Cubs GM Carter Hawkins speaks - here's what he had to say
Since coming to Chicago as the Cubs general manager under president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins has largely played a behind-the-scenes role. But thanks to Cubs Convention in January and a new chat with Fangraphs, we're slowly starting to get a bit more face time with the organization's #2 man.
Cubs are betting heavily on developing a pitching pipeline
Much the same as Hoyer played second fiddle to Theo Epstein, Hawkins has done the same. But nobody questions the resume Hawkins brought with him to the North Side - and the immediate impact he seems to have had on the team's pitching development. Of course, coming from the Cleveland organization, he came with a lengthy track record when it comes to developing arms, something the Cubs have long struggled to do.
"I would say the Guardians have done a great job of finding guys and then individualizing their performance plans. If you look at a guy like Eli Morgan, he’s a significantly different type of pitcher than Triston McKenzie. They had individualized plans, and with the help of a great coaches and a great process, the Guardians are maximizing their potential. "- Carter Hawkins, Cubs GM
That individualized approach to pitching development has yielded seemingly immediate results for the Cubs and it'll be a huge focus for those of us following the organization in the next few years as the big league team looks to re-emerge as a perennial postseason threat. From guys on the 2023 roster like Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele, Hayden Wesneski and Caleb Kilian to top pitching prospects like Cade Horton, Jordan Wicks, Ben Brown - finally creating that pipeline of arms is going to be paramount to the front office's plans.
My favorite bit from the Fangraphs' piece is Hawkins' comparison between Cleveland and Chicago - and his stressing that while, yes, the Cubs have infinitely more resources at their disposal, there's zero reason the baseball operations team needs to be any less process-oriented. In Cleveland, there's simply no margin for error - and applying that mindset to a large market franchise like Chicago could make them dangerous for a long time to come.
"The obvious market-size difference stands out. There are more opportunities in Chicago to utilize resources — you can have a higher risk tolerance — whereas in Cleveland there is the challenge of having to be very process-oriented to make a decision. If you have a lot of resources, you don’t necessarily have that pressure on you. At the same time, there is no reason that you can’t be just as process-oriented in a larger market."- Carter Hawkins, Cubs GM
During the team's last championship window, a young core of position players led the charge, supplemented by key veterans. Next time around, it could be Carter Hawkins' group of arms that put the Cubs over the top and has confetti raining down on the streets of Chicago.