- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- If the Chicago Cubs are interested in changing the culture of their entire organization, it may be an added bonus that some things are going in the right direction -- even if the results aren’t being seen at the major league level, yet.
Their Class-A affiliate in Daytona, Fla., won the Florida State league championship with a one-hit, 4-0 shutout of Charlotte on Monday.
That’s where players such as pitcher CJ Edwards (five shutout innings on Monday) and No. 1 pick Kris Bryant play. It also is the former home of top prospects Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.
“It’s nice for the organization and these kids that will be here some time to win championships and be part of something like that,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Monday night. “To be in big games, there’s nothing like it.”
While Daytona was the home to some big hitters this year, it was the pitching that dominated the series -- and offers hope for the Cubs' future on the mound. The Daytona Cubs threw four shutouts in six playoff games without a run being scored against a starter in all six games. Corey Black, acquired for Alfonso Soriano, threw 11 shutout innings to go along with Edwards’ heroics.
“Looking forward to it a lot more than I was a year ago at this time,” Sveum responded with a chuckle. “Not to be too brash about it, but the trades we made, the guys we got in the draft the last few years, they’re all pitching well.”
The new front office has stated often their desire to refill their minor league system with arms. They’ve done it mostly via trades. Consider this: Black and Edwards weren’t even in the organization to start the year; they were mostly responsible for the Daytona championship.
“You’re excited about all that going on, that wasn’t happening a year ago,” Sveum said.
Meanwhile, Baez homered on Monday for the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate in Tennessee. The team was eliminated on Monday in its semifinals series with Birmingham, losing 7-4 in Game 4.
The Cubs entrant in the Northwest League, the Boise Hawks, was playing for a championship as well Monday night.
“It matters a lot,” Sveum said. “It matters a lot to have winning teams in the minor leagues and be in playoffs. It tends to be an attitude. Guys expect to win and are part of winning. They don’t like the taste of losing.”
The Cubs are doing less and less losing -- at least at the minor league level. That’s a start.
13hJacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information