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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Jake Slaughter / Chicago Cubs
Jake Slaughter / Chicago Cubs /

4 Cubs prospects to protect from the Rule 5 draft: #3 – Jake Slaughter

Sticking with Double-A Tennessee, another prospect who surprisingly wasn’t on MLB Pipeline’s organization top 30 prospect list and is Rule 5 eligible is Jake Slaughter. In the midst of a breakout year, Slaughter has impressed to the tune of a .293/.389/.534 slash line with the Smokies while blasting a total of 23 homers and 80 RBI to go along with 36 stolen bases between South Bend and Tennessee.

Slaughter’s defensive versatility in its own right may keep him around in the Cubs organization moving forward. Being able to move around will be key, especially as an overabundance of outfielders continue to progress through the ranks. Without his breakout showing this year, he probably wouldn’t have made the cut for me, but what he’s done this year changes things.

Now, it’s up to management to either trust that Slaughter has made lasting changes to his mechanics – ones that will allow him to continue climbing the ladder – or either trade him or leave him unprotected altogether.

His versatility in the field, improved batting average and ability to hit for power – not to mention his elite speed – are all traits in a player that any team has on their wish list at the big league level. With several expected 40-man roster cuts, I’m more than willing to take a flyer on Slaughter and give him the bump to Triple-A where he can further be evaluated at an even more competitive level in 2023.