Could This Be The Year Of The Chicago Cubs?

Yes, it has been a long time to be precise 107 years since the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series in 1908. Before this season began, in my blog of April 13, I picked the Cubs to win the 2016 World Series. I was not alone with this pick. In fact, 14 out of 31 ESPN reporters also picked the Cubs.

After their first 30 games the Cubs have a record of 24-6. Their run differential (runs scored – runs allowed) of +102 is the fourth best in the MLB modern era (going back to 1901). The Cubs are getting the job done by combing great hitting with great pitching. They lead all MLB teams in runs per game (6.13), in OBP (.368), in runs scored (184) and are second in OPS (.809) trailing the Cardinals by one point. The Cubs starting pitchers Arrieta, Hammel, Lester, Lackey and Hendricks have a combined ERA below 2.25. Their ace Jake Arrieta has been a dominant force on the mound. Since the start of last season he has made 39 starts and has allowed three earned runs or less in 35 of them. The Cubs overall pitching stats show they lead all MLB teams in the categories of ERA (2.48), runs scored (82) and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched 1.034).

In case you are wondering if this is the best start after 30 games for any Cub team. The answer is yes. But, the 1907 Cubs also ran off a 24-6 season starting record. The 1907 team had a record of 61-20 after 81 games and went on to finish the season with a record of 107-45 and a run differential of +184. In the 1907 World Series they defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-0. The Cubs went on to repeat as World Series Champions in 1908.

What about other teams who started a season with at least 24 wins in their first 30 games? Did they win the World Series? Here is the list since 1939:

other teams who started a season with at least 24 wins in their first 30 games as of 2016

The above history is a good omen for the 2016 Cubs. Excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season, of the six teams who won at least 24 of their first 30 games all of them reached the World Series for that year. Four of the six teams actually won the World Series that year. Three of the six teams won over 100 games that year with the 1939 Yankees winning 106 games.

The record for most wins in a season is 116 achieved by the 2001 Mariners who broke the previous record of 114 established by the Yankees in 1998. Can the 2016 Cubs follow the 2015-16 Golden State NBA team who broke the season NBA record with 73 wins this year? To help answer this question I turn to my Linear Formula for Baseball. This formula will use the run differential based on the first 30 games to predict the final winning percentage for the 2016 Cubs. The calculation is as follows:

Expected 2016 Cub Season Winning % = .001592*102 + .50 = 66.24%

Multiplying .6624*162 = 108 wins.

The 108 wins would put the Cubs ahead of the 1939 Yankees but 8 wins short of the record. If the Cubs do win the 2016 World Series Harry Carey’s statement, “The Cubs someday will win the World Series” will come true and heaven will hear him singing Take Me Out To The Ballgam

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