3 Cubs rookies with a strong chance to make the Opening Day roster

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Hope springs eternal for the Chicago Cubs as we're officially in Spring Training mode. This will be a preseason to watch for the Northsiders between all the exciting prospects coming to big league camp and first looks at newly-inked Cubs Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, and more in action. Roster battles should be front and center, however, as the team shakes out who deserves the final few spots on the Opening Day roster.

Currently, the team should be on the lookout for potential bench pieces, bullpen arms, and, most importantly, their fifth starter over the next several weeks. It presents an opportunity for some Cubs rookies to step up and claim a spot for themselves, especially if another player falters. Based on what we saw last year too, there are simply some players that have earned the right to a spot and, barring any poor performance in Spring Training, have a very good shot to be with the team when they start their season in Milwaukee. Let's look at three of the rookies who have the best chance to make the Opening Day roster.

#3: Darius Hill

There are a lot of borderline major league bats waiting in Triple-A at the moment, even if they aren't at the top of any prospect lists. For my money, Darius Hill seems like the likeliest of that bunch to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. While the Cubs have their outfield set and guys like Trey Mancini, Patrick Wisdom, and Christopher Morel could play out there, they don't have a primary outfielder on the bench at the moment. Hill would face competition from guys like Ben DeLuzio and Nelson Velazquez, but I think he could be the guy.

Hill offers a very contact-heavy approach, raking at every level of the minors so far in his career. Last year at Triple-A Iowa, he posted a 318/.358/.434 slash line with a 110 wRC+ across 373 plate appearances. Moreover, Hill would add another lefty bat to the team and could competently play center field in the absence of Cody Bellinger. He'll need to show he can handle big league camp this year, but there's a fair chance he ultimately breaks camp and heads to Chicago.