As the 2012 season approaches, Cubbies Crib is profiling each and every member of the Cubs forty man roster. Today, we are talking about Matt Szczur.
Imagine, if you can, that Mark Grace played center field and had 40+ steal potential. That’s roughly the sort of player Matt Szczur can be. The collegiate two sport star was lured away from the NFL with a million dollar contract, but that new contract meant he had to be added to the 40 man roster. Szczur is not ready for the majors. He still needs at least a season or two before we can expect to see him roaming center field and leading off in Chicago, but he is a prospect worth waiting for.
In his first full season dedicated to baseball, Szczur got himself off to a good start. After hitting .314 for Peoria, he was promoted to Daytona where he struggled early. The struggles did not last, and Szczur was a significant part of the Cubs’ offense as they won the Florida State League Championship. He showed more power than I expected (10 HR), and seemed a little reluctant to test his speed on the base paths (just 26 steals), but I still see him as a lead off hitter in the future.
Szczur will likely return to Daytona to start the season, but he should earn a promotion to Tennessee by mid-season. If he keeps his OBP nice and high, becomes more aggressive on the base paths, and continues to improve in center, it is not impossible that he will be promoted to Iowa or Chicago at the very end of the season. Late 2013 is the earliest we can expect him in to arrive in the majors to stay; 2014 is more likely. When he does arrive, he should push Brett Jackson and Jae-Hoon Ha out of center field. The lead off slot in the batting order should also be his for the taking.