1: a theory of the origin and perpetuation of new species of animals and plants that offspring of a given organism vary, that natural selection favors the survival of some of these variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise by these processes, and that widely divergent groups of plants and animals have arisen from the same ancestors
2: a theory that inherent dynamic forces allow only the fittest persons or organizations to prosper in a competitive environment or situation
For a minute, let Webster’s second meaning, listed above, soak in….now apply that to the Cubs current state.
Darwin Barney typifies the model and make of that old home grown Cub product to come and go over the past 15 years. Overall, just above average when at his best and rarely above average for an extended period. More Specifically, I should say, he represents Cub prospects drafted or traded for between 1998 and 2011, usually never drafted in the top 2 or 3 rounds, or sometimes the side effect of a bigger trade. I will give you a few names that share these qualities…..
The above list is made up of just about every position player I can think of, drafted or traded for since 1998 up through 2011, that at least made it for a small sample size of Major League experience with the Cubs. The rest of them never saw the field, or at least not for more than a game or two. You’ll notice, a few of those players were first round picks, but the majority were further down the list. You may wonder why I make mention of their draft position, well, one of the most astounding qualities of all these drafts was the 1st and 2nd rounders. They were horrible in most cases. Many never made it past A ball.
I left pitchers off the list, there was a bit more success there (think towel drills), but not much. I also left international signings off the list, which were by far the most successful signings of the era in that they alone yielded Starlin Castro, Carlos Zambrano, and a brief but impressive year or so for Carlos Marmol. Otherwise, as far as players at the prospect level (i.e., Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee don’t count as they were not prospects at the time of the trade), the above list is what was developed in their system.
Arismendy Alcantara started the Darwinian process over the past week or two when he came up for what was supposed to be a quick stop and turned it into his own little version of Hunger Games. The infield got crowded and somebody had to go…Darwin Barney proved to be the weakest link. A .230 Average and a .265 OBP aren’t going to be enough when there is talent starting to ripen at the levels below, which is exactly what is happening. Over the past few years a guy like Barney may have lasted the year, he still has some decent defense to give (only two years removed from a Gold Glove) but his bat was never that great.
Most of the guys on the list above created some sort of excitement for a bit but never really panned out. Cue the guy who is going to tell me that Corey Patterson was better then average, okay fine he was, for about one year at the most.
You never know how everything will pan out. Some of these guys coming won’t adjust to the bigs well, some will have injury troubles, but some will make it.
There isn’t much left from the previous regime. Granted prospects such as Mendy and Baez are products of that regime, However a bulk of their handling since has been all Thed. The only players with Major League time as Cubs, prior to Epstein and Co. taking the reigns, currently on the roster are James Russell, Wellington Castillo, and Starlin Castro. I would not be surprised to see them go prior to this team being competitive again.
Darwin’s theory is very fitting for this organization. We could also apply a portion of the first meaning, “…that natural selection favors the survival of some of these variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise by these processes…”, which is exactly what is happening in Wrigleyville. The old specie of Cub is fading and a stronger specie is rising.
So readers, who will be the next player to fall? Who will be the next to rise?