What's the comparable list for hitters?
Anthony Rizzo posted 5.1 bWAR in 2014. That ranked 14th among National League hitters, and Rizzo finished 10th in MVP voting. Where does that bWAR figure rate among Cubs seasons in the divisional play era (since 1969)? Here are all the hitters who have had a 5.1 bWAR or better season over the last 45 years:
That's an even shorter list than the pitching one. Since Sammy Sosa's monster 2001 season, there have been only four Cubs who have put up a 5.1 bWAR or better year: Rizzo in 2014, Derrek Lee (twice, 2005 and 2009) and Aramis Ramirez in 2007.
Further, since WAR figures are somewhat cumulative, Rizzo could have put up a higher bWAR number in 2014 if he hadn't missed more than 20 games with back problems.
As in the pitching list, the batting list is full of Cubs playoff years and other seasons when they've had winning records. Not all of them, of course, and naturally, you need more than one player to have a year like this to be a playoff contender.
Rizzo's entering his prime years at age 25. Many (myself included) expect him to be a potential MVP candidate in 2015. If he can do that, the Cubs just might have a tremendously improved year.