In a year that was filled with disappointment and disbelief among all Cubs fans, it is hard finding bright spots as we head into the 2011 season. But that is not to say that there were not bright spots, in fact I was able to find three bright spots that should give the Cubs some hope heading into the 2011 season.
The Two C’s: The 2010 season saw the debut of two highly touted prospects in the Chicago Cubs system, those being shortstop Starlin Castro and pitcher Andrew Cashner. Ever since his debut on May 7th, Castro looked like a very good young player. While he still has room to grow on defense, he did show tremendous range while on defense and a strong arm. Castro also put up very impressive offensive number putting up a line of .300/.347/.408 with 39 extra base hits, which includes 31 doubles.
Andrew Cashner was just as good on the mound, as Castro was offensively for the 2010 Chicago Cubs. While he did finish the season with an ERA of 4.80, he really formed into a great set up man towards the end of the season. Also, he has the ability to make anyone swing and miss with his 100MPH fastball. The way things shape up, he could be the future closer of this team.
The Bullpen: One of the biggest question mark’s for the Chicago Cubs heading into the 2010 season has turned into possibly biggest strength of the 2011 Chicago Cubs. The combination of Andrew Cashner as a set up man, and Carlos Marmol as closer has the chances to be one of the best young bullpen tandems in the major league. Also with Sean Marshall pitching extremely well out of the bullpen as a left hander, he provides a quality 7th inning arm. As things appear now, the Chicago Cubs probably need one or two more veterans to further solidify their bullpen.
Mike Quade: Coming into the 2010 season, Mike Quade was unknown by most Cubs fans with the exception of being the Chicago Cubs third base coach. Now, he has put himself in a position to be the full-time Chicago Cubs manager. After replacing Lou Piniella in August, he had a record of 24-13 to finish out the season. Besides the strong record, Quade has shown that he has a very good baseball mind based on the situational decisions he made while interim manager. While Eric Wedge and Ryne Sandberg are still serious candidates for the Cubs managerial spot, the overall belief is that Quade will be hired as the next Chicago Cubs manager.