In the spirit of starting 2022 on a strong note, the writers at North Side Bound got together to create our Chicago Cubs New Year’s Resolutions. We’re keeping these related to the minor leagues, draft, scouting, or player development arenas.
Greg Huss: I’ll go ahead and say what’s on all fans minds: we need one of those guys ranked anywhere from 2-17 to really pop. We can all brag about the amount of depth this system has and we can hype up the potential upside on guys like Cristian Hernandez, Reggie Preciado, or Owen Caissie, but at some point we need at clear-cut number two behind Brennen Davis. My Cubs system resolution is that one of the teenagers we all know and love showcases his talents in the form of statistical results at a full-season affiliate. That will place a new Cub on a league-wide top 100 list, maybe as high as a top 50 prospect in baseball.
Jimmy Nelligan: The Cubs have done an excellent job developing some of the young arms in the system to take that next step in their careers such as Brailyn Marquez in 2019 and DJ Herz in 2021. In 2022, I’d like to see that continue. In Myrtle Beach we have starters like Koen Moreno, Luke Little, Drew Gray, and Ben Rodriguez, and in South Bend we have arms like Daniel Palencia and Kohl Franklin. All of these guys are untested arms who we haven’t seen throw in a full season of professional baseball yet. Like in past years, the Cubs need to emphasize the development of young arms in the system, and I expect a few of the names mentioned above to really take that next step in 2022.
Greg Zumach: My 2022 Cubs resolution is to not let up in building up the system. That doesn’t mean that I believe the Cubs need a rebuild, but the best organizations in baseball (like the Dodgers) used roster and payroll flexibility to obtain more prospects. I don’t need to go into specific trades or players, but the front office sitting in the offices at Wrigley have the ability survey the landscape during the lockout. Even on a small scale, look at how the Cubs used valuable 40-man spots that are hot commodities to contending clubs to trade for upside talents like Alexander Canario, Alexander Vizcaíno, and Anderson Espinoza this deadline. Don’t take the foot off the gas and continue to build up all aspects of the organization.
Todd Johnson: When the 2022 minor league season concludes, the Cubs will lose 8 minor league lefty relievers in their system to free agency. Three of them were just acquired in Stephen Gonsalves, Conner Menez, and Locke St. John. The others include Brendon Little, Brandon Hughes, Wyatt Short, CD Pelham (who has yet to pitch as a Cub), and Bryan Hudson. That is going to be huge blow to the the top half of the Cubs’ system.
That leaves only 11 lefties in the entire organization to spread out over 7 squads. That is not a lot. What could deplete the numbers even more is if guys like Burl Carraway make it to Chicago (which is possible and a good thing). Part of the issue in losing this many free agents is that all 8 of the players are slated to be in Iowa and Tennessee this spring. And Scott Kobos, who is one of the 11, may be moving back to the rotation.
The Cubs are going to have to resolve to acquire several more arms this summer, maybe even in bulk. The Cubs can get this done and probably will by the end of the year. They can acquire 1 or 2 relievers in the draft, MiLB free agency, partner league pickups (the most likely), international free agency, and nondrafted free agency, which may end up being the biggest mode of acquisition.
Bringing in more talent, allowing young arms to flourish, finding more left handers, and determining the next elite prospect in the system, each writer had a different spin on resolutions for the Chicago Cubs in 2022. Any would go a long way to improving the team. What would your 2022 Cubs organization resolutions look like?