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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kyle Schwarber hits 2 homers in Cubs’ win

He’s been crushing it.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:19 AM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, kyle schwarber

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   1. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5659793)
The Schwarbird went full Scimitar

/nerd
   2. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5659817)
You never go full Scimitar

   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5659849)
Still not hitting lefties, but he's absolutely crushing righties like he should.
   4. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5659885)
On the BBREF cubs page right now, the top 4 players in order are:

2011 first round pick
2013 first round pick
2014 first round pick
2012 first round pick

I have been a fan for nearly 50 years, and not in my lifetime have they been able to produce position player talent like this. I know some of it is draft position, had they gone 72-90 in 2012, they never would have had a shot at Bryant. But they have had many high draft picks before. Dunston was a #1 overall, 11.5 WAR. Corey Patterson a #4, 9.7. And those are the cream. Josh Vitters and Luis Montanez were both #3, both below replacement. They have had 5 top 10 guys never make the majors.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5659889)
Earl Cunningham! Ty Griffin!
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5659927)
Cubs first round picks from 1965-1980 featured 14 players who either never made the majors or compiled 0.0 WAR or less. the two "successes", were Roger Metzger (3.4 WAR), who played 1 games for the Cubs, and Randy Martz (3.8).

In 1981 they got Joe Carter, who played 23 games for the cubs, compiling -0.6 WAR. In 82 they got Dunston. In 85 they got Palmeiro, who compiled the vast majority of his career value elsewhere. They got a couple of marginally useful guys in Mike Harkey and Derrick May, but otherwise, 8 guys who never made the majors or were below replacement through 1990.

In 1991 they got Doug Glanville, who spent most of his career elsewhere. Then in the next 10 years they got Kerry Wood, Jon Garland (never played for the Cubs), Mark Prior, and a bunch of dreck. That takes us to 2002.

From 2002 to 2006, the only player to make the majors was Tyler Colvin (0.9). In 2007 they picked Josh Vitters with the #3 pick. They also got josh Donaldson in the supplemental round. Donaldson never played for the Cubs.

Andrew Cashner in 2008 was a huge success, in that he was traded for Anthony Rizzo.

That's a pretty sad history of drafting.
   7. bunyon Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5659971)
Is it drafting or player development? It's intriguing that the guys who produced value did so elsewhere.

I'm not up on the Cubs like you guys. So is this because of a change in who is doing the drafting or how those players were developed once they arrived? (Looking at the timeline, I'm thinking the former but still curious).
   8. Kiko Sakata Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5660036)
So is this because of a change in who is doing the drafting or how those players were developed once they arrived? (Looking at the timeline, I'm thinking the former but still curious).


I'd guess a little of both - possibly more on the development side, but it's hard to say. Baez was Jim Hendry's last first-round pick, but would have been developed almost entirely under Theo's regime. I believe the only other guy on the Cubs who was in their system before Theo took over was Willson Contreras who would have been a teenage infielder at the time. I think he converted to catcher under Theo. Theo's first-round draft picks have then been, in order, Almora, Bryant, Schwarber, Happ - and then the Cubs got good and they stopped getting top-10 draft picks. Bryant is probably the only one of those four who didn't really require any development - well, outside of that week in early 2015 to work on his defense, of course.
   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5660037)
Is it drafting or player development? It's intriguing that the guys who produced value did so elsewhere.

I'm not up on the Cubs like you guys. So is this because of a change in who is doing the drafting or how those players were developed once they arrived? (Looking at the timeline, I'm thinking the former but still curious).


Obviously it's some of both. Many of the draft picks were real head scratchers, but others were legit prospects who never developed much. Their two success stories up until this recent crop, Dunston and Patterson, both had bucketloads of talent, and were two of the least disciplined players I have ever seen. if Javier Baez came up 20 years ago, he would be Felix Pie.

The Cubs for a long time were an extremely dogmatic team, to a fault. second basemen were supposed to be bat control guys who hit second in the order. first basemen were supposed to be middle of the order sluggers. Thus, power hitting Ryne Sandberg batted second, and banjo hitting OBP machine Mark Grace batted 3rd. If cleanup hitter Andre Dawson was out of the lineup, his replacement, light hitting Marvel Wynne batted cleanup.
   10. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5660038)
Is it drafting or player development? It's intriguing that the guys who produced value did so elsewhere.

I'm not up on the Cubs like you guys. So is this because of a change in who is doing the drafting or how those players were developed once they arrived? (Looking at the timeline, I'm thinking the former but still curious).


I think it's both.

Lots of those 1st rounders who produced elsewhere weren't exactly flops with the Cubs - they were just expendable/chits for things the Cubs thought they needed more. Glanville's only full season season with the Cubs isn't all that different from what he did elsewhere. The Cubs thought Grace would develop more power than Palmeiro, but (PEDs aside), there's nothing to say that Raffy's perfectly cromulent and brief Cubs numbers don't progress in the same manner.

