5 Chicago Cubs Prospects That Could Reach The Bigs In 2014
Chicago Cubs: Five Prospects To Be Called Up In 2014
The Chicago Cubs have arguably one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball, something that allows Cubs fans to look at the future with a lot of hope that they might contend for a pennant in two or three years if most of the guys at the minors pan out.
The big league club, however, is a whole different story. Chicago lost 101 games in 2012 and even when they improved their record this past season, they still lost more than 90 games in what was another dismal year. 2013 was marked by several moves in the trade deadline that depleted the roster while improving the lower levels of the farm system.
The waves of talent, as Theo Epstein referred to the young prospects, could arrive sooner rather than later as the Cubs are in a turning point of their rebuilding process. They might as well turn the corner if some of the younger players can translate their positive experience in the minors into the MLB level.
Stud prospects like Pierce Johnson, Albert Almora or Jorge Soler are still one or two years away as they either have missed time due to injuries or simply need to refine some aspects of their game to be successful at the big leagues, but there are five highly-touted prospects that could arrive to Wrigley Field at some point during the next year.
Join me through this slideshow to know which young stars might start helping the Cubs the following year.
5. Arismendy Alcantara
Arismendy Alcantara had a very good season in the minors in 2012, but gathered national attention this year due to his impressive performance in Double-A Tennessee. A former shortstop that moved to second base following Javier Baez’s arrival to the Smokies, his combination of power, speed and solid approach could make him a very good top of the lineup hitter in the near future.
The Cubs' current 2B Darwin Barney gives Gold Glove-caliber defense to the team but his offense is almost non-existent, so if his struggles continue, if wouldn’t be a surprise to see Alcantara taking over the position at Wrigley next year.
4. Javier Baez
The Cubs' best prospect and one of the best young players in all of the minors, a lot of the team's hopes in the rebuilding process rest on Javier Baez's shoulders. 'Javy' started last year in Class A Daytona and after some initial struggles, he dominated to earn a promotion to Tennessee, where he was even better.
Baez cut down on his errors and continued his solid approach at the plate after finishing the year with 37 homers. With Starlin Castro as the team’s shortstop of the future, he could get the call-up to Wrigley if he’s successful playing third at AAA Iowa.
3. Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant was drafted as a third baseman out of San Diego University, but he might end up playing in the outfield once everything is said and done for him. His impressive hit tool, off-the-charts makeup and above-average athleticism allow him to play almost anywhere.
Bryant will justify his presence in the lineup due to his bat, and his solid defensive skills would make him an above-average corner outfielder where his hitting skills profile better. He could be up as a late September call-up or even sooner if he’s able to handle the higher levels of the minors with ease.
2. Mike Olt
A former Texas Rangers stud only a year ago, vision problems affected Mike Olt’s 2013 season where he was unable to hit in the majors, was sent back to the minors and eventually traded to the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal.
Olt profiles as the future of the Cubs at third if he can win the job in Spring Training, as his bat is superior to that of Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena. He could even be called up by midseason if he demonstrates that his vision issues are a thing of the past.
1. Brooks Raley
The only pitcher in this list, Brooks Raley has already have two stints with the Cubs: in 2012 as a starter and last year as a lefty-specialist reliever out of the pen. With the current lack of lefties in the Cubs’ arms, he might get a shot to join the big club at some point in 2014.
Raley’s stuff isn’t overpowering and he’s not going to blow anyone with his velocity, but a good command of his fastball and more than solid secondary offerings could be enough to land him a spot in the bullpen as a lefty next to James Russell.