The phrase “wait ’til next year” is a popular one for fans of perennial losers, but no professional sports team shares a more lasting affiliation with the axiom than the Chicago Cubs; there’s even a movie about the team with that exact title. For the Cubs, winning has rarely been a this-year thing, and so the fan base has had to take solace in the future, even if that future has often brought just more losing. Well, Cubs fans, I have some good news, even if you’ve grown tired of hearing this; next year really might be your year.
Much has been written about the young talent coming up through Chicago’s farm system. Cuban sensation Jorge Soler is going to be the newest hyped prospect to reach the big leagues when he makes his debut today, where he’ll join Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez to form a trio of exciting young rookies. And these guys are just the first course, as even better prospects — third baseman/maybe outfielder Kris Bryant and shortstop/maybe second baseman Addison Russell are the cream of the Cubs crop — are not too far behind. The Cubs have so much young talent that people are actually stressing out over whether the team will actually have room for all of them on the roster at the same time.
Of course, prospect hype doesn’t guarantee Major League success, and Cubs fans have been burned by supposed waves of talent that didn’t pan out before. So what’s different this time? Well, for starters, this roster is a lot better than people might realize, even without factoring in all the prospects on the rise.
Yes, I’m talking about the roster of a team that is currently 59-72, good for last place in the NL Central. On the surface, this is just another terrible Cubs team in a long line of terrible Cubs teams, but once you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll find that this team has actually shown some real promise this year.
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