The Cubs system is loaded with prospects from top to bottom. Not only is Theo and Jed telling us this, but scouts from around the league are saying as such. As David Kaplan wrote recently, rival GM's truly believe that the Cubs time is coming soon.
While there are several prospects in the system that can significantly impact the Cubs, only one can have a ripple effect on the team.
Who is that? Mike Olt.
The prospect who was untouchable in 2012, suddenly became available because of eye issues. His 2013 year was abysmal and many in baseball wrote him off. He did not appear in many (if any) top prospects lists for the Cubs even though the talent was there. It wasn't that he forgot how to play the game, or had an injury that would derail his career. He was having tear duct issues. An issue that has an issue, and once it is solved the player that was there in 2012 is back.
Olt can hit about .280 and jack 25 home runs. While his offensive production makes him an asset and middle of the order threat, it isn't what makes him so valuable to the Cubs.
It's his position.
Olt is a plus third basemen and he can hit. If he wasn't there, Baez may play third instead of second or shortstop. (For the record, Castro will NOT be traded). If Baez isn't playing third base in Olt's absence, then Bryant will. But if Olt is there, Baez is playing second base, Castro is at Shortstop, and Bryant is a corner outfielder. In effect, the Cubs are looking for one less elite prospect to play the field is Olt succeeds at third base.
Yes, you can make the argument that the Cubs have Junior Lake and Arismendy Alcantara to play second base and left field, but those players are not necessarily elite. I think they both will be plus players to come off the bench for the Cubs, but not elite everyday players.
With Olt at third base, the Cubs can put together a lineup that will scare every team in baseball for years to come. Sure, the Cubs can absorb the loss of Olt if he does not pan out, but the output of this team offensively and defensively will be significantly enhanced if he grabs and holds onto the third base job this year.
It must be noted that he does not have to win the job in spring training, but at some point this year, he needs to grab onto it and hold onto it for the next decade.
The ball is in Mike Olt's court to impact the Cubs.
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