Barring any out-of-nowhere trades and the smaller relief signings, the Chicago Cubs seem to be done with the bulk of their offseason shopping. It's been a fruitful trip through free agency, even if the team didn't address quite all their needs (like, say, a power bat). Now, though, it's a good time to start looking inward to see who the Cubs have on the farm that can come up throughout the season to provide some extra help.
2023 figures to be an important year prospect-wise as the first wave of young talent starts banging on the door to the major leagues. We could finally see the arrival of Brennen Davis, assuming he returns to form and his health holds up, and Matt Mervis is likely to break camp with the team as he looks to become the team's long-term answer at first base. There's also a glut of young pitching prospects ready with Hayden Wesneski, Caleb Kilian, Ben Brown, Jordan Wicks, and more vying for a rotation spot.
We've heard all these names before, but the Cubs farm system has gotten far deeper over the past few years. Inevitably, there will be more unheralded prospects that make their way to Wrigley Field much like Christopher Morel and Brandon Hughes did last year. Let's take a look at three names that, while not among the most discussed players among the Cubs' minor league affiliates, have a shot at making the big league team at some point in 2023.
#3: Darius Hill
Of these three, Darius Hill feels like a near-lock to get some at-bats at Wrigley this year. The left-handed outfielder solidified himself last year as a master of putting balls in play, quietly thriving in Double-A Tennessee with a .308/.360/.486 slash line and a minuscule 11.9 percent strikeout rate. He'd get the call up to Triple-A partway through the season and stay right on the same track with a .318/.358/.434 line and 14.2 percent strikeout rate. While not a major power threat, he was still able to hit the gaps and rack up doubles through both levels. If he continues to show that he can thrive early next year, he'd make a respectable fourth outfielder for the Cubs going forward.
I could see a future where Hill's low strikeout rate and high contact make him a solid choice for the Cubs to sub in off the bench when they desperately need a ball in play. He could earn a call-up sooner rather than later to cover for injury or for depth if someone like Nick Madrigal or Nelson Velazquez struggles. He brings a similar skillset to Madrigal, but being able to cover any of the three outfield positions with another lefty bat is a boon. At the very least, it helps to have a guy like Hill who seems to be making strides and possesses skills that should translate relatively well to the majors.