Since overall quality of the draft, draft position, etc is so variable - I think it's probably dangerous to make any broad statements, but I think I do think it's talent ID/scouting more than development.

For most of my Cubs lifetime, I think the Cubs FO was much more in love in high ceiling, toolsy, young guys.

They actually didn't do too badly when they grabbed toolsy HS pitchers - I mean, Kerry Wood and Jon Garland might seem like not much over 30+ years, but TINSTAAP and all - that's probably par.

It was toolsy HS position players where they really used to crap the bed. Cunningham - Ryan Harvey is another one... Vitters...Montanez... the "successes" (pre-current regime) - May, Dunston, Patterson - all guys who never really hit their ceilings. You could say the same for their college draftees - nobody ever doubted Kieschnick's power... the question is whether he'd make enough contact. He didn't. Brett Jackson was another guy who was thought to have good tools, but with serious holes that needed polish.

Baez is really the only guy that the current regime drafted that one would consider "toolsy and in need of polish/development". Schwarbs, Bryant and Happ were obviously advanced college hitters -- and though he was drafted out of HS, Almora was also considered a "more advanced"/polished player than most HS players.

As Misirlou said - the success has been hitters.

All things considered, I don't think the Cubs were ever really that bad at identifying and developing pitchers... not great, but probably par.

Hitters, though? I think they were pretty bad at properly identifying hitters- and when they did, they either pissed them away in trades or failed to develop them.
   11. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5660042)
Oops - yeah- forgot Baez was actually Hendry's last draftee... but probably only furthers the point even more that the Thed strategy was to stick with higher floor guys rather than rolling the dice on polished hitters.
   12. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:56 PM (#5660173)
and when they did, they either pissed them away in trades or failed to develop them.


They lost Donaldson in the Rich Harden trade, but he was a very slow developer. Didn't do anything remarkable above A ball until he was 26. Guys like that rarely stay with the team that drafted them for that long.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5660360)
The ones traded away was primarily about timing -- they happened to come along on those rare occasions when the Cubs were or at least thought they were good. Joe Carter lost his job when the Cubs traded for Sarge then was part of the Sutcliffe trade that put the 84 Cubs over the top. The Cubs may have given up more than they needed to in that trade (but mainly it's that Hassey got hurt almost immediately) but it was a great trade. Palmeiro got traded because the Cubs "needed" a closer, plus the Cindy Sandberg thing we didn't know about plus we had Grace and Palmeiro was already miscast in LF. Garland for Karchner was just dumb but the Cubs really liked Karchner as a reliever. Carmelo Martinez had a nice little career but was blocked by Durham (and Carter) and was sent out for Sanderson prior to 84. Andre Thornton was a beast and it's fair to say the Cubs never appreciated how good he was -- but he came out of other systems and was never going to last too long at 1B.

Wow, the last 12 PA of Joe Pepitone's career for Andre Thornton and the Cubs had no idea what a massive swindle they had pulled off. (I know Thornton's out of place in this thread but I had thought he was a Cub draftee.)

The pinnacle of Cub position player signing and development was Williams, Santo, Brock, Hobbs, Kessinger, Beckert (very briefly in the Bos system before drafted away by the Cubs). It's gonna be hard to beat three HoFers, a tragic RoY and two guys with 5000+ and 7000+ PA even if a couple of the HoFers are pretty fringe-y and the MIs weren't really that good.

But for sure, the Cubs had a long history of seeing players hit the jackpot with other teams. Donaldson is an extreme case, there was also Oscar Gamble (who also took a long time to become that player) and maybe most damaging Bill North since North was exactly what the Cubs were looking for -- a productive CF. Once upon a time it seemed that every closer in the game was an old Cub farm hand.

And as good a time as any to remind folks that the Cubs have an entire lineup of Contreras, Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Bryant, Schwarber, Almora, and Heyward along with Happ under control for at least the next 4 years (incl this one) and, at the end of those 4 years, the oldest will be Rizzo and Heyward at 31. The rotation is under control for at least the next three. Once he's made the Harper/Machado decisions, Theo can just sit back and let Jed run the show for the next few years. :-)
   14. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5660377)
Once upon a time it seemed that every closer in the game was an old Cub farm hand.


Oh yeah - I'm probably forgetting/misremembering who they actually drafted and developed, but passing through their organization prior to becoming closers - just off the top of my head without even looking it up because there were so many...

Beyond Sutter, you had Willie Hernandez, Bill Caudill, Donnie Moore, and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5660392)
Beyond Sutter, you had Willie Hernandez, Bill Caudill, Donnie Moore, and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting.


Well, Lee Smith of course. Dennis Lamp was a sort of a closer for the 1983 White Sox, and later went 11-0 in relief for the 1985 Blue Jays. Both teams division winners.

edit: And Eck, if you want to count him.
   16. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5660396)
They had Jay Howell for a hot minute, too.
   17. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5660399)
Looking through the team pages:

Craig Lefferts later became a closer for the Giants and Padres

   18. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5660402)
Looking it up - you could also add Jay Howell to the list, though he was originally a Red but got his first real MLB work in Chicago.

