In case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs’ various affiliates – including the loaded Triple-A Iowa Cubs – released their respective 25-man rosters this week. The I-Cubs open the season on Thursday night in Memphis, home of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A club.
The main news is already known to most Cubs fans: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Addison Russell will all open the year in the Iowa infield, making it one of the most dangerous trios in all of Minor League Baseball – let alone the Pacific Coast League.
While it was widely anticipated that Bryant would open the year with Iowa, the fact that Baez, who appeared in 52 games with the big league club, is back in the Minors came as a surprise to many. His struggles are fairly well-documented by this point: he struck out a whopping 95 times in just 213 at-bats, slashing just .169/.227/.324 for the Cubs.
Joining the elite trio with the Chicago affiliate in Des Moines are outfielders Junior Lake and Adron Chambers and pitchers Brian Schlitter, Zac Rosscup, Eric Jokisch and Dallas Britton, among others.
Top prospects Kyle Schwarber, Dan Vogelbach and Albert Almora, along with right-hander C.J. Edwards, will open the year at Double-A Tennessee. As the team’s top prospects begin to ascend toward Chicago, these higher-level affiliates are set to get an influx of talent in the coming months.
It’s feasible that all of the aforementioned names will reach Iowa at some point – while Bryant, Russell and Baez are all going to see time with Chicago sooner – rather than later.