Baez and Co. have the talent to win the division (Matt Marton - USA Today Sports)
Baez and Co. have the talent to win the division (Matt Marton - USA Today Sports)

ESPN projects Chicago Cubs to win NL Central division in 2021

by - Senior Editor -

According to ESPN, the Chicago Cubs are still the team to beat in the National League Central in 2021.

Their latest pre-season projections are out and they have the Northsiders winning 89.7 games which is the 8th highest in baseball.

They also had the Cubs with a 65 percent chance to make the playoffs, nine percent shot at winning the pennant, and four percent to win the 2021 World Series.

"For all of the caterwauling about the Cubs’ offseason, they end up with a roster that looks poised to tread water over what they finished last season with," ESPN's Bradfod Doolittle said. "That’s good enough to mark the Cubs as the favorite to repeat in the NL Central. The late-winter blitz that saw the previously complacent Chicago shift its approach with the additions of Joc Pederson, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Williams and Brandon Workman boosted the short-term outlook for the Cubs."

The Cubs will have a strong defense with solid pitching but will the offense improve?

"Run prevention is the strength of this club," ESPN said. "Beyond Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ staff has less name recognition than last year’s, but the overall picture is one of average or slightly better than average performers and few gaping holes. The team defense looks strong, which is crucial for a staff led by Hendricks, Arrieta and Zach Davies. However, whether the Cubs simply emerge as the best team in a bad division or rise to challenge the beasts of the NL will depend on a thin offense that looks heavy on strikeouts but lacks the collective power to justify all the swing and miss."

Regarding other teams in the division, the Cardinals are projected to win 84.8 games, Brewers to win 81.7 games, the Reds at 76.7 wins, and the lowly Pirates to win only 62.5 games.

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