Map­ping the fu­ture

Just as Gi­ants did, Cubs aim to build with smart drafts

Baltimore Sun - - MLB PLAYOFFS - By Mark Gonzales

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.”

CHARLES REX AR­BO­GAST/AP

Game 1: Game 2: Game 3:

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