A select group of prospects has been working out and hanging out in the Chicago area this week as part of the Cubs’ Rookie Development Program. Here they are by position:
Pitchers: Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks, Neil Ramirez, Eric Jokisch, C.J. Edwards, Armando Rivero, Arodys Vizcaino
Outfielders: Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Rubi Silva
Infielders: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Christian Villanueva, Mike Olt, Arismendy Alcantara
To me, this looks like a real organizational honor roll, not just a list of invitees to whatever Cub convention or caravan goes on in January. These names merit some attention and thought, not least because of the implicit promise that these fifteen guys will get a shot at the majors. For example, Rubi Silva might get called up this year, whereas Matt Szczur probably won’t, even though Szczur often appears on Cub top-fifteen lists, while Silva never does. Apparently the Cubs like Silva’s fifteen home runs better than Szczur’s fifty walks. It probably doesn’t hurt Silva’s chances that, with Baez, Bryant, Almora and Soler all expected to come on line in the not-too-distant future, the Cubs will be very right-handed.
Another group-of-fifteen member who does not figure prominently in the usual prospect rankings is Eric Jokisch. But teams are always looking for southpaw hurlers, and Jokisch is the only one in the team’s top fifteen today. Don’t be surprised if he gets fitted for a Cub uniform in 2014.