Forget the Record, Cubs Fans Should Be Pleased with the State of the Cubs
Despite the team's 41-58 record, fans of the Chicago Cubs have quite a few things to be excited about for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Yes, that's right. Be excited for the future, Cubs fans. Then again, the motto "wait until next year" has been the party slogan for over a century.
Though the big league team is struggling, prospects throughout the Cubs farm system are progressing steadily, and core players for the team are improving as well.
Here, we look at why Cubs fans should be pleased with the state of the Chicago Cubs.
5. The Cubs Are Averaging over 32,000 in Home Attendance
Of the National League teams with a losing record, only the Colorado Rockies are ahead of the Cubs in 2014 home attendance. The Cubs currently average 32,435 in home attendance. That's an average of 78.8 percent of Wrigley Field being filled (or at least paid for). The only team with a losing record and a higher percentage of seats filled is the Boston Red Sox at the famed Fenway Park.
This may even increase as the season concludes and prospects such as Javier Baez and Jorge Soler inch ever closer to the major leagues. The Cubs also have 13 home games against division rivals remaining, including six against the St. Louis Cardinals and seven against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Given that the Cubs have the third-highest ticket prices in baseball, their attendance numbers this season are even more impressive.
4. Offensive Duds Darwin Barney and Mike Olt Have Been Dealt With
Darwin Barney may have received the ultimate blessing when he went on paternity leave earlier this month, but in a way, it may have actually ended his career with the Cubs.
While Barney was absent, the Cubs called up Arismendy Alcantara to fill in at second base. The move was meant to be only temporary, but Alcantara's solid performance ultimately led to the Cubs keeping him with the big league team and designating Darwin Barney for assignment.
Barney was hitting .230 at the time of his designation, but he spent much of the 2014 season below the Mendoza Line (.200).
3. More Losses Equals Better Draft Picks
The reason that the Cubs are in a position to succeed in the near future is simple: stellar draft picks and stud prospects. Three of their top five draft picks (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora) were drafted in the 2011, 2013 and 2012 first rounds, respectively.
At 17 games under .500, the Cubs are in a good position for another high first-round draft pick in 2015. Their first-round pick in 2014, Kyle Schwarber, has already reached Advanced-A.
2. Prospects Are Thriving and Will Soon Be Arriving
With a week still remaining before the trade deadline, the Cubs have been making more news in the last couple of weeks with internal transactions rather than moves with other teams. Here is a list of the Cubs' best prospects and minor league players and the level they have been promoted to:
— Arismendy Alcantara (MLB)
— Jorge Soler (Triple-A)
— Albert Almora (Double-A)
— Tsuyoshi Wada (MLB)
— Zach Rosscup (MLB)
— Kyle Schwarber (Advanced-A)
— Kyle Hendricks (MLB)
There have been whispers of a call-up for top prospect Javier Baez, especially after he started multiple games at second base. With Alcantara receiving playing time in the outfield, perhaps Baez and Emilio Bonifacio could split time at second base.
1. Core Players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo Are Producing Like Expected
If you look outside at night, you may see one of Anthony Rizzo's home run balls somewhere in orbit. Rizzo currently leads the National League in home runs with 25. He also leads the Cubs' regular starters with a .285 batting average.
Shortstop Starlin Castro isn't far behind, hitting .272 and clubbing 11 home runs. Only Mike Olt is between them with 12 home runs.
Both players were under fire much of last season for a lack of performance—so much so that then-manager Dale Sveum mentioned them in the same sentence with the word "demotion."
A lack of performance from either one would be a huge blow to the team, as the organization has wrapped up $101 million between the two for seven seasons of service.