Being that the general opinion among Chicago Cubs fans is that the team has no chance of competing for a playoff position in 2013, it seems that a point of discussion for a rebuilding franchise should be to figure out what exactly would be considered a successful campaign in 2013. Should fans expect the team simply sit idling while their young talent gets older and more experienced, or is there some things in particular we should see if things are going as planned?
As a team, 100 losses can never be acceptable. Despite the poor forecast for the Chicago Cubs in 2013, we can at least hope for a team that approaches .500. This means winning nearly 20 more games in the upcoming season, which may be a lot to ask for of a team that hasn’t really added much in the offseason.
On an individual basis, Starlin Castro‘s focus is going to be on becoming more patient and starting to draw walks. If Castro can get his average over .300 and bring his combined OPS over .800, with at least .350 of that being his OBP, it should be seen as a mark of Castro improving. If his averages stay the same as they have been in previous seasons, fans will start to get nervous.
Anthony Rizzo was great in his half season in 2012, but 2013 will be all about seeing if he can keep that up over a whole season. If Rizzo hits more than 30 home runs and at least that many doubles, Cubs fans will start to relax and actually believe that they have a great slugging first baseman on their hands. Anything too far short of those numbers would be a bit of disappointment, but his overall slugging percentage will be the best indicator. It won’t be until the Cubs are competing at a high level that his RBI and run numbers will start to show his possible excellence.
Whether some of or any of these benchmarks will be reached is hard to say, but they seem to be within reason. Any Cubs fan expecting a World Series win in 2013 is kidding themselves, but most of us will be pleased if we see this kind of progress in the 2013 MLB season.