There's also Dick Tidrow, Rawly Eastwick, Darold Knowles, and Bill Campbell - though they were all vets passing through rather than Cub farm hands or minor league acquisitions.

EDIT: Cokes
   19. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:03 PM (#5660409)
Looking it up - you could also add Jay Howell to the list, though he was originally a Red but got his first real MLB work in Chicago.


Dave LaRoche in the early 70's

There's also Dick Tidrow, Rawly Eastwick, Darold Knowles, and Bill Campbell - though they were all vets passing through rather than Cub farm hands or minor league acquisitions.


Gossage and Ron Davis come to mind. Tim Stoddard.
   20. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5660412)
What's really odd -

After that run in the late 70s/early 80s when the Cubs seemed to have no problem turning up competent relievers under every stone - everything went completely to hell after they traded Lee Smith.

They still occasionally had a guy - Ron Davis here, Heath Slocumb there - who went on to saves elsewhere... but first it was the failed Calvin Shiraldi. Followed by the corpse of Goose Gossage (god, I hated him as a Cub. I mean, he was done and I was aware of his prior work, but he was just terrible). Followed by the corpse of Dave Smith. A nice run by Randy Myers, but lots more corpses thereafter.

Plus, scrolling through the late 80s/90s times - it's littered with guys who were supposed to be "closers of the future" that were utter abominations. Drew Hall. Jay Baller. Dean Wilkins. Jesse Hollins. Steve Rain. Plus - a few guys that were cromulent enough relievers - but also never panned out like the press clippings said they would (Terry Adams, Turk Wendell, Chuck McElroy, Bob Scanlan, good old Captain Tightpants).

On top of that, you had the complete disasters like Mel "Blow"jas. Rick Awfulieria.

It's as if the Cubs were ahead of the curve by figuring out "Gee, why would anyone waste resources on relievers? These guys are EASY to find!".... and then immediately upon implementing the strategy, started completely crapping the bed.
   21. Brian C Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5660417)
I feel like Eric Hinske has a place in this thread too, even though he was not a high draft pick. Never improved on his rookie season, obviously, but still - he was tearing up the minors, and all the Cubs got for him was a few months of a so-so Miguel Cairo rerun before they let him go to the Cards on an August waiver claim.
   22. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5660422)
I feel like Eric Hinske has a place in this thread too, even though he was not a high draft pick. Never improved on his rookie season, obviously, but still - he was tearing up the minors, and all the Cubs got for him was a few months of a so-so Miguel Cairo rerun before they let him go to the Cards on a waiver claim anyway.


Heh - that was back in the brief period when the Cubs longtime, post-Santo 3B hole had so many solutions they couldn't fit them all.

Dave Kelton was the golden boy everybody was lining up behind... beyond Hinske, there was also Ryan Gripp and Brendan Harris.
   23. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5660423)
Followed by the corpse of Dave Smith. A nice run by Randy Myers, but lots more corpses thereafter.


I thought "the Shooter" was cromulent. And who could forget Joe Bo? And I notice you have completely over looked the Wild Thing.

Huh? Tom Gordon was the closer in 2001. How do I not remember that?
   24. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5660427)
Good place for a moment of silence for the then-legendary 1999 Lansing Lugnuts - who were supposedly featuring the Cubs World Series champs of the future.

Corey Patterson, Hee Sop Choi, the aforementioned Kelton... plus Jeff Goldbach was supposed to be the next Jody Davis. Plus Nate Frese and Ty Meadows were supposed to have careers.

And in the rotation - Carlos Zambrano, Mike Wuertz, and Matt Bruback and Steve Smyth were also supposed to be rotation candidates.
   25. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 25, 2018 at 06:45 PM (#5660436)
I thought "the Shooter" was cromulent. And who could forget Joe Bo? And I notice you have completely over looked the Wild Thing.


I should have mentioned Beck.

He's one of four Cubs I've ever shared a drink with - the others were Tightpants, Rick Sutcliffe (though long after retired when it occurred, so not sure if that counts), and Mark Grace.

The Shooter was the only one who bought.

   26. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2018 at 07:01 PM (#5660446)
The Shooter was the only one who bought.


RIP. I loved that guy, and I never met him.
   27. Michael Paulionis Posted: April 25, 2018 at 07:36 PM (#5660464)
Heh - that was back in the brief period when the Cubs longtime, post-Santo 3B hole had so many solutions they couldn't fit them all.


Not sure why they haven't been mentioned yet, but I do feel like I need to include Kevin Orie and my personal favorite "bizarro-Cub all-timer", Gary Scott.

