FanGraphs has been rolling out its top prospect coverage this month, and there’s a whole lot of fun stuff to digest over there, Cubs or otherwise.
Of note on the Cubs front, though, is a trio of Cubs who made the top 132 (i.e., prospects with a 50 grade on future value or better):
73. Miguel Amaya, 19, C
105. Nico Hoerner, 21, SS
119. Aramis Ademan, 20, SS
No surprise there on the first two, who have universally (and correctly, in my view) been held up as the Cubs’ top two prospects this offseason. But Ademan staying there in the top 100-ish range after a very down 2018 season is a pleasant surprise. You may recall that the Cubs gave the former bonus baby an extremely challenging assignment at High-A before his 20th birthday and before he even had 30 games of full season experience. He responded by hitting just .207/.291/.273 (64 wRC+). Based on his peripherals, it looks like he was still able to make contact at a decent clip, but he simply could not make hard contact consistently. Being taken advantage of by more experienced pitchers? I would bet so. Hopefully it helps him down the road.
There is a writeup on each of the three prospects here, and I dug this bit on Hoerner: “Already, Hoerner’s swing has changed. He was making lots of hard, low-lying contact at Stanford, but since signing he has added a subtle little bat wrap that has made a substantial difference in how he impacts the ball. He hit for much more power than was anticipated in the summer and fall, and the identifiable mechanical tweak is evidence that the change is real and not small-sample noise.”
From eyeballing it, we believed this to be true, but it’s nice to hear it from a scouting service that had plenty of eyes on Hoerner in the Arizona Fall League.
FanGraphs also got into guys they though could break into the top 100 next year, and two Cubs prospects show up: outfield prospect Cole Roederer is considered in the “Advanced Young Bats with Defensive Value” group, and Dakota Mekkes is in the “Potentially Dominant Relievers” group. I can get on board with both of those classifications, and those do seem two of the more fair guesses at Cubs prospects who could become top 100 types after this season.