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

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#1: Hayden Wesneski

Sometimes, the obvious choice is obvious. I tend to agree with the sentiments that Hayden Wesneski should be the Cubs' fifth starter on Opening Day considering just how good he looked in his debut after coming over in the Scott Effross trade. Technically still a rookie, he enters this year with a 2.18 ERA and 3.20 FIP in 33 innings in Chicago with much of his excellence coming from his devastating slider. He flashed that high potential in his cup of coffee with the team, tossing an immaculate inning against the Pirates, though it's his mentality that really makes him stand out. He wants the mound every five days and his short stint saw him pitching with the confidence of a veteran.

Even if he doesn't land that rotation spot, there's a good to fair shot he wins a bullpen spot in order to get a lower workload to start the season. This iteration of the Cubs hasn't been afraid to run its promising starters like Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson in the bullpen first before giving them a longer shot in the rotation. Although he'd run into the same issue as Estrada facing a crowded group of relievers, I have a bit more faith that his talent and promise as a potential future stud in the rotation would be worth a spot.

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Wesneski last year proved that he needs to be in Chicago come Opening Day. There's still a chance the Cubs could ultimately stash him in Iowa to start the year, especially with all the pitching depth the team has right now, but it's really hard to see a world where he misses the roster, even if Sampson or Assad beats him out for the rotation.