1. CHICAGO The Cubs have assembled arguably the best crop of 2. ST. LOUIS young players in years, and also recently spent money 3. PITTSBURGH in free agency and on manager Joe Maddon.
Now, they have big power in Kris Bryant, 4. CINCINNATI
Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, per5. MILWAUKEE
haps the game’s best right fielder in Jason Heyward, as well as versatility in infielders Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist. And don’t forget about future all-stars Addison Russell and Jorge Soler. Pitching should be excellent, but there are a few questions. Jake Arrieta’s 2015 season (a career-best 1.77 ERA) and John Lackey’s (a career-best 2.77 at age 37) will be tough to repeat. Never count out the Cardinals, but two of the team’s best three players from 2015, according to FanGraphs’ WAR, are now Cubs, and veteran stars Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday are well into their 30s. Don’t forget the Pirates, winners of 98 games last year, who return All-Star Andrew McCutchen and ace Gerrit Cole.