It is well noted how highly regarded some of the Chicago Cubs top prospects are. Baseball America ranked four Cub prospects in the top 20, including two of the top three. Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, ranked first and third by Baseball America, were finally called up.
Bryant, who hit nine home runs this spring, was sent down by the Cubs to start the season in the minors. He hit .321 in seven games before finally getting a promotion to the Majors April 17. After striking out three times and going 0-for-4 in his debut, Bryant has done nothing but hit the ball. In five games, he is hitting .444 with six runs batted in.
Russell, on the other hand, had to wait a little longer for his Major League call up. Four days after Bryant got the call up, the Cubs felt it was time for Russell to make his debut. And on April 21, Russell was the starting second baseman for the Cubs. He, like Bryant, went hitless in his debut with three strikeouts.
However, Russell and Bryant are just 21 and 23, respectively. Everyone is saying the Cubs are a couple years away and might contend this season but won’t go very far. I am here to tell you that the future is right now for the Chicago Cubs. With Bryant and Russell up in the majors it is time to take the Cubs serious about contending — this year. Bryant already looks like the next big thing and is leading this team in his early career. And though Russell did not have a good debut, he is as good as advertised and will start hitting. Eventually, he may take over shortstop in place of Starlin Castro. That’s a discussion for a different day.
The way the Cubs are situated right now, it is their time to compete. Aside from Bryant and Russell, the Cubs have a deep lineup with perennial All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Castro rounding out their infield. Dexter Fowler, who was acquired in the offseason, has done a good job leading off and manning center field for the Cubs. Let’s not forget about the other young prospect the Cubs have in the majors: 22-year-old Jorge Soler is crushing the ball right now, hitting .327 with two home runs and nine runs batted in.
With the youth infusion the Cubs have right now, it is a fun time on the North Side. The Cubs have three potential Rookie of the Year candidates in Soler, Bryant and Russell. Rizzo has solidified himself as one of the game’s top first basemen and Castro has become one of the best-hitting shortstops in the game.
And we have not even mentioned their pitching staff yet. Free agent signee Jon Lester has not gotten off to the start he and the Cubs were hoping for, but he is an ace and will pitch like one soon enough. Jake Arrieta has become a very good number two pitcher and with Jason Hammel and Travis Wood, the Cubs have a pretty solid rotation. However, none are very playoff tested outside of Lester and that could cause problems. Then again, no one on this team has much playoff experience.
This young offense is going to lead them back to the playoffs, and with Lester and Arrieta at the top of the rotation, they have a shot at doing a lot of damage come October. Oh, and let’s not forget they have the best manager in baseball and a plethora of tradeable assets to get another top of line starter or reliever if need be.
It is time to take the Chicago Cubs serious because they have some young serious talent that can lead them to their first playoff appearance since 2008.