#1: Chase Strumpf
Chase Strumpf was oh-so-close to getting over the hump in 2022. In Double-A Tennessee last year, he was setting up for a major breakout by June and completely exploded in July thanks to an improved ability to make contact and elevate the ball. In July, he managed a stellar .322/.431/.542 slash line and, on the year, he experienced a significant power increase, jumping from a previous high ISO of .169 last year to .226 as he hit by far a career-high with 21 home runs. He did see his strikeout rate balloon to 33.3 percent as a result, but he managed to keep his 15 percent walk rate.
The only question is whether Strumpf can return to the form he found around the midpoint of last year. His hot streak was cut short after being hit in the hand by a pitch and his performance tanked for a while after. Still, he finished out the season strong enough with a .237/.392/.475 line in September to inspire confidence in his improved power stroke. He should be a fixture at Triple-A this year, putting him well within striking distance of the majors.
Strumpf could find himself in a valuable position comparable to Morel from last year. An injury or two in the infield could prompt the Cubs to give him a look at second or third. Even if that weren't the case, he might be able to work his way onto the team if those improvements continue. Nobody is firmly locking down third base at this point with both Morel and Patrick Wisdom likely to share time there. If Strumpf takes another step forward with improvements to his contact, he could be a solid performer on the North Side this year.