Anthony Rizzo is definitely in for next year. That's a no-brainer for the Cubs.
Catcher Welington Castillo is doing all he can to nail down the starting catcher's job. But that seems to be about it as sure things for the Cubs' inexperienced players going into 2013.
Third baseman Josh Vitters was in the starting lineup for a second straight game Wednesday night at Colorado, with the Rockies staring left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz.
The Rockies led 6-0 in the seventh inning.
Center fielder Brett Jackson, however, sat out for a sixth straight game. That's the result of a recent flu bug and the Cubs facing left-handed starters.
It seems neither Vitters nor Jackson is guaranteed a spot on the 2013 opening-day roster, even after their much-ballyhooed call-ups from Class AAA Iowa in early August.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer is in Denver with the team, and he was asked by reporters about the young players who have come up this year.
"I think it's probably been mixed," Hoyer responded. "I think some of those guys have shown a lot. Some have done enough to not earn a position with the team but strong consideration for the winter. Some have probably indicated that they need more seasoning. Starting next year in Iowa is probably for the best.
"So it is a mixed bag. Certainly every guy that's come up hasn't shown that we need to reserve a spot for him at the beginning of next season. But that's to be expected. I think it would be unusual for every guy coming up to show enough."
That will leave the Cubs with plenty of decisions.
Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein will need to get at least two more starting pitchers to fill in behind Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. They'll need to decide whether to tender a contract to disappointing starter Chris Volstad.
If both Vitters and Jackson start next season at Iowa, which is hardly out of the question, there will be more decisions to make.
Manager Dale Sveum said he feels Luis Valbuena, who has played third base most of the second half, is on the team. Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus are set in the outfield (if they aren't traded), and Dave Sappelt is making a case to be at least the fourth outfielder.
The forgotten man, largely because he hasn't been with the team after having wrist surgery in June, is third baseman Ian Stewart. He's another player the Cubs must decide to offer a contract or not.
Reports say Stewart was examined by the doctor Tuesday.
"Obviously, we'll spend a lot of time getting to the bottom of how it looks going forward before making a decision on his future with us," Hoyer told reporters. "It is a year that's hard to evaluate given the wrist. It's challenging.
"He's got a lot of ability, the same ability that we saw when we traded for him. He's got big power, he's left-handed, he's a really good defensive third baseman. There are a lot of pluses there. we need to figure out what part was the wrist and what part wasn't."