Greg Rohan, first baseman, 6-0, 205
Drafted by the Cubs in the 21st round in 2009
Projected landing spot: Triple-A Iowa
Potential Cubs Comp: Cliff Johnson
This one goes back to the first minor league game i attended after getting bitten by the bug again. I wanted to see Hak-Ju Lee and the Cubs prospects I'd listened to in Boise the year before. So I did. Thankfully, Robert Whitenack and (Cub until waiver-wired away) Liam Hendriks were on point that night.
The only Cub from that night still in the system, but not on the 40-man roster, is Greg Rohan. This is about him, but also how 'then' compares to 'now', with the standard small sample size alert. Rohan is a good hitter. I'm not certain he will ever get even a ceremonial cup of coffee, but he might be the starting first baseman in Triple-A Iowa this year. Or, he might be released. Either way, battling to Triple-A from the 21st round isn't easy.
He has played first base, third base, left field, and even a game in right field. While it wasn't the game in question, this is the team that pushed him to right. A few of the guys in the lineup, I don't even remember. One of the outfielders was a retread, released by another team in the Dominican League. In 2010, the Cubs were a lumbering team. Lee and Logan Watkins were quick. Matt Cerda (three hits that night, with a walk and the only run) wasn't slow at third. However, with Justin Bour, Richard Jones, and Rohan, they had three first basemen. And to have an offense, they all had to play.
You can talk all you want about C+ or higher prospects as per Baseball America, but if you want to be a competitive system, you have to have more than four guys on a full season roster with average speed, or there is a big problem.
As I look to the 2014 Kane County squad, a potential outfield would be Yasiel Balaguert, Shawon Dunston, Junior, and Jacob Hannemann. You can like any of them, or not. That isn't important. Dunston will have his own thumbnail soon. Hannemann already has. Balaguert may or may not, but he can hit lower level pitching, and can play more challenging positions than left field.
Now, the Cubs are a more athletic team than before, and their bigger guys are often athletes as well.
Rohan is the last vestige in the minors not on the 40-man roster from this game. Announcers in the system like him. He sounds like a solid teammate, and in another era, with more bench room for pinch hitters, he might have been able to get that done at the highest level. He might get a chance this year for the Cubs. That said, the lack of heavy reliance on offense-only guys like Rohan is a step in the right direction for the system.