Cubs end-of-season grades: Two key rookies showed real promise
Christopher Morel: A
The 23-year-old utility player was all-around solid since being called up on May 17. Appearing in 113 games, Christopher Morel hit for a .235 average with 16 homers and 72 RBI. He even brought something this team has not had in a while, and that is speed, as Morel had the third-most steals on the team with 10. Morel moved all over the diamond defensively, appearing at two outfield spots, second, third and shortstop this season, and so with only 10 errors, proving that he has the capability to go wherever he is asked. However, Morel needs to work on not striking out as much, as he had the third-most on the team. Nonetheless, his future is very bright with the Cubs and he will most definitely be a key member of the roster next season.
Seiya Suzuki: B
As the top Japanese prospect available in the offseason, the Cubs turned some heads with the Seiya Suzuki signing last winter. The 28-year-old right fielder appeared in 111 games, working to a .336 OBP with 14 homers, 46 RBI and the third-most hits on the team with 104. With Suzuki’s cannon arm in right field, he is reliable in the field as there is not much to worry about for his defense. The April NL Rookie of the Month had a solid debut season, and will be the team’s starting right fielder for the Cubs for years to come.
Nelson Velazquez: D+
Nelson Velazquez made his big league debut on May 30 and showed signs of potential, especially on the basepaths and in the field. However, he really struggled at the dish. In 77 games, Velazquez hit just .205 with six homers and 26 RBI. On the bright side, he had one of the better strikeout-to-walk ratios on the team, so perhaps he can build on that. If Velazquez is on the roster, it will likely be the bench, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he starts the season in the minors.
There are a lot more rookies that made their debut this season, however these are just the ones who garnered the most attention have have at least some potential to be long-term pieces.