By Jacob Kornhauser on April 1, 2014
It's no secret that the Cubs shouldn't be competing for a World Series title in 2014. That's probably the case in 2015 and possibly 2016 as well. However, anywhere in 2017 and beyond, it isn't unreasonable to expect the team to compete for titles. Some players currently on the team and some waiting in the wings will combine to make what would be the Cubs roster when they win their first World Series in almost a century if things fall into place.
Almora is heralded as a natural born leader and would fit perfectly into the top of the Cubs' lineup. He would be manning center field and leading off if all goes right.
Already on the team for years, it's weird to think that Castro will be a wily veteran when this team is contending, but that's what he will be. He should be growing into his power by that point and could be a very good No. 2 hitter in a very good lineup.
One of the most refined hitting prospects to come through the Cubs' system in quite some time, Bryant is already on the fast track for the big leagues. By the time the Cubs are competing for championships, he could be in his third year and just entering his prime.
Baez could be moving to second base when he's called up, although Castro has said that he'd be open to a position change. If he does go to second base, he showed this spring that he has the ability to be one of the best power hitting middle infielders in the game. As long as he stays healthy and keeps progressing, that won't be an overstatement in a couple years.
Rizzo would be the only left-handed starter in the Cubs' lineup in this scenario. While that could be worrisome, there will surely be other lefties on the bench if need be and Rizzo will provide the necessary power from the five spot in the order.
Olt is getting his first real taste of major league baseball this season as the team's everyday third baseman. If he performs well, he will likely stay in that spot and relegate Kris Bryant to right field. Having both hitters in the lineup would be a luxury.
Soler would be further along in his development right now if he was able to avoid injury, but a few injuries have set him back so far. He's still said to have a higher ceiling than Yasiel Puig, and that could be scary if he reaches it.
One of the most dependable hitters in the Cubs' lineup, Castillo figures into the club's long-term plans. They have no real prospects behind him and this is his team for the long haul if he keeps producing. As long as he keeps doing what he's doing, he will be one of the better No. 8 hitters in baseball.
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