Heading in to the 2012 campaign, Chicago Cub fans should be excited about the talent they have at the minor league level. They have a couple of top prospects who are already making a major impact in spring training, and Cub fans should not forget these names once the regular season hits.
On Opening Day, the Chicago Cubs have Marlon Byrd penciled in as their starting center fielder, and Bryan LaHair is your starting first baseman. Both of these players deserve to be starters heading into the season; however, if they should struggle out of the gate, the Cubs have two prospects ready to take their positions.
First base prospect Anthony Rizzo is off to a fast start this spring training; he has a couple home runs and has played solid defense.
When Anthony Rizzo got called up at the end of last season by former Padre and current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, he hit only .141 in 128 big league at-bats. So, it is good to see him gaining confidence in his swing once again.
If Rizzo continues to play well at first for Triple-A Iowa, then Rizzo could get the call to Wrigley more quickly than some might think, especially if first baseman Bryan LaHair struggles out of the gate.
Center fielder Brett Jackson is ready for the big leagues, and its not a question of if, but when. The Cubs already have a crowded outfield with Alfonso Soriano in left, Marlon Byrd in center and newcomer David DeJesus in right.
Brett Jackson is hitting the ball with authority this spring, and he is making his case for the starting job in center. However, the new regime has already said that Jackson will start the season in the minors.
If Marlon Byrd struggles out of the gate, then look for Brett Jackson to get the call to Wrigley in May.
Last season, the Chicago Cubs drafted talented shortstop Javier Baez, and after Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo get the call to Wrigley, Baez will undoubtedly be the Cubs top prospect.
Baez will need to change positions, as he shares the shortstop position with Starlin Castro. With the Cubs quickly losing faith in former top third-base prospect Josh Vitters, third base becomes an option.
Javier Baez has the athletic ability to move from short to third, and the Cubs are going to need him to if they want to get his bat in the lineup.
Coming out of college, Matthew Szczur was a two-sport star at Villanova. He played both at running back and in the outfield before making the decision to play professional baseball.
There is no question that Szczur has great athletic ability, and he should add tremendous speed to the Cubs lineup. Matthew Szczur could be the future leadoff hitter of the Chicago Cubs once he gets the call to Wrigley.
The Chicago Cubs lack quality depth in their farm system, however right-hander Trey McNutt is the Cubs top pitching prospect.
Trey McNutt opened eyes after being selected in the 32nd round a few seasons ago, but had an up-and-down year last season, as he struggled with his command.
If McNutt bounces back this year, he should be a September call-up.