The new Baseball Prospectus Top 101 prospect list for 2019 is out today, and the good news is that the Cubs are represented this year. The less good news is that just one prospect makes the cut:
You've been following the organizational top prospects all offseason – and here is the big one. The 2019 Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects list is live! https://t.co/e7g6kmP7fH
— Baseball Prospectus (@baseballpro) January 23, 2019
Coming in at number 86 is Cubs shortstop prospect Nico Hoerner, who was the 24th overall pick in the 2018 draft. To have a guy at that slot show up immediately in top 100 prospect lists generally means that the Cubs knocked that particular pick out of the park. Given what we saw from Hoerner in limited regular season at bats and then in a stint in the AFL, yes, he certainly does seem like a top 100 type. Excellent pick, Cubs, and here’s hoping he continues his rapid development from here. He’s already in Arizona right now doing work.
Hoerner, 21, got into just four games at South Bend before an elbow injury ended his regular season. That is to say, he has basically no full-season ball experience, and it is for that reason that I see him starting the year at AA Tennessee as very unlikely, despite his AFL success. I’d think instead he’ll start out at High-A Myrtle Beach, with a chance to move quickly to Tennessee if the bat simply isn’t being challenged. (Tricky bit: the Cubs will have to figure out how to coordinate shortstop starts for Hoerner and their other top shortstop prospect, Aramis Ademan, who also figures to be at Myrtle Beach to start the year.)
Even as Hoerner has so very quickly put himself on the national radar, just like the Cubs’ other recent first round positional picks out of college, it’ll be important not to judge him harshly if he doesn’t rocket right into the big leagues like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Ian Happ. That is *RARE.* I know it feels very commonplace now, but that’s some freakish stuff. Hoerner seeing big league time in 2020 would be impressive.
Elsewhere on BP’s Top 101 … there are no other Cubs prospects. There are a few guys for whom you could make an argument, but with some down years and injuries in 2018, I don’t think you can have a big beef. The guy I would have expected to be in serious consideration, though, is catching prospect Miguel Amaya, who hit well as a 19-year-old in A-ball last year (impressive), and is considered a plus defensive catcher. How that’s not a top 100 type, I don’t really know. If he hits again this year, though, he could quickly be a top 50 type.
And he bat flips like a boss:
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) January 23, 2019
Baseball America also dropped their top 100 list today, and there are no Cubs at all:
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) January 23, 2019
The rest of the NL Central is well-represented on both lists, with at least two prospects showing up for all four teams on both lists, with the only exception being the Brewers on BP – and even there, they have Keston Hiura as the number six overall prospect.
Although that is to be expected during the Cubs’ competitive cycle, and although third party prospect lists are not the be-all-end-all of actual organizational health, there can be no question that the Cubs have to find a way to bust out some *IMPACT* players from their own farm system over the next three years if they are going to sustain this window, regardless of how much they spend. This front office was absolutely excellent at building up what was a disastrous farm system. So far, they have been much less effective at keeping it at a competitive level once that monster wave of prospects came through.