Everyone understands that the Chicago Cubs are in rebuilding mode. Unfortunately, there isn’t any consensus on how long “rebuilding” should last. Many have long since given up on the Cubs, not expecting any rebuild to ever come. Others are like, “It’s been a whole month! Why aren’t we winning yet?”
But knowing that the Cubs are now in good hands begs the question: “When will the Cubs call up their prospects?”
Anthony Rizzo Some profile Anthony Rizzo as having a Joey Votto type ceiling. I project him a smidge lower than that, but even tossing around a comparison to Joey Votto has to get folks excited and anxious. Rizzo has talent.
Rizzo has already beaten cancer in his young life, so we know he’s tough as nails. He’s shown ability to adjust at the plate, but he still has a long swing, with a touch of an uppercut to it. That’s great for the long ball, but bad for strikeouts on the Major League level.
He’s knocked over 30 homers in the minors, but that was the Pacific Coast league, known for being generous with the long ball. Still, 30+ homers will be had by Rizzo in the majors, just not in the next couple years (remember, he’s just 22).
He’s got a good eye, with a walk rate over 10%, so he’ll be a good all around major league hitter, even consistently hitting .300+.
But let’s not forget that the Cubs have Bryan LaHair already hitting well at 1B. While he doesn’t have the sex appeal of Rizzo, it’s worth noting that LaHair has gotten better year after year in his career. I think LaHair will settle in around .270 with 22-25 home runs. That’s about what you’d get with Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, Lucas Duda, and Adam Lind. You can’t expect more than that out of Rizzo his first couple of seasons.
Regardless, if Rizzo is indeed called up sooner, rather than later, you can expect LaHair to keep his ABs, as they’ll figure out some way to play one of them in left field.
Jackson doesn’t really grade as a plus in any area, but is solidly above average across the board. He’s selective at the plate, but doesn’t have a great contact rate. He hits the ball hard, but not hard enough to clear the fences (he’ll cap out at 18-21 home runs). He’s good on the base paths, but not blazing fast (think 20ish steals). You get the idea.
He’ll play a solid center field, but he won’t stand out enough to be a perennial All Star. Instead, think about a solid career that flies just under the radar.
With Marlon Byrd, I would think that a June call up is likely.
I know this news, while good, isn’t enough to turn around the fortunes of Cubs fans. The Cubs are certainly still in rebuilding mode, but you’ll get to take a nice long look at the first couple of pieces of that plan within the next couple of months.