Without results to drive actual power rankings, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports has turned to breaking down individual aspects of MLB teams based on what could or should have been playing out over the first month of the season. The Cubs haven’t fared all that well in Snyder’s previous rankings — 12th in outfield, 10th in rotation, sixth in slugging — but he’s got them second when it comes to infield play.
Catcher is excluded from these rankings, which no doubt contributed to the Cubs falling behind the Astros on the list. Still, it’s hard to argue that there’s any quartet better than Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman. Unless, that is, you dock them for stealing signs.
The Cubs likewise boast a trio of MVP candidates in Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez, and Kris Bryant, but they lag a bit when it comes to what was shaping up to be a platoon at second base that didn’t feature Nico Hoerner. Not that having last year’s unexpected breakout star on the roster would have altered the rankings one bit.
It feels like eventually second base becomes a Jason Kipnis/David Bote platoon and that’s not half bad. The other three positions are MVP-caliber players when healthy. Unless they decide to trade Kris Bryant, which seems really stupid.
Extreme same on the KB take.
The Indians and A’s are next, then you’ve got to scroll a long way to find any of the Cubs’ NL Central rivals. The Cardinals pop up at No. 16 and the Reds appear three spots later. The Brewers are at 22 and the Pirates 24, both of whom avoid dropping lower based on the respective singular talents of Keston Hiura and Josh Bell. Yes, Luis Urias and Kevin Newman factor as well.
I’ll spare you any further analysis here because it’s all subjective and self-explanatory. It’s also a wee bit heartening, since having a talented core group that’s been together for several years might bode well for the Cubs in a shortened season.