Last night, youngest of our beloved Cubs drubbed the Pirates of Pissburgh. Â Rookie Jorge Soler had four hits. Â Rookie Kris Bryant had three hits and drove in three runs. Â Twenty-five year old grizzled veterans Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro combined to get on base six times. Â The foursome ended the night 11-16 with three walks and a hit by pitch. Â That’s not bad. Â The Cubs offense is operating at a level that we haven’t seen since the last time the team was actually good in 2008. Â They lead the league in pitches seen per at bat.
They’re also first in stolen bases, second in walks (WALKS!–the Cubs!) and second in on base average. Â They also are second in the NL in fewest walks allowed.
Be still my heart.
One area they were struggling at was that weren’t getting any offense at all out of third base or second base. Â So, after the requisite number of days fell off the calendar and Mike Olt fell onto the disabled list, Kris Bryant was “selected” from Iowa, added to the 40-man and active rosters and made a mess of his first game at the plate. Â And he’s made a mess of NL pitching in the games since.
They were getting by with whatever Jonathan Herrera is, at second base. Â But these Cubs aren’t about getting by anymore. Â And so, after a six-game crash course at second base, Addison Russell will make his big league debut tonight. Â He’s the youngest player in the National League now by 15 months. Â Nobody’s all that concerned that he’s going to be any more overwhelmed than Bryant is. Â He’s a shortstop who will play second base because a) he’ll be good there and b) Starlin is playing his ass off.
Last night’s offensive explosion from Soler, Rizzo, Bryant and Castro was a sight to see. Â Four players, 25 years and younger in total command at the plate. Â Soler pulled a 100 mile per hour fastball from Arcquimedes Caminero for a double, and then Bryant followed by drilling a 99 mile per hour fastball from the same awesomely named pitcher to left center for a double that became a little league home run.
These rookies are the best players on what looks like it’s already a pretty damned good team. Â That Rizzo and Castro are the calming veteran influences should be alarming, but it’s not. Â Rizzo was born to be a leader.
Starlin’s grown up before our very eyes.
The exciting thing for us, and the scary thing for the rest of the National League–the hell with that–for Major League Baseball is that while these guys are good, they’re only getting better.
They’ll have good days and bad days, but likely a lot more good than bad. Â Joe Maddon said in his press conference this afternoon that, “it’s not going to be an oil painting every night.” Â But the wave of young talent isn’t a concept anymore. Â We don’t have to dig through boxscores from Tennessee or Des Moines to see the progress. Â It’s on our TVs every night now. Â Hell, most of it is in the infield.
This stuff is pretty great.
But the best part is that we haven’t seen anything yet.