Bailey Horn – Picture by Todd Johnson

When Jed Hoyer arrived in Chicago back in 2011, one of the things he talked about was always having pitching arriving on the shores of Chicago. While that wave technically did not happen as planned, in the next two months, plus the first few months of the 2024 season, there could be a wave of talent heading to Chicago from the minor league system that could help the major league ball club.

Let’s take a look at who’s should be ready to help the club the next two months of this season and the first few months of 2024. There are a lot of guys just about ready.

`1. Bailey Horn – I know it’s strange seeing the left hander being placed in the one position, but he’s probably the most ready. If the Cubs decide they need a lefty out of the bullpen down the stretch, he is at the top of the list.

2, Ben Brown– He did not look right in June, but he straightened himself out in July and looked to be the Ben Brown of old. When healthy, we’re talking a fastball around 95-97 and some nasty off speed stuff. If he comes out of the pen, that could tick up a little bit. But a lat injury has sort of slowed that roll.

3. PJ Higgins – Since returning, he’s pretty much destroyed Triple-A pitching. He would be the bat I would call first as he can play a variety of positions in the infield as well as catcher.

4. PCA – If the Cubs need speed and defense for the playoffs, this is the guy. He’s adjusting to Triple-A pitching and he’ll get there after a few weeks. But once he arrives in Wrigley Field, he’s never leaving.

5. Alexander Canario – If not for his freak double injury last fall in the Dominican, we’d already be talking about Canario being in Chicago. His bat is starting to come around. He returned from his injury in late June and it’s taking a while for him to get comfortable planting the front left foot to drive the ball. It’s been fun watching him the last two weeks as you can see everything coming together.

6. Owen Caissie – He’s not going to be ready this year, but he’s at the top of the list for 2024. He is just owning the Southern League right now. There’s no other way of putting it as he’s hitting for average and power. The problem is there’s not really a space for him next year unless he makes one.

7. BJ Murray – The switch-hitting corner infielder has done very well this year at Tennessee. I could see his skill set in Chicago in 2024. He would probably be on the latter end of the timeframe. He will be in Tennessee for the rest of this year, or at least until the playoffs end, and then he will go to Iowa for about a week. That’s where he’ll start next year.

8-10. Matt Mervis, Luis Vazquez, and Yonathan Perlaza – They are probably ready now, but they are blocked. I would not be surprised to see any of the three traded this off-season for some relief help. In order to do that, Vazquez is going to have to be added to the 40 man roster and the same is true for Perlaza as both will be free agents.

11. Cade Horton – He’s not going to be ready this year. But, he’s actually not that far away either. He will make his third start at Tennessee next week, and I would not be surprised to see him start off next year at Iowa. And if things go well, the Cubs probably should not waste a lot of Horton bullets in Triple-A. Bring him up in June and let him have at it in the majors. That is, after all, the final step in his development. Ife he is a reliever to start off in Chicago, that option is on the table.

12. Jordan Wicks – I’m not sure what his role he is going to be if and when he gets to the majors. He had two of his best starts the past two weeks, but he’s not really going out and dominating at AAA. I’d like to see more strikeouts rather than two or three for five innings. Getting closer to ten would be nice. But he is still pretty close to putting it all together.

13-15. Brandon Birdsell, Kohl Franklin, and Cole Roederer – Birdsell just arrived at Double-A after dominating High-A South Bend for the last two months with an ERA under one. Franklin has pitched well at times this summer as the Cubs reworked his delivery to cut down on the moving parts. And Roederer’s just been a stud three of the last four months. He’s off to a great start in August again after being the Hitter of the Month in July. All three could and should be ready at some point in 2024.

There are several names I didn’t mention who were still about a year away from helping. Pablo Aliendo and Haydn McGeary head that list. The list for 2025 should include Kevin Alcantara, Matt Shaw, Josh Rivera, James Triantos, Moises Ballesteros, and even Felix Stevens. They all should be ready by 2025 along with a few others we might not see coming. Although, I would not count out Shaw for 2024.