The other day in my car I heard the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright,” written by the great Pete Townsend and sang by Roger Daltrey. In a Cubs season marred by injuries, the ‘kids’ have taken center stage at Wrigley Field as the club looks toward the future.
Christopher Morel was ranked #21 in preseason rankings and, in my opinion, is an obvious Rookie of the Year candidate. His offensive numbers have slid a little, but bear in mind the league-wide mark for batting average is just .243 and OPS .708. The Chicago rookie checks in with a .236 mark and .741 OPS on the year. Not to mention, he’s played at least a dozen games at FOUR different positions, and only has 10 errors in 101 games. Not bad for a 23-year-old, eh?
Brandon Hughes wasn’t even on the prospect list I saw. The converted outfielder began the year at Double-A Tennessee and is now the closer and an effective one than that. Quality relievers from the left side are a precious commodity. With starters seemingly gassed after five innings you cannot have enough arms.
When Scott Effross was traded to the Yankees I was perplexed, but with time, that deal is looking better and better. I was very impressed with the 2020’s version of Ted Abernathy (am I dating myself) but Hayden Wesneski looks like an absolute steal. It’s fun to watch him pace in the dugout, incredibly focused, waiting to return to the mound. And let’s not overlook his immaculate inning from last week, either.
Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson’s 2022 campaigns were very successful and, given the fact both are under team control for years to come, you can bet both will play big roles for the Cubs in the years to come. These are guys to build a staff around.
The jury is still out on others we’ve seen. Hot starts don’t always mean sustainable success and, please excuse the redundancy, but we’ve seen this story too many times to count (even just last year with Frank Schwindel, whose Cubs career has already met its untimely demise).
Former Cubs cornerstone Kris Bryant came up in 2015 and stuck at the big league level. Javier Baez, Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo (Padres then), Kyle Schwarber, among others, all retuned to the minor leagues after their debut in the show. Nelson Velazquez has been struggling at the plate, but the #16 prospect is still just 23 and may have suffered from irregular playing time. At 29, P.J. Higgins isn’t a kid, and after an August slump his bat is better and having a catcher who can play multiple positions is a great asset for the club I thought his framing the other night was top-notch
This will be the first ‘normal’ offseason in three years, allowing players to return to a more traditional winter to continue to develop and hone their skills. I would guess there will be a lot of young men in Arizona as much as possible.
Coincidentally, a friend since kindergarten called the other day, fellow Cub fan, and said they’re only a few players away from being a contender again. I tend to agree, and I did “Wait til next year” for nearly a half-century. And….I didn’t even mention the kids till down on the farm.
Congratulations to our site expert Jake Misener on 3,000 stories here, our very own“Mr. 3000.” This is 25 for me, and I appreciate the way he has frosted the cakes I serve up to all of you.