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My Cubbies are doing pretty awful this season. Currently they are sporting a record of 43-64, and they are sitting 22 Games Back of 1st Place. Yet, for all of the bad this season, there have been some exciting developments. The Cubs have debuted a lot of young talent this year. Chief among these is our future-star First Baseman – Anthony Rizzo.
“Since making his debut June 26, Rizzo was second among NL rookies with a .314 average behind the Rockies’ Jordan Pacheco (.327), but led in home runs (eight) and RBIs (20)” (source). Rizzo has been a blast to watch. I haven’t been this excited about the promotion of one of the Cubs’ prospects since this kid named Starlin Castro got called up.
Starlin has been to the All Star Game twice already. I predict Anthony Rizzo will join him there next year. While they are no Tinker, Evers, and Chance, I expect great things from Castro, Barney, and Rizzo.
All of us (Cubs fans) knew this season was not going to be great. It was pretty obvious it was going to be a rebuilding year. This was confirmed by our abysmal first half of the season, and left no room for doubt at the trade deadline. Thus far this season, we have traded away Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm, Geovany Soto, Jeff Baker, and Ryan Dempster for a heap of minor league players. It was hard to see most of those guys go (even though Marlon Byrd has subsequently fallen from my graces for testing positive for PEDs). I was a huge fan of Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm, and Ryan Dempster. All three of those guys were super classy. I am thankful that the Cubs traded them to the Braves and Rangers respectively. The Braves are my second-favorite National League team, and the Rangers may be my favorite American League team (close contest with the Red Sox). I’ll admit…it’s a little difficult to see a bunch of quality players traded for players you’ve never heard of. But then, I remind myself that players like Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins came to the Cubs via trades. Maybe one of these anonymous minor leaguers could be the next Cub legend.
As a result of all of this trading (and an unfortunate injury to Ian Stewart – a very classy player in his own right), the Cubs made a big move on Sunday. They called up two of their prospects that Cubs fans have been begging to see in the MLB for years: Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.
I am excited about these guys. I am especially excited that they get to play 50+ games this season without any pressure of a playoff run. I personally don’t think they’re ready to shine at the MLB level yet, which was evidenced by Jackson’s 4 strikeouts yesterday. People are worried about Jackson’s strikeouts and Vitters’s defensive play. I think calling them up now is great. Let them work on those things at the MLB level, and then they can produce like crazy next season.
Overall, in spite of the fact that the Cubs are terrible this year (and will only get worse since we traded our best pitchers and Matt Garza is hurt), I am enjoying the developments of this season. An infield of Vitters, Castro, Barney (who just broke Sandberg’s single-season errorless game streak), and Rizzo is very exciting to me. The influx of young talent (14 rookies debuted this season) on this Cubs team has me hopeful for the future. It makes me feel like we are getting back to our winning roots, because the Cubs earned their name for having so many young players back in the day when they dominated the National League. Here’s hoping
Until later friends…
The regular season is over. It took the full 162 games to decide the playoff contenders, but now it is time for the playoffs. I was sorry to see the Red Sox and Braves utterly collapse.
The Cubs are my absolute favorite team. Other than the Cubs, I cheer for the Red Sox and the Braves, and I cheer against the Yankees. So, this was not a great week for me as a baseball fan. I am very excited to see what the Cubs will do this offseason. I think they are going to make some good hires (and some good fires). I have some suggestions for the Cubs’ success, which I think should be heeded. But today is not about the Cubs. Today is about the 8 teams left in the playoffs. So congratulations to the playoff contenders. The final standings look like this:
I made my predictions at the beginning of the season, but I only correctly picked the Phillies, Rangers, Yankees, and, if you don’t count my shameless placing of the Cubs, the Brewers to make the playoffs. Now it is time for the playoffs. Here are my picks for the MLB 2011 Playoffs:
Here is my reasoning:
Phillies vs. Cardinals:
Even a team with the likes of Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman will not be able to beat the rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels. Halladay and Lee are almost untouchable in October. With them on the same team, there is no way they lose any series.
Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
Zach Greinke + Prince Fielder beats this young Diamondbacks team, although it will be close.
National League Championship – Brewers vs. Phillies
The Brewers have decent pitching, but the Phillies have phenomenal pitching. Brewers might win one…maybe two games.
Yankees vs. Tigers
Yankees pitching is weak. Justin Verlander is amazing. I hate the Yankees, so I am cheering for them to fail. This is the most emotional of my playoff picks
Rangers vs. Rays
The Rays are good, but the Rangers have been consistently good in the playoffs. I expect the Rangers to win a close series.
American League Championship – Rangers vs. Tigers
The Tigers will be exhausted after facing the Yankees, and the Rangers have Josh Hamilton.
World Series – Phillies vs. Rangers
That’s all my baseball talk for today. Until later friends…