Mapping the future
Just as Giants did, Cubs aim to build with smart drafts
SAN FRANCISCO — As the Cubs pursue their mission of being contenders for the long haul, they merely need to look across AT&T Park on Monday night to see a blueprint.
The Cubs have a chance to end the Giants’ run of winning three straight World Series in even-numbered years with a victory to complete a sweep in the best- of- f i ve National League Division Series.
But they must overcome ace Madison Bumgarner, one of the pillars of the Giants’ homegrown success.
“Going back to (Tim) Lincecum, Bumgarner, (Matt) Cain, (Buster) Posey and all those guys out of the first round, they’ve done a fantastic job of hitting on those guys,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “When they had to pick near the top, they nailed guys like Bumgarner, Lincecum and Posey. They didn’t miss, and that built the foundation for the three titles.
“If you end up getting a best-case scenario out of those picks, like they have over and over and over, it’s not luck. It’s the foundation of their success.”
Meanwhile, after three seasons of a massive rebuilding program, the Cubs can advance to the NL Championship Series for the second consecutive season with a victory.
Game 1 hero Javier Baez was a first-round pick in 2011 under former scouting director Tim Wilken, but the Cubs have accelerated the momentum under President Theo Epstein with first-round picks Albert Almora Jr. in 2012, NL Game 3 starter Madison Bumgarner is a good example of the Giants cashing in with a first-round draft pick. GIANTS VS. CUBS Cubs lead 2-0 Cubs 1-0 Cubs 5-2 9:30 p.m. Monday Cubs (Arrieta 18-8) at Giants (Bumgarner 15-9), FS1 Game 4: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday* Cubs (Lackey 11-8) at Giants (Moore 13-12), FS1 Game 5: 8:30 p.m. Thur.* Giants (Cueto 18-5) at Cubs (Lester 19-5), FS1 x-if necessary most valuable player candidate Kris Bryant in 2013 and left-handed slugger Kyle Schwarber in 2014.
The next step for the Cubs will be developing depth from the draft, as the Giants did in 2008 with Posey, shortstop Brandon Crawford (fourth round) and third baseman Conor Gillaspie, a supplemental first-round pick who returned to the organization after being dealt to the White Sox and playing briefly for the Angels.
Giants assistant general manager John Barr, who joined the organization as scouting director before the 2008 draft, said scouting, the draft and player development have been keys to the Giants’ success. He pointed to Brandon Belt, a fifth-round pick in 2009, and Matt Duffy, an 18th-round pick in 2012 who was traded to the Rays f or l eft- hander Matt Moore, the scheduled Game 4 starter.
“We work together in trying to get the best player we can at the time and letting them run with it,” Barr said.
Part of the Cubs’ rebuilding mission was accomplished by trading veterans who brought back NLDS Game 2 and Game 3 starters Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta, relievers Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm, shortstop Addison Russell and center fielder Dexter Fowler.
Hoyer said the Giants were “a more mature team than we are because a lot of those guys have been in the league for a long time. But their 2010 and 2012 (teams) in a lot of ways are very similar to what we have here — a very homegrown team with a lot of really good young players.”
Game 1: Game 2: Game 3: