Over at The Cub Contrarian, Kyle used an estimated WAR for players to get a team win total. I thought I'd do the same thing, but I'm going to do it two ways: projections and my wild ass guesses.
Wild Ass Guess
I could easily see Castillo being a 2 WAR player, but I'm not buying it. I could also see him being replacement level, but I think he'll end up adding some value, but not a whole lot. Dioner Navarro is a waste of a roster spot and perhaps the most overpaid player in baseball history in that he's earning infinitely more than he deserves to be paid.
1st Base: Anthony Rizzo (3.0) backups (0.0)
I think Rizzo is a very good young player, but I don't believe he's a future superstar. I think he'll make some all-star teams and provide a lot of value while being paid little. That sounds like what the Cubs need.
2nd Base: Darwin Barney (2.5), backups (0.0)
Barney isn't much of a hitter, but he's a fantastic fielder. Put him in the 8th spot (9th would be better if the pitcher wasn't batting) and let him do his thing with the glove.
Don't say I'm not an optimistic person because I just predicted that this horrible duo would actually provide positive value. Not much and I'm inclined to go with replacement level, but I'm just too optimistic a person for that nonsense.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro (3.5), backups (hopefully there aren't any)
Like Rizzo, I think Castro is a very good young player, but future superstar probably isn't what he'll become. Coming off his worst offensive season he'll be trying his hardest. Hopefully he can take some more pitches and walk more. If he can do that, he could become a very good hitter. As it is now, he's a bit better than average at the plate. Defense is still a big question mark.
Left Field: Alfonso Soriano (1.5)
Soriano had a pretty good season last year, but I think we'll see him drop back down this year.
Center Field: David DeJesus (1.0)
I think DeJesus declines at the plate and I don't expect much out of him in CF either.
Right Field: Nate something or other (0.5)
I just don't think Nate is very good.
Other backups (0)
I don't ever expect much of anything out of the backups. Their job is to basically hold the job down a day here and a day there. Inconsistent playing time makes it worthless to try and predict what these guys will do in my opinion.
I don't think Feldman will be in the rotation long. He's not all that good. The top 3 aren't anything special, but they're not bad either. Baker will probably have a worse year than projected due to returning from TJS, but he could still provide some positive value
Like the bench, I find it useless to try and predict what you're going to get from a reliever in such a small sample. I do think we'll see Carlos Marmol have a better year than last year before being traded near the deadline. I have no clue what to expect from Kyuji Fujikawa. Shawn Camp is OK and so is James Russell. As long as Rafael Dolis doesn't actually close games this year, I'll consider the bullpen outstanding.
Total: 24.5 WAR
Replacement level is generally thought to be a .300 winning percentage, which is equal to 48.6 wins over 162 games. Let's get started.
So my wild ass guess is that the Cubs win 73 games. Kyle on The Cub Contrarion got 80-82, but he was using a .330 replacement level team and was even more optimistic than the optimistic me.
In table format…
CAIRO only projected 30 innings for Scott Baker so I used the newly released ZiPS projection of 1.6 instead. For Samardzija, CAIRO was still projecting some relief appearances since he'd been a reliever in 2011 so I also used the 3.1 ZiPS projection.
The projections version (better than my wild ass guesses) makes the Cubs a 72 win team.