It's early, but the roster is starting to shape up. I started to do this in the Offseason thread, but that just clutters it up.
First, my first run at a projection.
I'm using bWAR, because I like the scale (basically, it uses 52 wins as a baseline instead of 43, and will give lower results for all players. fWAR uses 43 wins as a baseline, which tends to produce higher numbers and given the illusion that really bad players have a little bit of value).
Soriano(2.5)/DeJesus(1.0)/Schierholtz(1.0) (Sappelt/Campana) (1.0)
Valbuena(0.5)/Castro (4.0)/Barney(2.0)/Rizzo(4.0) (????/Clevenger)(0.0)
Total: 28 WAR
Projected record: 80-82
This is a lot more optimistic than I planned on it being, but I'm sticking with it after examination. This is an imaginary roster here our starting rotation makes 162 starts and we don't dismantle the team midseason.
It just keeps coming back to how historically awful the back half of the Cubs' roster was last season. The front half could support an average team, but our bad players were just *so* bad. If you can somehow manage to field ordinarily bad players in your bench, in your bullpen and as replacement/emergency starters, you can make really amazing gains over last year's team.
Now, while I like bWAR's scale, the actual bWAR has some problems with how it handles pitching and defense, but with that caveat, here's how a similar chart looks last year:
Clevenger (-1.0) (Various) (0.8)
Garza/Samardzija/Dempster/Maholm/Wood (8.0) (Various) (-6.2)
Bullpen combined (-2.6)
Total: 13.3 wins
Projecting: 65.3 wins. Pythagorean record: 65-97. Actual record: 61-101.