I agree with the majority of voices. It was definitely a combination of both poor drafting and poor developing. I'll definitely add that the Front Office never had the patience needed to bring guys along. Why try to develop an outfield prospect when you can overpay Candy Maldonado.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:50 AM (#5660749)
I feel like Eric Hinske has a place in this thread too, even though he was not a high draft pick. Never improved on his rookie season, obviously, but still - he was tearing up the minors, and all the Cubs got for him was a few months of a so-so Miguel Cairo rerun before they let him go to the Cards on an August waiver claim.

Although it's always reported as this, that's not quite what that trade was. The Cubs had grabbed a reliever named Scott Chiasson in the rule 5 draft from Oakland. They wanted to keep him but didn't want to burn a roster spot on him. So it was Hinske for Cairo and Chiasson. Chiasson pitched in the Cubs minors all of 2001 and made his ML debut on Sept 19. Of course either the Cubs got him wrong or he got hurt as he only made it to 11 career MLB innings but did hang on as a AAA reliever until 2011.

Closest I can come to documentation is that, on the same day as the Hinske-Cairo trade, the A's "refused the Cubs' offer to return" Chiasson. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/29/sports/transactions-619485.html

So it's always possible the A's just didn't think he was worth the $25,000 or whatever they would have to return. More likely, that's how these trades work.

As to recent changes in Cubs' draft and development (for position players) -- I don't know to what extent it was an overhaul vs. just running the existing organization better vs. just good old luck but it's been a sea change under Epstein/Hoyer. For position players, they're hitting on all cylinders. The draft success is easy enough to explain -- top choices with a focus on premier college hitters. And that success is still just Bryant for now -- Happ still might be nothing, Schwarber still might be nothing more than a poor man's Adam Dunn. But the development has been outstanding. As mentioned, they didn't draft Baez but they got him to the majors; they didn't draft Contreras but moved him to C and got him to the majors; they did draft Almora with a Hendry pick and I don't think he was ever considered more than a mid-range prospect and have gotten him to the majors -- where he still might not be much more than a solid lefty-mashing 4th OF with strong defense (say Chris Young).

Add in the acquisition of Russell and it's clear the "this guy is nearly ready for the majors" decision-makers are really good while Contreras, Javy and Almora suggest the "this guy has a shot and we have an idea how to get him there" crew are really good too. Baez of course always had the potential but, as pointed out, Dunston, Patterson and a couple of other guys all had plenty of potential but the Cubs seemed to have no capability to address their flaws.

That said, I suspect that all the credit for Javy's defensive and baserunning development goes to Javy cuz you can't (and wouldn't) teach that stuff. When the season comes that Javy loses a step, he's gonna get thrown out 50 times on the bases.
   29. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5660835)
Mark Pawelek and Hayden Simpson are wondering how badly they had to wash out to warrant a mention in this thread. (Meaning no respect to Bobby Brownlie, Derek Wallace, Lance Dickson...)

Simpson and Tyler Colvin were sort of a substrain of the Cubs' generally shite drafting/player development (the answer to bunyon's question in post 7 is "yes"), unique to the Hendry regime, where Tim Wilken and Co. would take a shine to some guy nobody else thought was more than a third-round talent** and draft him in the first round. As the record reflects, the Cubs had enough trouble developing actual top-shelf talent as it was.

**In Simpson's case, I'm pretty sure he wasn't rated even that highly.
   30. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5660844)
they didn't draft Baez

They did.

they did draft Almora with a Hendry pick

No. Almora was Thed's first first-rounder. Baez was Hendry's last first-rounder.
   31. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5660848)
**In Simpson's case, I'm pretty sure he wasn't rated even that highly.


He was not - was considered more of a 3rd/4th rounder. Pawelek was a reach, too.

   32. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5660850)
In any event, in the 20-year stretch between Mark Grace and Geovany Soto (not that Soto himself was any great shakes), the Cubs' three greatest position player development success stories were probably Patterson, Glanville and Derrick May (you could probably add Rick Wilkins, which just underscores the point). That's freaking pathetic.
   33. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5660858)
Technically Joe Girardi was both drafted and debuted after Grace was drafted and debuted. He would supplant May.
   34. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5660867)
Technically Joe Girardi was both drafted and debuted after Grace was drafted and debuted. He would supplant May.

Fair point. (Which hardly makes their record any less atrocious...)
   35. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5660872)
Indeed, Girardi's 3.6 WAR as a Cub blows May's 0.8 out of the water. Also, Derrick May's middle name is "Brant," which brings to mind perhaps the next "best" Cub player development story during that 20-year dry spell...
   36. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5660879)
Rosie Brown?
   37. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5660880)
Actually, looks like Wilkins (12.2 WAR as a Cub) blows everyone else out of the water. 3.7 for Patterson, 2.0 for Glanville, 0.8 for Brant Brown. Egads.
   38. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5660882)
-0.8 WAR for Rosie. (Y'know, I thought he was gonna be a pretty good hitter.)
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5660888)
they didn't draft Baez

They did.


