Whenever you think of past Cubs teams, you don't really think speed. They've never been built like a Porsche, they've always been something more like a used Cadillac, one for which they paid far too much. Now that could all change...quickly.
One of the more exciting components of the Cubs rebuilt farm system is it's speed. It has already started to reach Wrigley, with Starlin Castro and Tony Campana leading the team in stolen bases. But they're just a small hint of what's to come. And these guy just don't run, they get on base...a lot. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I tried to limit it to legitimate prospects who could be up within the next 3 years -- and most of them will get here much faster than that...(of course...these guys don't really do anything slow).
1. Brett Jackson (OF) - Jackson is the Cubs best known prospect. He's a great athlete with skills in every area, starting with speed. He grades out as having above average speed and should steal about 20 bases per year as major leaguer. OBP = .376
2. Matt Szczur (OF) - Perhaps the fastest player in the organization, Szczur's task is to harness the speed which made him a top NFL WR prospect and translate it to baseball. So far, so good. Szczur has stolen 19 bases in 24 attempts across two levels .OBP = .362
3. Logan Watkins (2b/SS)- another great athlete trying to translate his natural speed to the diamond, Watkins has 13 SBs but he's doing it much more efficiently than he did last year, getting caught just 3 times. Last season, Watkins stole 19 bases all season and got caught 10 times. OBP = .381
4. Evan Crawford (OF) - Acquired from the Giants in the deal that sent Mike Fontenot out west, Crawford is one of the fastest players in the system. This year he has stolen 23 bases in just 28 attempts. OBP = .394
5. Zeke DeVoss (2b) - Recently signed after being drafted in the 3rd round of this year's draft. DeVoss wasted no time making an impression at Rookie Level Arizona, getting the game winning hit in his debut. But he was just getting started. On the first day he gets promoted to Boise, he gets on base 4 times, steals 5 bases, and scores 4 runs. He has a chance to have the best combination of OBP and speed on the team. OBP = .400 (in very limited plate appearances).
We're looking at a group who gets on base and then wreaks havoc once they get there. All of them have a legitimate chance to be on the Cubs roster by 2014 in some capacity or another. These guys won't be your father's lumbering Chicago Cubs. This will be the newer, sleeker model, and they could be an exciting team that puts the constant pressure on the opponent's pitching and defense. And that's something we haven't seen here on the north side in a long, long time.
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