Chicago Cubs: What if these five things never happened in Cubs history?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: What if the Astros had drafted Kris Bryant?

The Houston Astros have been incredibly good over the past three seasons, winning over 100 games each year, two pennants, and a World Championship in 2017. (Of course, we now know that they were stealing signs, but that’s for another day.) What’s scary to think about is how they could have been even better had their top pick in the 2013 draft not turned into a disaster.

The 2013 draft was key for the Astros in their rebuild, as they had the first pick overall. They could have drafted Kris Bryant, considered to be the top hitter available, but instead, they went with Mark Appel, the top pitcher available.

Appel never made it to the majors. The Astros traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies following the 2015 season as part of their trade for Ken Giles, and he last pitched in 2017.

And as for Bryant, well, we know what happened: Rookie of the Year in 2015 and NL MVP and World Series Champion in 2016. He hasn’t been quite the same since then, but he’s still a solid major league player with lots of potential.

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If the Astros had drafted Bryant, they might have been even better than they already have been, while the Cubs might have drafted Appel and missed. Given their inability to develop pitchers in recent years, it’s hard to envision them having much more success with Appel. Meanwhile, their struggles to find a quality third baseman – Aramis Ramirez from a decade earlier notwithstanding – would have continued. The Cubs got lucky on this one.