5 Prospects Who Could Be the Next Impact Player on the Chicago Cubs' Roster
The new Cubs management is showing that if you play well, you will get more opportunities to exceed expectations at the higher levels.
Not only does it allow the Cubs to see who they have in their system, but maybe, maybe, they will find a hidden gem.
Most of these guys aren't hidden gems anymore, but they aren't nearly on as many radars as Anthony Rizzo was last season.
Let's see who could be the next impact player for the Cubs in 2013.
5. Junior Lake
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In 103 games this season, Lake hit .279 with 10 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 50 RBI. He got a late start to the season, but hit the ground running and is on pace to be a good prospect next season.
He will likely begin the year in Triple-A with a slew of other Cubs prospects in hopes of joining Chicago in the early months of the season.
4. Frank Batista
The Cubs have given opportunities to several pitchers this season, most of whom have failed to meet relatively low expectations. It was a good chance for the Cubs to award players playing well and see if anyone could wear out a major league rotation spot or hold down a spot in the bullpen.
Batista has been the best closer in the Cubs organization all year. That includes Carlos Marmol. In 43 games at Double-A, he owns a 2.22 ERA and 24 saves with 39 strike outs. He got a taste of Triple-A but will likely begin there next season.
3. Josh Vitters
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Josh Vitters performance has been wildly disappointing, and it may point to a more gaping problem with the third base prospect.
Vitters is hitting just .085 since joining the Cubs, with two home runs and two doubles. Vitters was putting together a nice season in Triple-A, and needs more seasoning in Triple-A before being handed the everyday job in Chicago.
At 23, these next two seasons will likely determine his future with the Cubs.
2. Brett Jackson
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Brett Jackson has been far from spectacular in his time with the Cubs, but he has shown glimpses of his five-tool potential.
Despite only hitting .182 with 4 HR and 8 RBI, and striking out 45 times in 88 at-bats, the Cubs seem to be pleased with how he looks at this point in time.
He will certainly begin next year in Triple-A and work his way back to the team if he can find a way to limit his strike outs. I hate to admit it, but he chased a breaking ball over the plate that was popped up to the shortstop last night against the Nationals, and he looked eerily similar to Corey Patterson doing it.
Bent low at the knees, wide swing, one arm follow through. Hate to see it.
However, there's no way we can close the book on Jackson. He simply is loaded with talent but does not have a good grasp of the strike zone. If he can improve on that, he could be an impact player for years to come.
1. Arodys Vizcaino
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Vizcaino is arguably the Cubs' most exciting young prospect. Acquired in the Paul Maholm trade, he is recovering from Tommy John surgery that has kept him out for the entire season.
He was with the team briefly in August but will continue to build up strength into 2013. He is expected to be ready for the regular season.