He just means Theo/Jed didn't draft him. Walt has consistently been....reluctant to give this FO credit for what they've done. I do think perhaps the credit can go overboard, but Walt also seems to take the position that Bryant, Schwarber, Happ, and Russell basically fell into the Cubs lap fully formed and took little development effort from the Cubs, while always being sure to mention they didn't acquire Contreras or Baez. His comment on Almora being for a Hendry pick I take to mean Hendry "earned" that pick since he built the team that finished in that spot.

The post in this thread is actually the most complimentary of the FO he's made that I can recall, but still throws in tons of qualifiers (luck, Bryant is really the only clear success, etc). As for Bryant, he just wasn't nearly the slam dunk I think some people make him out to be - he wasn't the first pick, and it wasn't like he was at all considered a sure thing - in fact, the Cubs didn't even have him first on their draft board (so, yes, they are extremely lucky the Astros didn't take him instead). Damn near everything about Bryant before he got to the majors was that he would HAVE to move off 3b, so in spite of the service time games about his "defense" the Cubs absolutely should get credit for that part of his development (or as much credit an organization should get for identifying someone who could put in the work).

In a way, I think it's probably worth explaining what people mean by the organization getting credit for development. I think in damn near every case, the most credit has to go to the player - they're the one with the talent that has to put in the work to succeed. The team has the responsibility to identify the type of players that have the right combination of talent and work ethic to succeed, and then put them in the best position to succeed and meet that potential. It's not like teams are making superstars out of nothings (maybe Judge is an exception here) or the Cubs are somehow not as good as developing players as other teams because their successes have more natural talent or something. Surely the Cubs also are going to get tons of credit for developing Gleybar and Eloy (when he gets to the show), right?
   40. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5660901)
Bryant might not have burst forth fully formed but he was damn near close. If you want to give some credit to the Cubs for working on his defense that is fine but that is some seriously low hanging fruit. I recall, I think, that Theo was very high on Kris come draft day and that they were very happy that Houston did not select him.

Schwarber has a lot of potential and if he can become an everyday player we should give the Cubs a lot of credit for that. If he ends up becoming a platoon DH I'm not sure there is much there to credit the Cubs in developing.

I think Happ would be a nice feather in the Cubs' development staff if he becomes an everyday player.

Russell? I don't think there is much development credit floating around freely available for the Cubs to snag.

If Almora develops I think he also will be a nice feather in the Cubs' cap.
   41. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5660905)
Position player positive WAR draftees 1990 - 1999

1990
NONE
In fact, only three pitchers made the big leagues, combining for -0.6 WAR. Total of 64 games - 53 of them by a middle reliever nobody remembers named Pedro Valdes (-0.1 WAR)

1991
Doug Glanville (10.6)
Ozzie Timmons (0.1)
There was also Robin Jennings (-1.5) -- though, the Cubs did draft both Steve Tracshel and Jon Leiber (did not sign) in this draft, as well as Terry Adams

1992
None
Though, Chris Peterson was exactly replacement level over 7 games (0.0 WAR)
Mike Hubbard (-2.2 WAR), Brant Brown (-0.9 WAR) also drafted... plus a few cups of coffee no one will remember (except maybe Kennie Steenstra... because he had a cool name)

1993
Brooks Kieschnick: 1.4 WAR
Kevin Orie: 3.2 WAR
Jose Molina: 3.2 WAR
There was also Bo Porter (-0.9) and Jason Maxwell (-0.1)

1994
NONE
Kyle Farnsworth (6.4 WAR) and a few pitching cups of coffee no one will remember

1995
NONE - technically, they did draft Adam Everett (12.6 WAR) but he did not sign. Justin Speier was drafted as a catcher, but his career 7.6 WAR was pitching.
This is also the Kerry Wood draft, of course (27.6 WAR)

1996
NONE
Jason Smith (-1.0) and Chad Myers (-1.3) posted negative career WAR.
Kyle Lohse at 18.5 WAR though

1997
NONE
OF Jay Duncan posted -0.9 WAR
Scott Downs (10.9), Jon Garland (22.5) and Mike Wuertz (5.1) on the pitching side

1998
Corey Patterson (9.7) and Hinske (7.8) and a backup catcher named Trey Lunsford (0.1)
Will Ohman (3.2) on the pitching side

1999
NONE
Ray Sadler (-0.1) and Pete Zoccalillo (-0.5) in cups of coffee.
Dale Thayer amassed 1.9 WAR over 230 relief appearances.

   42. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5660907)
Wow.

When you lay out a whole decade of drafts like that... wow.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5660910)
This surely doesn't scream future MVP to me. That's all I mean. It's pretty revisionist to say he was a sure star (EDIT: change from thing).

Mock draft 1. Mock 2. Another. He's listed as an OF or 1b in some of those.

