The Chicago Cubs, Joe Maddon and Elevated Expectations

Collectively Scattered

The Chicago Cubs won 73 games this past season; only six teams fared worse. And yet, this was a marketable improvement. The Cubs won 66 games in 2013 and 61 in 2012, the first time the team lost more than 100 games since 1966. They’ve made the playoffs six times since 1945, the black cat still chuckling from its grave at the North Side’s extensive ineptitude.

But a team this putrid has a direct avenue to reverse its fortunes: the amateur draft. Now selecting from high school and college players can be a crapshoot, but studies have shown that drafting early often leads to tangible results. Sure enough, of the Cubs’ ten first round picks since 2008, three have already seen major league action (Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Javier Baez), while two others (Albert Almora and Kris Bryant) should be accruing service time by the end of 2015.

Drafting high…

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