As expected, the Chicago Cubs made more roster cuts in anticipation of their first day off tomorrow. With the second cut of Spring Training, we now begin to enter the final stretch of camp. This is where position battles will begin to intensify, and players who are on the bubble try to make one last impression. With that said, here is a look at the players that were cut today.
Top prospects Brett Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Josh Vitters were all notable players that were cut today. However, there is a strong chance that we could see Brett and Jay Jackson, as well as Chris Carpenter sooner rather than later.
In the case of Brett Jackson, most expect him to be on the same pace that shortstop Starlin Castro was last season. If you remember, Castro started 2010 in Double -A before bypassing Triple-A and being quickly called up to the Cubs in early May. Jackson will probably follow Castro’s footsteps and start the season in Double – A. However, I would expect Jackson to spend some time in Triple- A before being called up to the majors. When Jackson is called up, you can expect him to start immediately. The common expectation among fans is that Jackson will replace Marlon Byrd in Center, but that may not be the case. If Tyler Colvin does not turn out to be an everyday player in right field, Jackson may start off in right field. In fact, some have projected Jackson to be a corner outfielder when all is said and done.
The Cubs still have to determine whether or not they want Jay Jackson to be a starter or a reliever. Like Andrew Cashner last season, Jackson spent his time in the minors as both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. Jackson’s arsenal includes a fastball that tops off at 93MPH to go along with a slider, curveball, and a changeup. There is a chance that we may see Jackson this season, but that depends on what the Cubs’ plan for Jackson is. If the Cubs intend for Jackson to be a reliever, then he could very well end up in the Cubs’ bullpen before the season is over. But if the Cubs see Jackson as a future starting pitcher, then we may have to wait till 2012 to see Jackson in the major leagues.
Coming into camp, Chris Carpenter did have a slight chance at making the 25 man roster as a member of the Cubs’ bullpen. However, it was more realistic that Carpenter would start the year in Triple-A. Like Jay Jackson, the Cubs still have to determine whether Carpenter is a future starting pitcher or relief pitcher. At this point, it is looking like Carpenter will begin his career as a reliever. I would expect to see Carpenter at some point this season in the Cubs’ bullpen.
With Chris Archer now being a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, Trey McNutt is now labeled as the Cubs best pitching prospect. Depending on what you read, McNutt may have the higher skill set over Archer. At this point, McNutt is a two pitch pitcher with 95 MPH fastball and a quality curveball. McNutt is currently working on his changeup. The Cubs envision McNutt as a #1 or #2 starter, if he continues to progress as he has been, we may see him at some point in 2012.
We have already gone into great lengths talking about Josh Vitters and his future with the Chicago Cubs. This could very well be Aramis Ramirez’s last season with the Cubs. If so, the future would likely arrive in 2012 for Josh Vitters–who has long been considered to be the third baseman of the future for the Cubs. Vitters still has work to do on offense before he is deemed major league ready, but this season will go a long way in determining whether or not Vitters will be ready in 2012.
The Cubs roster now stands at 40, and obviously has to be down to 25 before their opener on April 1.
Here is the full list of the 18 players who were cut today.
*Information of the pitch selections of each prospect was obtained from FanGraphs.