It’s almost the end of 2017. Can you believe that? Where did this year go, anyway?
As is the custom in many places like this, the end of the year is a time to look back on what happened over the course of that year. While the Cubs failed in their quest to get back to the World Series again, there were still some good things that happened to the club over the course of 2017. Some of these were good things on the field, some off, some offbeat, some games to remember.
Here are 17 of those things, in no particular order.
- The emergence of Ian Happ, a bit earlier than expected, as a solid major-league player. He’ll play 2018 at age 23.
- Kyle Schwarber’s second half; after he returned from Triple-A Iowa, he hit .255/.338/.565 in 200 at-bats, in which he hit 18 home runs. Project that over a full season... that’s an All-Star year.
- Javier Baez playing amazing defense. Here are six minutes’ worth of Javy highlights from 2017:
- The Jose Quintana trade, which will provide benefits for the Cubs for at least three more seasons.
- The Cubs’ emotional World Series ring ceremony:
- The way Wade Davis stared down opposing hitters all year. (I still have some hope he’ll return.)
- Brian Duensing’s surprising season.
- Leonys Martin’s debut for the Cubs, coming as a pitcher. [VIDEO]
- This game, in which Mike Montgomery threw six two-hit innings and also did this:
- This game, in which the Cubs came back to win after giving up two runs in the top of the 10th. Alex Avila was the hero:
Alex Avila with a walk off base hit! The Cubs score 3 runs in the 10th inning to win the game. What a game! pic.twitter.com/8qYm9vDrvh— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) August 20, 2017
- The emergence of Willson Contreras as one of the top catchers in the game, both offensively and defensively.
- Albert Almora Jr. finding himself at the plate, hinting he could become an everyday player in 2018, as well as defense like this:
Statcast on Albert Almora's incredible catch. pic.twitter.com/9FxIgPTaI8— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) May 23, 2017
- This game, in which Jose Quintana slammed the door on the Brewers.
- The opening of the Park at Wrigley, the plaza adjacent to the ballpark, with year-round activities for all.
- This game, in which the Cubs blew an 8-0 lead but won on Addison Russell’s ninth-inning homer, the beginning of a six-game winning streak.
- Jason Heyward’s improvement offensively. Hope he continues on the upward path in 2018.
- And lastly, the crazy way the Cubs won Game 5 of the division series against the Nationals. Here’s the last out of the win that sent the Cubs to the NLCS:
There you have them... 17 random good things about the Cubs’ 2017 season. Perhaps you have others. Share them with us in the comments.