The Next Wave of Contributors
We all know about Javier Baez; we've been inundated with stories of promise regarding Kris Bryant; and we can't wait to see Albert Almora and Jorge Soler stay healthy. But who amongst the Cubs' current minor-league crop, can potentially assist the organization in rising above mediocrity, next season?
SP Kyle Hendricks
Hendricks was acquired from Texas in the Ryan Dempster deal. Upon arriving in the Cubs' minor-league system, Hendricks has been consistently very good -- this season, combining his AA and AAA numbers, Hendricks has posted a 1.95 ERA; 1.057 WHIP; and a bold-worthy 1.8 BB/9. Hendricks relies on his strong command to remain productive. Turning just 24-years-old prior to next season, Hendricks will be vying for a rotation spot in spring training.
RP Casey Coleman
A familiar name amongst Cubs' fans -- 48 career major league appearances -- Coleman has failed to impress. However the Cubs have finally committed to Coleman as a relief pitcher, where his "stuff" dictates he belongs. At AAA, this season, Coleman has posted a 3.17 ERA and a 1.275 WHIP; and while his strikeouts are down -- 6.9 SO/9 -- so are his BB/9. Coleman will have every opportunity to stick in the Cubs' pen, next season.
RP Marcos Mateo
The last piece of evidence that Buck Coats ever existed, Mateo is another name that should be familiar to Cubs' fans(2010-2011). Mateo -- hard-throwing reliever with erratic command -- is working his way back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. The results have impressingly improved -- in just 10 games at AAA, Mateo has posted a 2.19 ERA, 0.973 WHIP, wih 14 Ks to just 2 BB. Don't be surprised if Mateo's 2014 audition begins this September -- when rosters are expanded.
3B Mike Olt
Acquired in the Matt Garza Deal, Olt's performance in the minors this season, has been dismal. So why is he on this list? Power -- Olt posess 30 HR potential. That power comes with a solid glove, at a position of need - 3B. If Olt gets over his vision problems -- reportedly due to a past concussion -- perhaps he can ignite that potential which once ranked him a top 20 prospect in all of baseball. With an eagerness to witness his rebirth, I'm betting you'll see Mike Olt wearing a Cubs' uniform, in 2014.
CF Matt Szczur
A ridiculous athlete -- a wide receiver in college -- Szczur doesn't put up the most attractive numbers. What he does, however, is run -- both on the bases and in the field. A career .284 hitter in the minors, Szczur has room to improve at the plate. But it's his contagious energy that will get him a look with the Cubs', next season.
Others to watch: Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Christian Villaneuva and Justin Grimm.