Chicago Cubs: Each Infielder’s Chance of Making Opening Day Roster

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Chicago Cubs: Each Infielder's Chance of Making Opening Day Roster

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Dennis Wierzbickl - USA Today Sports

With plenty of prospects coming up through the minor leagues in the near future, it's imperative the club figures out the current infield. The reason that's so important is because the club needs to know what they have going forward as the youngsters start to make their ways to the big leagues. This offseason, the team added a lot of low risk veteran infielders in hope of fostering competition and that's exactly what they have.

The battle for roster spots and starting positions on the infield is the fiercest of any for the Cubs this spring. There are one, maybe two starting spots up for grabs and there are essentially nine players battling for six, maybe seven spots on the roster. When you eliminate Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney who are all shoe-ins to make the team, there are really six players competing for three, maybe four spots.

Interestingly, the team has a mix of infielders of all shapes and sizes. They have established players who they hope to build the future around, they have unproven young guys looking to show they have what it takes and they have well-travelled veterans who are just trying to prolong their major league careers.

The guys they have fighting for roster spots are all also different types of players. Some are power threats, some are speed guys and others are more of defensive specialists. Certainly the team will want players of all types on the roster when they open the season in Pittsburgh on March 31.

With all of that in mind, here are the nine Cubs fielders with realistic chances of making the team who are fighting for roster spots. Included is their chance of making the Opening Day roster.

Jacob Kornhauser is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. "Like" him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google+ network.

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1B Anthony Rizzo

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Rob Grabowski - USA Today Sports

As one of the cornerstones of the franchise going forward, Rizzo is going to be the team's starting first baseman for years to come. Despite his low average a season ago, he is surely in the Cubs' long-term plans.

Chance of making Opening Day Roster: 100 percent

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SS Starlin Castro

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Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports

Although he strained his hamstring a few days ago, he should still be ready for Opening Day. With a new coaching staff and old approach at the plate, Castro figures to bounce back in 2014.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 100 percent

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2B Darwin Barney

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Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports

Despite his .208 batting average last season, Barney will still make the team by virtue of his defense. Whether he will start in 2014 remains to be seen, but he will be on the Opening Day roster.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 100 percent

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IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio

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Lance Iversen - USA Today Sports

After signing with the team recently, Bonifacio is likely to make the Opening Day roster. His speed and ability to play both infield and outfield make him an attractive bench player at the very least. He could also challenge Barney for the starting second base job. If he gets into the starting lineup, he could be the Cubs' leadoff hitter in 2014.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 85 percent

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3B Mike Olt

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Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

Olt benefits from the team needing to know what they have in him right now. How he plays will determine where the rest of the prospects end up in the majors. He's the favorite to land the starting third base job and could bat cleanup.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 75 percent

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2B/3B Luis Valbuena

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Dennis Wierzbickl - USA Today Sports

After solidly contributing over the past couple seasons, the Cubs likely feel comfortable with him on the bench. He can play second and third base and is a left-handed bat, which bodes well for him making the team.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 75 percent

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IF Donnie Murphy

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Rob Grabowski - USA Today Sports

He had a power surge last season, blasting multiple home runs in multiple separate games. He would give the team a solid bat as a pinch hitter and can also play three infield positions.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 65 percent

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IF Ryan Roberts

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Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

Perhaps the player with the coolest tattoos on the Cubs, Roberts is trying to make this team as a role player. With competition so fierce, Roberts' relative lack of versatility and upside may cost him a spot on the roster on Opening Day.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 30 percent

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IF Logan Watkins

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Benny Sieu - USA Today Sports

He's a solid all-around player, but showed last year that he doesn't have much power upside. He would have to really impress this spring in order to grab a roster spot.

Chance of making Opening Day roster: 20 percent

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  • Bilin Bonilla

    I would say Welington Castillo, and not Barney, is the shoe-in. And with all Rizzo’s D, if he does’nt hit, Vogelbomb is coming fast. I would say the only name set in stone at opening day will be Welington.