Cubs Prospect Notes: Almora, Williams, Underwood, Rankings, Cease, Pitching, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Almora, Williams, Underwood, Rankings, Cease, Pitching, More

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

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“Prospects will break your heart … unless they’re Cubs prospects, then they’re probably all awesome and always will be.”

I believe that’s how the saying goes, and, if it isn’t, it should. Of course, that’s not true at all, because most prospects – even Cubs – do break our hearts.

Indeed, I’m sure each of us can name more than three young players from whose career we expected … more.

But that doesn’t mean you still can’t watch, analyze, opine, and root for your favorite prospects. In fact, it’s encouraged! Luckily, we have an entire season worth of prospecty-goodness just around the corner. And while I am, of course, anxious to start the Major League season, I have a feeling the 2016 MiLB Cubs are going to have a big year. Some of the latest …

  • At perhaps the apex of the 2016 Cubs’ minor league storylines, you’ll find center fielder Albert Almora. Already in camp and looking strong, Almora has been working especially hard over the offseason. “He’s just really after it,” farm director Jaron Madison told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He’s in a really good place mentally, feels really good. I think it’s going to be a big Spring Training for him this year.”
  • Almora trained at the University of Miami this winter, with fellow Major Leaguers Yonder Alonso and Manny Machado (a former childhood friend). Almora said working with his friends – now Major Leaguers – really pushed him to work harder and be the guy he knows he can be. Almora is at big league Spring Training this year, but you shouldn’t expect him to break camp with the team. In all likelihood, Almora will be cut from camp over the next 2-3 weeks and eventually make his way to AAA Iowa. If he continues what he did in the second half of last season, you might see him in Chicago sooner than later.
  • Chicago Cubs 2015 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Williams is keeping a diary for throughout his first big league Spring Training. Kyle Hendricks (also Minor League Pitcher of the Year) and Carl Edwards Jr. took the honors over the past two springs, but now the duty falls to Williams. You can read his first and second entries at So far, he’s written about getting the call to join the big league team this Spring, and facing live hitters for the first time of the year. He’s a pitching prospect to watch this year.
  • At, Carrie Muskat has a nice profile on (probably) top Cubs pitching prospect Duane Underwood. Underwood, 21, finished his 2015 season up in Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, but is projected to start the season out at AA Tennessee in 2016. Unfortunately, the start to his season, so far, has been slowed by because of the high pollen count in Arizona – he apparently has bad allergies. Still, Underwood is working hard, talking to the big league pitchers (like Jake Arrieta) and preparing for a big season ahead. Good read.
  • If you’re unfamiliar with Stephen Fife’s journey, you’re going to want to spend five minutes and read this story at Essentially, Fife went from playing for the L.A. Dodgers (2014), to bartending at the Melting Pot in Phoenix, before making his way back to pro-ball in Venezuela and finally ending up as a non-roster invitee at Cubs camp in 2016. It’s pretty fascinating and yet another dive into what life is actually like for many pro ball players.
  • Luke took a dive into the Tennessee Smokies’ expected roster, and sees a bunch of breakout potential.
  • And lastly, Jim Callis did a chat last week on Twitter, with a tons of Cubs stuff in the mix. Here’s some of it, including where the MLB Pipeline crew ranked the Cubs’ farm system, and the many interesting young pitchers on the farm:


Author: Michael Cerami

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