I still say Bryant gets the majority of the credit here - and again, the Cubs are lucky Houston took Appel. But the Cubs also deserve some level of credit for his development, the fact he's hit his potential, and I disagree him actually sticking at 3rd (and being at worst average there) is just a little thing.
   44. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5660915)
And it didn't really stop there despite all of us getting hot and bothered about the supposed great prospects coming up at the dawn of the 20th century.

In 2000 you had Bobby Hill. In 2002 the highest pick for a positional player was used on Brian Dopirak. In 2003 you had to get to the 10th round to get McGehee. In 2004 you had redrafted ultimate 5th OF Sam Fuld was the best of the lot. Followed by the 2005 draft which probably goes down as the worst draft in Cub history. The 2006 drafted netted them negative WAR Steve Clevenger as their best positional player. The one year missing in all of that is their broken clock is occasionally right draft of 2001 in which they got Theriot and Soto down draft.
   45. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5660919)
I do agree with Moses -

Bryant was not a Bryce Harper-style draftee prospect.. he wasn't even a Mark Teixeira-level draft prospect. He was your pretty run-of-the-mill "best college hitter" in the draft, with some questions about position and contact. There is one of those every draft - I suppose one could make the case he was an above average "best college hitter" in the draft relative to most drafts. They don't always make it.
   46. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5660934)
his surely doesn't scream future MVP to me. That's all I mean. It's pretty revisionist to say he was a sure thing.

Mock draft 1. Mock 2. Another. He's listed as an OF or 1b in some of those.

I still say Bryant gets the majority of the credit here - and again, the Cubs are lucky Houston took Appel. But the Cubs also deserve some level of credit for his development, the fact he's hit his potential, and I disagree him actually sticking at 3rd (and being at worst average there) isn't just a little thing.


I forget the book's name but the one written about the Cubs and winning the World Series has Theo & Co repeatedly viewing drafting Bryant as one of their keys to building a better future for the Cubs. They repeatedly viewed as a franchise defining acquisition. According to the author Theo believed the Cubs needed 4 to 5 impact positional players in order to contend. Theo traded for Rizzo because he believed that Rizzo was one of those guys. He drafted Almora because he thought he was one of those guys. He drafted Bryant in the belief that he was one of those guys. He traded for Russell in the belief that he was one of those guys and finally he Schwarber as the final piece of that puzzle. Or so goes the narrative in the book.
   47. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5660942)
Is that the Kaplan book? Did Verducci write one too?
   48. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5660962)
His comment on Almora being for a Hendry pick I take to mean Hendry "earned" that pick since he built the team that finished in that spot.

That's a more generous reading than I'd give it, but OK.
   49. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5660963)
It was Verducci with The Cubs Way.
   50. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5660969)
53 of them by a middle reliever nobody remembers named Pedro Valdes

He's so little remembered, people recall him as a middle reliever rather than the outfielder he was!
   51. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5660973)
It's odd -

1984, 1989, 2003, 2007-8.... I scarfed up any book I could find about the season - from the silly and the nostalgic to the "behind the scenes".

I really haven't felt the desire to do so with this team. I'm honestly not sure if this is more a factor of digital overload, which makes them feel unnecessary or - if it's a matter of those instances were because of a longing for 'what could have been' and in this case, it was so there's no longing.
   52. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5660974)
He's so little remembered, people recall him as a middle reliever rather than the outfielder he was!


Now I need to reassess my whole agreement on the Cubs lack of position player draft/develop successes.

Thanks a lot.
   53. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5660980)
I waited awhile for a book about the 2016 team because I really wanted to read something that wasn't just a quick cash grab but actually gave a bit more history and depth to what happened. It took me a long time by my standards to read The Cubs Way. It was rather dull, tended to get caught up in emotional stuff, and glossed over what I felt was a lot of interesting stuff about developing and adapting. Plus it also glossed over some of the warts of the Theo regime like the sacking of Renteria.

I'm guessing in about 20 years or so a pretty good Neyer/Epstein like book will come out that goes in depth on how the team was built and all the stories that go along with it.
   54. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5660982)
Now I need to reassess my whole agreement on the Cubs lack of position player draft/develop successes.

Thanks a lot.


Hey, Valdes probably makes their top 10 for that stretch!
   55. Spahn Insane Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5660985)
1984, 1989, 2003, 2007-8.... I scarfed up any book I could find about the season - from the silly and the nostalgic to the "behind the scenes".

Wonder if I've still got my copy of "Ryno!" lying around someplace...
   56. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5660995)
Wonder if I've still got my copy of "Ryno!" lying around someplace...


I am looking right at my - autographed! - copy of Jerome Walton's "Rookie" right now...
   57. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5661001)
Hey, Valdes probably makes their top 10 for that stretch!


Wow... tied for 9th with several guys at -0.1. You're right.

