Projections and predictions for the 2014 Chicago Cubs season are rightfully grim (though the playoff odds are ticking up!), so, at the precipice of what could be another slog, it’s nice to look at some longer-term views on the organization. They serve to remind us that things look bright for the future, even if not for the present.
Former Cubs pitcher and current ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe participated as an instructor at Spring Training this year for the Cubs, and thus got a first-hand look at what the Cubs have to offer long-term. In a long piece by Jesse Rogers, Sutcliffe shares some candid thoughts and anecdotes. Among those thoughts, Sutcliffe put things in perspective.
“It was an absolute mess when Theo [Epstein] took it over,” Sutcliffe told Jesse Rogers. “When you look at the history of draft choices, particularly the No. 1 picks, it’s embarrassing that there has not been more production there. That’s the reason for the last two years. I don’t think Theo would admit it, but I think it was even worse than he would have thought …. Two years ago, Theo sent me down to minor league camp to take a look at all the arms, and when I came back I said, You’re going to be pissed off at me. He said, ‘Tell me the truth, that’s why you’re here.’ I said I saw three guys that I think have a chance out of 65 guys. That’s sad.”
Thankfully, Sutcliffe says he nows sees “eight out of ten” that have a chance to make the big leagues, which is obviously a marked improvement. In particular, Sutcliffe singles out C.J. Edwards and Kyle Hendricks for high praise.
Over at CSN, Dave Kaplan spoke with folks in the industry about how the Cubs are perceived, how The Plan is working, and what the future holds. All responses, as you should expect, were positive.
Among those responses, here’s one anonymous rival GM: “I have evaluated their system and it is absolutely loaded. They have tremendous position player talent and they have some pitching that will be good. I can tell you that everyone around the game knows that the Cubs day is coming, and it is not that far off.”
Read those two pieces if you want to feel a little better about things today. And you’ll probably need to remind yourself of them come June and July.