The Cubs are more or less looking very set. Let's talk about who wins the 5th OF spot!
Glancing at AZ Phil's Cubs depth chart there is a plethora of in house candidates. Ranging in different skillsets, draft position and prospect rankings. Some of my favorites are...
Jae-Hoon Ha: I have an unhealthly love affair for Hoon Ha. His AA (career) slash was .277/.347/.388 with a 17% SO rate and 8% BB rate. SO trending down and BB trending up. Mix in scouting reports as the Cub's best OF defender. He was considered a bit of a tweener getting through the system but he can definitely handle CF. I like this guy, I think he's in Denard Span/Craig Gentry territory. He did not have a great go around at Iowa but considering he spent parts of 3 seasons in AA an adjustment period is in consideration. I'm 30 minutes from Des Moines so I've seen him play and defensively he's great, base paths he hustles and does the little things. His BABIP at Iowa was .276 while in AA he was getting .331-.361. If he can show OBP skills at Iowa while everything else stays constant I see him being the 4th OF for a long time. I think Gregor Blanco is a very fair comparison upside wise. Cherry on top was him taking Cole deep in the futures game, that was awesome.
Josh Vitters: Talk about going through the system on a snail's pace. Injuries derailed what could have been a solid year for Josh. In 2012 at Iowa he put up a very good line that was been discussed. .305/.356/.513, his 2012 line was even better albeit in far less plate appearances. Right now he is who I think wins the 5th OF spot to platoon with Schierholtz and spell Rizzo if needed. He's a bit stone handy but I've seen him make good plays at 3rd...in the OF I've only seen him make the plays he should make. He also hit the biggest home run I've ever seen (Cleared the OF Box seats left field @Iowa). You can find the highlight at milb.com somewhere. He put up slugger numbers with a 17% strikeout rate. His upside is ridiculous, there's a reason why was drafted 3rd overall. His realistic upside is still up for debate. I think the Cubs will give him every reason to succeed because if he does then we're talking potential legit starting left fielder. He's not a big on base guy but given he doesn't strike out either...you would kill if him and Brett Jackson could combine skill sets.
These two are my favorites hands down. They have spent the most time at AAA and thus have a leg up on guys like Matt Szczur and John Andreoli.
Outside shot of making the team...
Well it is Szczur and Andreoli - These are two New England players with similar skill sets. They both have serious speed and on base skills. Thus far Andreoli is a year or so younger and has had better production. Where it comes to ceiling I have no idea. These guys I think can jump Ha given the opportunity because speed is such a cherished tool that can be utlized in the 5th OF spot very well. Szczur has had a lower strikeout rate so maybe that correlates better for the major leagues, this upcoming season will tell a lot more about these guys. Also I want to note that although limited power (Szczur is said to have more) they both can put up .ISO around 100 or better so its not Campana/Revere bad. Or Jason Tyner for those that remember him.
Guys that interest me...in a strickly platonic baseball way
Rubi Silva - Turns 25 in June, slugged almost .500 in AA last year. He didn't walk off Cuba so the on base is lacking but pretty toolsy.
BJax - Please stop striking out. Still one of my favorite (failing) prospects. If he can curb his kryptonite a little bit, just a little bit.
Casper Wells - Meh, I'd rather see the movie Casper than watch the Cubs if he's playing.
Zeke DeVoss - I know he was drafted by Hendry but little you may know he was also a Red Sox draftee back in 2009 (Theo). He marked the first time I think I've seen the Cubs take a player based on OBP/Speed skills and brought some philosophical change to the organization. I remember message boards being excited to get this guy because of the BB skills. His OBP will probably always be higher than his SLG but thats alright because its been nearly .400 for his career. He's made a sportscenter top play. I hope he gets fast tracked a little bit considering he will be 23 in AA for the first time next season.
So I conclude this verbose message board post now. It's boring times studying for finals lol. Point being soon as in next year we won't need to be waiting for the Cubs to sign OF bench guys because plenty are on the way.