We've pasted the halfway mark for spring training games, so let's take a look at where the roster currently sits.
Pitching staff locks...
Starter or Reliever:
Position player locks...
That is 20 locks to be on the team this year.
The rest of my projections after the jump:
The Cubs need a back up catcher...my guess is that it will be Steve Clevenger, but the Cubs probably won't go wrong if they choose Welington Castillo instead.
To round out the rotation, it's pretty obvious to just about everyone now that Jeff Samardzija has done enough to merit a spot in the rotation, and Chris Volstad is likely to join him. Nothing again Randy Wells, who hasn't been too bad this spring, but these two guys have earned a shot. Wells will be moved to the bullpen instead of sent to AAA (even though he does have a minor league option or two left), a place that might be better for him in the long run anyway.
So with Volstad, that's 22.
I'm guessing that the Cubs will start the year with 12 pitchers...that means we need one more reliever.
Dolis is a lock, as I listed him earlier. Mateo hasn't been great this spring, but is out of options, so he'll be on the team. At the beginning of the spring, I would have said that Travis Wood would probably work out of the pen, but he's been so bad this spring that the Cubs really have no choice but to send him back to Iowa. I'm going to say that Lendy Castillo, the rule 5 pick will round out the pitching staff. He's pitched well enough for the Cubs to keep him.
Now we are at 23.
The last two players will come off the bench and you would typically assume one as a infielder and the other as an outfielder. Joe Mather has done well this spring and he has the added bonus of being able to play 5 different positions in the field: All three outfield positions along with 1st and 3rd base. Baker's ability to play in the outfield makes the Cubs bench extremely flexible. Really, the Cubs lack a backup shortstop, a position neither Baker or Mather can play. Barney is the only logical player the Cubs have to play shortstop when Castro needs some time off. With Barney, Castro and Baker all right handed batters, I really can come to no other conclusion than that Blake DeWitt should make the roster. I'd like to think it would be Junior Lake, but he's just not ready yet and, besides, he's right handed.
So Mather and DeWitt are the final 2.
Of course something will probably happen and this will be completely wrong in 2 1/2 weeks when the season starts.
Just missing the cut:
Tony Campana...everyone loves this kid, but he just simply can't get on base enough to make him an effective choice to make the team.
Welington Castillo...I think it's pretty much a tossup between Castillo and Clevenger. Clevenger seems to be just slightly more effective right now.
Casey Coleman...it's best for him to go back to Iowa and start, providing insurance when one of the starters at the big league level gets injured.
Scott Maine...he'll probably be in the big leagues some time during the season. If Wells is sent down, Maine will probably be the guy to take his place on the roster.
Andy Sonnanstine...I just don't think he's as good as the rest of the other relievers, though I think the Cubs management really would like to see this kid on the team. It's possible he gets when the final cuts are made to make room for another player on the 40 man roster (DeWitt?)