Picture of Cole Roederer by Todd Johnson
2022 was a devastating year for several of the Cubs’ prospects. After coming off the missed MiLB season of 2021, injuries took their toll on the system as several of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects missed their second season in a row, a huge blow to their development. In addition, a few of the Cubs top hitters also missed 95% of the year with an assortment of ailments including two who had Tommy John Surgery.
In 2022, they all will get back on the horse and try to get back to baseball.
Here is who we predict will be the comeback player of the year.
Greg Zumach – There are a bunch of names that I could pick and I’m sure my NSB colleagues will, but I’ll throw out a name I don’t want people to forget about: Riley Thompson. The 2018 11th round pick was one of the biggest pitching success stories in 2019 and had incredible pitch metrics. He dealt with injuries last season, but word is he’s throwing well down in spring camp. Thompson has the potential for a big season in 2022.
Jimmy Nelligan – We haven’t seen the players who were injured last year in what seems like forever due to missing the 2020 season from Covid-19. But I still really like Cole Roederer. He played in 20 games in 2021, but never was truly healthy and eventually needed Tommy John. When healthy, Roederer has 5 tool talent with the ability to hit for power, man centerfield, and steal some bases. I love the swing Roederer has from the left side and his swing path bodes well for 20+ home runs a season if he can stay healthy. It’s hard to believe, but when he was drafted he was getting compared to Brennen Davis who was selected just 15 picks ahead of Roederer in 2018. I expect Roederer to show more of his potential in 2022, and if he can do that, we could have another special athletic outfielder in the system.
Todd Johnson – After his little spring training high profile debut, this pick was really easy for me. Although, I did consider Michael McAvene, Jack Patterson, Riley Thompson, and Cole Roederer, but as President of the Kohl Franklin Fan Club, this might be the easiest selection in our preseason awards for me. When you’re sitting 97-99 on the first day of spring training after basically missing two years, what’s not to like?
Greg Huss – I’m following in Todd’s footsteps here. For nearly the past three years I’ve been saying Kohl Franklin is the Cubs’ best shot at a top of the rotation starter. After seeing him pop 99 on the gun to open spring training, I’m feeling pretty good about that proclamation. He’ll of course be on an innings limit this year, but I think it’ll be a huge year for our 19th ranked prospect in the system.