How various teams have constructed their rosters is interesting to me, and I think it’s entirely reasonable how the good folks at MLB Pipeline broke things down for a fun analysis.
Here’s the visual that accompanied their piece:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 3, 2017
As you can see by the graphic, with just six “homegrown” players, the Cubs and Diamondbacks are full of nothing but mercenaries, the least internally-developed playoff teams this year.
… but does that feel right?
When you think about this Cubs team, do they feel like a team full of externally-bought-and-acquired players?
Here’s the thing about these analyses that strike me as a little off: even guys who required significant development after coming to the Cubs (often just as deftly targeted as any draft pick or international free agent signing) do not count as homegrown.
For example, do you think of Kyle Hendricks as “homegrown”? I certainly do. A largely unheralded pitching prospect when the Cubs traded for him, Hendricks spent 2.5 years in the Cubs’ farm system (after just one year in the Rangers system), climbing from High-A to AAA, then to the big leagues. To me, that’s a homegrown player right there.
I could go on to justify all of Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Addison Russell, Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, and Mike Montgomery as homegrown, too. I certainly think of them more that want than guys the Cubs brought in to step in and immediately compete on a playoff roster.
In contrast, a guy I think of as not homegrown is someone acquired who was already a finished product – like a Wade Davis or a Jon Lester or a Jose Quintana.
When viewed in that context, I’d think that the Cubs are almost as homegrown as any team in the postseason.
Of course, none of this actually matters, and it’s all semantics/academic. But I like the homegrown feel of this 2015-17 Cubs team, and I feel more connected to it because I’ve been able to follow the players’ development closely – just like I would any drafted prospect or international signing.