The Cubs have done little to hide their focus on building up their farm system since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the front office. For the most part, they have been successful, turning a system that was in the middle of the pack a year and a half ago into a unanimous top three system in baseball. But when can we expect these prospects to hit the Majors?

For the sake of simplicity, I am listing the top 8 prospects, who I view as the top two tiers of prospects. There is a fairly strong consensus on who the top 8 prospects in the system are, but beyond there it gets a bit fuzzy, and you have guys who are significantly less likely to contribute in a meaningful way to a MLB roster.

Also, it is likely that at least a couple of these players will bust at some point, whether that happens in the high minors or in the majors. Guessing who will bust and who won’t, though, would just be a guessing game, so the presumption behind this list is that this is what would happen if they at least reached the Majors intact.

Javier Baez (SS)
20 Years Old
Currently at Double A Tennessee

Expect to see him in the Majors: Between late 2014 and mid-2015.
Will be late 2014 if: (1) Baez continue to hits for a ton of power while getting his strikeouts under control; (2) the Cubs are competing for a playoff spot near the end of the season; and (3) Starlin Castro or Mike Olt struggle next season.
Will be mid-2015 if: Baez continues to struggle with strikeout issues and the Cubs need to find him a position because everyone else is playing well.
Predicted starting point in 2014: Double A.

Kris Bryant (3B)
21 Years Old
Currently at Short Season A Boise

Expect to see him in the Majors: Between early 2015 and mid-2016.
Will be early 2015 if: He isn’t seriously challenged in the minors until he hits Double A, and even then the hiccups are minimal. The concern with Bryant is strikeouts, so the question will be if he can limit them at the higher levels. The power should carry him through the low levels of the minors quickly.
Will be mid-2016 if: He gets stalled at High A or the strikeout problems become Brett Jackson like at the higher levels of the minors.
Predicted starting point in 2014: High A.

Albert Almora (OF)
19 Years Old
Currently at Low A Kane County

Expect to see him in the Majors: Between mid-2015 and mid-2016.
Will be mid-2015 if: He stays healthy, which has been a bit of an issue for him so far. Honestly, that is the only limitation I’m seeing on Almora, who I think will spend half of 2015 in Double A.
Will be mid-2016 if: Injuries derail his progress.
Predicted starting point in 2014: High A.

Jorge Soler (OF)
21 Years Old
Currently at High A Daytona

See everything I wrote for Almora? Push the dates up six months, and that’s Soler. The issue will just be if he can stay on the field. The shin issue he is dealing with right now is more of a freak thing than a chronic concern, though.
Predicted starting point in 2014: Double A.

Arismendy Alcantara (2B/SS)
21 Years Old
Currently at Double A Tennessee

Expect to see him in the Majors: Between mid-2014 and early 2015.
Will be mid-2014 if: Aside from Alcantara himself continuing to play well, (1) Castro or Barney need to miss significant time any time after about June 1; (2) Barney struggles offensively to the same extent as he has in 2013; or (3) Barney is traded.
Will be early 2015 if: (1) Castro and Barney both play well; and (2) Barney is not traded.
Predicted starting point in 2014: Triple A Iowa.

Pierce Johnson (RHP)
22 Years Old
Currently at High A Daytona
Expect to see him in the Majors: Between late 2014 and early 2016.
Will be late 2014 if: (1) Johnson is pitching well; (2) the Cubs are competing for a postseason spot; and (3) the Cubs think Johnson could help the bullpen.
Will be early 2016 if: This is really independent of what Johnson does. Of course if he hits a bump in the road, that will slow him down, but the Cubs may be solid enough in the mid to late part of the rotation to be in no rush to bring Johnson up, particularly if the bullpen improves as well.
Predicted starting point in 2014: Double A Tennessee.

CJ Edwards (RHP)
21 Years Old
Currently at High A Daytona

Edwards is on a very similar trajectory to Pierce Johnson, with one caveat, in that he’s much slighter than Johnson. That just means that scouts think there’s a bigger risk he won’t be able to hold up to a starter’s workload or could face an injury somewhere down the line. Edwards being pegged for the bullpen could actually speed up his ascent to the Majors, since he’ll become a two pitch guy at that point. However, he’d undoubtedly be more valuable as a starter.

Mike Olt (3B)
24 years old
Currently at Triple A Iowa

Expect to see him in the Majors: Between September 2013 and mid-2014.
Will be September 2013 if: He goes on a bit of a hot streak between now and the end of Iowa’s season.
Will be mid-2014 if: He doesn’t, and he doesn’t claim the starting spot in spring training. Or the Cubs just want to delay his arbitration clock.
Predicted starting point in 2014: This one is a coin toss between Iowa and Chicago, but I’ll guess Chicago.

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Noah Eisner is a Chicago attorney living in the western suburbs with his wife and son (and impending daughter). When he isn’t practicing law or entertaining a toddler, Noah follows Cubs baseball with a focus on the farm system and sabermetric analysis. His Cubs-related ramblings can be followed on Twitter @Noah_Eisner.