Cubs will need key prospects to perform, regardless of what moves they make

No matter what Jed Hoyer does this offseason, Chicago's highly-regarded farm system will need to start producing at the big league level in 2024.
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

Expectations are sky-high in Wrigleyville, despite a painful September collapse that saw the team's postseason hopes come crashing down in the season's final weeks. The poaching of longtime Brewers manager Craig Counsell has Cubs fans ready for a new era of winning baseball - and some major star power being part of the equation again.

That has folks dreaming of Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Cody Bellinger at night - and reports it could be down to the Cubs and Dodgers for Ohtani aren't tampering expectations, to say the least.

But no matter how many new faces are introduced in press conferences at Gallagher Way this winter, the Cubs are going to still rely on its resurgent farm system to start impacting the big league team in 2024.

Cubs need top prospects to start making their mark at Wrigley in 2024

One of the big knocks on David Ross was that he rode his established guys, right down to the bitter end - despite it being painfully obvious these guys were gassed down the stretch. Playing time and at-bats were very limited for the team's two big outfield prospects who got the call in Pete Crow-Armstrong and Alexander Canario.

Both guys, as well as Kevin Alcántara, could figure into the outfield mix again in 2024, especially Crow-Armstrong, who could have an inside track to the everyday center field job if the Cubs don't re-sign Bellinger (and, potentially even if they do, given Bellinger's ability to play first base). But we should see more of the team's young arms throughout the year, as well.

This year, Javier Assad was a sensation for Chicago, Daniel Palencia started to get his feet under him and Jordan Wicks made quite the first impression after getting promoted, as well. Ben Brown and Cade Horton could make their MLB debuts in 2024 after blowing away minor league hitters to this point.

Much like the Texas Rangers capitalized on a combination of star power and up-and-coming talent en route to a World Series title in 2023, the Cubs will have to adapt a similar approach in 2024. Given the repeated insistence on how important the farm system will be to the team's long-term success from ownership and the front office, we can expect a healthy dose of young talent on the field come spring.