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Amelia Parreira is a journalism junior and Mustang News sports columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
You were probably expecting something about the Final Four. Sorry, but I’ve got baseball fever.
Almost six months ago, my San Francisco Giants became the 2014 World Champions, the team’s third title in five years. Now that a new season is underway, it’s time to see which team will take the next championship title.
While it would be amazing for the Giants to do it all again, it’s time for another team to step up.
If anyone deserves that chance, it’s the Chicago Cubs.
That statement might take you by surprise. But sometimes statistics, while they do matter, shouldn’t be all that matters.
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, which makes their drought the longest in baseball history. The team hasn’t even set foot in a Fall Classic since 1945, and it has held some of the worst records since then. The Cubs saw their biggest streak of bad luck in the 2012 season, limping away with an overall record of 61-101, their worst finish since 1966.
Thirsty for a big comeback, it’s safe to say the Chicago organization and its fans have suffered enough. They could really use a big break.
Despite the Cubs’ past and their 15-17 spring training record, this season could very well hold something great for them. The team will invest in more young players this coming season than it ever has before. The newly formed roster could definitely bring success both offensively and defensively.
One of Chicago’s biggest keys for the 2015 season is third baseman Kris Bryant. The 23-year-old rookie batted .425 during spring training. Bryant spent last season playing Double-A and Triple-A ball, where he hit a total of 43 home runs and 110 RBIs in just 138 games. This year, he was ranked the No. 1 prospect in MLB, according to NBC Sports. While Bryant will start the 2015 season in Triple-A, the Cubs plan to bring him back up to the big leagues shortly.
The Cubs will host multiple other power hitters this season as well. Outfielder Jorge Soler is one to look out for. Also 23 years old, Soler knocked out five home runs and 20 RBIs within his first 24 games with the Cubs back in 2014.
Another essential puzzle piece is first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The 25-year-old hit 32 home runs last season and could very well make an even bigger contribution this season.
Along with a talented offensive lineup, the Cubs have a strong pitching staff, which is one of the most important sources of a team’s success.
Chicago recently signed 31-year-old ace Jon Lester, who came in with a 2.46 ERA last season. Lester struck out 220 batters over 219 innings pitched. If he keeps up the good stats this season, Lester just might help the Cubs go far.
Following Lester in the rotation is 29-year-old Jake Arrieta, who sported a 2.53 ERA last season. Arrieta struck out 167 batters over 156 innings last year with the Cubs.
Next to take the mound is 32-year-old Jason Hammel. Coming from the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 with a 4.97 ERA, Hammel brought his ERA down to 2.98 with the Cubs before Chicago sent him to the Oakland Athletics on a trade deal in July 2014, where he struggled. Now he’s back with the Cubs for 2015, where he will hopefully find his wind once again.
Next in the rotation are 28-year-old Travis Wood and 25-year-old Kyle Hendricks. While Wood struggled in 2014 to an 8-13 record and 5.03 ERA, Hendricks had a strong debut with the Cubs. With a 7-2 record and 2.46 ERA, the young Hendricks is just what the Cubs need to come out strong this season.
Now that the Cubs have built up a competent team both offensively and defensively, they just have to work hard at getting run support while excelling on the mound. If both occur at the same time, Chicago will be golden.
Though the curse may live on for now, it is far from time to give up hope. After all, miracles do happen.