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Matt Szczur and the 40-Man Roster and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects
Matt Szczur, Photo by Mark LoMoglio/

Rooting for Matt Holliday to take a fastball to the ribs today? I wouldn’t think you a beast.


  • Among the Cubs’ players in the Arizona Fall League, one guy who could stand to make a good impression is Matt Szczur. The supremely athletically gifted, but “baseball young” center fielder, has built a great deal of his prospect status on those athletic gifts, rather than huge numbers (particularly for his age and level). He’s already on the 40-man roster, which puts the Cubs in a bit of a bind going forward, because he’s taking a spot up, but isn’t particularly close to breaking through to the bigs. At least, to his credit, he’s hitting quite well as a lead-off guy in Arizona – hitting .304 with a .407 OBP (and 4 SB). But the power remains wholly absent – he has just one extra base hit (a double) in 23 at bats. Szczur, 23, hit well at High-A Daytona last year, but struggled after a late-season promotion to AA. He’ll likely start 2013 back at AA, and if the Cubs don’t see significant progress, they’re going to be faced with a difficult decision regarding his roster spot. How many years can they afford to keep waiting on Szczur (while using up his option years, I should add)? The question is made even more difficult by the presence of other youngsters on the 40-man – Jorge Soler, Gerardo Concepcion, Junior Lake – who also may not be close to contributing in the big leagues.
  • According to a report out of Omaha, the Nebraska Corn Huskers are hoping to making their 2014 visit to Northwestern a visit to Wrigley Field – in other words, they want to play Northwestern at Wrigley. With the approved wall change at Wrigley Field, we knew college football was coming back. I am very much all for it.
  • Len Kasper wrote a guest article for Baseball Prospectus on bringing sabermetrics into the broadcaster’s booth. Len has always been progressive in this regard (for a mainstream broadcaster), and it’s a good read.


  • The 40-man roster situation – who gets bounced, who gets protected, how many spots need to be opened up for the offseason – is being discussed over at the Message Board.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions, which touch on a variety of offseason topics.
  • Doug Padilla continues his look at the Cubs’ positions from 2012, with a stop at shortstop. Since Starlin Castro played every in single game there this season, I think he might show up. Similarly, Vine Line has another player profile, and looks at probable future starting catcher Welington Castillo.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look again at the Matt Holliday crap, and wonder whether he’s going to take one inside today.



Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.