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The Post-2016 Cubs

August 6, 2021
                                            The Post-2016 Cubs


A recent team, the 2016 Cubs, just missed the top 10 list for the number of games started by #1 pitchers; they had 122 starts by #1 starters (Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks.)  Their fifth starter, Jason Hammel, was decent, too. 

I am SOO glad to learn this; this helps me to understand something that has been puzzling the hell out of me, which is:  what happened to that team?

The 2016 Cubs had so much young talent that people just assumed they would dominate that division for several years.  The 1986 Mets were like that, I have actually never seen any other situation, any other team, which was as much that way as the 2016 Cubs. Sportswriters will almost always think that whoever won last year will win again this year.  Baseball people, scouts and executives, don’t think that way. They understand that things happen; winning last year doesn’t mean very much once spring training is over. 

But with the 2016 Cubs, I don’t know how many baseball professionals were caught in the undertow. People were just certain that the Cubs would dominate, to the extent that the competing teams kind of backed off for a winter or two, didn’t do all of the things they normally would have. 

I never believed that the Cubs would just roll everybody, but I am surprised at how little they did after the World Series win in 2016.  I think everybody is.  I couldn’t really figure it out, until I saw this.

The underrated part of that team was the starting rotation.  But all of those guys except one, Kyle Hendricks, were in their 30s by 2016.  The starting rotation just fell apart, and the Cubs were not able to patch it back together quickly enough to keep the team near the top. Guys like Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Mike Montgomery and Jose Quintana just were not a championship-quality starting rotation.  That’s really what happened.  

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