Even with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler graduating from prospect status, the Cubs still have another wave of young talent bubbling underneath the surface.
Minor League Ball has three Cubs within the top 30 in the midseason update of their Top 75 MLB Prospects. And as has been the trend with Cubs prospects in recent years, they’re all hitters with upside.
Catcher Kyle Schwarber (6), shortstop Gleyber Torres (25) and outfielder Billy McKinney (28) are the Cubs’ representatives on the list. The trio also appears on Keith Law’s midseason top-50 and Baseball America’s midseason update. Meanwhile, Schwarber and Torres are also on Baseball Prospectus’ list.
Schwarber is a consensus top-10 prospect, whose bat has garnered waves of praise. Slashing .333/.429/.613/1.042 in 147 games over five minor league levels in the span of 391 days suggests this praise has been earned.
He earned some praise for his catching skills last weekend and will get a fair shot at earning his keep as a big league catcher — thanks in part to his bat, developing skills and makeup. And, of course, if he sticks in the big leagues for the rest of the year, as looks likely, he won’t be a prospect for long.
Torres is the high-riser in the organization. Add his inclusion on MLBPipeline’s Top-100 list and Torres would find himself on four different top prospects list.
That seems to be high praise from talent evaluation types who have seen Torres sparkle as an 18-year-old shortstop slashing .317/.384/.414 in the Midwest League. You can check out his minor league stats here. Interesting to note that Torres is 3.4 years younger than the weighted average of all the players in the league, per baseball-reference.com.
McKinney was rated in the top-100 by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus entering this season and has done nothing to disprove those rankings. He entered Sunday slashing .297/.372/.454 splitting time at Myrtle Beach (A+) and Tennessee (AA).
And while his stats have taken a slight dip since his promotion, McKinney is still slashing a respectable .276/.339/.409 and is 4.1 years younger than the average age of his peers.
McKinney (whose minor league stats can be found here) has really put it together since joining the Cubs organization in the deal that also brought Addison Russell.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that these former minor league teammates will be reacquainted at the major league level someday.
And while the Cubs are lacking in regard to high-end pitching prospects, the influx of offensive talent could possibly go a long way toward getting ahead of the curve as offense is on the decline across the board at the major league level.