Snapshots don't always tell the whole story.
Sometimes you need the moving picture.
Fortunately for Cubs fans, both pictures are coming into focus and telling a pretty interesting tale and one we can use to compare and contrast with the Cubs two years ago.
The picture wasn't such a pretty one Wednesday night in a 13-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Let's take a look at a couple of snapshots. In the starting lineup the last two nights at Colorado were Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez and Welington Castillo. Travis Wood was the starting pitcher Tuesday night, and Jake Arrieta started Wednesday.
Flash back to the beginning of the 2012 season, the first year of the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer regime at the helm of the Cubs' baseball operations.
The starting lineup on Opening Day of 2012 featured Castro, but it also contained the likes of Jeff Baker at first base, Darwin Barney at second, Ian Stewart at third, Alfonso Soriano in left field, Marlon Byrd in center, David DeJesus in right and Geovany Soto behind the plate. The pitcher that day was Ryan Dempster.
Based on these snapshots, things have changed.
The picture is constantly moving, and in the coming weeks, it should move enough that you'll see Jorge Soler in the outfield. And by next April or May, you're likely to see Kris Bryant at third base.
In other words, the Cubs are changing before our eyes, and they will continue to do so for the rest of this season and into next year.
That looks to be a good thing as Year 3 of the Epstein-Hoyer era concludes. There has been a lot more losing than winning over these three years, but the turnover in talent toward more homegrown talent at the big-league level is well under way.
In this space, we've pointed out the good and the bad under the Epstein administration. The good has included the promotion of Baez (a draft pick of the previous regime), the signing of Soler, the drafting of Bryant, Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber and the acquisitions of Rizzo and the many prospects in trades.
The bad has included the signings of Edwin Jackson, Jose Veras and Kyuji Fujikawa (he came off the disabled list Wednesday after having Tommy John surgery last year) and the trade for Stewart.
The main point is that the Cubs are moving on and moving on quickly. Tuesday's promotion of Baez seemed to be a watershed moment, and it didn't hurt that he hit a game-winning home run in the 12th inning. However, there is much work to be done. The Cubs still need pitching at both the major- and minor-league levels, and most fans hope this is the last year they have to "flip" major-league pitching for prospects, as they did when they traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland on July 4.
"We're not here to make pronouncements or look for deeper meanings," Epstein said in the wake of the Baez promotion. "That's your (the media's) job. I'd be lying if we didn't recognize that there are a lot of nice things going on in this organization and that there are a lot of reasons for optimism. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We have a lot of talent moving through our system and getting up here to the big-league level. That provides us opportunities in the near future and in the distant future to make it count and to win.
"We're excited about that even as we recognize there is an extraordinary amount of work left to be done. That continues and doesn't stop one iota because one player has made it up to the big leagues."