Sunday, May 26, 2024

Keith Law Has Surprising Belief In These Two Cubs’ Rookies

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As we’ve talked about for weeks, the Chicago Cubs have one of the best farm systems in baseball. Even as players trickle into the MLB roster, the minors have plenty of talent to keep it healthy for quite a while. This also gives the Cubs plenty of ammunition for a trade market, but we’ll cross that bridge when and if we need to. Let’s talk about these Cubs’ rookies.

The Cubs saw the emergence of Jordan Wicks in late 2023, who had a great debut in the major leagues. Pete Crow-Armstrong came up in September, too, but it didn’t quite go as planned. Wicks will probably be a starter in the Cubs’ rotation to begin the year, while PCA will start the year in AAA Iowa. This is not discouraging PCA; there is just nowhere to put him. He needs consistent at-bats and won’t find them in Chicago to begin the year with the return of Cody Bellinger.

The Athletic’s Keith Law made a list of twenty rookies he believes will have the most significant impact on their teams in 2024. As valuable as Wicks and PCA are to the Cubs and their future, neither one made Law’s list. However, two Cubs did make his list. One made it pretty high up, and the other may surprise you to be on.

Michael Busch Predicted To Be Best of Cubs’ Rookies

The newly acquired Michael Busch is number three on Keith Law’s list of impactful rookies. Busch came to the Cubs through a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did not have a great 27 games when he was called up at the beginning of the year, but he hit two home runs.

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Busch was brought to Chicago to be the future at first base. The most consistent play the Cubs have had there since the departure of Anthony Rizzo in 2021 has been Alfonso Rivas, who started 89 games there in 2022. That’s how bare it’s been since the dismantling of the core.

But now that the Cubs are ready to win, they’re ready for stability. At the plate, Busch has power and patience. In the field, he is better than average. He’s just 26 years old with plenty of time still to develop. That’s the expectation, but he does have some pressure. If he is slow to start, the Cubs may have a quick trigger to move Cody Bellinger to first and bring Pete Crow-Armstrong, the top prospect, up from AAA Iowa to play center.

Law Believes In Cubs’ Rookie Not On The Roster

The biggest eye-sore on the Cubs’ roster right now is at third base. The Cubs plan for that to be Christopher Morel’s home defensively, but that plan is imploding rather quickly. Morel has played ten games at third base this spring and has three errors. That doesn’t count the throws saved at first base and some plays that could have/should have been made that were mercifully called hits.

But Morel’s bat is too good not to have in the lineup, so the Cubs are stubbornly trying to make it work defensively to keep the designated hitter spot open. Eventually, it will cost them games, and something will have to be done. Luckily, one of the Cubs’ rookies could be an answer ready and waiting.

Matt Shaw is number nineteen on Law’s list. Shaw has had an incredible start to his MLB career. He was drafted in the first round of the 2023 draft and has hit the ground running. This spring, he’s caught the Cubs’ eye and scouts around the league as a potential answer at third base.

Nico Hoerner was the last Cub drafted one year and in the major leagues the next. Shaw is lining himself up to do the same thing with his bat and glove. Morel, Patrick Wisdom, and Nick Madrigal are the third basemen currently rostered by the Cubs. Each one can seemingly provide one thing but not the other. Shaw is projecting to provide both bat and glove skills, hopefully soon.

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BearCub30
Mar 13, 2024 9:39 am

Nice article Tommy! Big Shaw fan and hoping he is the future answer at 3b soon. Also hoping Busch can make LA regret the trade’

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