Were the Cubs Too Reliant on Simultaneous Young Player Development? And Other Bullets

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Were the Cubs Too Reliant on Simultaneous Young Player Development? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The last three years, when I had to start looking at playoff games that didn’t involve the Cubs and talking about them the next day, they were exclusively the World Series. It was the biggest games of the year, and it was short. The pain was not too significant.

But this year, the prospect of watching, following, and thinking about a near MONTH of baseball that I’d hoped the Cubs would be a part of … oof. It stings. I will probably process it quickly and get to the Cubs stuff just as quickly …

  • The Rockies took the Brewers to extra innings with a 9th inning rally in Game One of their NLDS series, but ultimately lost on an incredibly poor 0-2 pitch to Mike Moustakas that he ripped into right field to score the winning run. Tyler Anderson will face Jhoulys Chacin today in Game Two.
  • Meanwhile, the Dodgers took Game One of their series against the Braves in a noncompetitive 6-0 contest. And now the Braves get Clayton Kershaw in Game Two. I think they are probably toast.
  • Highlights from the two NLDS games:

  • This is a fantastic read from Patrick Mooney on the balancing point the Cubs are at right now, knowing that change is necessary, but also recognizing the talent – and managerial fit for 2019 – that is already there:

  • A point on that balancing act, which I think Mooney is quite right to make, especially in light of Theo Epstein’s comments about the organization needing to focus on production as much as talent: “Collecting as much young talent as possible is great in theory. Playing matchups is part of the modern game. The overall depth of the 40-man roster saved this season. The Cubs would still be hearing about 1908 without that long-range planning and fluency in analytics. But maybe those offensive spirals last longer when all these first-round picks are stacked together and learning part-time on the job at the same career stage.”
  • I think that is a very good point when you consider how damaging it was to the offense when – at the same time – guys like Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Addison Russell, and, to a lesser extent (and different situation), Kris Bryant, all hit speed bumps. Progress and development are not linear, but man, it can really mess you up if the natural dips coincide for a long stretch.
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
  • Then again, it’s not as if the Cubs were wholly bereft of established, veteran talent on the positional side. Anthony Rizzo had a solid year again. Ben Zobrist was fantastic. Jason Heyward was average, even if he’s supposed to be more. The Cubs added Daniel Murphy. They weren’t wholly reliant on developmental strides from young players in order to have a good offense. (Also, the Cubs did get a World Series win and two NLCS appearances out of this run (so far) … )
  • (But, yes, I do think the Cubs need to add another significant bat from outside the organization, and I haven’t exactly been shy about a particular target. More on that later, though I’ll also add that the likely removal of Russell from the organization does make it all the more plausible that the Cubs’ particular target could be Manny Machado, rather than Bryce Harper. I wouldn’t complain about a serious pursuit of either player.)
  • El Model:

  • SELF-INDULGENT UPDATE:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.