Chicago Cubs: What expanded rosters mean for this year’s club

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Another young impact player

Each year of this current competitive window the Cubs have had a batter come up from the minor leagues and make significant offensive contributions. In 2015 it was Kyle Schwarber. In 2016 it was Willson Contreras. Last season it was Ian Happ. At the beginning of this season it seemed unlikely that trend would continue.

Yes, each of those players were a bit of a surprise because it seemed that each player wouldn’t quite be ready for the Major Leagues that season. But each one of those players were supposed to be part of the Cubs’ future plans. Schwarber and Happ were first round draft picks drafted out of college. It was predicted that both of them would quickly progress through the minors. Contreras famously went from being left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft, to winning the Southern League’s Double-A batting title and then being considered the top catching prospect in all of baseball.

This season, there wasn’t a first round draft pick ready to be called up to the Major Leagues. It was a bit of a surprise when David Bote was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5. But just like Schwarber, Conteras and Happ’s contributions in successive seasons, the Cubs would have been in real trouble this year if a rookie didn’t make a big impact.

However, in past years, there has been enough room on the 25-man roster for a rookie to stay on the major league club. This year, Bote has proven he belongs in the big leagues. But he has had to depend on other position players, mostly Kris Bryant, to go on the disabled list in order to maintain his roster spot. Once the calendar turns to September, that won’t be a concern any longer.

The next roster issues for Bote will be bigger than just finding room for him on the roster in the middle of the season. Should he be included on this season’s playoff roster? Does the front office plan on Bote occupying on spot on next year’s Opening Day roster?