Yesterday kicked off the second half of the MLB season and the Chicago Cubs find themselves in an all too familiar position. The Cubs sit in last place in the National League Central division with a 40-55 record. The Cubs are on pace for yet another losing season and another top 5 draft pick. Although the Cubs seem to be all but out of contention, the second half could potentially provide intriguing story lines.
It all starts on Tuesday when Kyle Hendricks will make his second start of the season for the Cubs and all indications are that he will get an opportunity to prove he belongs in the Cubs rotation moving forward. This will provide Cub fans with an in depth look at the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2013. Hendricks showed his stuff in his major league debut, but this time around he will show the organization that he belongs in the starting rotation for the long haul.
Along with Hendricks, there will surely be another pitcher that gets called up and has an opportunity to showcase his abilities as the Cubs have yet to name their fifth starter. The possible starters could be Dallas Beeler or newly acquired Dan Straily. Either way, the second half will allow Cub fans to see what kind of pitching talent the organization has coming up.
The trade deadline is still twelve days away and the Cubs have already proven they will be active. I predict the Cubs will make at least one more trade and possibly two. The trade I feel is going to happen is trading away one of the veteran outfielders in Justin Ruggiano or Nate Schierholtz. Trading one of these two away will allow for the Cubs to maneuver their roster a little bit easier because they will have one less outfielder to worry about playing.
The most exciting prediction I have for the Cubs second half is that the kids will get called up. I predict that both Kris Bryant and Javier Baez will get called up. I think that a trade of either Ruggiano or Schierholtz will allow for Arismendy Alcantara to move to center field and create space for Baez at second base. As for Bryant, third base has been waiting on him since he was drafted and he will man the position later this season. Calling up these two prospects will bring massive excitement to Wrigley Field during another season in which the club will finish under .500. It will also give the fans a glimpse into the future and allow for the prospects to get a taste of the big leagues.
Although the Cubs may be out of contention, the possibilities for the rest of the season should keep fans intrigued. The long awaited arrival of the organizations top prospects could be right around the corner, which should bring renewed exuberance. Nothing is known as of now, but with many different possibilities, the second half of the season should be quite interesting.