Home Run Records Will be Set
The powerhouse lineup of the 2016 Chicago Cubs will set at least one team home run record, either most home runs at home, or away, or both and the overall record for a single season. At least one Cub will break a single player home run record as well, and at least four Cubs will hit 20 or more home runs on the year. As an outside, bonus prediction, at least one Cubs player will hit more than 35 home runs on the season. I realize these numbers are high, and that a lot of people will shake their heads. Hear me out.
The home run projections are already high for the team, particularly for Rizzo, Bryant, and Schwarber. I believe, from the performance under pressure in October, that Soler is going to have a huge, break-out season at the plate. Jason Heyward is working on a slightly modified swing in Spring Training, and I believe Wrigley Field will be good for him. Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez, and Chris Coghlan will have time in that lineup as well, and all have pop.
Add to that a lineup with very few holes. There will be fewer walks, because there is simply no reason to try and walk around one power bat to the next, unless you have a good left-hand, right hand matchup. I own one of those great big “W” flags they fly over Wrigley Field after a win (a lot bigger than I expected, by the way). In the game where my flag flew, Addison Russell hit two home runs. This lineup protects itself, has diversity and speed on the bases, and I also expect RBIs to be up. In fact, the 2016 Cubs could adopt a quote from Dale Long, a long-ago Cubs slugger, who said “I consider a man on first base to already be in scoring position…”