Cubs Look to Separate Suspects from Prospects
Fans of the Chicago Cubs are accustomed to low expectations. The 2014 season figures to be no different for the Wrigleyville nine as the Cubs once again enter Spring Training all but eliminated from the National League Central race. Cubs fans will binge on the daily Spring Training power displays put on by top prospects Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, they’ll salivate over an outfield featuring Albert Almora and Jorge Soler, and cross their fingers that Arismendy Alcantara can be a long-term keystone partner for shortstop Starlin Castro. The Cubs have fared well in offseason prospect rankings, and given the team’s hot stove slumber, the hope for a brighter future is the only thing the Cubs’ marketing team has to sell this season. While the big names mentioned above figure to spend the vast majority of the upcoming season in the minors, and preserving their big league service time, there is another group of young players that could have a more immediate impact on the Cubs long, slow rebuilding plan.
Names like Mike Olt, Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, and Arodys Vizcaino will figure prominently into Chicago’s Spring Training plans. The quartet features a pair of former top prospects acquired through trade (Olt and Vizcaino) and a pair of struggling Cubs’ first round draft selections (Vitters and Jackson). The 2014 season could be a make or break year for all four of them as Chicago looks to separate the prospects from the suspects.