1/17 Updating Cubs prospects

A dozen Cubs prospects completed a week-long rookie development camp on Thursday. The sessions included a workout at Northwestern University, a seminar, and some extra training. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, David DeJesus, Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts were among the people who addressed the group. The 12 players who participated included position players Javier Baez, Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Szczur, and Logan Watkins, and pitchers Dallas Beeler, Marcus Hatley, Barret Loux, Trey McNutt, Zach Rosscup, Nick Struck, Robert Whitenack and Tony Zych.

Jason McLeod, the Cubs scouting and player development director, was asked about a few of the prospects. Here’s an update:

* How close is Baez to the big leagues?

“Javy’s still so young,” McLeod said. “He’s only played really three months of a full season and obviously, last year, he took the Midwest League by storm in a short time there and hit some bumps there in Daytona. Being that he just turned 20 years old [on Dec. 1], obviously, he’s a talented young man, he’s going to ultimately decide [when he’s ready]. He loves to work, he works extremely hard. The plan for him this year is to get a full season under his belt.”

* McNutt was used as a starter and reliever last season at Double-A Tennessee. What’s his future role? McLeod said that’s to be determined. The results were better when McNutt pitched in relief and that may be the best spot.

* Jorge Soler worked out in the Miami area this offseason, and had some sessions with new hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce and player development director Brandon Hyde.

“He’s still getting used to being in the states and getting ready to coming into Major League camp,” McLeod said of the Cuban outfielder.

Where will Soler play in 2013? That’s also to be determined. He spent last season at Class A Peoria.

“He’s put himself in position to start at a higher level but we have to see how things shake out,” McLeod said, noting that they have an overload of outfielders, including Reggie Golden and Evan Crawford, who are both coming back from injuries.

* Whitenack has missed time after needing Tommy John surgery in 2011, but is now 100 percent.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone here saw two years ago,” McLeod said of the right-hander, who was 7-0 in 11 starts in 2011 before he was hurt.

* Junior Lake has played infield and outfield in the Dominican Republic Winter League. Where will he end up? McLeod said Lake will get most of his playing time at shortstop or third, but will also play in the outfield this spring.

“We want to maximize his ability and versatility,” McLeod said.

– Carrie Muskat

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