Two months into the MLB season, one team is doing exactly as expected. That team is the Chicago Cubs, who are living up to their lofty expectations and playing at a historic pace. The Cubs lead the majors in wins with a 43-18 record through June 12, four games ahead of the Washington Nationals in the NL and Texas Rangers in the AL. The spring hasn’t been a cakewalk, either- outfielder Kyle Schwarber suffered a season-ending injury in the first week and Chicago has experienced multiple slumps. Here are the most amazing stats of the North Siders so far this season.
Cubs’ Pitching Leads Majors in ERA, WHIP
Starting pitching has been a major plus for the Cubs this year. The Cubs’ staff holds a 2.65 ERA, nearly half a run less than any other team in the majors, and all five starters have sub-3 earned run averages. Two pitchers, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, have ERAs under two runs, an incredible feat, and Jason Hammel (2.36 ERA) is having a career year. New addition John Lackey is filling in well and second year starter Kyle Hendricks is solid in the five spot. But instead of ERA, the real testament to the strength of the Cubs’ pitching is WHIP (Walks+Hits per Innings Pitched). Of all of the pitchers in the majors, Lackey is second in WHIP, Hendricks is third, Lester is fourth, and Arrieta is fifth, with all under 1.00. Four players on one team all in the top five!
Chicago Leads NL All-Star Voting with Five Projected Starters
Chicago’s position players are driving in a ton of runs- their 322 runs rank third in the majors and second in the National League. That strength has been reflected in the early results in the All Star voting. So far, the whole National League infield is from Chicago- first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44 RBI), second baseman Ben Zobrist (.322 BA), shortstop Addison Russell, and third baseman Kris Bryant (15 homers, 45 RBI). The Cubs also have the starting centerfielder in Dexter Fowler (.297 BA). While All Star voting isn’t an official stat and the number of Chicago voters is probably out of proportion in this vote, all five players are worthy selections.
The Cubs are Winning at a Historic Rate
The all-time record for most wins in the regular season is held by the Seattle Mariners, who finished 116-46 in 2001, a 71.6 winning percentage. With a 41-28 record after a win over Atlanta, the Cubs are at a 70.5 winning percentage. After seeing the Golden State Warriors break the NBA’s single season win record, it would surprise nobody if Chicago enters the fall contending for a prime spot in the history books.
In the next couple months, the Cubs will inevitably encounter peaks and valleys. The pitching numbers will go down sometime and the injury bug will hit. But Chicago is set for the long haul with an experienced and wistful manager in Joe Maddon, a mix of veteran leadership and young talent, and an outstandingly deep roster. By the end of the season, another stat could define the Cubs’ 2016 campaign- 108, as in the length of the broken championship drought.