We’re just about at the end of the pre-season rankings period from the national folks, and the emerging consensus is that the Cubs only two prospects in consideration for top 100 lists – catcher Miguel Amaya and shortstop Nico Hoerner – and, if they make it at all, they are generally at the back of the list.
To that end, the last major prospect list to drop is that of ESPN’s Keith Law, who unfurled his top 100 in a couple installments this week:
New ESPN+ post – the first half of my top 100 prospects is up, running from #100 to #51: https://t.co/MggvqCQzX8
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 29, 2019
For ESPN+ subscribers, the top 50 prospects in baseball: https://t.co/2ZD0py6bZz
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 30, 2019
Shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. getting top billing over Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is what generated most of the buzz, but Cubs fans were entirely left out of the mix, as Miguel Amaya ranked number 91.
Interestingly, Law focused on Amaya as an offensive catching prospect, grading out the upside on his defense as possibly average in the big leagues. Most other services have pegged Amaya as a preternaturally gifted catching prospect for his age (19), so I actually kinda dig that Law is talking up the potential in the bat: “Amaya has a very simple swing and approach, with a direct path to the ball, good balance through contact and enough loft for 15-plus-homer power, perhaps more if he gets stronger than expected. He will turn 20 in March, so there’s risk here, but right now, he looks like a solid everyday catcher with a high floor as a quality backup.”
Nico Hoerner did not make Law’s top 100, but he DID get a mention as one of Law’s “just missed” prospects, and if he were ranked, it would have been at number 110. Law digs the skills rather than the tools (i.e., he doesn’t have standout abilities to project, but he’s just a skilled baseball player), but wonders if he can stick at shortstop and doesn’t seem to think the power will come.
All in all, it’s not so bad to have a couple positional prospects at the edge of top 100 lists this time of year when you’re coming out of a period where you really had to use up your farm system.
That said, the Cubs are really going to need some more impact types emerging by the second half of this year that they can count on in 2020 and beyond if they want to continue this window.