In 2016 the Chicago Cubs broke a 108-year championship drought. In 2017 they came out like a bunch of guys coming off a week-long bender. At the All-Star break, the Cubs record stood at 43-45. They recovered well enough to go 49-25 in the second half of the season and win their division by six games. This year, sans World Series hangover, they look even tougher.

Part of the Cubs problem last season was the drop off of their starting pitching. Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arietta and John Lackey all faltered to some degree. This season Arrieta is gone to Philadelphia via agency and John Lackey is just gone.

They've been replaced by potential ace, Yu Darvish and a guy who pitched well when he wasn't in Colorado, Tyler Chatwood. Darvish and Chatwood figure to be upgrades over Arrieta and Lackey.

Let's start with the starters

In addition, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks also figure to improve on their injury-plagued 2017 campaigns. Jose Quintana was acquired in a midseason trade with the White Sox last season and figures to be a decent bet for a breakout season. Not that he hasn't been pretty good previously.

And close with the closers

The loss of closer, Wade Davis, is a cause of concern but Brandon Morrow figures to be an adequate replacement. Davis had an excellent year for the Cubs in 2017 but faltered a bit as the year wound down.

In addition to Morrow, the Cubs also added right-handed reliever, Steve Cishek. Cishek has filled a number of roles out of various bullpens during his career, including closer.

And in between there's -

Justin Wilson was picked up from the Tigers during the 2017 season, but promptly stunk it up when he got to the Cubs. If he can find the plate, he can be a huge help for the Cubs bullpen.

Carl Edwards Jr. has the stuff to be a closer, at this point, just not the consistency. He should continue to progress. Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., and Brian Duensing round out a deep pen.

Lefty, Mike Montgomery is the Swiss army knife of the Cubs pitching staff. Montgomery can fill in as a starter, or be an extra lefty out of the pen.

His ability to throw multiple innings out of the pen give them an extra dimension that sets them apart from a lot of other teams.

Around the rest of the division

The Cubs pitching depth puts them ahead of every other team in their division. The Cardinals Adam Wainwright will start the season on the DL so their depth will be tested. The Milwaukee Brewers added some nice pieces in the offseason, but still haven't addressed their pitching needs. The Pirates and Reds are in rebuild mode.

The Cubs staff is the best in the division. Their everyday players are also the class of the division, but that's another story.