Around the Minors
As the Cubs major league roster shapes up, so do the minor league levels.
The Cubs have a lot to be excited about in AAA this season. We all know about Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo, but who else do they have? Josh Vitters is starting in triple-A this year and he needs to bounce back from an off year last year. He was taken in 2007 and had tons of promise, but has slid down on the top prospects list every year since. He can still come back and make a name for himself, but this year needs to be a turning point for him.
Matt Szczur is the biggest name at this level. Szczur has all the tools to be successful, but he needs some time to develop. He needs to improve his plate discipline and use his speed better. In a couple of years, Szczur could easily be hitting lead-off for the big league Cubs. The next prospect at this level is Junior Lake. Lake has been buzzed about for some time and will probably be back at this level this year. He needs to learn the game better and improve his approach at the plate. Lake and Szczur are both players that the Cubs are counting on for the future.
There are a couple of names at this level to watch. First, is Ronald Torreyes. Torreyes is a scrappy player that can help out any team and he has the tools to become a great infielder. He came over in the Sean Marshall deal and looks to build off of his big season in single-A last year. Next, is Matt Loosen. We have not heard a lot of him, but he has the tools and shape to be a big time starter. He has been hurt, which is why we haven’t heard much; but he has four pitches and can spot them well.
Gerardo Concepcion is the only name that really jumps out at me at this level. The Cubs gave him a big contract for a minor league player and they look to capitalize on his upside. He has pitched in Cuba and could develop even further with better coaches in High-A.
I know I left some people out, but these are the break downs at each level from a distance. This list will probably grow as Theo and the gang continue to wheel and deal.