The first pitcher Theo Epstein drafted for the Cubs. The guy who ranks sixth on the Cubs’ all-time home run list. The one that got away in the worst trade Epstein made as Cubs boss.
What do all these guys have in common?
They’re all in the 2022 playoffs while the current Cubs are home watching them.
And while the Ex-Cubs Factor theory developed 40 years ago — and perpetuated by Mike Royko — held that three or more such players prevented any chance of World Series success, it's a bold, new world for ex-Cubs in October these days.
Multiple teams have disproven the theory since then, most recently last year when the Braves won the World Series with four ex-Cubs.
In fact, with an expanded, 12-team postseason that opens Friday, so many ex-Cubs are in the championship hunt that a pretty good team can be built with those names alone — good enough to think it might be good enough to steal a Game 1 against anyone with former Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish on the roster.
It might not have the starting pitching to stack up with the Dodgers or Astros, but check out a lineup that includes that One That Got Away (DJ LeMahieu), the Cubs’ No. 6 home run slugger all-time (Anthony Rizzo), along with this year’s National League home run champ (Kyle Schwarber) and former hot-shot Cubs prospects Gleyber Torres, Josh Donaldson and Dan Vogelbach.
And the bullpen can compete with most teams in the field, with All-Star closers Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Craig Kimbrel, along with a setup crew that includes Mychal Givens, Scott Effross, Jason Adam, Chris Martin and that first Theo pitcher drafted, Pierce Johnson.
The group’s a little short on starting pitching (even assuming Trevor Williams makes the Mets postseason roster) and has a very short bench. But there’s plenty of relievers for a bullpen day.
And check out the Hall of Fame-type manager on a pretty robust coaching staff (albeit, sans third base coach):
Ex-Cubs Postseason Lineup
- 2B DJ LeMahieu (Yankees)
- SS Gleyber Torres* (Yankees)
- 1B Anthony Rizzo (Yankees)
- LF Kyle Schwarber (Phillies)
- RF Nick Castellanos (Phillies)
- DH Dan Vogelbach* (Mets)
- 3B Josh Donaldson* (Yankees)
- C Martin Maldonado (Astros)
- CF Terrance Gore (Mets)
Ex-Cubs Postseason Rotation
- RH Yu Darvish (Padres)
- LH Jose Quintana (Cardinals)
- RH Trevor Williams (Mets)
Ex-Cubs Postseason Bullpen
- LH Aroldis Chapman (Yankees)
- RH Craig Kimbrel (Dodgers)
- RH David Robertson (Phillies)
- RH Mychal Givens (Mets)
- RH Scott Effross (Yankees)
- RH Jason Adam (Rays)
- RH Jesse Chavez (Braves)
- RH Chris Martin (Dodgers)
- LH Brooks Raley (Rays)
- RH Pierce Johnson (Padres)
- RH David Phelps (Blue Jays)
- RH Anthony Bass (Blue Jays)
IF Isaac Paredes* (Rays)
Ex-Cubs Postseason Field Staff
- Manager Dusty Baker (Astros)
- Bench coach Scott Servais (Mariners manager)
- Pitching coach Mark Prior (Dodgers)
- Hitting coach Chris Valaika (Guardians)
- Asst. hitting coach Brant Brown (Dodgers)
- First base coach Eric Young (Braves)
- Quality control coach Ryan Flaherty* (Padres)
*-Former Cubs minor leaguer.