The Iowa Cubs pitching staff finished 2013 ranked seventh in the Pacific Coast League with a 4.25 ERA. The potential is there for an above average starting rotation and bullpen depending on what happens on the off-season and whether the Chicago Cubs want a few pitchers to get more experience at triple-A before making the jump to Chicago.
2013 starters Jake Arrieta and Chris Rusin both finished the season on Chicago and pitched well. Both figure to get a chance to do the same in 2014. For potential Iowa starters, Kyle Hendricks and Justin Grimm are good bets to be back along with Brooks Raley. Arodys Vizcaino, who missed the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John and another minor surgery, will need to shake off the rust of not having pitched in two years. Vizcaino has a tremendous upside and is the number four prospect in the Cubs organization according to Baseball America. Other possible starters include Alberto Cabrera who converted from reliever to starter last season at double-A Tennessee but pitched out of the bullpen for Iowa and Chicago after moving up. Lefty Eric Jokisch who went 11-13 for the Smokies (including a no-hitter) is also a possibility to fill a starting slot for Iowa.
Brian Schlitter could well be back as closer again as he bides his time for a chance with the Cubs. Schlitter saved 20 games for Iowa in 2013. He may be blocked in Chicago by both Pedro Strop and Blake Parker in the closing role.
Plenty of candidates exist for middle and late relief. Marcus Hatley, Zac Rosscup, and Jeff Antigua could be back in 2014. Potentially joining them from double-A Tennessee could be lefty Tony Zych who had a 3.05 ERA in 47 games and oft-injured perennial prospect Trey McNutt.
Much of the roster will depend on the decisions the Cubs make with their current roster, free agent signings, and possibly losing a player or two in the Rule 5 draft.