GENEVA, Ill. (CBS) — If you want to get a sneak peak at some of the talent coming through the Cubs’ minor league pipeline, take a trip out to the far western suburbs.
The Kane County Cougars are packing them in at their fan-friendly ballpark, and putting on quite a show with a 32-9 home record. CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke found out first hand why everybody in Kane County is having a ball.
While fans wait for the Cubs rebuilding process to take shape, they might just get a glimpse into their future with the Kane County Cougars. They became the Cubs Single-A affiliate in 2013.
“It’s such a great thing for our fans to come out and watch the future Cubs. That’s been really positive for us,” says Curtis Haug, Kane County Cougars General Manager.
“You can’t beat it. You get up close to the guys as young kids and you watch them progress throughout the season, then all of a sudden two-three years from now they’re playing at Wrigley,” adds head coach Mark Johnson.
“It’s fun because most teams don’t have their affiliate so close, probably a few teams, but it’s always nice to to have your big team not too far away from you,” says Kane County outfielder Shawon Dunston, Jr.
For the Cougars, being near their parent club in a big market is also a positive in terms of developing the players.
“To have front office and media attention that big, this close to home city is huge and to have these guys deal with that and be part of the development and it’s a good thing for them” Johnson says.
Bringing even more attention to the Cougars is the fact they have the Cubs first round draft pick of 2014 here – Kyle Schwarber. He’s become an instant sensation with 6 home runs in just 11 games in the minor leagues.
“Just have to keep a level head when you’re going through all of this and know that there’s going to be ups and downs and just have to take it game by game and just grind them out. They told me when I signed just to go out there and play baseball and have fun, be who I am and they will take care of rest. They have the best interest in me and I truly believe that so I’m just going to go out there, be a good teammate and play game,” says Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs’ top draft pick in 2014, and the catcher for Kane County.