5 Chicago Cubs Minor Leaguers Who Will See Time in the Majors This Season
The Chicago Cubs are already off to a really slow start, starting the season 5-11. It's been clear that the team lacks any real exciting playmakers—outside of maybe Starlin Castro and a surprising Emilio Bonifacio. That could change at some point this season, as there are a few minor leaguers that are close to being ready to join the Cubs in Chicago.
Depending on the position and minor league performance, there are players within the organization who could make an impact in the major leagues this season. A lot of players' fates will be decided by their performance over the next month or so, but there are some who seem destined to make it to "The Show" this season. Here are five that could do just that and provide some excitement in the process.
SS Javier Baez
Perhaps the Cubs player most likely to make an impact at the major league level this season, Baez showed off his unreal power this spring. He hit one home run that traveled 450 feet, and if it wouldn't change his contract status, there's a good chance Baez would already be in the majors.
He suffered a minor setback a few days ago when he sprained his ankle and was placed on the Triple-A disabled list, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. The injury will force him out of action for a few weeks, but as long as he can show he's capable of producing at the same rate as he did in his 37-home run, 111-RBI season of 2013, he will be in Chicago by June.
2B Arismendy Alcantara
While Alcantara's status may depend on whether or not current second baseman Darwin Barney is traded this season or not, the talented switch-hitter is a capable major league player right now. He flashed some power upside last season by blasting 15 home runs while driving in 69. Additionally, the timing of the call-up would make sense as well.
Every year, Alcantara has progressed one year in the minor leagues, and this year, he began the season in Triple-A. Therefore, the next logical step would be Chicago, where he soon could be featured. Whether it's a matter of adding depth or a little excitement to the lineup, Alcantara could be featured in the Cubs lineup sooner rather than later.
SP Kyle Hendricks
Hendricks was outstanding last season, pitching across Double-A and Triple-A and posting a stellar 2.00 ERA. He's now in Triple-A Iowa once again, and the organization could soon feel he's ready to get major league playing time. His timetable could be accelerated if ace Jeff Samardzija is traded before the deadline, but if he keeps pitching well, he will be up regardless.
Hendricks is one of the Cubs' rare pitching prospects, so they're going to be careful with when they bring him up. That being said, he's their most major league-ready starting pitching prospect based on his two separate years in Triple-A and could be asked to join the Cubs rotation this season.
RP Arodys Vizcaino
Acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2012 and coming off of Tommy John surgery from around that time, Vizcaino is finally healthy again and ready to contribute. He can touch triple digits on the gun and seems to have all the makings of a future closer. Being cautious with him, the Cubs have started him off in High-A this season, but he will quickly progress if he can stay healthy, as he's already pitched in the majors for the Braves.
Depending on if he can stay healthy and prove effective, the Cubs could decide to use Vizcaino to try and bolster their bullpen and see what they have in him for the future. There's no doubt he and Pedro Strop are the two leading candidates for the closer job of the future, and that battle could begin as early as this season.
3B Kris Bryant
It's a little bit of a long shot, but Kris Bryant could be up in the majors by this season, as he's proven himself at every level so far. He won the Arizona Fall League MVP and then hit a home run in his first-ever spring training at-bat. How did he follow that up? He hit a home run in his first career Double-A at-bat against a rehabbing Mat Latos.
Since he played three years in college, there's less of a learning curve for Bryant, so the organization wouldn't feel like they were rushing him into anything. If nothing else, he should be a September call-up in order to get him some major league experience under his belt so he's better prepared for 2015, where he should be an everyday starter.