Why we picked the Cubs to win the 2015 World Series

The Cubs finished last in the National League Central last year, losing 89 games. They have not had a .500 record since 2009, have not been to the playoffs since 2008, have not won a playoff series (or even game) since 2003, have not won the pennant since 1945, and have not won the World Series since 1908.And, yes, Sporting News is picking them to win it all in 2015. PHOTO GALLERY: 100 years of classic Wrigley Field photosIt’s not just because of "Back to the Future 2," when the Cubs were a 100-1 shot, and Marty McFly got the idea to go back in time and bet on sports results for which he already knew the outcome. In reality, the Cubs are much better than a 100-1 shot. At 12-1, they are tied with the Tigers as the bettors’ fifth choice behind the Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels and Nationals. The addition of Jon Lester to the top of the rotation is huge for Chicago, as it means that Jake Arrieta slides into the No. 2 spot, followed by returning free agent Jason Hammel, and then some kind of mix of Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood,

Tsuyoshi Wada, Jacob Turner and Felix Doubront. The depth at the back end of the rotation should allow Chicago to put together a formidable starting five coming out of spring training. Competition is healthy, and you can never have too much pitching.Likewise, the Cubs have some good things going on in the bullpen, led by Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop, with other intriguing arms like Neil Ramirez and a potentially rebounding Jason Motte.The real reason to be excited, though, is the Cubs’ bountiful farm system, coupled with savvy trades, is starting to bear fruit for the lineup. First baseman Anthony Rizzo (acquired from the Padres when he was 22) and home-grown shortstop Starlin Castro are the cornerstones of the lineup, both legitimate stars entering their age-25 seasons. The fact that the Cubs were able to get significant action in the major leagues last year for Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez will help those players settle into their first full big-league campaigns. Eventually, Kris Bryant will be along as well.— SN picks the most beloved player ever for every teamStarlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo (Getty Images)Bryant is a slugging third baseman. The new manager of the Cubs, Joe Maddon, had a rookie third baseman join his team in April 2008. Evan Longoria was the Rookie of the Year and one of the big reasons that the Rays went from 96 losses the year before to 97 wins and the American League pennant.Maddon does well with young teams because he does not put pressure on the players. He allows them to be themselves. There will be a lot of opportunities for the Cubs to feel pressure, including being picked by certain national outlets to win the World Series. Having a manager who is as cool, calm, and collected as there is in the game should make a difference.The Cubs have the talent in place to make a quick jump in the standings. Once playoff time comes, it’s just about making the right plays at the right times and getting good pitching performances. Several teams are capable of winning the World Series this year — as the Giants and Royals both showed last year, if you get into the playoffs, you can make some noise. The Cubs are the pick to win the 2015 World Series because, after 107 years, they’re good enough to get there and, honestly, aren’t they due a couple of breaks?Pre-order SN's Yearbook online at snyearbooks.com, or by calling 1-800-380-7404.


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