Chicago Cubs: Succeeding with an insanely young group
It’s because of all the immediate success that we don’t realize how young this Chicago Cubs team is – every two years removed from a World Series title. Theo Epstein has done a great job of surrounding these young stars with veteran talent and maybe that is another reason why we don’t notice the youth in Chicago as much as we probably should.
Of all the young stars on this team, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber are two examples of youth that fans need to respect. These players are still so young and early on in their MLB careers that they’re going to do great things, but, at this age, their age and relative inexperience are bound to stand out at times.
Schwarber burst onto the scene in unforgettable fashion. We watched him hit monster bombs in the 2015 postseason, then write one of the most feel-good stories in all of baseball when he unexpectedly returned from injury to hit over .400 and help the Cubs win the World Series in 2016.
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He then spent his first full season in the Majors playing a position he’s never played before in his career. Sure, he struggled out in left and the transition affected him at the plate as well. Nonetheless, he still hit 30 home runs, and in year two, he has a fielding percentage of 99.4 percent and a 2.10 WAR. He’s still developing as a young talent with loads of potential, and frustrated fans need to be patient and trust his work ethic and continued improvement.
Ian Happ is another prime example. Happ is currently tied for ninth in all of baseball with 163 strikeouts. He’s still learning plate discipline in his second season in the bigs, but it’s worth noting he has an OPS of .755, above the league average of .728. He’s got the potential to be great, and when we see the work he does in the field, we’ve got to give him time to develop as a young star.
Happ and Schwarber are just a few examples of the youth in Chicago, but help illustrate this team as a whole. A group that has done so much already but with still so much room to grow and improve.