With the lack of free agent signings to discuss, I thought it would be fun to check out what’s going on in the Cubs Minor League system and pick a player or two that I thought would have an impact on the big-league club in 2018.

If you have been a Cubs fan for as long as I have, you have undoubtedly heard the phrase, “The kids are coming” in reference to the young talent that allegedly fills the Cubs system.  Even though the Cubs system isn’t as stocked as it was a few years back; there is still plenty of talent on the horizon.

The first guy that I believe will make an impact on the club this year is Dillon Maples.  Maples is a young righty drafted in the 14th round of the 2011 draft.  He was drafted right out of high school and has faced some injuries as well as control problems.  In the 2016 season he finished with a 4.22 ERA in only 32 innings.   However, he has been able to bounce back and in 2017 he finished the season with a 2.27 ERA in 63 innings.  With a blazing fastball that hovers around 100 mph and an above average breaking ball, the Cubs should consider grooming him for a closer role if he can overcome occasional control problems.

Another player that is likely to have an impact in the majors this year is Jen-Ho Tseng.  Like Maples, Tseng is also a young RHP.  Tseng was signed out of Taiwan in 2013.  Tseng isn’t going to blow anyone away with his fastball nor will he trick anyone with his off-speed stuff, but he does keep hitters off balance and pitches to his strengths.  Last year he posted a 2.54 ERA in just over 145 innings pitched (combined AA and AAA).  Tseng struck out 122 batters while walking only 38, giving up 127 hits.  Tseng has been used as a starter in the minors, but in my opinion, he will be a solid bullpen arm who can spot start in an emergency.

Looking at player projections there are several others who probably deserve a mention, most of whom you have likely heard of before, but on this snowy day after the Super Bowl when no other sports news is happening, it’s nice to give fellow fans some baseball leather to chew on.

 

Stats from Baseball-Reference.com

Photo by Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

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