3 Prospects that will help the Cubs in 2020


by - Staff Writer -
Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports
Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports

The Cubs have made a vocal effort to get younger in their starting rotation, as well as prolong their winning window. In what was once a powerhouse of talent, the Cubs’ fair system is in rebuild mode. However, there are some names that you have heard of who will be primed for a significant role in 2020.

NICO HOERNER

The young middle infielder may be the Cubs’ 2020 opening day second baseman. The Cubs were wildly impressed with Hoerner’s poise while being inserted into a pennant race off his couch late in the season.

Hoerner brought a much-needed contact approach to a Cubs team, on-base skills, and not a lot of striking out. Hoerner is young, needs some development, but was such a jolt to the Cubs in September and October, and the Cubs don’t have a sure-fire answer at second base, that the Cubs think he may be the guy for now and the future.

In what was a fast track to the MLB for the Cubs’ top-ranked prospect, Hoerner turned heads once he was called up. In just 20 games, Hoerner had 22 hits, 17 RBIs, and hit for a .282 average — while only striking out 11 times.

Hoerner is one of the many prospects who are expected to contribute to the 2020 Cubs.

ADBERT ALZOLAY

Alzolay is a highly touted prospect who brings heat from the right side and decent breaking stuff. He is young and has the swing and miss stuff the Cubs’ rotation is looking for, so will they seem him in 2020?

The Cubs saw Alzolay pitch in four games in 2019, and likely expect Alzolay to fill a sixth starter roll for them and ease him into the future where he is being counted on to morph into a one or a two for the Cubs. The foundation is there, and the control issues should present a red flag, but the stuff I just too good to overcome.

If Alzolay wows in the winter and spring training, and the Cubs don’t do much to address the rotation in the offseason, Alzolay may take a more prominent role than just filling in for injured or tired Cubs’ starters. Alzolay could potentially slide in as the fifth starter in an aging rotation, get his experience and ultimately break out for the Cubs in 2020.

Keep an eye on Adbert to make noise in the minors so that the Cubs have to bring him up, much like Nico, in 2019.

Alec Mills

Mills was a swingman between the minors and the majors in 2019 for the Cubs. While he is not as highly regarded as Hoerner or Alzolay, he was equally impressive during his time in the big leagues in 2019.

Mills is a pretty solid bet to join the Cubs in some capacity in 2020. Mills has good enough stuff to be a middle to set up reliever if the Cubs choose to go that route.

The young righty has also showed against the Cardinals in big division games that he has what it takes to be a starter in the big leagues and could be the answer for the five spot if the Cubs need it.

Mills has less upside than Alzolay but has shown more consistency in his young career.

If the Cubs decide Tyler Chatwood will be a starter in 2020 or showcase his stuff in the bullpen as a higher leverage guy than Mills could also slide in as a Swiss-army knife of sorts that Chatwood was in 2019. Mills could serve as a versatile piece in Ross’ bullpen.

The Cubs would be more encouraged to use Mills that way than Alzolay because of the plans for Alzolay in the future to be a starter.

Mills started four games and came out of the pen five times for the Cubs in 2019, and only gave up 11 runs in 36 innings, good for a 2.75 ERA.

Keep an eye on the trio of Nico Hoerner, Albert Alzolay, and Alec Mills to pay big dividends for David Ross and the Cubs in 2020.

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