The Chicago Cubs had a poor 2014 season. The team got off to a horrendous start and sold off assets like Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, Emilio Bonifacio to the Atlanta Braves, and Darwin Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers. These moves allowed the Cubs to call up some young talent they had in their farm system to the big leagues. After finishing July 45-62, 17 games under .500, the Cubs went on to finish the regular season 28-27. The Chicago Cubs were one of the more exciting teams down the stretch in September having called up a lot of young talent to put on display and they delivered. Lets take a look at some of the young talent that was on display as well as some who figure to make an impact in 2015.
SS Starlin Castro – 24 years old
Despite being just 24 years old, Castro completed his 5th season in the majors. A career .284 hitter, Castro finished 2015 hitting .292 with 14 HRs and 65 RBIs. While Castro has produced, the Cubs have a plethora of young shortstops in the farm system and he may be dealt for another starting pitcher to add to the rotation.
2B Javy Baez – 22 years old
One of the guys the Cubs have that could replace Castro is now second basemen Javy Baez. Baez, who came up the farm system converted to second base in order to find playing time. Baez was called up on August 5th and made a huge splash. In his first game, he hit his first career home run, a game winner in the 12th inning. He went onto hit 2 HRs in his third game becoming the first player in over 50 years to hit 3 HRs in his first 3 games. Although he hit just .169, he did display some pop with his bat hitting 9 HRs and driving in 20 RBIs.
RF Jorge Soler – 22 years old
Soler was called up in late August and also homered in his first game with the Cubs. Soler definitely showed he can hit posting a .292 average with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs in just 89 at-bats. He figures to be penciled in as the everyday right fielder in 2015.
1B Anthony Rizzo – 25 years old
Rizzo entered the majors in 2011 with the San Diego Padres but did not create a role for himself. He came to the Cubs in 2012 and really carved his role as the everyday first basemen in 2014. Rizzo hit .286 with 32 HRs and 78 RBIs.
The pitching rotation looks to also shine in 2015. The Cubs signed one of the top free agents this offseason in Jon Lester. They inked the 31 year old left hander to a 6 yr $155 million deal. He finished last year 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA between the Red Sox and Athletics. He also struck out 220 batters. Jake Arrieta, the 28 year old right hander played all of 2014 with the Cubs and still managed a 10-5 record. He compiled a 2.53 ERA, a WHIP of 0.99 and struck out more than a batter an inning. Kyle Hendricks, a 25 year old right hander was called up in July and was spectacular for the Cubs. He finished 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.08.
The Cubs have a lot of great young pieces and with the addition of Lester, they figure to be a contender in the NL Central. Another name to keep an eye on, Kris Bryant. Bryant played all of 2014 in the minor leagues despite dominating. The number 2 overall pick in 2013, hit .325 with 43 HRs and 110 RBIs between AA and AAA. At age 23, he may be the best of the bunch that the young Chicago Cubs have to offer.