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Bryant believes lineup could be 'pretty special'

Could Cubs' powerful offense outdo Chicago's World Series-winning club?
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant was driving back from the game in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday and started thinking about the power potential of the Cubs' lineup.

"Pretty much everybody in our lineup could hit 25-plus home runs and if that happens, that would be pretty special," Bryant said Thursday. "I kind of got goosebumps driving home.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant was driving back from the game in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday and started thinking about the power potential of the Cubs' lineup.

"Pretty much everybody in our lineup could hit 25-plus home runs and if that happens, that would be pretty special," Bryant said Thursday. "I kind of got goosebumps driving home.

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"It could be a 30-homer leadoff guy -- that'd be pretty dang impressive," Bryant said. "Hopefully, we all translate what we're doing here in Spring Training into the season. If we do that, I think we're going to be even better than when we won the World Series."

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Think about that for a second, Cubs fans. In 2016, the Cubs won 103 games and posted a plus-252 run differential.

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Manager Joe Maddon can feel it.

"I've been in a lot of good spots," Maddon said Thursday, "and this spot now, regarding how the players are going about their business, is about as good as I've seen."

The Cubs didn't have a bad season in 2017 -- they reached the National League Championship Series for the third conseuctive year only to lose to the Dodgers -- and they finished second in the NL with 822 runs scored. But there's been a different vibe this spring.

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"I just like the lineup," Maddon said. "I thought when they get to this point in their development, this is when you'll see them become good Major League hitters based on their at-bats and level of experience. I can call us 'young' but I can't call us 'inexperienced' any more.

"I like what I'm seeing a lot," he said. "We should be a good offensive club. We've been playing really well and that's what I've been focused on. There's no reason that cannot continue. It's not like this is an anomaly moment, it's not like we've never played this well before, it's not like we haven't played with this kind of energy. We've done all of those things. It's a group that's been together, and they're coming off rest and really focused and motivated for this year. I really anticipate this to continue."

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It's not out of the question that the Cubs could have eight players with at least 20 home runs. It's only March, but Bryant was asked if the Cubs could also have that many Most Valuable Player candidates.

"It's pretty easy to see that," said Bryant, who won the National League MVP Award in 2016. "A lot of the guys on our team can be the best player on some of the other teams. It's nice to have that collection of guys. That'd be something if we had eight MVP candidates. I don't think it's out of the question. If guys here play up to their full potential, it's very possible. Every fan of our team and every player here should be very excited."

The Cubs get started in one week when they open the regular season March 29 against the Marlins.

"Spring Training is great," Bryant said, "but we're ready to get out of here and play some meaningful games."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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