5 Reasons to Be Excited for the 2015 Cubs Season

Jason S. Parini@@JasonPariniBRCorrespondent IIMarch 29, 2015

5 Reasons to Be Excited for the 2015 Cubs Season

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Even though the 2015 Chicago Cubs baseball season is just a week away, the hot topic of discussion lately has not been the state of the team; rather, it has been the fate of the historic Wrigley Field.

    Chairman Tom Ricketts has already announced that the ballpark will not be ready for Opening Day, and renovations could take an extra year to complete.

    Look on the bright side, Cubs fans. Wouldn't you prefer an extra year of construction for the ballpark instead of the reconstruction of the team?

    There are mixed expectations for the 2015 Cubs, though the reality is that the success of the team depends largely on the growth and performance of its youth. Players such as Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Kris Bryant will play a significant role in the Cubs' success (or lack thereof) this season. Even if the Cubs fall short of Anthony Rizzo's promised NL Central title, there's plenty to look forward to in 2015.

    Here are five reasons to be excited for the 2015 Cubs season.

Jon Lester and the Starting Rotation

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    The signing of free-agent ace Jon Lester was by far the biggest addition for the Cubs in the 2014-15 offseasonand arguably one of the biggest signings in the team's history.

    The Cubs starting rotation also was strengthened with the return of Jason Hammel. The potential continued success of young starters Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks would make for something to watch throughout the season, as three of those four starters compiled ERAs no worse than 2.53 in 2014. Only Jason Hammel's 3.46 ERA was above 3.00, although his ERA with the Cubs was only 2.98.

    The starting rotation has the potential to be one of the strongest in baseball, especially if likely No. 5 starter Travis Wood returns to his All-Star form this season.

The Progress of the Cubs' Young Major Leaguers

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    It's been long known that the success of the Cubs in the future is dependent on the success of young prospects, something that Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is known to value.

    Players such as Baez, Mike Olt, Jorge Soler and Alcantara have been in the Cubs' future plans for years, and now that they've arrived at the major league level, it's time for them to start growing up.

    Though Soler played well in his 24 games at the big league level, Baez, Olt and Alcantara have struggled in their short periods of time in the major leagues.

    The progress of these young potential stars will be something to follow throughout the seasonespecially the hopeful breakout of Baez.

    Ideally, all three will find their grooves in 2015 and give Cubs fans something to watch on a daily basis.

The (Eventual) Completion of the Outfield Bleachers

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The state of the outfield bleachers and surrounding ballpark will be something that both players and fans will have to adjust to for the first half of the season. As of now, the bleachers are not slated to be completed until mid-June.

    It will be weird seeing beams instead of bums in the outfield, but the inevitable completion will be a relief for all those following the story.

    There will be no more battles with the rooftop owners and no more wondering when the ballpark will finally be finished. Heck, most fans will probably tell you that they're more excited for the drama to be over than for the actual construction itself.

    The plot thickened just this week, as a Sheffield Avenue rooftop owner was indicted for lying about how much money he made off his rooftop business.

    Relax, Cubs fans. It'll only be a matter of time until the process is over.

A Power Lineup

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    PAUL BEATY/Associated Press

    The Cubs were fifth in MLB in home runs last season, slugging 157 dingers as a team. That number is likely to go up this season, as power hitters such as Baez and Soler will probably be with the big league team all season.

    The eventual arrival of Bryant will also boost that number, whenever that may be. Bryant has already hit 11 home runs in spring training, a major league best.

    Combine Soler, Baez and Bryant with Rizzo's 32 home runs in 2014, and the Cubs are sure to have some fireworks in the lineup in 2015.

The Arrival of Kris Bryant

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Without a doubt, megaprospect Kris Bryant has been the biggest topic of discussion and excitement for some time. Bryant could be the most highly touted and hyped prospect in Cubs history thanks to his 11 home runs and .459 batting average in spring training.

    Bryant slugged 43 home runs throughout his 2014 minor league season as well.

    Despite his numbers, the Cubs will likely start him in Triple-A to keep him from gaining a year of service time at the major league level and give themselves another year of contractual control over Bryant.

    Regardless of when Bryant makes his major league debut, it's certain to be a holiday in Wrigleyville. With any luck, Bryant will continue to give Cubs fans something to be excited about all season.

    Jason S. Parini covers the Chicago Cubs on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter.

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