The Cubs will probably avoid losing 100 games

The Cubs currently sit at 58-89 even though 2 weeks ago it looked like a sure thing that they would lose 100. But after the Cubs have won 7 of their last 11 games it's now looking unlikely.

Baseball Prospectus has the Cubs going 6-9 over the rest of the season which would put them at a cool 64-98 on the season. That would be the worst record this team has had since 1980 when they were also 64-98. That's the only time in the divisional era of MLB in which the Cubs have lost that many games.

There have actually only been two seasons in which they've lost more than 98. The '62 and '66 teams each lost 103 games. Interestingly, the '62 team didn't even finish in last place in the National League. They finished in 9th. This year they won't finish in last even though it's one of the top 5 worst seasons in franchise history. They won't even be close to last.

If the season was called off right this moment, this team would finish having the 22nd worst season in franchise history. The Cubs have started a season 0-14 so maybe they can finish the season 0-14 at which point they would be tied with the two clubs in the 60s for the most franchise losses.

Baseball Reference is quite handy. You can sort the team's records any which you want and they include a column for the top player (player with the most rWAR). Horrible teams like the '66 Cubs don't often have an MVP type player, but Ron Santo's rWAR in 1966 was 8.7. That's the 17th highest single season total for a Cub in history. That team lost 103 games.

Thanks to Darwin Barney's absure +27 DRS, he currently has 4.7 rWAR. Starlin Castro is closest among the hitters at 2.7 so even if you adjusted Barney's defensive metric down to a more believable 10 or 12 runs saved, he would still have the most rWAR among Cubs position players. You could lower his DRS to +7 and he'd be tied with Castro at 2.7 rWAR.

If you include pitchers, Ryan Dempster had 3.5 rWAR with the Cubs and after him is Jeff Samardzija at 1.9.

This says nothing about Barney's ability to play because he is a good ballplayer, but when he's your most productive player you're probably not going to be contending, but at least they're not likely to lose 100 games anymore. They've got that going for them.

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