If you had asked the world of Cubs prospect fandom what was going to happen at today’s rostering deadline, they would’ve said outfielder Nelson Velazquez would definitely be added, and then there were some maybes, with reliever Ethan Roberts the strongest maybe.
And what do you know, those are the only two prospects the Cubs added to the 40-man roster today.
Velazquez, 22, was the Cubs’ 5th rounder in 2017, and he’s been blowing up as the year went on, from High-A to Double-A, and then to the Arizona Fall League. There, he’s about to win the MVP for the season.
Roberts, 24, was the Cubs’ 4th rounder in 2018, and as Bryan recently chronicled, the dude just grinded his way ever since. Getting better and better, stronger and stronger, and then was dominant this year at Double-A and Triple-A with a particularly unique style.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 37, with a whole lotta needs, but also a fair number of fringe guys who may not last the whole winter, depending on other moves.
As for the prospects who weren’t added today, and thus stand to be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft (whenever it actually takes place), the Cubs no doubt want to hang onto guys like first baseman/outfielder Jared Young, reliever Brendon Little, starter Cam Sanders, infielder Luis Vazquez, and on and on. But the Cubs are betting that no team will take those guys onto their big league roster for the start of 2022. Remember: every single organization has guys they don’t want to lose in the Rule 5 Draft, so part of the calculus is rolling the dice that your guys simply won’t get picked.