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Cubs win in a landslide
Cubs manager Joe Maddon and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein are sittin' pretty as we enter this offseason. Jeff Haynes/AP Images
The team atop our Future Power Rankings heading into this offseason is already a trendy pick to win the 2016 World Series, and there's at least a good reason for that kind of optimism, as the Chicago Cubs are loaded in every respect. One of the game's most highly regarded front offices is in the catbird seat right now, even in the majors' toughest top-to-bottom division, thanks to a potent young offense, two aces already in its rotation and the resources to add another, and a still-strong farm system.
The Cubs' arrival in 2015 was "ahead of schedule," but the schedule has a habit of changing without warning, as it did when Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber became productive major leaguers a year ahead of expectations, or when Jake Arrieta, already good in 2014, became Cy Young-worthy in his second full season on the North Side of Chicago. There's a lot of faith in Theo Epstein and Co. in those World Series predictions, and in our rankings here, but objective projections say a lot of the same things: The Cubs are stacked and will be dangerous not just in 2016 but for the remainder of the decade. -- Keith Law
The Cubs arrived a year earlier than expected, and they're not going away anytime soon. This offseason they'll put the finishing touches on what should be a championship-caliber club in 2016. Team president Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are committed to building a strong rotation after Arrieta and Jon Lester this offseason to improve their playoff chances, and I expect them to be players on the top free-agent pitchers. If they don't get one, I wouldn't be surprised if they traded one (or more) of their many highly touted prospects to get a top-of-rotation type of guy. Either way, they're positioned for a nice run of winning seasons. -- Jim Bowden
Catcher Willson Contreras broke out across the board in 2015, hitting .333/.413/.478 in Double-A with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. The 23-year-old showed he has enough defensive ability to stay behind the plate, and a simple, steady swing that explains all of that hard contact. -- Keith Law
March rank: 3 (overall score: 80.9)