Owen Caissie pic by Todd Johnson
When I was driving home from taking my wife to an appointment yesterday, Jed Hoyer was on 670 the Score talking about several topics relating to the Cubs, including the current plan. As usual, Hoyer did not give away too much about how he envisioned the future of the team unfolding according to a plan. His whole series of answers/nonanswers got me thinking about what would be an appropriate timetable for many of the Cubs top prospects.
I don’t think there’s any doubt we would love to see Brennen Davis come up to Chicago when he is ready. Right now, there’s a small hitch to that plan as Davis as currently on the IL and out in Arizona dealing with a back injury. As a result, the expectations that people had of him being ready by the middle of June are over. This injury and his recovery could set things back another 6 to 8 weeks from whenever he returns.
Caleb Kilian is pretty close to ready now. He has not allowed more than one earned run per start this year and has an ERA of 1.57. Teammate Matt Swarmer could also earn a look as he has been outstanding as well with an ERA at 1.85. After a rough start, reliever Ben Leeper has been amazing this month and has not allowed an earned run in any appearance.
There are two other guys who could be ready this year. OF/1B Jared Young is having an outstanding year and already has nine home runs through the first six weeks. Starting pitcher Cam Sanders is extremely close to being ready as he has been near dominant in most of his starts for Tennessee and Iowa. Sanders already has major league pitches, it’s just a matter of controlling them.
The issue with bringing up any of these players is that none of them are on the 40-man roster. But I expect all of them to at least see some action at some point this summer or early fall.
From Andy Weber to Bryce Ball to Bryan Hudson to Alexander Canario to Nelson Velazquez to Max Bain, we could see a variety of players who could be ready at some point next season. That might even include Riley Thompson, Ryan Jensen, or Anderson Espinosa. For that to happen, a lot of things are going to have to go right for each of those players. Weber is probably the closest right now as he should be in Iowa the first week of June. Ball is not far behind while Hudson is already there and he may even be a 2022 candidate as well.
High-end prospects at South Bend like DJ Herz and Jordan Wicks could be mentioned in the same breath as those above. And then there are those that are injured and have yet to come back like Brailyn Marquez, Jack Patterson, and one of my favorite draft picks from last year, Zac Leigh. We could even throw in Miguel Amaya there for good measure.
That’s a lot of names for just one year.
A lot of what happens next year will depend upon what happens in the second half of this year and in the off-season. Will the Cubs go out and acquire players this winter through free agency and trades? Will they use their own prospect capital to bring in some more position players and starting pitchers? Just how well the club does over the next two months is going to tell a lot about what the Cubs transaction wire in the future looks like. Will they be sellers at this year‘s deadline or will they go out and do some buying for the first time in a while?
I think you could include anybody that’s down in Myrtle Beach this year like Kevin Alcantara, James Triantos, Richard Gallardo, and Pete Crow-Armstrong. You could add Owen Casissie, Ed Howard, and Kevin Made to this grouping along with this year‘s first round draft pick.
The problem with throwing out all these names is not everybody’s going to make it In the timeframe listed above. Players are going to be ready when they’re ready. Organizations can try and advance their development, but players can only do what they do when they can do it. Sometimes guys catch on and move fast and other times it takes a while.
The main thing that is clear is the Cubs have a lot of depth and I didn’t even mention names like Daniel Palencia, Darius Hill, Chase Strumpf, and Cristian Hernandez today. You never know who is going to have that breakthrough, make a big jump in performance, or make it to the majors. No one was thinking of Morel making it this year nor was anyone thinking about Hughes making it this early in the year – August, yes. May, no. It just goes to show, you never know.
Some I’ve got in my head…
2022: Kilian, Davis
2023: Howard/PCA, Gallardo, 2022 first (college)
2024: PCA/Howard, 2022 first (HS), Wicks
2025: LHH C (Hearn? Ballesteros? Quintero?)
Oh duh…Juan Soto (sometime between now and the 2023 offseason)…Maybe AJ Abrams and/or Mackenzie Gore in 2025-2026?