What made the Chicago Cubs' 108-year drought between championships so surprising was the fact that so many Hall of Fame players were on that team, yet failed to take home any championship rings due to the curse hanging around this franchise. Mixed in with those brushes with success are some genuinely awful teams, many of whom lost 100 games. Someone had to eventually lead those teams in WAR, and these four average or below-average players had their turn as the Cubs' marquee player for a season or two.
4. Mike Krukow (1981)
Krukow was a perfectly cromulent starter with the Cubs, Phillies, and Giants, even winning 20 games in San Francisco before entering their Hall of Fame for his work as a broadcaster. Before all of that, Kurkow was the de facto ace on a putrid 1981 team that won just 38 of 103 games, which equates to roughly about 58 wins in a 162-game season. Kurkow had just 2.2 WAR that year, as he went 9-9 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts, but that was enough to lead the Cubs.
3. Marlon Byrd (2010)
Byrd saw time with a startling 10 teams in his 15-year career, but the only time he was named to an All-Star team was in 2010, in which he hit .293 with 12 home runs. His Cubs won just 75 games that year, however, due to the fact that Byrd, Geovany Soto, and Kosuke Fukudome were the three best hitters on that team in terms of WAR. Byrd might have raked that season, but he didn't hit well enough to prevent Lou Piniella from getting fired.
2. Darwin Barney (2012)
Not only did Barney, a below-average hitter who hit .254 with seven home runs and a 76 OPS+ in 2012, lead the Cubs in WAR that season with 4.6, but he did so while ranking almost a full win better than second place finisher and ace starter Ryan Dempster. Barney, who won a Gold Glove that season, was only valuable on defense, as he picked up a startling 3.6 dWAR during 2012. The Cubs didn't do much winning that year, however, as Dale Sveum's team lost 101 games.
1. Travis Wood (2013)
Sveum's Cubs lost 96 games in 2013, and it would have been worse if Wood hadn't come up with his one breakout season. Wood put up 5.1 WAR in a year in which he posted a 9-12 record and a 3.11 ERA. His performance earned him his first and only All-Star selection. A solid hitter, Wood hit .222 with three home runs at the dish. Wood did turn into an excellent left-handed reliever for the Cubs when they finally won it all in 2016, but he probably remembers that one dominant 2013 season more fondly.