5 Chicago Cubs Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training
Chicago Cubs Prospects You Must Watch
The Chicago Cubs have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball--fact. Their last three first-round draft picks are all currently ranked among the top 20 prospects in baseball. With several highly touted players on the cusp of being Major League ready, Chicago is heading toward a youth movement in the very near future.
When the new regime took over three seasons ago, the No. 1 task was to strip down and rebuild across the minor league levels. The plan was projected to be a three-year project with the 2015 season being viewed as the one to strap in for. By all accounts, that plan appears to still be very much on track and within sight. This season, the real scoreboard watching will be done in Des Moines, Iowa, Kodak, Tennessee and Daytona, Florida-- the three cities for the Cubs affiliates.
While the last two seasons at Wrigley Field have been a struggle, there is a light at the end of the tunnel approaching. Within two to three years, the Cubs could conceivably have seven everyday players at the age of 29 or younger. That would be unheard of on the North side of Chicago.
For a franchise that has struggled to see a true home-grown player really pan out at the Major League level, the Cubs are starting to hit it big with their draft picks as of late. Honorable mentions for prospects to watch during spring training also include fellow MLB Top 100 prospects in the form of pitcher Pierce Johnson and infielder Arismendy Alcantara. Here are five baby Cubs who have all of the promise and potential to one day hit it big at the big league level.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.
5. C.J. Edwards
C.J. Edwards is the No. 42 prospect on the MLB Top 100 list. He was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011 and was included in the Matt Garza trade a few seasons ago. His body frame can be viewed as a negative, but his 12-6 curve ball is not. Edwards has plus stuff that will continue to develop in the minor league ranks this season. He will likely not be called up to the big leagues until the 2015 campaign.
4. Jorge Soler
Jorge Soler is the No. 49 prospect according to MLB. He was one of the first signings that Theo Epstein executed back in 2012. Soler is a Cuban native and is part of the 2012 trio that includes Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. One of his first at-bats as a member of the Cubs' organization was a 400-foot blast. It was at that point where Soler introduced his light-tower power to Cub fans. He was hampered by a leg injury last year, but the 5-tool player is currently part of the Cubs' 40-man roster. Soler likely will have one more season in the high minor league ranks before debuting in 2015.
3. Albert Almora
Albert Almora is the No. 18 prospect. He was also the sixth overall pick in the 2012 Player Draft. While he does have some home run power, his natural ability is a line-to-line hitter to all fields. Almora has a tremendous center field arm and plays a solid defense. As he continues to develop, Almora is projected to hit for a high average once called up, and is another candidate to make his debut in 2015.
2. Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant is the No. 9 rated prospect overall after just one season in the Cubs' organization. After hitting more home runs than most teams did during his final year of college, Bryant continued to hit during his first year in the minors, as well as in the Arizona Fall League. He was the second player taken in the 2013 draft and was named AFL MVP this season.
Bryant will be at spring camp likely crushing the ball, and where he will also be playing third base. In a perfect world for Chicago, Bryant could see a move to right field in his future to allow for other young prospects to fill out the infield. A move like that would be a win-win scenario for the Cubs' lineup.
1. Javier Baez
Javier Baez is the No. 7 overall prospect on the MLB Top 100 list. He was drafted ninth overall in the 2011 draft and has been in the Cubs' organization the longest out of the players on this list. Baez was one of the top home run hitters in the minors last season. His natural position is shortstop, but he could also see a position change in his future depending on what exactly is the best optimal line up for the Cubs defensively. Baez is the one player that could see big-league playing time this season for Chicago, and heads up this list for that reason.