The regular season-opener for the Chicago Cubs is two weeks from today and their roster is beginning to take shape. When Spring Training began, the Cubs had a glaring hole at the third base position. The expectation was that the Cubs would start the 2014 season with Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy platooning at third base. That no longer may be the case as third base prospect Mike Olt appears to be ready for the Major Leagues.
Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago writes that Olt is now in the conversation for potentially being the Cubs starting third baseman on Opening Day. Olt, who has homered three times and driven in six runs in nine cactus league games, now simply has to prove that he can play the third base position.
Olt dealt with shoulder soreness earlier in Spring Training and the Cubs have been cautious when it comes to having the prospect play the field. However, Olt is close to being ready to play the third base position.
Olt playing third base for the Cubs may be the next-best thing for Cubs fans that have been clamoring for the start of the future. Many Cubs fans have been clamoring for Javier Baez or Kris Bryant to make the Major League team but the front office is not going to deviate from their plan.
The 25-year old Olt is in a different category than Baez or Bryant. For Olt, after struggling with the Texas Rangers, this may be the final opportunity he has. While that may be a harsh assessment for a 25-year old player that has only appeared in a handful of Major League games, Olt has been plagued with eye issues that were the result of being hit in the head with a baseball in a Winter League game in 2012.
Those issues are believed to have subsided this past off-season. Meaning with Olt being completely healthy, perhaps he can regain the form that had him as one of the top prospects in baseball in 2012. A scenario that could spell a breakout year for Olt in 2014.