MLB Pipeline's New Top 30 Cubs Prospect Rankings Are Out, "Breaking a Tie" for Top Cubs Prospect

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MLB Pipeline’s New Top 30 Cubs Prospect Rankings Are Out, “Breaking a Tie” for Top Cubs Prospect

Chicago Cubs

Every prospect ranking system/publication out there has a little something unique to offer, and, of course, their combined education helps to round off outliers (i.e. the more data/rankings we have, the easier it is to land at a general industry consensus).

To that end, we’ve already gotten a ton of top Cubs prospect rankings from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, Keith Law – and you should check them all out – but we have one more for you, today: MLB Pipeline.

Take a look at their just-released Top 30 Chicago Cubs Prospect Rankings:

  1. Miguel Amaya, C
  2. Nico Hoerner, SS
  3. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
  4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
  5. Cole Roederer, OF
  6. Aramis Ademan, SS
  7. Brennen Davis, OF
  8. Justin Steele, LHP
  9. Cory Abbot, RHP
  10. Keegan Thompson, RHP
  11. Zack Short, SS
  12. Alex Lange, RHP
  13. Brendon Little, LHP
  14. Richard Gallardo, RHP
  15. Nelson Velazquez, OF
  16. Yovanny Cruz, RHP
  17. Thomas Hatch, RHP
  18. Paul Richan, RHP
  19. Tyson Miller, RHP
  20. Trent Giambrone, 2B/SS
  21. Reivaj Garcia, 2B
  22. Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
  23. Jose Albertos, RHP
  24. Dakota Mekkes, RHP
  25. Duane Underwood Jr., RHP
  26. Christopher Morel, 3B/SS
  27. Riley Thompson, RHP
  28. Luis Verdugo, SS/3B
  29. Jhonny Pereda, C
  30. Andy Weber, SS/2B

For an individual write-up on every single player listed above, you can visit the Cubs 2019 Top-30 prospects page. In addition to that resource, Jim Callis has a narrative article over at, explaining the system and separating players by best tools, biggest jumps/falls, where they were found, and position. We’ll cover and comment on some of that below, but there’s far more to get into than we will here. So be sure to check it out. 

To begin broadly, I’ll point out that the Cubs’ top 30 doesn’t boast a particularly varied assortment of positions. Nearly half the list (14, to be exact) is comprised of right-handed pitching prospects, while only three lefties made the cut. Of course, the Cubs top pitching prospect, Brailyn Marquez, who’s been on the rise everywhere lately, is a southpaw, so maybe that makes up for it a bit.

In addition to the 17 pitchers, the Cubs have two catchers, no first basemen, two second basemen, one third baseman, three shortstops, and only three outfielders. It’s just not an evenly distributed bunch, even accounting for the fact that you always disproportionately see shortstops on prospect lists at the lower levels. Of course, the Cubs have promoted positional flexibility at the big league roster and throughout the minors, so perhaps there’s more here than appears on paper.

As for the rankings, themselves, there aren’t any huge surprises, even as it’s fun to see some of the risers like Zack Short. Also nice to see the love for guys like Thompson (x2), Cruz, Richan, and Miller, who have been getting shouts from our minor league dude, Bryan Smith.

Nico Hoerner and Miguel Amaya have taken the top two spots across the board this year and Marquez almost always follows third. If you’re looking for any kind of thread to pull there, I suppose you can note that MLB Pipeline has “broken” a Cubs’ top prospect tie:

#1 Ranked Cubs Prospect by Publication:

BA – Hoerner
BP – Hoerner
FG – Amaya
KL – Amaya

MLB Pipeline: Amaya

I guess we’ll have to wait to see if Bryan ranks Amaya over Hoerner, cementing his status as the current top prospect of the Cubs or if he’ll even it back up with Hoerner. I know Bryan’s pretty high on Hoerner (he thinks he might even start as high as Double-A this year), but we’ll have to wait, I guess.

For what it’s worth, Nico Hoerner walked away with MLB Pipeline’s best hit tool (60 on the 20-80 scouting scale) for the Cubs, while Amaya walked away with the best defensive grade (60). For reference, a 60 is considered well above-average.

The best singular grade handed out this year was the 70-grade fastball Riley Thompson earned. And other than that, Brennen Davis’ is the only player who received two of the organization’s top grades – a 55 for power and a 65 for running. With those scores in mind, it’s no surprise to see him continuing to climb the rankings.

The only really disappointing things to come out of these rankings is the precipitous drops for Oscar De La Cruz (#22) and Jose Albertos (#23), guys we’ve been hearing about for a long time now. Both have a ton of talent, but are clearly entering the “Yeah, well, then prove it” phase of their career. Don’t get me wrong, they are both still young – Albertos, especially – but the development has to be there for that to matter.

For more best tool rankings, ETAs, and everything else you could ask for, head over to Jim Callis put together a solid profile on the Cubs’ Minor League system, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami