There are not too many affiliate sneak peeks left before we see the real preview for each club.

So far this winter I have looked at, Iowa’s infield, Tennessee’s rotation and bullpen, South Bend’s outfield, Myrtle Beach’s rotation, and who might be the position players in Mesa. I have kind of bounced all over. As I was putting together “The Weekly” last Thursday and Friday, I was listing all the transactions for the week and it really got me thinking just who all the Cubs have stashed in Iowa for their bullpen to start spring training. Normally, the Cubs like to pile a lot of guys in there in case of injuries for the big league club. And it also creates some competition.

Here is the current roster of relievers for the Iowa Cubs.

Righties – Cam Sanders, Cayne Ueckert, Manny Rodriguez, Vinny Nottoli, Ben Leeper, Danis Correa, Nick Burdi, Ryan Borucki

Lefties – Brad Wieck, Eric Stout, Brailyn Marquez, Brendon Little, Anthony Kay, Stephen Gonsalves

Iowa could also add Jeremiah Estrada as a guy who could be on the opening day roster for Iowa along with Bailey Horn and Zac Leigh who were at Tennessee last summer. However, Estrada has a decent shot to make the Chicago opening day roster.

As you can plainly see, that’s about 17 names for 10 spots.

Not all will be healthy enough to start 2023 on any roster. Some might have clauses in their contract that if they don’t make the Cubs, they can select free agency. Others may be cut while Horn and Leigh are more likely to start the year in Tennessee than Iowa.

To be quite frank, most of the guys that the Cubs brought in this winter are long shots  to be on Iowa’s opening day roster and an even longer shot to be on the Cubs 26-man roster.

Now that that’s out there, spring training will narrow down just exactly who’s going to head to Des Moines for the opener on March 31.

All In

As someone who likes to watch poker from time to time, I bet everything on Cam Sanders, Ben Leeper, and Danis Correa as being ready to go for Iowa on opening day. All three should have an opportunity to play in spring training games with the big league club. I am excited to see how they match up against big league hitters in Mesa. Unfortunately, by the time these guys come in the games, most of the big league hitters are already out of the game. Still, it’s an opportunity for them to be seen as someone who is an option down the road. The fact that Ethan Roberts made the club out of spring training last year, the impact of that decision reverberated throughout the minors and gave hope to all relievers.

75% Chance

Lefties Brendan Little and Eric Stout stand a pretty good chance of being on the roster. Stout has more MLB experience than Little, who has only made 1 appearance in a MLB game. With the Cubs having some lefty issues in the upper minors, the two lefties are a prized and endangered commodity in the system. The Cubs desperately need to have a couple in stock.

50-50 Shot

Pretty much everybody else fits his category. Cayne Ueckert probably has the best chance of this group to be on Iowa’s opening day roster but he did struggle last year in his first go around at Triple-A. Spring Training is going to decide everything so I’m not too sure of who’s going to be in what condition and throwing well in Arizona where the ball tends to fly a little bit more than it does in Iowa in April.

25% Chance

I’m not sure what the injury status is on several players. Brailyn Marquez has been seen on the backfield along with a slimmed down Manny Rodriguez. Is Nick Burdi fully healthy and the same holds true for Stephen Gonsalves. Both of those guys are intriguing if they are ready to go. Both could easily help the big league club if everything is in prime condition.

Just as a given, the Cubs do normally stash a couple of guys in extended spring training in case there is an injury the first month of the year to somebody in Iowa or to replace someone who headed to Chicago. The Cubs could also put a guy on the development list to work on some things. That could be Ueckert or it could be Marquez. No one knows right now.

These roster choices are one of the more mysterious parts of what should be an exciting spring training filled with competition.