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Where does the Cubs lineup rank in MLB?


Where does the Cubs lineup rank in MLB?

It's that time of the year — a week out from Opening Day where all the predictions and rankings come through.

The latest coming through the baseball world is's Anthony Castrovince creating a list of the Top 10 lineups in baseball in 2018.

The Cubs come up lower than I expected — sitting sixth.

Here are Castrovince's rankings:

1. Houston Astros
2. New York Yankees
3. Washington Nationals
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Cleveland Indians
6. Chicago Cubs
7. Los Angeles Dodgers
8. Minnesota Twins
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Oakland A's

We broke down our own rankings of the Top 10 lineups in Major League Baseball:

Here's how I would rank the top lineups:

1. Houston Astros
2. Washington Nationals
3. Chicago Cubs
4. New York Yankees
5. Cleveland Indians
6. Boston Red Sox
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Milwaukee Brewers
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Minnesota Twins

The Astros should be atop everybody's list.

The Nationals may actually be an underrated powerhouse offense, even with Daniel Murphy currently injured. Once he returns, you're looking at probably the best 1-6 of any lineup in baseball with Adam Eaton and Trea Turner (two premier leadoff-type hitters) setting the table for Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Murphy (three MVP candidates) and Ryan Zimmerman cleaning things up.

The Cubs may not have the sheer strength and power of the Yankees, but the Chicago lineup is deeper and more well-rounded. Regardless of who leads off and who plays on a given day, this Cubs team will batter opposing pitchers on a nightly basis and feature what very well could be three MVP candidates — Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras.

The Yankees would see a boost here if Brett Gardner shows no signs of aging at 34 and Greg Bird finally stays healthy.

The Indians are stacked, but don't quite boast as much depth 1-9 as the other lineups ahead of them with Tyler Naquin, Roberto Perez and Bradley Zimmer projected to make up the bottom-third of the order.

The Red Sox feature a dynamic young core despite a lineup that is coming off something of a down 2017 campaing. Adding J.D. Martinez to the mix is an incredible boost, as is a full season of phenom Rafael Devers.

The Diamondbacks have Paul Goldschmidt and a few question marks — including how the new humidor will affect the way the ball jumps in the dry Arizona heat. 

With new additions like Lorenzo Cain and former Marlins outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the Cubs' main division rivals (Brewers, Cardinals) see a jump in lineup rankings.

The Dodgers are noticably absent given the injury to Justin Turner. Without him anchoring the order for the first month or so, this lineup absolutely needs Chris Taylor to turn in a repeat performance after a breakout 2017.

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Ugly days ahead for Starlin Castro and the Marlins


Scouting the Cubs' competition: Ugly days ahead for Starlin Castro and the Marlins

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

Miami Marlins

2017 record: 77-85, 2nd place in NL East

Offseason additions: Lewis Brinson, Starlin Castro, Cameron Maybin, Garrett Cooper, J.B. Shuck, Scott Van Slyke, Jacob Turner, Elieser Hernandez, Caleb Smith, Magneuris Sierra, Sandy Alcantara

Offseason departures: Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, Ichiro Suzuki, A.J. Ellis, Dustin McGowan, Basically Everybody But J.T. Realmuto

X-factor: Ummm...Derek Jeter?

Seriously, the only X-factor with this franchise right now is ownership. Will the Marlins trade Realmuto or anybody else? Will it even matter? (probably not)

Projected lineup

1. Lewis Brinson - CF
2. Derek Dietrich - LF
3. Starlin Castro - 2B
4. Justin Bour - 1B
5. J.T. Realmuto - C
6. Brian Anderson - 3B
7. Cameron Maybin - RF
8. Miguel Rojas - SS

Projected rotation

1. Jose Urena
2. Justin Nicolina
3. Odrisamer Despaigne
4. Jacob Turner
5. Elieser Hernandez


Nobody would blame you if you haven't heard of half the names listed above that are slated for key roles in 2018. 

Poor Starlin. It's gonna be a long year for him in Miami, as this roster is destined for 100+ losses after shedding almost every big-league caliber player.

Bour — a former Cubs farmhand (25th round pick in 2009) — is a solid player and will probably be traded at some point, too along with Realmuto.

Brinson is an intriguing prospect who came over from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Yelich trade and may represent some of the only excitement surrounding the South Beach squad this season.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Marlins pulled a swap off with each of the North Siders' NL Central rivals, dealing away stud outfielders Yelich (Brewers) and Ozuna (Caridnals) to the division.

Prediction: Last. In everything.

Complete opposition research

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves


It looks like the Cubs are adding more outfield depth


It looks like the Cubs are adding more outfield depth

Warm up the hot stove!

The Cubs reportedly added another minor-league signing Thursday by inking outfielder Peter Bourjos to a deal:

Bourjos is a Park Ridge, Ill., native who turns 31 on March 31. He was in spring camp with the White Sox a year ago, but didn't make the club.

The veteran journeyman has had stops in Los Angeles (Angels), St. Louis, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, as well, playing in at least 100 games in six of the last seven seasons (including the last four). 

Bourjos played in 100 games with the Rays in 2017, starting 46 and hitting .223 with a .655 OPS. 

In his career, Bourjos has been heralded as a speedster and good defender who can play all three outfield spots, but not much of a hitter. His career slash line is .241/.298/.382 (.680 OPS) and that mark has been even worse the last few seasons (.655 OPS since 2014).

As fast as Bourjos is, he hasn't had much stolen base success, either, swiping 66 bags in 98 tries. After breaking into the big leagues and stealing 32 bases in 2010-11, the veteran has just 34 stolen bases in 54 tries since.

Still, Bourjos represents some solid depth for the Cubs. 

He hit far better against lefties (.752 OPS) than righties (.534 OPS) last season and the Cubs could use another right-handed outfielder to provide more options in an outfield that already includes Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber, who can sit against tough lefties.

There probably won't be room for Bourjos in the big-league club right away barring injury, but depth in Triple-A Iowa is never a bad thing.

And if the Cubs hang on to Bourjos all year, he could be a welcome addition down the stretch if Joe Maddon needs a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.