With yet another very likely rough summer coming for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein has continued his patience preaching and big promises for the future of the dwindling franchise, meanwhile, Cubs fans all over the world have had one thing on their mind; the kids. The supposed franchise saving propsects.
Who can blame them? The Cubs dominate pretty much every top 100 prospect list out there and the Major League team is hard to even think about.
This season is unlike 2012 and 2013 though, as the kids are finally almost to Wrigleyville. With a strong minor league season, Javier Baez is widely considered to reach the big leagues this year, same with Arismendy Alcantara. Could 2013 second overall pick Kris Bryant also be on the road to Wrigley this summer?
It depends on who you ask, as some prefer the young stud to get a full season under his belt in the minors, yet there are fans who want to see the monster come up and send balls out of Wrigley for at least a half season, earning some valuable big league experience.
A lot of this hinges on Mike Olt, arguably the Cubs` biggest Spring Training story line. If Olt can be himself from 2012 with healthy vision, seeing the ball well, as Jacob wrote a little about, and manning third everyday there might be a little less pressure to bring Bryant to Chicago.
Olt`s potential emergence could potentially give Bryant some more seasoning in the minors.
However, if Bryant is mashing in AA or AAA, you have to at least consider a possible mid-to-late season call up. Would calling up such a hyped prospect up with little veteran presence be a good idea though?
That was a hot topic last week, as Tom Loxas wrote at Cubs Den about that very subject. He makes many great points as the kids could definitely need a bit of help from veterans not named Starlin Castro, 23, or Anthony Rizzo, 24.
There may be pressure on Bryant, Baez, and the other prospects in the hype machine, but how nice would it be to have Baez, Bryant, Castro, and Rizzo in the same lineup as soon as 2014? Calling up the kids would give them needed time to get settled in the major leagues before 2015, when they`re expected to compete.
The Cubs should take a page out of the Cardinals` book here, as St. Louis is great at bringing top prospects up to the majors, even if to just to get a little experience and to get comfortable at the major league level.
In a season the Cubbies are practically punting, what`s the harm in giving Bryant a little time at the end of the year to get adjusted and learn his way? Even if it`s just a month or two, it could be very valuable in the long run.
Of course you don`t want the front office to rush their entire future plans, if Bryant is playing at a mediocre level and showing he still needs a little refinement, obviously keep him down in the minors. If not, if Bryant is raking at whatever level he`s playing at, slot him in at third base, or even right field, to get some playing time.
Who knows, if the Cubs come out of the gate hot and carry it into June or July, the Cubs might need Bryant`s big bat in the lineup to add some extra pop for a surprise contending team. While there are clearly many “ifs” that go into that, it`s always possible.
Or, the Cubs could do what everyone expects them to do, fall flat on their faces. In that situation, it`s tough to argue a call up, unless Bryant is tearing the cover off the ball.
So, could giving 2013 Arizona Fall League MVP Kris Bryant some major league time later in the season be valuable in the long run? Or would it hurt Bryant`s development?
These are questions that will be answered this summer in Chicago or even Tennessee and Iowa, as this is a huge development year for the Cubs young slugger and the future of the organization. A huge minor league season could mean a debut, which could mean substantial developments for the team.
Time will tell, but if Bryant`s performance is showing he`s ready for the big club, it`s hard to ignore the possibility of a late season call up.