Via the Cubs website, here are the five outfielders currently on the 40-man roster:
There will be just two outfielders in camp who aren’t on that list.
Noel Cuevas is 28 and has played in 76 games for the Rockies over the last two seasons, batting .230/.265/.311 (34-for-146) with two home runs.
Ian Miller turns 27 in about two weeks and went 3-for-17 for the Twins last year, his only MLB experience. Miller hit .264/.346/.431 (119-for-450) with 11 home runs and 35 stolen bases in Triple-A in the Mariners and Twins organizations in 2019. The Twins purchased him from the Mariners in August.
Does it seem like either of those two have any chance to make the Opening Day 26-man roster over Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr. or Steven Souza Jr.? (With Carl Edwards Jr. gone, Souza continues the Cubs’ quota of two “juniors.”)
The answer to the question above is “No, it does not seem that way.” Unless Souza has some sort of health setback in spring training, he and Almora are going to be the backups to Schwarber, Happ and Heyward, and yes, it seems likely that Happ will be the Opening Day center fielder in Milwaukee March 26. That’s the same position he occupied on Opening Day 2018 in Miami, when he hit the first pitch of the 2018 season for a home run.
Almora will be given every opportunity to show that the 2019 season was an aberration, which I think it was. While he will probably never show the ability that made him the No. 6 overall selection in 2012, Theo Epstein’s first Cubs draft pick, he seems like a perfectly capable fourth or fifth outfielder. Almora and Happ are just about the same age. Almora turns 26 in April, Happ will be 26 in August. Both have been disappointments to some extent in their big-league careers, but both are still young enough to put together good seasons.
That’s the way I see the 2020 Cubs outfield, unless Theo & Co. make some sort of deal or signing before Opening Day.