Chicago Baseball is Back!

Which team will you be rooting for this baseball season: The Cubs or White Sox?

April is here, and the unforgiving cold of winter is giving way to the hope and excitement of spring and summer. It also means baseball is BACK in the Windy City, and both of Chicago’s baseball teams are ready to take the field for the 2024 season. How will they fare this year? Let’s take a look.

For the Cubs, they’re coming off of a strong season, finishing with a record of 83-79, good for second place in the NL Central Division. Part of their success was spurred on by strong years from starting pitcher Justin Steele and centerfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger. An All-Star last year, Steele finished with an earned run average (ERA) of 3.06 in 173.1 innings of work. For his efforts, he earned 5th place in Cy Young Award voting. As for Bellinger, he seemingly revived his career on the North Side. He had a batting average of .307, an on-base percentage of .356, and a slugging percentage of .525. He also hit 26 home runs and had 97 runs batted in (RBI), both stats his highest totals since his MVP season in 2019. Both Steele and Bellinger are back with the Cubs this season, hopefully to build on the strong seasons they both had.

They lost starting pitcher Marcus Stroman in the offseason, but replaced him quickly with Japanese starter Shota Imanaga. They traded for first baseman Michael Busch and reliever Yency Almonte. They also signed reliever Hector Neris. And arguably the biggest move of the offseason didn’t even involve the players. Manager David Ross was shockingly fired after the season and was quickly replaced with former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, widely considered to be among the best managers in the sport. These moves, in conjunction with the players they already have (including Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ, Christopher Morel, Seiya Suzuki, and Dansby Swanson) could create for an exciting season at Wrigley. I believe they’ll improve on their record from last year, finish with a 89-73 record, and compete for a division title.

Taking a look at the White Sox, they, for lack of a better term, sucked last year. They finished with a record of 61-101, among one of the worst records in the league. The one thing Sox fans can hang their hats on is the fact that outfielder Luis Robert Jr. has grown into one of the most exciting young players in the league. He finished his All-Star campaign with a batting average of .264, on-base percentage of .315, and a slugging percentage of .542. He hit 38 homers and had 80 RBI. He earned a Silver Slugger award as well as received a few MVP votes.

Looking elsewhere, Andrew Vaughn also had a solid year, posting a .258 batting average as well as hitting 21 homers and 80 RBI. Designated hitter Eloy Jimenez had a .262 batting average with 18 homers with 64 RBI as well. But outside of them, this Sox offense just lacks the firepower needed to consistently compete. Trading away All-Star starter Dylan Cease to the Padres doesn’t help matters either. This, along with a lackluster roster (including Yoan Moncada, Gavin Sheets, Michael Kopech, and Garrett Crochet) and one of the worst managers in baseball currently in Pedro Grifol, I just don’t see a path to relevant baseball for the Southsiders this year. They won’t lose 101 games…they’ll lose a few more. I have them with a record of 58-104, challenging for the worst record in baseball. Hug a White Sox fan today. They need it.

What do you think? Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know!

By Jermale Dabney, Junior, Lindblom Math and Science Academy

Instagram: @jermale_d

Written by TrueStar Staff

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