3 Cubs starting pitchers who will begin the 2024 season in Triple-A and 2 who won't

With the signing of Shota Imanaga, the Cubs will be able to stash more of its starting pitching depth in the minors to open the season.

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
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Cubs RHP Cade Horton will open the 2024 season at Double-A Tennessee

The Cubs' blue chip pitching prospect, Cade Horton, has not only silenced his doubters and critics but quickly emerged as one of the best up-and-coming arms in all of baseball. After being taken in the first round out of Oklahoma as a CWS breakout star, the questions certainly weren't lacking when it came to Hoyer's decision here.

But last season, Horton stood out at every level he pitched at. Combined between A, High-A and Double-A, the right-hander made 21 starts, working to a 2.65 ERA, 0.996 WHIP and 11.9 K/9 - including an impressive 2.67 ERA and 0.950 WHIP in a half-dozen starts at Tennessee. As incredible a year as it was, we need to step back and appreciate he has just that: six career starts above High-A.

I think the jump from Double-A to Triple-A will come very quickly, similar to what we saw with Brown in 2023. But to open the year, letting Horton get right back to mowing down hitters in a familiar setting could set him up for another huge year on the mound - and hopefully position him to impact the big league staff when it matters most late in the season.