Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros poised for a lengthy battle

(Photo by Richard Carson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Carson/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Richard Carson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Carson/Getty Images) /

Draft Successes

Besides the 2011 draft, both teams were able to build their core through the draft. In the last six years, the Cubs have compiled Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ. Besides Happ, all players played a role in the World Series championship in 2016.

Over that same span, the Astros drafted George Springer, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Lance Mccullers Jr. Those players, along with Jose Altuve who was signed as an amateur free agent in 2007, culminated in a World Series title last year.

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Philosophical Similarities

Both the Cubs and Astros went with position players to build their teams around. They chose to fill out their pitching rotation viatrades and free agency.

The only starting pitcher for either team that came up through their respective organization was Mcullers Jr. It was only fitting that he recorded the last out in last season’s ALCS, punching Houston’s ticket to the Fall Classic.

Comparing Rotations

Last season, both teams were in the market for starting pitching. They both had talented lineups with World Series aspirations and felt like they needed one more starting pitcher to make a run.

Both teams were linked to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Jose Quintana. The Cubs struck first by sending their top prospect Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox for Quintana. In the left-hander, the Cubs felt they had  the most consistent starting pitcher of the bunch. He also had three years left of his contract.

The Astros traded for Verlander, who appeared to be on the decline. He had a 3.86 ERA for the Tigers at the time, and his velocity wasn’t what it once was. Since joining the Astros last season, Verlander has made 15 starts and has an incredible 1.05 ERA, proving any of his doubters wrong and showing that he is still one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The Astros also landed Cole in the offseason. The former Pirates ace carries a 1.75 ERA in his first seven weeks with his new team. Quintana, meanwhile, continues to be a mixed bag.  He is currently 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA.