing Belli. I don’t remember those types of vibes to start 2015. I do think we’re close to being a great team though.

Nick: I think this feels more like the seasons after 2016 than 2015 honestly. Not because I think the team should be considered World Series favorites, but because before the 2015 season the Cubs were expected to be fun and exciting, but still a couple years away from making serious noise. This year, anything less than winning the division will be a massive disappointment, whereas that wasn’t really the case in 2015. Things definitely feel like they’re trending up though.

Jordan: Nick said it well.  If we don’t win the division, this year’s a disappointment, where 2015 was a very, very pleasant surprise.

Andrew: Are there some similarities with the 2015 team? Sure. Ultimately though, I’m not sure I buy into the star power of this young core as much as what the Cubs fielded in 2015. That year saw Rizzo and Bryant ascend into MVP caliber players while Arrieta had an all-time season on the mound to go along with the signing of Lester. Ultimately, I think that this group is still a few years away.

5. If you could bring back 1 Cub from the 2016 team (assuming they replicate 2016 numbers, not a 40 year old Jon Lester) who would it be and why?

Teige: Jake Arrieta. I like our rotation but having the guy who literally threw 2 no hitters in like 8 months would make me feel a whole lot better about it. Now THAT’s a Division or Bust team.

Nick: Kris Bryant. I still have questions about Morel’s defense at 3rd, and Madrigal’s bat isn’t exactly reliable. Being able to slot in the literal NL MVP at the hot corner that can also play OF makes this a pretty easy call for me.

Jordan: Rizzo.  He was Mr. Cub 2.0 and never should have left.  I know his numbers weren’t anything spectacular (still very good though), but having his clubhouse presence along with Bellinger’s would make sure this team always stayed positive and looking ahead.

Andrew: Jon Lester. It’s difficult to put into words how important Lester was on that 2016 season. Not only was he the team’s ace in the midst of the best season of his career, but he backed it up by pitching lights out in the playoffs. While the rotation the Cubs currently have is good, it needs a playoff veteran like Lester to be a great one.

6. For the Bears predictions, I (Teige, the best of us) was the only one correct for the final record prediction at 7-10. Jordan even changed his after Week 1 and missed on both guesses. Give me your record prediction for the Cubs this year.

Teige: 95-67. I’m stuck between being a Homer and saying like 100-62 and being too conservative and saying like 89-73. So I’ll go nice in the middle.

Nick: 92-70. I expect the NL Central to suck even more than last year. We stole Craig Counsell from the Brewers and they traded Corbin Burnes, the Cardinals are a retirement home, and the Pirates are… well… the Pirates. The Reds are a team on the rise as well but the Cubs have the better manager and more talent pretty much across the board. The Cubs should run away with the division and y’all should have fun watching me lose my freaking mind in September if they don’t.

Jordan: I’m going to go slightly more pessimistic at 90-72.  I think we go into the playoffs as either the 3 or 4 seed, but we’ll be well clear in the division.

Andrew: 90-72. I expect that record to be good enough to win the division but we’re probably looking at a 3 or 4 seed in the playoff standings.

7. The Cubs have not won a playoff series since the 2017 NLDS. They haven’t won a playoff game since the NLCS of that same year. Do either of those streaks end this year? And just for fun, give us your World Series predictions.

Teige: Barring anything insane they should end the playoff win streak. Now the playoff series streak? Eh, I’m not as confident, and consider this: Assuming the Cubs win the Central (Lord, I hope so) they’re still going to play a wild card team (Dodgers will get bye for the foreseeable future). Let’s run through some likely candidates and my confidence the Cubs could beat them in a best of 3. Also for WS prediction: Rangers over Phillies in 6 as TEX repeats.

  1. Phillies-Braves will win the East for like the next 10 years, but don’t sleep on this Phillies team ever. MVP Daddy (Bryce Harper) and Co. are a terrifying team in their own right. I think they can get back to the Fall Classic. Confidence in Cubs: 3
  2. D-Backs-I think everyone was surprised to see them make it to the WS last year. Sure, this team beat the pre-Shohei Dodgers, but they also went 5-8 in the regular season against them. The Cubs went 3-4 against the Dodgers. I think the Cubs and D-Backs would have a scrap off CIC: 5
  3. Padres-The Padres would likely barely crawl into the 7th seed if they did make it. I’d feel pretty confident the Cubs could clean them up. CIC: 9
  4. Mets-Seems like the Mets just have to hit a reset button, but don’t count them out of the playoffs just yet. CIC: 8
  5. Marlins-a 2020 WC matchup isn’t impossible. The Marlins will always be a WC team, that’s just how they roll. Yet, they’re pretty good at handing the Cubs backbreaking playoff losses (2020 all but sealed our core’s fate, I won’t mention the other one) Hopefully we could get some payback this time around. CIC:7

Nick: If you’ve read this far it should be clear I’m high on this team by now, or at least I expect them to do well if they play to their potential, so it’s hard for me to see them missing the playoffs entirely. If they make it, Steele can win them one game by himself, so I think that streak definitely ends this year. I’ll be optimistic and give them at least a Wild Card Series win as well. I still think they’re a year or two away from being a legit contender, but freaking Arizona made the World Series last year. Anything can happen. For the World Series, I’m taking Philly over Baltimore in 6. Bonus prediction: Dodgers don’t win a playoff series. Sorry, Shohei.

Jordan:I think we win the NLDS but lose the NLCS.  As Nick said, Steele can win a game by himself and I think Shota Imanaga will have a great year and be able to do the same.  For the World Series, I’m going conservative, Dodgers over Orioles in 6.

Andrew: It’s baseball so anything can happen, but I’m gonna be the negative nancy and predict that the Cubs don’t win a playoff series this year. As far as my World Series prediction, I’m just going to say that the Dodgers beat whichever poor band of souls makes it out of the AL.

8. It’s never too early to start predicting next offseason’s Free Agent signings. There’s a young man named Juan Soto scheduled to be a FA in 2025. Do you think the Cubs finally stop being so stringent with their money and give Soto a blank check (to basically be a DH but who’s complaining) or do we just watch as the Yankees re-sign him?

Teige: If there was ever a time to open up the checkbook, it would be for Juan Soto (after Shohei). I’m optimistic Bellinger has another good year and opts out, which opens up a need for an OF left handed power bat. Look, the Cubs were willing to pay Shohei a lot of money, they just couldn’t keep up with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, I think a similar thing will happen with Soto and the Yankees. That being said, if the Cubs say they never considered Soto this upcoming offseason, I think Jed and the Ricketts should be criminally charged. You simply have to make an offer for him.

Nick: You think the Ricketts are going to outspend the YANKEES?!?! Hahahahahaha good one. In all seriousness, I think they will be more active spenders next offseason but I don’t think Soto makes much sense unless Bellinger opts out of his deal. I would 100% bite the bullet and order one of those crappy Fanatics jerseys if the Cubs did get him though.

Jordan: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  No.  The Ricketts still own the team and Jed’s still the GM.  I think we make one mid-sized signing and roll with what we have from there.

Andrew: Lol. Lmao. We should know by now that Chicago sports owners will look for any excuse to cry poor to justify not spending money on players. The Ricketts’ recent track record shows an unwillingness to spend the big bucks necessary to bring top flight talent in, so I quite frankly don’t see Soto as a remote possibility. He’ll probably go to the Dodgers on another fudged contract with deferred money to the next century.