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  • That's The Ticket: The Future Is Now


    Parker Hageman

    According to the producers of "Back To The Future 2", when Marty McFly traveled into the future -- 30 years into the future to be exact -- he arrives to learn through a hologram billboard that the Chicago Cubs had just won the 2015 World Series.

    McFly is absolutely stunned. Flying cars, hoverboards, shoes that self-tie and the Cubs winning the World Series. All inconceivable. Where am I? Wait the Cubs won the World Series?! What YEAR is this? When filming of the movie began in 1989 the Cubs had been bad. Maybe they were lovable but they sure were losers. Over the previous ten years, they had managed just one season over .500. They hadn't won a World Series since 1908 and hadn't won the National League pennant since, to quote Steve Goodman, the year the US dropped the bomb on Japan.

    What may be even crazier is that based on the way the Cubs have been playing in the real 2015 and despite really wanting that hoverboard, it is entirely possible that winning the World Series might be the only prediction that comes true from "Back To The Future 2".

    For the Cubs the future is now and it is coming to Target Field for a three-game series.

    When new ownership shook up the organization, they hired Red Sox architect Theo Epstein away from Boston and initiated one of the largest youth movements since the baby boom. They are built for the long haul with a supremely talented group of younger players and are led on the field by one of the game's greatest modern tacticians: Joe Maddon.

    Here are some of the key young players you need to keep an eye on this weekend:

    Anthony Rizzo - 25 - 1B

    Ok, so he’s not young or recently called up. Now on his fifth season at the major league level he’s basically the team’s resident advisor.

    Under Epstein, the Red Sox drafted Rizzo out of high school but traded him to San Diego in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez. After Epstein moved to the Cubs, he re-acquired Rizzo in 2012 and he has entrenched himself at Wrigley as the starting first baseman and elder statesmen of the team. He gets on base a lot and plenty of that has to do with taking one for the team. Between this year and last, Rizzo has been hit by the pitch 29 times, the most in baseball. He has also shown some impressive power even if it is with some unorthodox swings.

    http://i.imgur.com/mAofukC.gif

    Kris Bryant - 23 - 3B

    Selected two spots in front of the Twins’ Kohl Stewart in the first round of the 2013 draft, Bryant quickly made a name for himself by hitting 43 home runs split between two levels in 2014. After the controversy over the service time when the Cubs kept him in Iowa for the first few weeks of the season, Bryant arrived and has hit .295/.398/.488 with eight home runs including this moonshot that traveled 477 feet according to StatCast -- tied for 5th furthest hit ball all year.

    http://i.imgur.com/wXcQurA.gif

    Kyle Schwarber - 22 - C/DH

    Selected by the Cubs in the first round of the 2014 draft, one slot ahead of the Twins’ Nick Gordon, this Indiana University product ascended Chicago’s system quickly. Loaded with power, Schwarber led the Southern League this year in slugging percentage just ahead of Minnesota’s Adam Brett Walker and Max Kepler. Reportedly a bat with power to all fields, the young catcher had that on display in Cleveland on Thursday when he hit his first major league home run.

    http://i.imgur.com/VGof5ZN.gif

    Addison Russell - 21 - 2B

    Acquired for Jeff Samardjiza trade with Oakland, Russell was a former 11th overall pick in 2012 -- the same year as Byron Buxton -- and was summoned to the bigs in late April. Russell has packed some punch with his bat and has been above average so far but his glove has been critically important at the up-the-middle slot. According to BillJamesOnline.net, Russell has been worth +8 runs in the field, the third best among all second basemen.

    http://i.imgur.com/EUMHMDz.gif

    For the Cubs, the future isn’t some distant, future-Delorean away, it’s now. That is why they are aggressively promoting their top talent in order to compete in the competitive NL Central. Fortunately for you, you can head on down to Target Field this weekend to watch some of these top athletes at work.

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