What Team Could Be The Next Cubs?

Joe Clark

With the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 MLB World Series, the Cubs, in addition to ending their 108 year World Series drought, they pulled off a successful rebuild, something that is rarely, if ever seen today. Despite the popularity of rebuilding today in sports, it very rarely actually works. We’ll take a look at what team has the best chance of pulling off a Cubs-esque rebuild and winning a title in each of the Big 4 Sports. You can vote below on which of these teams you think will win a title next.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs

For much of the last 50 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been a long suffering fanbase. After a Stanley Cup win in 1966-67, the Leafs have failed to win another, and have missed the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 years. It was a team that struggled to find stability, cycling through GMs and coaches almost yearly. However, before last season they hired Lou Lamoriello away from the New Jersey Devils to be their new GM, in addition to hiring ex-Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock to be their new head coach. Babcock and Lamoriello got to work right away, and now the Leafs are loaded with prospects and young talent. 2016 1st overall pick Auston Matthews is a stud, and he’s already totaled 12 points in 15 games in his rookie season. 22 year old

defenseman Morgan Rielly is one of the best blue liners in hockey already, and he’ll be a key to any future Leafs team. Outside of Matthews and Rielly, the Leafs also feature young studs Mitch Marner, Willie Nylander, and Connor Brown all making an impact on the NHL roster, not to mention the fact that they have Kasperi Kapanen and Jeremy Bracco under team control. With all the young talent this team has accumulated, all it’ll take is a few impact FA signings and this team could be contending for Stanley Cups in no time.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves

This really came down to the Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets, but the Nuggets lack a star or someone who can be a star in the future. Meanwhile, the T-Wolves have one in Karl Anthony-Towns and possible another in Andrew Wiggins who’s had a huge year this year, and fivethirtyeight.com’s CARMELO projections have Wiggins on a similar career path as Carmelo Anthony and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.  If KAT and Wiggins weren’t enough, the Wolves also have Kris Dunn, the ex-Providence College Point Guard who they selected 5th overall in this year’s draft. Dunn has the potential to be a future All-Star, and is already one of the best defenders at the PG position, which is sure to put him in favor with new Timberwolves HC Tom Thibodeau who built defensive powerhouses as the Head Coach of the Bulls from 2010-2015 and as a Celtics assistant from 2007-2010. The Wolves have two other young guards in Zach LaVine, an athletic combo guard who’s averaging 19.8 PPG this season, along with former Duke PG Tyus Jones who has played well for Minnesota this season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.1 APG off the bench. The Timberwolves also made smart FA signings this season, bringing in Cole Aldrich and Jordan Hill as depth off of the bench. The extension for Gorgui Dieng is relatively team friendly as well considering the rising salary cap, and Dieng is a very solid rim protector. This T-Wolves team could sneak into the playoffs this season, but even if they don’t, they’ll be among the NBA elite for years to come.

NFL: Oakland Raiders

The Raiders rebuild has already paid off for them this season, as they are 7-2. QB Derek Carr, the Raiders 2nd round pick in 2014, is an MVP candidate this season as his 2,505 yards and 17 TD have helped the Raiders take over as the top team in the AFC in the toughest division. Along with Carr, 2015 1st rounder Amari Cooper has 843 yards this year, while fellow wideout Michael Crabtree has 596 yards and 6 TD. The Raiders followed the Cubs model almost to a tee-build through the draft, and then splurge on free agents when they’re ready to compete. In bringing in Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson this season, the Raiders front office was saying that this was the Raiders’ season, and it certainly has been so far While the Raiders defense isn’t great, they have Khalil Mack, who was a 1st team All-Pro at both OLB and DE last season. Mack is probably the best defender in football outside of Von Miller, and he helps cover up a lot of flaws. David Amerson has turned his career around in Oakland after an underwhelming stint with the Redskins, and he is now one of the best corners in the league. A rushing attack anchored by Latavius Murray with help from UDFA Jalen Richard and 5th round pick DeAndre Washington has been solid, ranking 5th in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,150 yards and third in yards per attempt at 4.8 yards per carry. This Raiders team is built to win, both now and in the future. Expect them to be a mainstay at the top of the AFC for years to come.

MLB: New York Yankees

The Yankees entered the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline with a middle of the road farm system, and left with arguably the best. When they traded away Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, they got a returned highlighted by Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney. Torres is a lightning quick shortstop with a legitimate hit tool, and is easily a top 25 prospect in baseball. McKinney is a less heralded prospect who struggled in the minors this year, but if his bat comes around the way it should he has the potential to be a .280 hitter with 12-15 HR. In the Andrew Miller trade, the Yankees picked up one of the best prospects in baseball in Clint Frazier, a top 20 prospect with almost no weaknesses. He has legitimate power, as his raw power is some of the best in the minor leagues, in addition to being able to hit .270-.280. While he’s probably best suited as a right fielder, he can play all three outfield positions well. Also acquired in the Miller deal was Justus Sheffield, another top 100 prospect with three good pitches, although he struggles with command at times. He’s a real solid strikeout pitcher too, with 129 K in 125 IP in the minor leagues. While Sheffield and Frazier get all the attention, the other two pieces of that Miller trade are what really intrigue me: Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen both throw in the triple digits, and have the potential to be very good late inning relievers in the near future. Heller is already in the bigs, and while he struggled, he’s still just 25 and has plenty of time to improve. Indians website letsgotribe.com called Heller and Feyereisen the “future of the Indians bullpens” in this piece in April. Well, now they’re the future of the Yankees bullpen. This is without even talking about their current prospects (Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge, and Blake Rutherford are all Top 100 prospects as well) or Dillon Tate, the former 5th overall pick the Yankees acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade (Although he’s struggled thus far in the minors). This is probably the best farm system in baseball, but what about the MLB talent? Well, Frazier will probably make his MLB debut this season, and he’ll be joined by Gary Sanchez, the power hitting catcher who’s 20 HR last season came at a record setting pace, along with Judge, who got some solid MLB experience last year, and Greg Bird, the former top prospect 1B who suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the year last season. Bird has legit power, and he’ll take over as the Yanks’ everyday first baseman with the retirement of Mark Teixeira. In the rotation, Nathan Eovaldi is still young, and if Luis Severino can return to his 2015 form, the Yankees could have a solid rotation. As much as it pains me to say this, the Yankees could be World Series contenders for a long time in the very near future.

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