In the 10th inning of Game 7 in the 2016 World Series, Kyle Schwarber (the Cubs’ 2014 first round draft pick) led off with a single.
Kris Bryant (the Cubs’ 2013 first round draft pick) followed Schwarber with a deep fly out to center field.
Fortunately, Albert Almora Jr. (the Cubs’ 2012 first round draft pick), who was pinch running for Schwarber, took second base on a tag up and eventually scored the lead-grabbing run.
In other words, the first three first-round draft picks of the Theo Epstein-led front office were critical to the most important inning of Cubs baseball ever. I’m not sure how I didn’t realize that sooner.
Indeed, I only thought about it that way now, once Kyle Glaser (Baseball America) pointed it while identifying the 2016 Chicago Cubs as the Organization of the Year.
Baseball America’s annual Organization of the Year Award has been awarded to the Chicago Cubs, and for good reason: “The infrastructure Epstein, Hoyer and Co. put in place culminated in the Cubs winning 103 games this year, making their first World Series appearance since 1945 and, of course, winning their first World Series title since 1908.”
That infrastructure, by the way, is not just in reference to the players on the field, but the many names behind the scenes who contributed to the Cubs’ success over the past two seasons.
As one example (of many): the Cubs had just 57 scouts (10 professional, 47 amateur and international) when Theo Epstein came aboard in 2012. Now, that number is up to 79, just five years later. With the additional 22 eyes (and a whole lot more), the Chicago Cubs were able to identify professional talent before it broke out (Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, etc.), as well as amateur and international talent (Kyle Schwarber, Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, etc.).
In short, they are a well-rounded, full, and successful organization, deserving of the honor from top to bottom. Check out Glaser’s piece for more on the Cubs win and what it means to be the Organization of the Year in 2016.
Congrats, Cubs, you earned it.