MLB Pipeline's New Top 30 Chicago Cubs Prospects List for 2018: More Pitchers Than Any Other Org

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MLB Pipeline’s New Top 30 Chicago Cubs Prospects List for 2018: More Pitchers Than Any Other Org

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Although MLP Pipeline’s full Top 100 prospect list has been out for quite a while (with no Cubs on it), they’ve only just shared the updated Chicago Cubs top 30 list.

Let’s explore the rankings and then dive into the specifics (like where the players came from, their ETAs, best tools, etc.). First, here’s the list, according to MLB Pipeline:

  1. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
  2. Aramis Ademan, SS
  3. Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
  4. Jose Albertos, RHP
  5. Alex Lange, RHP
  6. Brendon Little, LHP
  7. Thomas Hatch, RHP
  8. Victor Caratini, C/1B
  9. D.J. Wilson, OF
  10. Nelson Velazquez, OF
  11. Miguel Amaya, C
  12. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
  13. Dillon Maples, RHP
  14. Mark Zagunis, OF
  15. David Bote, 2B/OF
  16. Justin Steele, LHP
  17. Jeremiah Estrada, RHP
  18. Erich Uelmen, RHP
  19. Keegan Thompson, RHP
  20. Erling Moreno, RHP
  21. Michael Rucker, RHP
  22. Alec Mills, RHP
  23. Zack Short, INF
  24. Javier Assad, RHP
  25. Bryan Hudson, LHP
  26. Wladimir Galindo, 3B/1B
  27. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
  28. Trevor Clifton, RHP
  29. Cory Abbott, RHP
  30. Duane Underwood, RHP

For individual scouting reports on any of the players above, be sure to visit MLB Pipeline and click on anybody’s name

So immediate reactions … not a ton of surprises, right? Like most of the lists we’ve seen so far this offseason, the Cubs’ top 30 is loaded with pitchers – in fact, they have more pitchers in their top 30 than any other team in baseball:

And since we know the Cubs front office has struggled to produce pitching prospects since taking over the team back in 2012, it’s nice to see some of their recent additions to the organization start rising to the top (even if partly by way of attrition).

Arguably the biggest surprise on the list is Oscar De La Cruz maintaining his status near the top of the rankings, despite the fact that many other publications have dropped him closer to #10 than #1. I tend to think it’s fair either way, because everyone seems to agree that his talent is good enough to be among the Cubs best prospects, and it’s just his inability to stay healthy that’s holding him back.

Similarly, Jose Albertos has been considered the Cubs’ best prospect at times, but is listed just fourth above. But again, MLB Pipeline is aware of the talent, and is instead just playing it safe until he delivers a full season of stats – something they say they’re eager and expecting to see in 2018. Beyond that, the review is glowing: “Albertos possesses easily the best changeup in the system, earning plus-plus grades at times because he sells it so well and it seems to disappear at the plate. He sets it up with a 93-95 mph fastball that he can push to 97 and spot on either side of the plate when he’s going well. He’ll also flash a plus curveball at times, though it’s less consistent than his other two pitches because he uses it less often.”

After you’re done perusing the list free-style, check out the accompanying article on the Cubs system from Jim Callis. There’s a ton of information in there, and it’s a comprehensive, but easily digestible, overview of the system.

Among the highlights, Callis gives Victor Caratini the best hit tool, Dillon Maples the best fastball and slider (hello, 2018 bullpen candidate!), and Jose Albertos, expectedly, the best change-up.

As far as where the Cubs got their prospects, Callis notes that 18 (of 30) came from the draft, ten were international signings, and two others came over in trade. While consistently excellent drafting is an important skill, it’s especially nice to see that the Cubs have acquired more than third of their top prospects by other means – after all, if they keep winning and signing top free agents, they won’t usually have very enviable draft positions.

So that’s the Cubs’ top 30 prospects at a glance, but be sure to head over to MLB Pipeline for a whole lot more – and then drop what you find in the comments! I’d love to see what sticks out to you.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.