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MLB Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs: 5 Things We’ve Learned Midway Through 2014

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What We Have Learned From The Chicago Cubs' First Half

Chicago Cubs
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This season was not projected to be a big win year for the Chicago Cubs. It lined up to be Year 3 of the rebuilding process. While the team has played better in the month of June, there is still a lot more development that needs to be done in Chicago. The Cubs have one of the best June records in the NL, but the real intriguing part of the year could be what happens during the trade deadline. At the midway point, what else have the Cubs learned?

5. 'The Plan' is Still Progressing Forward

Theo Epstein
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

5. 'The Plan' is Still Progressing Forward

Theo Epstein
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The plan that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer set forth a few seasons ago is still progressing forward. For fans, it may be a slow moving process, but it is going in the right direction. The club appears to have nailed down plans for a Wrigley renovation finally, a new radio deal is in place and a new TV deal is not far away either. Those dollars will help the on-field product. The farm system is also a top-three unit in the league as well. Patience.

4. Pitching Depth is Still a Concern

Travis Wood
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

4. Pitching Depth is Still a Concern

cubs14
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

For as good as the farm system is, pitching depth in the minors is still lacking. The bullpen is slowly getting better as a unit, but a true closer has still yet to be established. The starting rotation is performing well, but how many of those parts will still be in uniform come August? The Cubs still need to find quality arms to keep things heading in the right direction long-term.

3. Kris Bryant Just May Be the Real Deal

Kris Bryant
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. Kris Bryant Just May Be the Real Deal

Kris Bryant
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In this game, anything can happen. It is very rare that a can't-miss prospect comes along for a franchise. Mike Trout looks to be one of those guys. The Cubs could also very well have one in Kris Bryant. He continues to just impress in the minors. He is booming through all of his stops and continues to mash baseballs into orbit. Bryant is one of the reasons why the future is hopeful for the Cubs. His home run total seems to change nightly.

2. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro are Long-Term Building Blocks

Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

2. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro are Long-Term Building Blocks

Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

After a down year in 2013, both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are putting up All-Star worthy halves this year. The duo is showing that they are capable of being leaders and the faces of the Cubs for years to come. Still young in their own right, the duo is developing and evolving into the cornerstones that the organization had hoped for. Once they do eventually get some help from the minors, the lineup will start to fill out and become a core.

1. For Better or Worse, Jeff Samardzija is Linchpin for Organization

Jeff Samardzija
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. For Better or Worse, Jeff Samardzija is Linchpin for Organization

Jeff Samardzija
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Samardzija trade speculations began in November and are still ongoing. The rumors of an extension are also out there. Ultimately, the decision on Samardzija will put a lot of things into place once resolved. The right-hander is pitching incredibly in the first half. The results will either lead to him being the ace of the Cubs' future, or a trade piece that will cash in a hefty return. Once resolved, the Cubs will finally be able to move on.