Jordan Wicks – Picture by Todd Johnson

Now that our preseason extravaganza is complete, it’s time to get on with the business of the season. For the first time in a while, I have high expectations, but I don’t have high expectations. I’m not expecting the Cubs prospects to go out and be world beaters, I’m just gonna see what happens and report it. Much of the past two weeks has been about predicting and getting some numbers out there, but what looks to be happening here at the end of spring training will hopefully carry over into the regular season for many cubs prospects.

Here are a few key names that I am hearing a lot about from behind the scenes, and may be a little in front of the curtain, too. So expect these guys to come out of the gate hot.

1. Jordan Wicks

For most of his one year and two months as a Cubs prospect, Wicks has been working hard and developing. By about the middle of July last year, the development was still continuing, but it was not at the forefront of what he was doing every day on the mound. Rather, he’s back trying to be the best pitcher. He can be at any given possible moment. There’s not a lot of tinkering going on. Any adjustments are minute. This is about going out and dominating. I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen for him in April.

2. Jacob Wetzel

One of the biggest surprises when the rosters came out was that Jacob Wetzel was assigned to South Bend. I thought for sure that based on his last year of work that he would be starting off in Myrtle Beach. Much to my surprise, and many others, he earned a spot in the Midwest League. In a lot of ways, that is not all that surprising since he just needed one thing and that was the consistency. He has been and always will be an excellent defender with a great arm. He will always be a guy who can hit for power. He just needs to have more consistent production at the plate. I am excited to see what he’s going to do this month.

3. Parker Chavers and Christian Franklin

Because of injuries, these guys are about a year behind where they should be and I was convinced that the Cubs would have them in South Bend to begin 2023. They are going to be in Myrtle Beach where they should be able to do some damage on a regular basis. Had both been healthy from last year, who knows what we might be talking about this year. But you can’t change what was but I am really looking forward to seeing what Chavers and Franklin do in Myrtle Beach.

4. Haydn McGeary

He could be the greatest scouting find from last year‘s draft if he continues to produce like he hit in spring training. When people ask me questions about the 2023 season, usually the one at the top of the list is “Who is going to be this year‘s Matt Mervis?” If everything drops the way I think it will, that answer is going to be Hayden McGeary. The dude just punishes baseballs all over the field.

5. Piggybacking is going to be a thing.

The spring training experience for minor leaguers is not a full six weeks camp like the majors. It’s very short and pitchers get to two or three innings pretty quickly and then it’s a slow build up from there to get to 80 to 100 pitches. Sometimes they only get 3 starts in MiLB spring training. As a result, we’re going to see a lot of guys piggybacking, especially at the lower levels. Just who starts and who piggybacks is still up in the air a bit, especially in Myrtle Beach.

I am sure there are others I could throw in here because there are going to be guys who get off to great starts in 2023. They key, though, is to sustain it into May. Maybe these five guys will. We will see and and its going to be fun seeing it!