Spring Training is just around the corner, and we will have a chance to see quite a few prospects take the field for the Cubs at Sloan Park.
Some positions are set in stone in Chicago, but there are a few bench spots and starting spots to keep an eye on. With that, there are no doubt going to be some prospects making the big league roster. Furthermore, some prospects may not make the MLB roster or even be on the 40-man roster, but they will be getting their first taste of competition at the big league level.
As mentioned, the Cubs have some positions set in stone. Players such as Dansby Swanson, Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ and the two catchers will not have their spots taken. With those players, the Cubs have a set starting rotation heading into the year, as well. The bullpen has some shaping up to do, but there are plenty of options and a lot to like.
With all this said, there are some top prospects the Cubs and Cubs fans should keep an eye on during spring training.
Cubs Spring Training: Prospects Attending Camp
Pete Crow-Armstrong (OF, #1 Prospect)
Pete Crow-Armstrong is the most exciting prospect on the Cubs and one of the most exciting in the entire MLB. In the Minor Leagues last season, across two levels, PCA hit .283 with an OPS of .876. He added 20 home runs and 82 RBI, as well. What makes him even more exciting is his ability to play center field. He has won a Minor League Gold Glove before and made every play in the MLB last season.
PCA struggled at the plate in his 14 at-bats last season with the Cubs. He did not record a hit, and he struck out seven times. He did record three walks, though, so we got a chance to see his speed on display. Unfortunately, PCA was successful on only two of his four stolen base attempts. Despite his struggles in the short time up last season, fans should still be excited about PCA. He is the top prospect for a reason, and he will be a lot of fun to watch moving forward.
Cade Horton (RHP, #2 Prospect)
Horton is the Cubs second-ranked prospect, and he is the 26th-ranked prospect on the MLB’s top-100 prospect list. Horton pitched across three different levels in 2023, and he found success at all of them. In total, Horton made 21 starts, threw 88 1/3 innings, and had a 2.65 ERA. More impressively, Horton struck out 117 batters and allowed opposing batters to hit just .191 off him.
Horton will most likely not see the big leagues in 2024, but he is very much on his way. Horton is one of the top prospects in the MLB for a reason, and the Cubs can not wait to see him do his thing at Wrigley Field.
Matt Mervis (First Base, #13 Prospect)
Mervis had a lot of hype surrounding him entering the 2023 season. Some people even wanted him to make the Major League roster out of Spring Training. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but Mervis quickly made his way to Chicago. When he was called up, Mervis struggled. He finished with a .167 batting average, three home runs, and a low OPS of .531 in 27 games played.
Mervis did, however, enjoy a lot of success in triple-A Iowa last season. He hit .282 with an OPS of .932, 22 home runs, and 78 RBI in 100 games played. He is a very good minor league hitter so that he will be seen at Wrigley this season. With first base being an opening for the Cubs, Mervis will have a chance to make the 26-man roster out of Spring Training. Keep an eye on Mervis as the Cubs head to Mesa.
Alexander Canario (OF, #14 Prospect)
Alexander Canario is one of the better prospects on the Cubs despite his ranking outside of the top 10 on the team. Canario is a severe power threat at the plate. In 2022, Canario hit 37 home runs in 125 games. However, last season, he hit just nine through 53 games. However, his batting average was the highest it has been since 2019 at .273.
He made his MLB debut in 2023, and went 5-17 with a home run and six RBI. He saw a little bit of success, but the Cubs have a crowded outfield at the moment. With Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ, and Christopher Morel, Canario would be battling for a spot in center field. That battle is with PCA, but Canario has the talent to be very good in the MLB.
Luis Vasquez (MIF, #21 Prospect)
Luis Vasquez might be a name that is unknown to some people. However, it is a name that people should learn. He is definitely a player that could make his debut this summer. Vasquez has had success at the Minor League level. In 2023, Vasquez hit .271 and had a power surge at the plate. He finished with 20 home runs and slugged .456. With those numbers at the plate, Vasquez is someone to watch in Spring Training.
What makes Vasquez even more exciting is his fielding ability. He has spent the majority of his time at shortstop, but scouts love his arm and range. This could equate to being able to play third base. The Cubs do not have a set third baseman heading into spring training, so Vasquez should get some reps in the position. He is on the 40-man roster so that he may make the Major League roster out of spring training.
The Cubs will have a multitude of prospects and non-roster invitees at their big league camp in Mesa, Arizona. Some other top prospects will be there, as well. Some honorable mentions for this list include Michael Busch, Kevin Alcantara, and Brennen Davis.
There are plenty of other prospects to be excited about; these are just the top 5. Yes, a few of these guys have seen big-league action already, but more was needed to really get a good grasp on what they can do. These five prospects should be at the top of everyone’s watchlist heading into Spring Training and beyond.
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