Chicago Cubs' Star Prospects at Positions of Need Continue to Dominate

As the Chicago Cubs continue to struggle, their star prospects continue to dominate, prompting questions about when they will get called up.
Mar 5, 2024; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs third  baseman Matt Shaw (77) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Surprise Stadium
Mar 5, 2024; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Matt Shaw (77) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Surprise Stadium / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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If the Chicago Cubs and their fans were feeling good about things after coming away with an important series victory over the San Francisco Giants during the week, that was quickly squashed on Friday.

With Shota Imanaga on the mound to face the New York Mets, there were some expectations they would be able to get another win under their belt and get this slate off to a good start.

Instead, they saw the NL Rooke of the Year candidate get absolutely shelled for 10 earned runs on 11 hits in just three innings of work.

With all the issues this Cubs team has, starting pitching has been the least of their concerns. Imanaga has been a huge part of that, and manager Craig Counsell is just chalking this up to a poor outing since it was the first time the 30-year-old has faced a Major League team twice.

Although, if that's what happens the next outing when he faces a team for the second time, then there will be alarm bells going off.

Until it gets to that point, though, it's best Chicago focuses on the problems they do have.

Across their position groups, the most glaring weaknesses on this roster is at catcher and third base.

Things got so bad with the catching group that they decided to designate veteran Yan Gomes for assignment and bring in outside help to shake things up. Third base has plagued them for a couple seasons, and Christopher Morel is clearly not the answer there.

However, the Cubs might have two solutions already within their organization.

Their No. 6 overall prospect Moises Ballesteros was just moved up to their Triple-A affiliate, putting him that much closer to getting the Major League call. Matt Shaw, their No. 3 prospect, is considered the third baseman of their future, and even though he's only at Double-A right now, there were some whispers he might get fast-tracked if things continue to go poorly.

How long Chicago is willing to wait is the question.

Both players are projected to be future cornerstones at their respective positions, and both players have torn up the minor league competition they've faced this year.

In Shaw's first full professional season, he's slashing .243/.356/.398 with eight homers, 17 extra-base hits and 28 RBI through 63 games. Ballesteros has been even more impressive with a slash line of .305/.372/.505, including hitting a home run and going 6-for-16 across four Triple-A games.

The Cubs have playoff aspirations this year, and calling up prospects who might not be ready wouldn't necessarily help their chances of playing fall baseball, but with the way things are going right now, something needs to change.

Both players likely don't see the MLB diamond this season no matter how good they continue to perform in the minors, but it's a good sign for Chicago that Shaw and Ballesteros are looking like the real deal so they can avoid the issues they're currently dealing with in the future.


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Brad Wakai

BRAD WAKAI

Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently is the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. He is also a contributor at FanSided, writing about the Philadelphia 76ers for The Sixers Sense. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai