4 prospects the Cubs must protect from the Rule 5 draft at all costs

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Jed Hoyer / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chicago Cubs actually have to seriously worry about the Rule 5 draft this winter. Ahead, we’ve put together a list (Without Brennen Davis, Kevin Alcantara or Ben Brown for obvious reasons) of which guys the team must protect this winter.

With only so many 40-man roster spots available, including (hopefully) at least a few dedicated toward free agent signings, only so many prospects can be protected this year. It just so happens that the Cubs have multiple solid pieces in their farm that have Rule 5 eligibility come season’s end.

The Cubs currently, although far out in the standings, have done especially well in terms of developing and trading for potential starting pitching. Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski,  the latter of whom was acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline for Scott Effross, have both been stellar to start their big league careers. These two represent the first of what figures to be multiple waves of talent in a reloaded Cubs farm system making its way toward the big league club.

Though depleting the farm brought the Cubs a ring in 2016, success was unsustainable once players began underperforming with nothing left to supplement them. With all that is going right for the Cubs in the minor leagues now, navigating the road of protecting the right prospects and which to leave open to the Rule 5 draft will be a critical task for Jed Hoyer and the front office.