With the postseason out of reach, and several former veterans donning new uniforms, the Chicago Cubs are officially playing for next season. Obviously anyone who follows the team knows that’s what the Cubs have been doing all season, but with Sunday’s roster moves, the process is in full effect.
Top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were called up from Triple A Iowa to put the final pieces in place.
Now as you look across the Cubs’ lineup, it mainly consists of young players trying to make a name for themselves in the big leagues. Of the position players, Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus are the only remaining veterans that will start.
Some will question if Jackson is ready for big league action, but I’m not one of them. Sure Jackson’s numbers in Triple A were not that impressive (.256/15 HR/47 RBI), but why not give him a chance? The experience will do so much for him leading into next season. Jackson is a good glove in center field, he’s a potential 5 tool player, stealing 27 bases for Iowa this season. He went 2 for 4 in his big league debut with a run scored, looking comfortable and locked in at the plate.
Vitters on the other hand, some would call underrated. He’s outshined Jackson offensively all season hitting .304 with 17 HR, and 68 RBI. However he’s not as highly touted on defense, where Jackson is clearly better. Vitters figures to platoon with Luis Valbuena at third, but might become an everyday player if he continues to hit .300 plus, and if his glove is solid.
Vitters went 0-1 in his big league debut as a pinch hitter.
Anthony Rizzo is showing that he is the real deal. Since his call-up in late June, Rizzo is batting .310 with 9 HR and 23 RBI, while slugging a whopping .550. In addition to solid stats, Rizzo has proven to be clutch with multiple go-ahead, and game tying hits since his call up. His defense, while overshadowed by his offense, is arguably his best asset. In 33 games this season, Rizzo has yet to make an error.
Welington Castillo now has his chance to prove he can be an everyday big league catcher. The 25 year old is on the roster because of his defense, but as of late has improved at the plate. Castillo has gone deep in two of the last three games. If he can at least stay around .240, he figures to be in line to compete for the starting job next season. He’s a catcher, so you can’t expect too much from him at the dish, and I won’t as long as he plays the top notch defense he’s capable of…
These are just four of the young players that make of the nucleus of the Cubs’ future. Combined with Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, it seems there will be better days ahead for Chicago. For a non-contending team like the Cubs, August and September are the most important months of the season. True fans should still find themselves eager to tune in each night, just to see how these young guys develop.