More Cubs prospects! More minor league rosters!
Yesterday, the Cubs’ High-A affiliate (Myrtle Beach Pelicans) and Low-A affiliate (South Bend Cubs) announced their preliminary rosters for the upcoming minor league season, and the AAA Iowa Cubs have joined the fray:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) April 5, 2017
As expected, Ian Happ opens up at AAA, where he’ll be the team’s primary second baseman, while periodically seeing time in the outfield. It’s a challenging assignment for a player with only one full year of professional experience, which topped out with some struggles at AA. But Happ was solid in the AFL, fantastic in the spring, and has the full confidence of the organization. There might be an adjustment period, but I’d expect him to hit. The glove remains more of a question, particularly … where can the Cubs put it?
Only four infielders on the initial roster means that the catchers will likely be playing a lot of first base (which you’d expect from Taylor Davis and Victor Caratini anyway). Matt Dominguez was going to be the first baseman, but he was injured at the end of the spring.
I’m surprised not to see Jacob Hannemann in the outfield mix, so we’ll see if that’s injury-related, or if the Cubs are just going to start him back out at AA again this year. Given his solid peripherals there in an injury-shortened 2016 and his addition to the 40-man roster, I had expected a bump to AAA right out of the gate.
So many familiar pitchers on the roster, including recently-acquired starters Alec Mills and Eddie Butler, each of whom will battle with Rob Zastryzny to be the first man up if the Cubs need an additional starter this year. Ryan Williams, Aaron Brooks, and Jake Buchanan all also figure to work out of the rotation at Iowa (at least at times).
It’s good to see that Jack Leathersich is apparently healthy and ready to go, and that I-Cubs bullpen is loaded with talent – Pierce Johnson, Felix Pena, Dylan Floro and Jose Rosario are all potential big league bullpen call-ups this year.
Given the up-and-down nature of the AAA roster, you can expect to see lots of shifting over the course of the season, but the group is a nice mix of prospects and veterans, a significant number of whom can help out the big league team when needed.