The Cubs officially have two top 100 prospects! Just barely! On one list! Woo hoo for that!
MLB Pipeline unveiled its new top 100 list this weekend, and just squeezing on for the Cubs are catcher Miguel Amaya at 94, and shortstop Nico Hoerner at 100.
We’ve discussed the duo a bit recently, as they’ve generally not appeared on the other top 100s, even though they are pretty clearly right there in that “close” range. That they’d be in the final 10 here at MLB Pipeline is not surprising, and is nice to see.
MLB Pipeline is complimentary of Amaya’s improving offense, but you’ll forgive me if I get most excited thinking about just how good he could be defensively: “Amaya’s defensive ability and makeup are the traits that initially attracted the Cubs, and he hasn’t disappointed in those areas. He’s a better receiver and moves better than most catchers his age, already showing the aptitude to frame and block pitches well. His arm has gotten stronger since he turned pro and now grades as solid with a chance to become plus, and it plays up because he gets rid of the ball quickly and makes accurate throws.”
As for Hoerner, the questions about his future defensive home will persist into this season, but it sounds like there are more and more believers in what his bat could be: “Hoerner excels at putting the bat on the ball, thanks to his uncanny hand-eye coordination, compact right-handed swing and controlled approach. Though he hit just three homers in three years at Stanford, he has strong hands and has driven the ball in his short history with wood bats. He has the sneaky power to hit 15 homers per season, not to mention the patience to draw walks and the solid to plus speed to steal bases.”
You should look for Amaya to begin the season as the primary catcher at High-A Myrtle Beach, where he might be joined by Hoerner as the starting shortstop. It’s hard to see Hoerner returning to Low-A South Bend to start the season after his showing in the AFL, even if he had only very limited experience in Low-A. It’s not even out of the question that the Cubs could *really* challenge Hoerner with an early assignment to AA.