Chicago Cubs: If Baez isn’t healthy for Opening Day, who makes the roster?
The last of the contenders
Charcer Burks may be the future Jacob Hannemann. Again, another speedy, defensive outfielder who needs to improve his hitting if he is going to stick in the major leagues. Baseball America currently ranks him as the No. 14 prospect in the Cubs organization. He’s not yet ready for the majors yet so that the Cubs won’t call him up. But Burks is a prospect to keep an eye out for.
Ryan Court is a 29-year-old veteran infielder who plays shortstop the least of all the infield positions. Without being much of an option as a shortstop the Cubs figure to use either a better bat or a better defensive player to call up in Baez’s place.
Others of note
Chesny Young is a 25-year-old infield prospect. Baseball America lists him in their “Others of Note” section. So he isn’t thought of that highly. But every once in a great while one of those players turns out to be Willson Contreras. Unlike most of the other infielders, Young does play a substantial amount at shortstop.
Last year at Triple-A he started 26 games at shortstop. Compared to 44 at second base, 22 at third base, eight at first base and a combined 14 at all three outfield positions. So he is a utility man in the making with true shortstop ability. He currently isn’t on the 40 man roster yet. But if he would help the team? It wouldn’t be a difficult choice to add him.
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Hopefully, Baez’s injury is truly minor and this whole thing was just an academic exercise. However, the Cubs have experienced some minor injuries in recent years that turned out to last much longer than first thought. Dexter Fowler getting hurt shortly before the 2016 All-Star break immediately comes to mind.
My prediction is if Baez is on the disabled list on Opening Day, but expected back shortly thereafter? Zagunis will begin the season in the majors. If Baez isn’t expected to be out an extended period? I’d expect Freeman will be on the Opening Day roster.