This preview, written by Baseball Prospectus’s Editor-in-Chief Aaron Gleeman, forms part of the main site’s comprehensive coverage of the postseason, “Playoff Prospectus”.
In one corner, the immovable object that is the Chicago Cubs’ 108-year championship drought. In the other corner, the unstoppable force that is Cleveland’s 68-year title-less streak. Something’s got to give!
|CF-S Dexter Fowler(.276/.393/.447/.312)||DH-S Carlos Santana(.259/.366/.498/.280)|
|3B-R Kris Bryant(.292/.385/.554/.350)||2B-L Jason Kipnis(.275/.343/.469/.264)|
|1B-L Anthony Rizzo(.292/.385/.544/.334)||SS-S Francisco Lindor(.301/.358/.435/.270)|
|LF-S Ben Zobrist(.272/.386/.446/.306)||1B-R Mike Napoli(.239/.335/.465/.262)|
|2B-R Javier Baez(.273/.314/.423/.275)||3B-S Jose Ramirez(.312/.363/.462/.274)|
|DH-L Kyle Schwarber(Did Not Play)||RF-L Lonnie Chisenhall(.286/.328/.439/.260)|
|SS-R Addison Russell(.238/.321/.417/.275)||LF-S Coco Crisp(.231/.302/.397/.254)|
|RF-L Jason Heyward(.230/.306/.325/.237)||CF-L Tyler Naquin(.296/.372/.514/.285)|
|C-R David Ross(.229/.338/.446/.292)||C-R Roberto Perez(.183/.285/.294/.218)|
Chicago’s offense was the best in the National League and arguably the best in baseball during the regular season, posting a collective .287 True Average that easily led the majors. To put their lineup’s prowess in some context, consider that the Cubs’ team True Average of .287—led by Bryant at .350 and Rizzo, Fowler, and Zobrist also above .300—was higher than any individual Cleveland hitter’s True Average. And, unlike many NL teams that reach the World Series, they have several appealing designated hitter options available for the four games played under AL rules in Cleveland.
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Lead photo courtesy David Richard—USA Today Sports.