Always a good sign when you'd have been better off not drafting anyone among your top 10.
   58. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5661008)
I feel the same way - I haven't bought a Cubs WS book. I bought way too much merchandise, but I'm waiting for a more complete look at the Theo era that'll probably come after it's over. I did buy the Mark Lazerus one on the Blackhawks recently, and that's pretty good and at the write level/amount of distance to appreciate everything.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5661045)
I am looking right at my - autographed! - copy of Jerome Walton's "Rookie" right now...
1989 Upper Deck high numbers. Man, remember how huge that set was when it first came out?
   60. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5661074)
1989 Upper Deck high numbers. Man, remember how huge that set was when it first came out?


Remember?

I still maintain a 20/20/60 split of assets (securities/bonds/rookie cards) in my retirement portfolio, as I believe most prudent investment advisers still recommend.... once Barry makes the HoF, I figure I can start the paperwork on retiring.
   61. McCoy Posted: April 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5661080)
Hell, my GF wants to go to Chicago this summer and I'm kind of acquiescing in part so that I can pick up my M:TG cards and sell them.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: April 26, 2018 at 07:31 PM (#5661425)
He just means Theo/Jed didn't draft him. Walt has consistently been....reluctant to give this FO credit for what they've done.

WTF are you talking about? I have consistently given them credit for the development of Baez, Contreras, Almora, partial credit for Hendricks (who knows) and making excellent draft choices on Bryant and Schwarber. Who knows how much Happ is draft vs. develop?

Seriously what part of "it's been a sea change under Epstein/Hoyer. For position players, they're hitting on all cylinders." is difficult to understand?

Byrant is not a development story. He crushed the ball the second he stepped on the field. He is a draft success who, it turns out, needed pretty much no development. Schwarber is much the same, crushing from the word go and of course the Cubs failed at developing him into a catcher (not that they had enough time to do so).

Draft and develop are two different processes. (and ML coaching a third process) When you draft a star college player and that guy cruises through the minors (or comes straight to the majors), that's a success of talent recognition that says nothing about how good an organization is at developing a player. With 20/20 hindsight, it's easy to see that Bryant was a ML-quality hitter the day the Cubs drafted him but even in real time it was clear he was a ML-ready hitter no more than 12 months after they drafted him. The Cubs simply didn't have time to develop him and there was never any slump or time he was "lost" in the minors and needed their help to figure things out. That's not to say you could look at him in 2014 and say "he'll put up a 150 OPS+", it's saying it was clear he had nothing left to learn in the minors, was ML-ready and then we'll find out if there's anything that needs fixing. There wasn't really as it turned out although kudos to whoever is responsible for the excellent improvement in his K-rate.

Schwarber's bat turned out to be much the same. Whether "experts" expected that or not is pretty immaterial. Whether the Cubs expected that or not is material -- and I give them credit although we don't know the answer. What we know is he raked from day one, didn't stop and was in the majors within a year of being drafted so there was almost no time for development. So maybe they got lucky with Schwarber or maybe they knew what they were getting with Schwarber but they didn't do much in terms of developing Schwarber.

Those are draft successes -- high picks, they identified top talent, that top talent shot to the majors. That doesn't deny they may have tinkered with either -- "shorten your stride a bit" "open your stance a bit against lefties" whatever. But c'mon, Bryant and Schwarber posted 1100 OPSs from their first minor-league PA and never stopped, there was no serious development there.

When you take a player nobody ever thought much of, move him to C and he becomes one of the best Cs in the game 5 years later -- that's an obvious development success story. Heck any 16-year-old who eventually makes it to the majors is a development success story.

Somebody like Baez is a draft and develop success story. Obviously tons of talent but he was just 18 and years away and unless maybe you're Griffey or Harper or Yount, that's always a rocky trail with lots of missteps that the team has to guide you through, decide when you should advance, decide if you need to switch positions, etc. The draft credit for Baez goes to Hendry, the develop credit for Baez goes to Epstein, not hard to figure out.

Russell is a talent-spotting success but he spent almost no time in the Cubs minors and the Cubs deserve little/no credit for his development. Hendricks is a bit more of a mystery. He'd been with Tex for a few years but, when acquired, nobody seemed to think he had a chance to be much more than a #3-4 starter if we were lucky. He's become one of the better pitchers in the game. How much of that was talent-spotting (he was better than we all thought and the Cubs saw that), Rangers development, Cubs minor-league development, Bosio coaching or just Hendricks himself I doubt anybody can possibly say. But chances are that the Cubs minor-league staff deserves at least some of the credit.

Spahn -- I don't even know what to say really. The entire paragraph was about the Cubs under Epstein/Hoyer and "they" clearly refers to Epstein/Hoyer. They did not draft Baez; they did draft Almora with a pick that derived from Hendry's last blah team.

