Well, given how unusually quiet everything has been this November, you probably don’t, but there’s a new Cubs top prospect list out there (via FanGraphs), so you can get that a look.
This one is a relatively deeper dive into the top 22 prospects in the Chicago Cubs system, including detailed scouting reports, KATOH (stats-only) projections, probable outcomes, future values, and much more. If you have the time, I strongly suggest giving it all a read, because it’s pretty darn comprehensive.
We have some thoughts , starting first the rankings (age in parenthesis):
- Aramis Ademan, SS (19)
- Adbert Alzolay, RHP (22)
- Jose Albertos, RHP (19)
- Oscar De La Cruz, RHP (22)
- Brendon Little, LHP (21)
- Alex Lange, RHP (22)
- Victor Caratini, C (24)
- DJ Wilson, OF (21)
- Miguel Amaya, C (18)
- Alec Mills, RHP (25)
- Jeremiah Estrada, RHP (19)
- Thomas Hatch, RHP (23)
- Nelson Velazquez, RHP (23)
- Brailyn Marquez, LHP (18)
- Cory Abbot, RHP (22)
- Wladimir Gallindo, 3B (21)
- Dillon Maples, RHP (25)
- Jose Paulino, LFP (21)
- Jason Vosler, 3B (24)
- Mark Zagunis, OF (24)
- Bryan Hudson, LHP (20)
- Eddy Julio Martinez, OF (22)
In a continuing trend across multiple publications, the Chicago Cubs farm system is 1. filled with arms and 2. beginning to form a consensus near the top. Although the relative order changes quite often, the top six you see above are almost always the same names you see on every list (always ending with 2017 first-round picks Brendon Little and Alex Lange).
Unlike most lists, however, it’s the shortstop Aramis Ademan, not the high-ceiling starters Adbert Alzolay or Jose Albertos, or the oft-injured, but highly-intriguing Oscar De La Cruz, taking the top spot overall. And for good reason.
According to Eric Longenhagen, who wrote up the individual scouting reports, Ademan’s defensive game at shortstop is effortless and refined, and his approach at the plate is good and improving. “Ademan is similarly cool with a bat in his hands, taking quiet, comfortable swings that resemble the left-handed swing of Jimmy Rollins.”
He’s probably not going to be a slugger (Longenhagen projects a ceiling of 15 homers annually at the big-league level), but should play with an above-average rate of contact and plenty of gap-power. Combined with sound defensive work in the middle infield, that’s “an above-average regular at shortstop” brewing in the Cubs system. Awesome.
From what I can tell from this and other lists, the MiLB Cubs 2018 season will be a very important one for their top pitching prospects. For one reason or another, each of Alzolay (still developing into a starter’s full workload), Albertos (minor arm troubles), De La Cruz (multiple injuries), Little and Lange (just drafted) – didn’t actually see a whole lot of time on the mound last season.
But if they can stay healthy and get their innings in, there’s a chance that this system could explode (there’s so much dormant upside here). Of course, if they continue to battle injuries and need more rest, the Cubs system will probably continue to look weak relative to other systems in baseball, and that could prevent future influxes of talent and limit their ability to move prospects in trades.
Given that the Cubs will need to do both of those things to be successful, here’s to hoping for a bunch of healthy Minor League seasons – it could mean a world of difference.
Be sure to head over to FanGraphs to read more about the Cubs top prospects and expected future values from Longenhagen and company. If you’ve felt out of the prospect loop lately, this one will get you right back on track.