COMMENTARY | The Chicago Cubs seem to have more to be excited about in their system with each passing week.
It's hard to argue that that isn't the case, but all the happy-go-lucky excitement can mask the reality that the Cubs have had their share of setbacks across their system this season as the attempt to continue the rebuilding process.
It's too early in the game to get too worked up over Castro and Rizzo's development, but neither one has taken the desired strides forward in 2013.
Castro is hitting .249 and has continued his inconsistencies in the field. His strikeouts are up (96 through August 13, 100 in all of 2012) and his on-base percentage is below .300. Rizzo's average is down to .236, and he hasn't shown to be the anchoring, middle-of-the-order bat the Cubs are counting on. His 18 home runs and 65 RBIs aren't awful numbers, but the Cubs are looking for more.
While it's too early to panic, these two are major pieces to the Cubs' future. And to consider that there is a real possibility they won't develop into the players we thought they might be is a pretty scary consideration to be dealing with in the heart of rebuilding.
Ranked as the Cubs' No. 3 prospect, Soler has had a tough season -- mostly due to injury. It was recently announced that Soler will most likely miss the remainder of the minor-league season thanks to the fracture in his left tibia.
Soler is only 21, so the injury trouble doesn't derail his development, but he's expected to be a major contributor to the Cubs' future success. Consequently, any indication of lacking production or injury-proneness is a disappointment (and maybe even a red flag).
With the influx of talent into the minor leagues, these two former first-round draft picks' struggles aren't nearly as big of a deal as they might have been two or three years ago. But the amount of disappointment in these two players is substantial.
Both have struggled with injuries in 2013 but haven't played well while on the field, either. Vitters just landed on the disabled list for the third time, and Jackson was recently demoted to Double-A. When you consider that these were two of the only shining prospects in the organization just a couple of years ago, you start to appreciate just how far the organization has come in the last two years.
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Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing .
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