The Chicago Cubs this season have been forced to do something many, including myself, have hoped they do under different circumstances. That would be calling on their minor league talent. The Cubs have been saddled with injuries in every category, and have called on the minor leagues and veteran free agents for help.
The injuries started with Cubs starting pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, who is now placed on the 60-day disabled list after another setback. Wells has since rejoined the rotation, but Matt Garza has joined Cashner on the DL, forcing the Cubs to call on veteran journeyman Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez. They have also summoned several pitchers from Triple-A.
At catcher, Geovany Soto hit the disabled list but has since returned. The Cubs were given a brief glimpse of Wellington Castillo, whose long anticipated arrival to Wrigley has been held up by an above average catcher and a decent backup in Koyie Hill. If Soto can't find his stride, it is very possible Castillo will be given an opportunity in Chicago. He will be cheaper going forward, and is four years younger than Soto.
In the infield, the Cubs placed Jeff Baker on the disabled list and called up highly touted prospect DJ LeMahieu from Double-A. It was no coincidence that he was interviewed by MLBDD earlier this month. LeMahieu will see time at second and third base, and given his size, he could be given a real opportunity to play third base in a larger role in the future. Especially if Josh Vitters continues to wane...
The Cubs currently have three outfielders on the DL - Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson, and Alfonso Soriano - and have replaced them with three minor league outfielders. Byrd was replaced with Tony Campana, who isn't the next Jacoby Ellsbury, but has speed to burn and is decent in the outfield. Johnson was replaced with Brad Snyder, who some would call a "AAAA" player for being very good at Triple-A but not able to cut it in the big leagues just yet. And finally, the Cubs recalled Tyler Colvin to replace Soriano, who like Byrd and Johnson, may be out longer than the regular two weeks.
There are several promising young faces with the Cubs in Chicago right now. This is the time to be evaluating that future talent to see if there are legitimate options within the system going forward. 2011 is not the Cubs' year, but it could be right around the corner.