Cubs 2018 Power Rankings: Preseason edition

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Every month throughout the 2018 season, we'll rank our top Cubs players based off trends and overall impact to the team's pursuit of another World Series.

Let's kick things off with the preseason edition:

10. Addison Russell
9. Kyle Hendricks
8. Jon Lester
7. Kyle Schwarber
6. Ian Happ
5. Jose Quintana
4. Anthony Rizzo
3. Yu Darvish
2. Kris Bryant
1. Willson Contreras

10. Get ready for a Russell bounceback season. Think 2016, but better. 

9. The Professor may have started Game 1 of the 2017 NLDS, but he'll continue to be underrated in this Cubs rotation packed with studs.

8. Surprising that the team's Opening Day starter would be so low on this list, but Lester is coming off his worst season since 2012 and just turned 34 in January. That's not saying he doesn't have anything left, just that right now, the arrow is pointing down a bit.

7. You might've heard, but "Schwarbs" dropped some weight. He's primed for a huge comeback season.

6. The last time the Cubs played a meaningful baseball game, Happ was the most popular name considered to be traded away this winter for pitching. Now, he's everybody's favorite choice to lead off and play every day...somewhere.

5. Quintana changed the fortune of the 2017 Cubs the very second he walked through the door. He could be the ace of the staff by the time the 2018 postseason rolls around.

4. The face of the Cubs. Probably an insult that Rizzo's not higher on this list, especially given how remarkably consistent he's been the last four years: 

2014: 32 HR, .386 OBP, .913 OPS
2015: 31 HR, .387 OBP, .899 OPS
2016: 32 HR, .385 OBP, .928 OPS
2017: 32 HR, .392 OBP, .899 OPS

3. The Cubs were already going all-in with World Series expectations in 2018, but the signing of Darvish ramped that hype up to an 11. 

2. Bryant is one of the most valuable players in the game and despite coming off a down year in the RBI column, he increased his walk rate and drastically reduced his strikeout rate for the second straight season. He just keeps getting better and better.

1. Contreras has flashed his light-tower power this spring and looks like a man possessed. He may just be the most important player on the Cubs this season given the lack of depth behind him and how important he is at handling the pitching staff, keeping the running game at bay and providing lineup support to Bryzzo. 

Don't be surprised if Contreras finishes the year as the league's top catcher.

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