The Chicago Cubs have a pair of top prospects on the cusp of reaching the majors, and 2012 may be the year they finally stick at the major league level.
Outfielder Brett Jackson, who played in Double-A and Triple-A in 2011, may well earn some considerable playing time in 2012. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors, however, Jackson's callup may not occur until mid June at the soonest. Nicholson-Smith reports that Jackson -- if called up sooner than mid-to-late June, would be eligible for Super Two arbitration, meaning his cost to the Cubs would rise considerably.
If the Cubs call him up in late April, they will still have Jackson under team control through 2018, but if he comes up any sooner or starts the season with the team, he would only be under control until 2017. If the Cubs are already out of contention by mid June, it seems likely they would begin to look towards calling up Jackson, and given his service time issues, it seems likely they would have little else standing in their way at that point.
The other Cubs prospect likely for mid-season callup is 1B Anthony Rizzo. Though the Cubs have already committed to 1B Bryan LaHair for the starting role, Rizzo will lose Super Two eligibility around late August, meaning a September callup may well be in his future.
Rizzo played a little with the San Diego Padres in 2011, giving him 0.068 years of service time, according to Nicholson-Smith, so the soonest the Cubs are likely to call him up appears to be sometime in July when he at least will earn an additional year of team control.
For more on the offseason, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more from around baseball, head over to Baseball Nation. To keep track of all rumors and happenings in the game, check out MLB Daily Dish.