Chicago baseball fans look forward to a new year

Robert Leveille, Assistant Sports Editor

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Fans await America’s favorite pastime, returning April 2. As the Cubs are eager to defend the Championship title, the White Sox look to become relevant again amongst Chicago fans.

April 3 will likely begin and end as just another spring day as the White Sox take the field for the first time this year. Many Chicago fans will reserve calling in sick from work or school for April 10, as the Cubs raise the 2016 World Series Pennant in their home opener.

As this season moves on, many will replace the question “Is this the year the Cubs end the curse?” with “Is this the year the Cubs repeat?” The Cubs enter this season as the early favorite, not only because they are the defending champion, but because they’ve had little roster turnover from last year.

According to FanGraph, the Cubs have an 88 percent chance of winning their respective division. While they are no doubt the favorite, the number is a little high considering it increased 56 percent from last year.

The Cubs are a better team than they were last year. They’ll have a healthy Kyle Schwarber, who spent all of the regular season last year on the disabled list.  If Jason Heyward can bounce back from a mediocre season, the Cubs’ bats should pick up right where they left off.

If the Cubs repeat this year, it will be heavily dependent on their starting pitching lineup.

The Cubs boast the oldest pitching staff in the league and no team relied more on their starting lineup than they did last year.

The Cubs have one of the most talented rotations in all of baseball; however, they had a little bit of luck last year as their rotation allowed the lowest average on balls in play with .255. The second best team in this stat was 27 points higher. It is unrealistic to assume a repeat performance of that magnitude.

South of Wrigleyville holds a different story, with the White on rebuild mode.

With the biggest move during the off-season, the Sox shipped Chris Sail, their best starting pitcher to the Boston Red Sox for one of the league’s future stars, infielder Yoan Moncada and three prospects. The Sox also stole three top pitching prospects from the Washington Nationals in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton. The team added catcher Geovany Soto in free agency, who should quickly become a fan favorite.

Sox fans likely won’t enjoy the same successes as Cubs fans this year, but starting pitchers James Shields and Derek Holland should pitch well enough to keep their faithful fans interested. Jose Abreu had an off year last year, but a player with his skill set and tenacity is likely to make a rebound.

Sox fans shouldn’t go out and buy jerseys with big names on them, as no player is safe from blockbuster trades this year.

This franchise is committed to making wholesale changes in an effort to rebuild into a contender in the near future. The front office understands championships are won years in advance, and it is important to tear open a wound in order to stop the bleeding.

Robert Leveille
Robert Leveille is a criminal justice major. He is assistant sports editor for The Flyer.

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