Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that six prospects, as well as righty Felix Pena, have been assigned to Minor League camp – reducing their roster from 50 down to 43.
Right handed pitchers Pierce Johnson and Felix Pena, catcher Victor Caratini, and outfielder Jacob Hannemann have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.* And three non-roster invitees, infielder Chesny Young and outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Mark Zagunis have been assigned to Minor League camp.
*Note: when you see these announcements throughout the spring, it does not necessarily mean that’s where the player will open the regular season. That’s just the group they’re headed to join for Minor League camp. For now.
The Cubs remaining spring roster consists of twenty-two pitchers (four of which are non-roster invitees), five catchers (two non-roster invitees), eleven infielders (four non-roster invitees), and five outfielders (one non-roster invitee). So there is still plenty of road to cover before Opening Day.
Jimenez, the Cubs top prospect, is the most notable cut from camp this time around, although he was never a serious threat to make the Major League squad. He’ll finish is big league portion of camp with a .962 OPS – sixth best on the Cubs. Pierce Johnson is another notable cut, because he could theoretically make the Cubs bullpen at some point in 2017, although like Jimenez, he was never much of a threat to break camp with the Chicago Cubs.
Both Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario – arguably the two most significant prospects close to the Major Leagues – survived this round of cuts, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. They are both extreme long-shots to break camp with the Cubs, regardless of how well they’re performing. Both, however, stand good chances of reaching Chicago this season.
The spring roster is now down to 43.