Maddon trusts Cubs’ young stars
The Cubs are one of the hottest teams in baseball and one of the youngest, which isn’t usually a combination that works out this way.
Still, Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees it as one of his team’s biggest strengths.
A lot of his position players came up through the Cubs’ system together, learning as they went, and the educational process is just continuing at the highest level of the game.
“To be able to go through this whole thing together does help, from the sense that (the pressure) is spread out,” Maddon said Sunday, when the Cubs lost 3-1 in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. “Just moving forward, to play this well right now at this particular juncture of their careers, I would like to believe is going to be very helpful in the years to come also. You’ve seen a lot of teams that have grown their own players and they get up there together, there’s a lot of history regarding the success of those groups. The big thing is to keep them healthy.”
Maddon is trying to do that with little managerial moves like those he made in the series against the White Sox. Playing in an American League stadium, he took advantage of the designated hitter spot to rest some of his young regulars without actually sitting them out.
Rookie Kyle Schwarber was the DH on Friday, second year right fielder Jorge Soler did it Saturday and rookie third baseman Kris Bryant handled the role Sunday for the first time in his career.
“He’s been getting beat up a little bit (in the field) lately,” Maddon said of Bryant. “I’ve just been looking to give him that little bit of a break, so I thought today would be the right day to do it.”
He didn’t have to worry about how Bryant would take it, just as he didn’t have any concerns the previous two days with Soler and Schwarber. The reason is because his youngsters are maturing quickly into top-flight professionals.
They’re the main drive in the Cubs’ push for a playoff spot this season and the manager isn’t worried about the ages next to some of the key names on his roster.
“I really trust the people themselves,” Maddon said. “These are really good guys, so I know they’re going to do the right thing to try to get better, and to do that as a group is a really interesting concept.”