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Chicago Cubs Top 47 Prospects

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Chicago Cubs. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Young Cubs
Cristian Hernandez, SS
Alexis Hernandez, SS
Geuri Lubo, RF
Angel Cepeda, SS
Joan Delgado, UTIL

This whole group is still relatively young and has meaningful maturation ahead of them, physically and otherwise. Cristian Hernandez, now 20, was a $3 million amateur signee whose hit tool bottomed out pretty early in pro ball. He’s had somewhat of a rebound from a strikeout standpoint, but he still doesn’t look like he’s going to hit. Alexis Hernandez, 19, started striking out at a scary rate in 2023, a trend that has continued in 2024. He’s still so skinny and young that he could add the necessary strength to handle the bat more capably. Lubo is a converted infielder with a huge arm who is now a power-hitting right field prospect. Cepeda and Delgado are versatile complex-level youngsters with above-average bat speed and questionable feel for contact.
 
Tweeners
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Pedro Ramirez, 3B
Jose Escobar, 2B

Pagan, 23, is an undersized outfielder who plays with a ton of effort. Ramirez is a stocky, undersized 2B/3B who is off to a white hot start in 2024. Escobar is a versatile lefty-hitting youngster on the Arizona complex. All three of these guys are good baseball players without the big time physical ability typical of a major leaguer.

Hard-Throwing Relievers
Cam Sanders, RHP
Riley Thompson, RHP
Cayne Ueckert, RHP
Ben Leeper, RHP

Sanders sits 94-96 and has a good slider, but his fastball plays down and he walks nearly a batter per inning. Thompson has had a bit of a K% uptick in 2024 as he’s moved to the bullpen. He’s a kitchen sink long reliever now and still gets a lot of swing-and-miss at his breaking balls, though he also throws a lot of non-competitive pitches. Ueckert seems to be in the midst of a bit of a velo swoon. He looked like a mid-90s/slider reliever at peak, but right now he’s sitting more 92. His arm action still looks great, though. Leeper is also a mid-90s/slider guy who is a little over a year removed from his third Tommy John.

One of These Things…
Erian Rodriguez, RHP
Freilyn Silverio, RHP
Jake Reindl, RHP

Rodriguez, 22, and Silverio, 19, have prototypical 6-foot-3 starter builds but struggle with mechanical consistency. Silverio also has a dandy curveball. For you low release height goobers, the low-slot Reindl is missing a lot of bats at Double-A right now. He sits 92 and has very consistent command, but his slider’s raw quality was a little short of the main section of the list.

System Overview

This is one of the very best systems in all of baseball, with the most Top 100 prospects (nine) of any team in the sport. About half of those came over via trade, some during the team’s tear down of the World Series-winning core (PCA from the Mets for Javier Báez, Kevin Alcántara from the Yankees for Anthony Rizzo), while the others have come from both the draft and the international amateur talent pool. The Cubs’ hit rate on some of those trades wasn’t high (for instance, the Yu Darvish trade has yielded Owen Caissie, theoretically, but Yeison Santana and Reginald Preciado have not panned out) and yet here we are, with the big league team in legitimate contention for their division while the org also boasts what might be the best farm system in baseball.

The Cubs have been great at developing velocity for the last handful of years, but they’re less adept at developing other aspects of pitching (it’s not like they have a changeup assembly line the way the Dodgers do) and, anecdotally, the guys who have arm strength gains often don’t sustain them or stay healthy. Cubs prospect lists have had a lot of year-to-year turnover as guys similar to the “Hard-Throwing Relievers” group of the Honorable Mention section have slid out of the main section of the list. Seven Cubs big league pitchers are on the IL as of list publication.

A lot of these guys are slated to arrive either this year or next. This system is due for decline across the next 18 months for good reasons, namely trades and graduations. Who might be most likely to be dealt in a deadline deal this year? We mention in Alcántara’s blurb that the presence of PCA and Cody Bellinger plus his dwindling options and late-bloomer body could push him out to a team more comfortable letting him develop at the big league level. James Triantos is blocked by Nico Hoerner, Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ for the next three years, and also feels more likely to be dealt than others. Unless the Pirates (who feel like they’re one more year away from this) decide to participate, the Cubs are much, much better equipped to add at the deadline without mortgaging the entire farm than any of their division mates, and perhaps more so than anyone in the National League besides the Dodgers (their system has similar depth) or Padres (they’re wily and find a way to make huge deals, depth be damned).

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