The Lucky 21
Over the course of the past couple of weeks, the Cubs have announced a plethora of minor league signings. Theses signings leaked in anticipation of the Chicago Cubs announcing the full list of player being invited to the Major League camp for Spring Training. The names that we already knew were catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielders Alfredo Amezaga, Matt Tolbert, Edgar Gonzalez, and Bobby Scales, and outfielder Joe Mather. In addition the pitchers, whose minor league signings were already reported, were Rodrigo Lopez, Manny Corpas, and Trever Miller.
While none of those names are all too surprising, they were a nice teaser to the Cubs releasing the full list of invitees. Nonetheless, on Monday, the Cubs released the full list of players that have been invited to participate in Spring Training with the Major League team. The list includes 21 players in total.
Pitchers: Corpas, Lopez, Miller, Marco Carrillo, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker, Dae-Eun Rhee, Jay Jackson, and Chris Rusin
Catchers: Jaramillo, Michael Brenly, and Blake Lalli
Infielders: Amezaga, Gonzalez, Scales, Tolbert, and Jonathan Mota,.
Outfielders: Mather, Jim Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, and top prospect Brett Jackson
The most notable players on the list would be top position prospect Brett Jackson, and top pitching prospect Trey McNutt. Both players figure to be playing in Wrigley Field by the time the 2012 season concludes. Jackson, of course, has an outside chance of making the team coming out of Spring Training. Though, for Jackson to be able to do that, the Cubs would have to move either left fielder Alfonso Soriano or center fielder Marlon Byrd prior to opening day. Another factor that should be played into when Jackson makes his ascension to the Major League team should be the Cubs’ pursuit of Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Cubs are viewed by many as the favorites to sign Cespedes, though, the Cuban prospect likely will need some seasoning in the Minor Leagues before playing on the Major League level.
Meanwhile, McNutt, will likely start the season with the Iowa Cubs. McNutt regressed during the 2011 season after dealing with injuries and posting 4.55 ERA with the Tennessee Smokies in 23 games (22 starts). The silver lining in McNutt’s season with the Smokies last season may be that he had a FIP of 3.91. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer seem to value FIP over ERA as all the pitchers who they acquired this off-season have had a FIP that was lower than their ERA. It will likely take an injury or a trade or two for McNutt to break camp with the Major League team. Nonetheless, McNutt is a player that Cubs’ fans should see this season.