San Francisco Giants give Cubs blueprint to follow

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

A World Series winning club doesn't necessarily need superstars, but it does need pitching

The San Francisco Giants have proved again, with their second World Series title in three years, that a baseball club doesn't need oodles of superstars to make the playoffs and win the 11 games needed for a title once there. A solid core coupled with great pitching can be enough to win a title – whether team president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer can copy that approach as they attempt to build the Chicago Cubs into a winner remains to be seen.

At ESPNChicago.com, Doug Padilla identifies some strengths and some problems for Chicago as they build toward a contending team. Padilla says that the Cubs "already have a young core ready to develop out of the infield" in Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, along with Darwin Barney, though they lack a long-term solution at third base.

Padilla says that the young Cubs need to develop a "selfless, disciplined approach at the plate," and will need some outfield prospects to develop. The club's greatest challenge will be growing a pitching staff similar to the Giants' homegrown core of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner. Since the Cubs' system is full of more promising position players than pitchers, that disparity, says Padilla, "likely will lead the Cubs to take a greater draft focus on college pitching, which will move through the ranks much more quickly than high-school arms."

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