Baseball America listed four Cubs in its Top 100 prospects list, an indication the organization is showing progress in its rebuilding plan. Shortstop Javier Baez is ranked No. 16 while outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are Nos. 33 and 34. Pitcher Arodys Vizcaino is at No. 83. Lists such as these are only educated guesses, of course, and even a respected publication like Baseball America can be wrong. Before the 2011 season, the publication projected the Cubs' 2014 starting lineup with Josh Vitters at third, Geovany Soto catching, Tyler Colvin at first, Hak-Ju Lee at short and Brandon Guyer in left. The projected rotation had Andrew Cashner as the ace, followed by Chris Archer, Trey McNutt, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. There's no way of knowing what the future will bring, but Baez and Soler could give an indication this spring in Cactus League play. With 39 exhibitions scheduled in the Phoenix area, Tucson, Las Vegas and finally Houston, Soler and Baez will get plenty of chances to show what they can do. "There always comes that time in spring training when the starters start going seven innings and preparing (for the regular season)," manager Dale Sveum said. "But we have so many split-squad games that they're going to get quite a few games in before anything happens such as getting sent down." Sveum said the core players will start slowly, giving more time for prospects. "You don't want to kill anybody at the beginning," he said. "There are going to be a lot of at-bats for those guys the first 10 days of (games) or so." Sveum has said Baez will play some second base as well as shortstop, while Soler will play left and right fields. The importance of their careers can't be understated because of the team's poor history of drafting and developing impact players.
Cubs' top prospects should get long looks
Chicago Tribune | Feb 21