Every team has holes to fill, and the Chicago Cubs could look in-house to fill theirs. Five Cubs’ prospects stand out among the rest when it comes to making their MLB debut in 2024. The Cubs have had interest in many players, and there are some they should take an interest in. However, not all needs have to be filled via free agency or trades. The Cubs could use their prospects to fill the voids on their team, even if it is only for a short period during the 2024 season.
The Cubs have one of the best farm systems in baseball. Their top prospect list is very exciting, and there is a lot of talent at multiple positions. This list will focus solely on the Cubs’ prospects who have not made their big league debut yet. Players like Pete Crow-Armstrong, Alexander Canario, and Matt Mervis will not be mentioned.
Cubs Prospects On the Horizon
Ben Brown, Right-Handed Pitcher
Ben Brown is the Cubs No. 5 prospect. He is also on the Cubs’ 40-man roster heading into the 2024 season. This means Brown could easily be called up if the Cubs need him to fill in, or come up full-time. At 6’6 210, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Brown out of high school in the 33rd round of the 2017 MLB draft. The Cubs then traded for Brown in 2022.
Brown split time between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. However, a majority of his time was spent in AAA after he dominated in four starts against Double-A competition. In Triple-A, Brown made 22 appearances (15 starts), threw 72 2/3 innings, and struck out 100 batters. The big right-handed pitcher has a little bit of a walk problem as he walked 51 in those 72 2/3 innings. However, that could be fixed with a little bit more work. Nonetheless, Brown has a lot of upside.
Ben Brown, back to dialing up zeros.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 14, 2023
The Cubs are short on both relievers and starters as of right now. Brown could be the fifth starter the Cubs are looking for if he plays well in Spring Training, but he would also be able to fill a mid-to-late-inning reliever role. Brown can reach the upper-90’s with his fastball, and that would be just what the Cubs need with their pitching staff. Seeing him on the mound at Wrigley Field in 2024 should be expected.
Haydn McGeary, First Base
Haydn McGeary is a Division-II prospect out of Colorado Mesa University. The Cubs used a 15th-round draft pick on McGeary in 2022. He has quickly made a name for himself as he is the 17th-ranked prospect in the organization. McGeary is not on the 40-man roster, so the Cubs would have to make room for him if he is called up, but he should get a chance to prove himself at first base in Spring Training come February.
McGeary spent time in High-A and Double-A last season. This is the reason he is not yet on the 40-man roster, but he could very well be soon. In the two levels combined, McGeary played 124 games, hit 19 home runs, and drove in 88. What is most impressive about McGeary is his eye at the plate (80 walks), and .859 OPS. Not to mention, McGeary hit .275 across both levels.
The Cubs have a hole that needs to be filled at the first base position. It will most likely not be used on McGeary as he is not on the 40-man roster. However, as injuries arise, the Cubs could end up needing to fill this role in the summer months. If that happens, McGeary will be one of the better options to call up.
Luis Vasquez, Shortstop
Luis Vasquez is currently the Cubs 21st-ranked prospect. The Cubs took Vasquez out of high school in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB draft. Vasquez has performed well enough for the Cubs to want to protect him from the Rule-5 Draft that happens every winter. With that, Vasquez is a part of the 40-man roster.
Vasquez spent his 2023 season split between Double-A and Triple-A. It was a pretty even mix between both levels, and he ended up playing 124 total games. In those games, Vasquez hit .271 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI, and he had an OPS of .817. Vasquez would bring some power to the Cubs lineup, which is impressive as a Shortstop. However, he impresses more in the field. Vasquez has a 60-grade arm, and he is a plus fielder. Vasquez made just eight total errors in 2023.
The Cubs have shortstop and second base locked down for the foreseeable future as Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner are not going anywhere. However, there is a massive hole to fill at third base. Whether it is early in the season, or later on, seeing Vasquez man the hot corner at Wrigley Field in 2024 is a very real possibility.
Bryce Windham, Catcher
Bryce Windham is not one of the top 30 prospects in the Cubs’ organization. However, he is a player that could make an impact if given the chance. He was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft and has made his way to Triple-A Iowa.
Windham had his best season at the plate in Triple-A (outside of rookie ball). He hit .290 with an OPS of .743. Windham only struck out 41 times in 61 games played in 2023. His power numbers are not great, though. Windham hit just one home run, nine doubles, and drove in 31 runs. That part of his game needs to improve, but his lack of strikeouts and ability to hit for average make him an intriguing option.
Windham does a good job defensively. He caught 13 runners stealing in 2023, and 32 in 2022. Windham’s caught-stealing percentage would be just average in the MLB, but his pop time has shown flashes of being very good.
Practice 12 to 3 o’clock.
Bryce Windham, Cubs AAA – recovers this sac bunt with a nice side arm flick. pic.twitter.com/r63sCtXxJZ
— Tyler Goodro (@goodrocatching) July 21, 2023
The Cubs currently only have two catchers on their 40-man. Miguel Amaya has seen his fair share of injuries, and Yan Gomes could always use the extra rest. If the Cubs do not want to go to a veteran, and would rather see how a younger, cheaper prospect can do, Windham should be the guy.
Cam Sanders is another player not on the Cubs’ top-30 prospect list, but he has a lot of potential. Sanders, 27, was drafted in the 12th round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of LSU. He is not on the 40-man roster, but it should be expected to see him in Spring Training.
Sanders spent the 2023 season with Iowa, strictly as a reliever. He made 51 appearances and finished with 64 2/3 innings pitched. The move to the bullpen was best for him. His strikeouts saw a massive increase as he finished with a 13.5 K/9. With that, Sanders was 5/5 on save opportunities and he had four holds. Sanders allowed opposing hitters to hit just .172 off him in 2023, and .198 in his minor league career. That is super important for a reliever. It means the stuff is there.
The only problem with Sanders is his walks. He will not see the big league mound if he keeps up his command issues. If Sanders can cut down on his walks without sacrificing his strikeouts, he could be a welcome addition to the bullpen in 2024.