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Cub Tracks opens up

The latest in our long-running series of #Cubs-related news articles. This one starts on plenty of rest.

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Welcome to your Thursday, and today’s episode of Cub Tracks news and notes™, featuring material from current beat writers, bloggers, and the occasional in-house habitué, moonlighting. These pieces center around #Cubs, #MiLB, and #MLB baseball. Scroll down for the links or linger for the potentially inappropriate commentary and the inevitable tweetstorm.

Last episode, we discussed briefly the idea of a blue home plate special, Thursday at the Friendly Confines. Today is Thursday, Opening Day to those in the know.

Since I missed the roundtable discussion mostly because I’m dumb, I’ll make my remarks here.

I too think that the Cubs might sneak into a wild-card spot. They have a lot of similar players — high floor, mayyybe ceiling. They’re probably not going to be 100-loss bad but they’re almost definitely not going to be 100 wins good either. The starting pitching just leaves too many questions. Even with a healthy Wade Miley there are questions. Kyle Hendricks is a lot of them. The others follow Marcus Stroman.

(listens for sounds of oddsmakers salivating)

My main questions are in the outfield. Center field is an enigma wrapped in a fortune cookie, and left field makes Patrick McMurphy look for the beef. I need to see a lot of Clint Frazier before I hop on board. I need me some switch power and good eyes from Ian Happ. Or I need Rafael Ortega to play out of his mind. On the other tentacle, I like Michael Hermosillo a lot. Seiya Suzuki I have few worries about. I think he’s a 25-homer, 75K guy who’s gonna love hitting third or cleanup, especially against lefties. I want Rivas an an alternate in left also. I want that man to get some at-bats.

I don’t have as many questions as most in the infield. My main issue is health. Patrick Wisdom is what he is. I hope for 30-35% K rate. The rest of his game is just fine. Frank Schwindel isn’t going to tank. Al’s slash line looks good to me. A healthy Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal are going to be on base a LOT and this team will score some runs, with a smaller percentage than usual being due to the long ball. I don’t think you have to be the second Whitey Herzog to do that. Just play the numbers with the high BA, high OBP guys you have. These Cubs are not powerless but they could use some lefty thump. We all know that. Someone is going to have to defy handedness.

Anyway, BOLD predictions:

85-77, wild card, gets into second round. No fire sale at the deadline, but no significant acquisitions, either. Win a division series but lose the NLCS, is my vote.

Hendricks wins 15. Stroman matches him. Two other starters win double digits. David Robertson is the real deal and saves 30.

Wisdom leads team in homers with 38. Nico Hoerner gets Gold Glove mentions at short. Willson Contreras stays put — Gomes is traded for a younger model.

Jason Heyward reverts to form and suffers a mysterious injury. Alfonso Rivas does his Thad Bosley impression.

There you go. Please to remonstrate below.

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