A year ago I asked where the 2018 Cubs starting rotation would stand in Chicago baseball history. Turns out, the rotation was better on paper than it was on the disabled list. So, here we are again. What about 2019 Cubs rotation?
Now before some of you implode, it's a question, not a statement - and this rotation has plenty of those questions with the biggest being their collective age. We all know the PECOTA rankings think the Cubs are old and likely to break down. That might be true, but it's also not that simple.
Respect your elders! The 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs had one of the oldest rotations in franchise history. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jason Hammel were all in their thirties. 122 starts were made by pitchers that were 30 or older. Only the 1920 Cubs had more starts from the 30+ club.
The only regular starter who was under 30 in the Cubs championship rotation was Kyle Hendricks. The same is true in 2019. Jon Lester is now three years older, but you substitute Jose Quintana for Arrieta, Cole Hamels for Lackey and Yu Darvish for Hammel.
You still aren't buying it? Well, 35 is the new 30.
Chris Kamka, our resident stats guru at NBC Sports Chicago, recently tweeted out this beauty. Jon Lester and Cole Hamels are both 35. The last time the Cubs had multiple starters 35 or older make 20 or more starts in a season was 1945 with Paul Derringer and Claude Passeau. Yes, the 1945 Cubs also went to the World Series.
Jon Lester & Cole Hamels are both 35. Last time #Cubs had 20+ starts by multiple pitchers 35 or older in the same season was 1945 - Paul Derringer & Claude Passeau.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) February 28, 2019
You know what they say: age before championships. For the record, I did write this post while wearing "readers" from Walgreens.
We broke down the starters and relievers for the 2019 Cubs on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast.
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