February 25, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell (75) fields ground balls during a spring training workout at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With almost in-arguably the best collection of prospects in all of baseball, the Chicago Cubs have seemingly a very bright future ahead. The Cubs have prospects like Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell who are towards the top of every “best prospect list” on the web, and those guys obviously get the bulk of the attention.
While Bryant, Soler and Russell are incredible players who deserve all the praise that they get, arguably the most impressive part of the Cubs’ system is their extreme depth.
Even if the top guys were not around, the Cubs have a stable of prospects who would pretty much rival anybody. They may not get the attention of a guy like Bryant yet, but if they continue to perform, their time will come.
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The Cubs enter 2015 expecting to be competitive at the major league level. A lot of that has to do with their major prospects being ready to contribute to the big league club.
While they certainly have some work to do, Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara are very talented players who made their MLB debuts last season. While their service time in the majors makes them no longer prospects, they are young players who just missed the cut and are expected to make contributions to the MLB club.
Soler joined Baez and Alcantara in the big leagues late last season, but did not get enough at-bats to be rookie eligible. He enters 2015 technically a prospect, but is fully expected to be the Cubs’ Opening Day right fielder–and is a prime candidate for National League Rookie of the Year.
With his incredible power and pure hitting ability, Bryant is considered by most to be the top overall prospect in baseball. While it is unlikely that he makes the Opening Day roster, it is widely expected that Bryant will make his big league debut for the Cubs early in 2015. Barring injury or setbacks in the minor leagues, 2015 will be considered Bryant’s rookie year, and he is also a strong Rookie of the Year candidate.
Russell’s situation is not as clear as Bryant and Soler’s. He is an impressive physical specimen at the shortstop position who has outstanding hitting tools, good power and impressive athletic ability. Russell hit .294/.332/.508 at Double-A last season, and is expected to make the jump to Triple-A in 2015. If the 21-year-old Russell continues to progress well, he will be on the track to make the big leagues this season, especially if the Cubs are competitive.
Losing five elite prospects like Baez, Alcantara, Soler, Bryant and Russell in a two-year span would be enough to cripple most minor league organizations, at least when it comes to the rankings. 2014 first-round pick Kyle Schwarber is already making a huge name for himself in the prospect world, and is very likely to be the Cubs’ top prospect if Bryant and Russell graduate this season, but he is not the only one.
The Cubs have incredible depth throughout their system that will be ready to step up and take over for these prime prospects. Improvement, and proving themselves at the next level is obviously needed, but the Cubs have a ton of 2015 breakout candidates in their farm system.
Here are five Chicago Cubs’ prospects who are ready to breakout in 2015.