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A look at the Chicago Cubs potential 2015 Opening Day roster

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Shortstop – Another Chicago player to fall victim to injury of late, Starlin Castro has been an offensive juggernaut this season, especially in the month of August, when he hit .378/.408/.510 in roughly 100 at-bats. His mental focus has, once again, repeatedly come under question, but his bounce back campaign is a promising sign.

He’s tied a career-high with 14 home runs this season and drove in 65 runs, posting a 2.1 WAR this season – as opposed to his dismal 2013 season when he batted just .245 and had a -0.6 WAR. In 27 fewer games, Castro has nearly matched his doubles total from a year ago and his defense has been above his career average. This season, he has a .973 fielding percentage – the best of his big league career – in 133 contests, but still comes in just below the average player in terms of his defensive capabilities with a -0.1 DWAR.

He’s another piece that could be traded in the next year or two – but for now, he projects as the team’s Opening Day shortstop.

Mar 10, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Third Base – The moment we’ve all been waiting for this entire season won’t come until the calendar turns over to 2015. That moment, of course, is the arrival of top prospect Kris Bryant, who was recently named the USA Today Minor League Baseball Player of the Year.

Bryant clubbed 43 home runs and drove in 110 runs this season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, playing third base for both clubs. However, Theo Epstein said that he could get some reps in the outfield prior to next season, which would inly increase his value moving forward.

Should Bryant, for whatever reason, not break camp with Chicago, expect Luis Valbuena, who has been a very valuable asset for the Cubs this season both on the field and at the dish, to handle the bulk of third base duties. A bounce back spring by Mike Olt also wouldn’t hurt matters moving forward, as he’s shown signs of figuring things out since being sent down to Triple-A Iowa last month.

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