Soon after the second-half plunge began in Major League Baseball, MLB.com had rearranged it’s most impressive top-100 prospects. As players from every team rank amongst the best of the best when it comes to minor league baseball, five-tool players, monstrous hitters, and fireballers are placed on this list, ranking prospects of all sorts 1 through 100. A team that is no stranger to having players on the list is the Chicago Cubs.
After endless years of losing, Chicago had landed many picks through upper-most rounds several drafts. Chicago also used a large amount of money they had to sign international baseball players of the past two-to-three years.
Chicago, after recently receiving second-overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, and signing over three International prospects, has five players listed on the top 100 prospect list all being under number 75! In order the Cubs’ prospects rank:
Javier Baez (#10)
Albert Almora (#24)
Jorge Soler (#29)
Kris Bryant (#39)
Mike Olt (#62)
As the for Cubs’ International prospects, they rank in this order:
Eloy Jimenez (#1)
Gleyber Torres (#3)
Erling Moreno (#17)
Jen-Ho Tseng (#29)
As the future looks nothing but bright for the Cubs’ lets take a look a what their team lineup may be in the future, according to my predictions!
#1 Jeff Samardzija
#2 Travis Wood
#3 Duane Underwood (Possible other #3′s : Pierce Johnson and Alberto Cabrera )
#4 C.J. Edwards (Possible other #4′s : Paul Blackburn and Arodys Vizcaíno)
#5 Jake Arrieta (Possible other #5 : Carlos Villanueva)
The Chicago Cubs’ Lineup:
C: Welington Castillo/ Dioner Navarro
I see Welington fitting in perfectly behind the plate for Chicago. With a developing bat and great control over his starting rotation, Welington has shown to be very intelligent on a baseball diamond knowing every technique and every batter’s plate appearances. With 72 hits in only 86 games, Welington is solid contact hitter that the Cubies’ can rely on not only behind the plate, but deep into their lineup. For Dioner, he has entered his ninth season and he is only getting older. At the age of twenty-nine, Navarro could be a good back-up catcher for Welington if he needed a day off or got injured (*knock on wood*). Navarro, an “in-and-out” player for the Cubs’ this year, has blasted nine home-runs and posts a 365. on base percentage. Re-signing Navarro may not be guaranteed, but if Chicago were to keep a back-up catcher, Dioner is the guy to stick with.
1B: Anthony Rizzo/ Dan Vogelbach
I think a seven-year, $41-million contract extension may seal the deal for keeping Anthony Rizzo on the Cubs’ team. Still not convinced? Rizzo is an everyday player starting at first base, who has batted third almost ever game of the 2013 season. If that is not enough, maybe this scouting report is, “plus-fielding, plus-makeup, power-hitting first baseman”. As the two-year veteran has not dead-set back-up, the Cubs’ may turn to Dan Vogelbach, twenty-year old first basemen. Dan, as some would call a “one-trick pony” at the plate, is 6′ 0″, 250 Lbs. with an underestimated amount of power. As Dan needs time to progress as a defensive player, his power certainly makes up for his defense as Dan has a .283 batting average, .360 on base percentage, .450 slugging percentage, and an .810 OPS. The numbers don’t lie folks!
2B: Javier Baez/ Darwin Barney
The following year after Starlin Castro made his SS debut, the Cubs’ drafted Javier Baez, nine overall in the first round. Baez, originally a shortstop, is said to be playing third base or perhaps shortstop, provided Starlin Castro moves to third-base. However, I feel as if Castro is staying put at shortstop, and eventually, the third-base position will be occupied. Thus Baez should be willing to play second-base in order see constant playing time. Javier may need to gain better plate discipline, but with some decent pop and an incredibly fast bat speed, Baez will fill an important role in the Cub’s line. As of fielding, Baez has a decent-to-strong arm and lots of range, as he is quick to any ball hit near him. Darwin Barney, in the eight-hole, is yet another young mid-infielder, but looking at the Cubs’ future, it seems as if there are one too many good middle-infielders.
SS: Starlin Castro/ Junior Lake
As we know, Starlin Castro, is most definitely one of the biggest factors in the Cubs’ success further down the road. Although struggles with his batting skills have haunted him for the pat four years, Starlin is a great infielder for the Cubs’ and a large help with getting on base as he has mastered hitting doubles and singles as opposed to hitting home-runs. After Junior’s recent call-up, he has done nothing but help the Cubs’ cruise to victories. Having only played 18 games, Lake has these numbers in order of the stat column (AVG., OBP., SLG., OPS.) .333, .351, .533, and .884! Plus, Lake has shown great contact, plate discipline, and a good arm, however, Lake mainly only able to play third or shortstop which is taken by Starlin Castro and my next bet for third, Kris Bryant. In the mean time, however, Junior Lake would be able to participate at third, untill Bryant is called up.
3B: Kris Bryant/ Mike Olt
As the Cubs’ were looking upon a starting pitcher, it seemed obvious the Cubs’ would invest in either Mark Appel Jonathan Gray, but as the draft was nearing, it looked as if all of the Cubs interested washed over to third-basemen Kris Bryant. Selected second-overall by Chicago in the first round, Bryant was the most promising hitter to enter the draft.A plus-arm and plus-defense is not the best tool about Kris. Bryant also jacked thirty-one home-runs, posted a .329 average, and drove in sixty-two runs over the corse of sixty-two games played for San Diego St. High School. Bryant played a bit of right field as well as first-base in high-school, but Kris is more well-rounded as a third-basemen. Either way, Bryant’s bat will always help him succeed in the Bigs. acquired in a recent trade with the Texas Rangers, giving up Matt Garza, the Cubs’ obtained third-basemen, Mike Olt. Major League Baseball #62 prospect, Olt, along with Bryant, also played the out-field and first-base, but like Bryant, Olt is much better at third. Mike played a bit of ball with the Rangers in the Majors, but due to the fact there was no room on Texas’s roster, Olt got little to no playing time. On the other hand, Olt has a great eye up a the plate which can generate lots of walks for Olt plus his highly touted power will pay off as well. Olt would serve as a great starting thrid-basemen or a role-player.
LF: Brett Jackson
CF: Albert Almora
RF: Jorge Soler
Outfielders may be hard to predict because you can not forget Matt Szczur, Eloy Jimenez, and possibly Nate Schierholtz, but considering Eloy has time to develop since he is still only seventeen-years old, Matt is mainly a base-stealer and single-hitter, and Nate may not returning with Chicago, as he might not be resigned.
As far a the bullpen is concerned, Kevin Gregg, thirty-five years old, looks to be a future closer, and for middle-relievers, don’t forget, Chicago has tons more pitching prospects that can be turned into relievers, and Chicago also has Justin Grimm, Pedro Stroop, and more to come.
As we all know, anything can happen with teams any day of the year. Players traded, players released, players added, much more can occur. These are my predictions for the Chicago Cubs’ lineup in a couple of years, for the most part, 2015.