With word breaking late in the night about the arrival of Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, Cubs fans continue to ride the excitement of this young season. So far this season the Cubs have already provided late-game drama, competitive balance, and a bright glimpse into the organization’s future. While I myself am thrilled with the news, it does beg come with a few reservations. This team is packed with tons on young talent, who we will have to learn to win and lose with.
I am usually reserved when it comes to Cubs prospects. Is it really necessary to remind everyone about guys like Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, or even Bobby Hill. When you hear or see those names I imagine a variety of facial expressions occur. Chicago’s north-side team has had big names come up before and it doesn’t work out. So why feel different now?
The main difference now might be that these players are coming together. The future of this team is shaping up like never before. While Patterson and Pie were highly touted, the spotlight was their’s alone. Pressure, as much as you try to say it doesn’t affect you, can take its toll. Now, with the young core arriving in Chicago, the prospects can relax knowing the torch isn’t their’s to carry alone.
Last year we got our first taste of the future with the arrival of not one, not two, not three, but four of the team’s higher ranked prospects. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler had memorable debuts each going deep in the first big league game. By season’s end, we also received contributions from super utility man Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks.
Mar 10, 2015; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training baseball game at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs now have a roster containing enough high level, home-grown talent to field just about every defensive position on the field. Assuming Russell will be used at second base, all four starting infielders will be 25 years old or younger. Russell, who was hitting .314 with a home run and 7 RBIs in triple-A Iowa, will join a Cubs team that is becoming a lot of fun to watch.
As the young players arrive and get settled, manager Joe Maddon will have to continue to preach one thing, consistency. The Cubs are just one of three teams who have yet to lose in back to back games. To the younger players, having some kind of rhythm will be important to their development at the big league level.
We as fans have a simple role in all of this. Understand that while they are supremely talented, this team will experience growing pains. The core will have to learn how to win and lose and at the same time get acquainted with the rigors of Major League season. Yes, expectations and excitement are high, but we should all be thrilled that these young stars will be doing it together.