>This is the fourth and final installment of my preview and it’s on the players that are to come in the near future, as the team is getting older and older. For the first time in what seems like years, the Cubs farm system has players that are going to be able to come up and help them either in the near future or in a couple years down the road. The system was somewhat depleted in the trade for Garza, but the cupboard isn’t bare.
Brett Jackson is probably the most well-known of the Cubs prospects. He is an outfield prospect that was the Cubs first round draft pick two years ago and he might be a staple in the Cubs lineup next year, if not even the end of this year. He played in his first full season last year and split time between Single A and Double A. He isn’t one to hit for power, but he hits for a decent average and has some speed, swiping 30 bags last year.
With the trade of Chris Archer, Trey McNutt is the teams’ top pitching prospect. Like Jackson, McNutt went through Single and Double A last season. In 25 starts between the two levels, he went 10-1 with a 2.48 ERA and held hitters to a .2217 average. He has an impressive K/BB numbers in 132/37.
Josh Vitters has been talked about for what seems like a decade as a replacement for third baseman Aramis Ramirez. One thing that has been a knock on Vitters is his fielding, as he is known for committing errors. His power may not be there yet, but he can hit for average and drives in runs fairly easily. He is coming off of a season-ending broken finger so how he comes back from that could be key.
After McNutt, three other pitchers look like they might be ready to make an impact on the major league level soon: Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson and Hayden Simpson. While Carpenter has been used mainly as a starter, many think his place in the majors will be in the bullpen. What’s nice about Carpenter is that he has about a 2:1 K/BB ratio. Jackson struggled in his first full year at Triple-A, but he has shown that he has the stuff to pitch at a high level. Like many of the Cubs pitchers, he has an impressive K:BB ratio. Simpson was a bit of a shock when the Cubs took him in the first round last year, especially since he was an unknown while pitching at Division-II Southern Arkansas. If he can put up numbers like he did there last year (13-1, 1.81 ERA, 131 K, 35 BB), the pick might not look so bad.
The last two are a couple more outfield prospects the team drafted last season, Reggie Golden and Matt Szczur. Golden finished his high school career with 36 home runs, 156 RBIs and 146 runs. Szczur was persuaded by the Cubs to forego an NFL career and play baseball.