2 hidden gems to help Chicago Cubs win NL Central

The Chicago Cubs expect to be active at the trade deadline, but they could help their cause in the NL Central by making some moves within the organization.

The Cubs weren’t expected to be in this position. Before the season even began, management expressed its doubts about this group’s long-term prospects. Chicago’s core, led by Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo, may still not survive beyond this season despite being in playoff contention.

Jed Hoyer has acknowledged that the Cubs success has put the front office in a difficult position. While previously they may have dealt off some of their veteran core in an attempt to hit the reset button, they now don’t feel comfortable doing that, and rightly so.

So, where do the Cubs go from here?

Rather than taking large swings at the trade deadline, further diminishing their prospect base, the Cubs could call upon some of these young guns to contribute to the major-league product. They’re ready.

Chicago Cubs: Two players Cubs should call up

Jun 7, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Cory Abbott (15) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

1. Relief pitcher Cory Abbott

To give the Cubs credit, they already got a head start on this one.

Chicago’s bullpen is one area they’re fairly suspect at times, beyond closer Craig Kimbrel. This is where Abbott comes in. So far, he’s thrown nearly five innings of two-run work in three appearances out of Chicago’s pen. Could a larger role be in his future?

Abbott came into the season as the Cubs’ No. 15 ranked prospect. Yet, he was also one of the most major league-ready due to his age. So when the Cubs called him up a few weeks ago, Abbott was ready. There was very little drop-off in his production from his first pitch.

Abbott can give you multiple innings of relief if necessary. That sort of freedom gives manager David Ross more to work with out of his bullpen, especially given the Cubs rotation also has its issues from time to time.

So far, Abbott has thrown 5.1 innings to the tune of six hits and two earned runs. His ERA is just 3.38.

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