I give these guys credit for the things they deserve credit for which is a lot. They've drafted AND developed well, at least on the position player side -- I think we can all agree the Cubs minors have not been pumping out pitchers. That may just be a fluke or a result of their draft strategy, I'm not particularly worried about it if we develop hitters and mostly buy pitchers. They've made some excellent trades. Some of that was luck -- I'm sure they saw Arrieta as a guy with potential, I don't believe they saw him as one of the best starters in the game -- some of that was just SOP for almost any GM (trade the guys about to become FAs for as much as you can get), but it also points to doing an excellent job at talent recognition. And I'm pretty sure the only FA acquisition I've quibbled about at all was Zobrist and that was just the length of the contract. Unlike most of you, I'm not even riled by the Heyward contract -- it's not gonna work out but it was a perfectly good idea. By golly, I was even in favor of the Edwin Jackson signing although I would have preferred Anibal Sanchez (which also didn't work out so great).

What I disagreed with then and now is that tanking was necessary. Other than that, my main disagreements are not with Epstein and the Cubs but with you guys who often mis-characterize what they've done, how they got here and what was necessary to get here. This is a team primarily built through trades, FA and development. Obviously Bryant is a huge prize but, as it turned out, Schwarber contributed nothing to the 2016 (before the WS) and very little to the 2017 Cubs (good 2nd half) and of course Happ contributed nothing to the 2016 Cubs and was solid in 2017 but also not a huge contribution. The Cubs are winners primarily due to Rizzo, Baez, Contreras, Russell, Fowler, Zobrist, Heyward, Arrieta, Lester, Hendricks, Strop, Lackey, closers, Monty, etc. And of course Kris Bryant.

Now Schwarber is tearing it up again and maybe becoming the hitter we thought he might so that draft pick might pay off very nicely over the next 5 years -- or he'll a solid bat with lousy defense who can't hit lefties and is better cast as a DH/1B. Happ may get the Ks under control and become a very good player. Regardless, one star, one average-ish player, one useful guy is good return out of picks 2, 4 and 9.

Anyway, the Walt Davis Draft and Develop External Evaluation System (TM), for use when we of course don't actually have a clue what went on:

1. High draft pick who tears it up from day one -- draft success, says nothing about development

2. High college draft pick who flops (other than injury) -- uncertain but probably at least in part a draft failure, possibly a development failure.

3. High HS draft pick who flops (other than injury) -- uncertain but probably mostly a development failure, possibly a draft failure

4. HS draft pick, international signee who makes it (but isn't in cat 1) -- certainly a development success, possibly a draft success

5. Low draft pick who makes it -- a development success, rarely says anything about drafting acumen (beyond "of these 25 guys who have about a 2 in 100 chance of becoming useful, I think this guy has a 2.5% chance")

One thing Theo (or at least the Red Sox during Theo's tenure) had good success with was later-round draft picks. I put in the caveat because if I ever looked at how many were drafted and developed mostly pre-Theo, how many drafted by others but developed under Theo or how many were drafted and developed under Theo, I don't remember what the results were. We do have that with Contreras (essentially) but we haven't seen it yet with anybody else I can think of. Possibly there still hasn't been enough time for these guys to develop and of course you never expect very many of them. And of course we really don't NEED new position players anytime soon so it's not a big deal yet if they can't replicate that performance ... but it would be nice to have some young pitchers ready to go soon.

So ... the Theo era through my eyes:

1. Unnecessary tanking.

2. Excellent use of resulting high draft picks -- big reward in Bryant, possible nice rewards in Schwarber and Happ.

3. Mostly outstanding trades with an extra dose of good luck to boot. This mostly speaks to strong talent recognition and possibly ML development but I assume they deserve minors development credit for Hendricks and Edwards (even if he maybe did have the potential to be a good starter).

4. Solid FA signings -- some working out nicely enough, some flopping, so nothing special overall, possibly too generous on years. But unlike any previous Cubs FO, they are clearly willing to compete for the top FAs.

5. Professional demeanor, have a plan, no allegations of sexual harassment or other misconduct that I am aware of, handled the LaStella situation so well they were able to joke with him this spring, etc.

I have absolutely no qualms about declaring them the best Cubs' FO of my fan lifetime. Alas, I'm pretty sure the Hendry FO was the 2nd best (maybe Dallas Green although that was mostly ripping off the Phillies 3 or 4 times). Still they have cleared that low hurdle with plenty of room to spare.

Caveat: As with any organization and as with any small sample, we really don't know how much of all of this is luck. Or how much credit goes to Theo vs. others in the organization nor whether some of those responsible have left for better jobs elsewhere. We also really don't know how Theo might do with a lower payroll (nor do I care as long as the Cubs keep spending). Those are simply facts of life that pertain to the evaluation of any organization, especially from the outside.

The Cubs present is bright, the Cubs near-future is as bright as pretty much any other team's, every team's distant future is murky but there's nobody I'd particularly prefer to be in charge of it. If Theo wants to sign on for the next 10 years, I'm fine with that. I'd even consider buying him a drink if I bumped into him -- note, I have a general policy against buying drinks for strangers making millions unless of course I owe them a round ... maybe I'll donate the cost of that drink to his foundation instead.

Fair enough, I'd buy Scarlett Johannson a drink without hesitation. But I'd still prefer Theo as the Cubs GM.

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