Chicago Cubs: Young talent essential in Cubs success this season

Aug 10, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Cubs celebrate their win against the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Cubs celebrate their win against the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs are one of the best, if not the best team in Major League Baseball. They currently boast a 73-41 record to stand atop the National League Central and all of the majors.

The success they have had this year is a combination of solid pitching from their starters and their bullpen, with a 3.10 team ERA on the season. Which is also number one in the bigs. If you look at the left side of their infield, you will find two all-stars, who are both under the age of 25.

Kris Bryant patrols the hot corner at the age of 24, and also spends some time playing in left field. He is one of the most feared power hitters in the game in only his second season at the major league level.

A first round pick out of the University of San Diego in 2013, it didn’t take long for Bryant to fast track to the majors. Kris was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015, hitting .275 with 26 home runs. Bryant has already passed his home run rate from last season, slugging 28 so far.

He has been a vital part of the Cub’s success up to this point. But Bryant is just one of many youngsters who are the reason the Cubs are the team to beat this season.

More from Chicago Cubs News

Addison Russell has been stellar at shortstop for the Cubs, only committing 10 errors in 106 games to boast a .975 fielding percentage. Joe Maddon‘s All-Star shortstop’s bat hasn’t been lighting it up like his glove, but a solid shortstop is very important for any team.

He’s hitting just .243 but was still voted in as a starter at the 2016 All-star game in San Diego. A first round pick in 2012 by the Oakland Athletics out of Pace high school in Florida, The Cubs acquired him from the A’s in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in 2014.

Oakland’s former top prospect would make his debut in 2015 and earned the starting shortstop job out of spring training in 2016 after the Cubs dealt Starlin Castro to the Yankees in December of 2015.

Anthony Rizzo has been a mainstay at first base for the Cubs for a few years now. At the age of 27, he has had two 30+ home run seasons in the last two years, while cranking 24 so far this season. Rizzo also started at first base in the All-star game in San Diego. Usually, with first basemen, you have a guy there who can hit the ball but isn’t the best defensively.

With Rizzo, it’s a different story. Chicago’s original building block has made several highlight reel plays over at first base. Including standing on top of the tarp in right field at catching fly balls as he’s falling into the seats.

He currently has only committed five errors this season which leaves him with a .995 fielding percentage. Not to mention, he is at the top of the Cubs lineup with a .290 batting average with 82 RBI.

You also have guys like Javier Baez, who is also just 23 years old. Javy has spent some time this season at third base as well. More homegrown talent, he was drafted by the Cubs back in 2011. Not to mention, Baez is hitting .272 on the season with 11 bombs.

More from Cubbies Crib

Carl Edwards jr. brings a power arm out of the bullpen for the Cubs, as a long relief guy who can pump 95+ and gives the Cubs some quality innings.

Jason Heyward brings experience in left field but is still only 27 years old.

Wilson Contreras has stepped on the scene and has an absolute hose behind the dish, and can swing it. Once David Ross retires, the Cubs have a solid catcher behind the plate for many years to come and a big bat who has some pop, along with Miguel Montero.

You also have Jorge Soler who is built like a truck and has all five tools. Once he’s completely healthy, that’s another impact player in that can come off the bench. What if Kyle Schwarber didn’t get hurt? How much better would the Cubs be right now? it’s scary to think they could be any better than they already are.

The front office has clearly made the point of drafting and signing talent and nurturing it through the minor leagues. That has been the case with Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber, Contreras, and Soler. One thing similar between all of these players: they are all decent athletes. You want guys who can be durable and move around and be able to play different positions.

They may be young and not have a whole lot of experience when it comes to playoff baseball, but many of them were in the NLCS last year when Chicago lost to the Mets. This gave them a taste of what the atmosphere is like. The talent is off the charts, and there’s really nothing stopping the Cubs from going all the way this year.

Next: Strop out 4-to-6 weeks with meniscus tear

There are enough guys on the Cubs that do have the major league experience that has been mentoring the younger players, such as David Ross, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta just to name a few.

All the years of the Cubs being at the bottom of the National League Central have come to an end. Between the top end starting rotation led by Arrieta and Lester, and the youngsters and veterans, this team is very good.

Could the Cubs go all the way? only time will tell. But one thing is certain, with all the young talent, whether it’s the guys at the major league level or minor leaguers who will eventually come up, they are built for success for many years to come.