Although it was a big year for Chicago Cubs prospects in the news, it was mostly because they were being shipped out of town in trades.
Two of the Cubs very best in Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease were sent to the White Sox as part of the Jose Quintana trade, and just as we started to think about whether Isaac Paredes or Jeimer Candelario might be the Cubs’ new best positional prospect, they were packaged in a deal for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.
Given those moves, the ones that preceded them last year, and the Cubs’ relative draft position the last couple years, you can understand that the farm system is not heralded as among the strongest in baseball right now. This is what happens when the big league team succeeds and supplements for a long stretch.
But that doesn’t mean the Cubs are entirely bereft of prospect talent. In fact, they have a catching prospect who showed up as THE catching prospect of the year to MLB Pipeline:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 8, 2017
After putting up solid numbers in A-ball and AA, the switch-hitting Caratini exploded this year at AAA, posting a .342/.393/.558 line (142 wRC+) and earning periodic call-ups to the big league team.
It’s not clear what the future holds for the 24-year-old backstop, but if the glove comes along a little bit, the bat does project to be big league caliber. Would the Cubs consider him as the primary backup behind Willson Contreras next year? Especially knowing that Kyle Schwarber can catch some if necessary, and Caratini can play corner spots? Contreras can also play a few positions … and I’m starting to get excited at the prospect of three flexible catchers all on the same roster – one lefty, one righty, one switch-hitter …
The Cubs may yet want a veteran presence like that of Rene Rivera, but, either way, Caratini figures to continue seeing time at the big league level for the Cubs in the coming years, assuming he’s still in the organization.