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Cardinals, Cubs adopt different farm development approaches

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Dilip Vishwanat

This morning, columnist Jeff Gordon at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs have adopted different visions for farm system development. Surveying the current lay of the land in baseball, the Cubs under GM Jed Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein have focused on acquiring and developing as many hitting prospects as possible. Says Epstein, "There are more effective pitchers out there than position players. You can't win without pitching, and we understand that, and we have a plan to acquire good pitching and to build a really effective pitching staff. But there are more teams out there looking for offense than looking for pitching."

The Cardinals, in contrast according to Gordon, remained focused on pitching development due to the high injury attrition rate among pitchers.

Certainly the Cubs have one hell of an offensive core on the way up: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, now Addison Russell, not to mention additional investments in bats in the '14 draft and from the international market. But at the same time, I think the case can be overstated.

Despite their problems this year, it isn't like the Cardinals have neglected hitting; much of their lineup is homegrown and they've shown the ability to find hitters (Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig) that other teams downplayed for one reason or another. And while the Cubs don't have as many impact arms as they do impact bats, they haven't been ignoring the problem either, drafting a ton of arms in the middle rounds.

Exaggerations aside, what do you guys think about this? Is it better to emphasize pitching with your expensive draft and international investments and look for bargain hitters, or is it better to emphasize hitting with the big money plays and scout out bargain pitchers? Or is the entire topic too dependent on contexts like draft position and the depth of the particular amateur class to be meaningful at all?