Prospects? PROSPECTS?! But Brett, I want to write about the STARS … Like Scarlett Johansson and the guy who played R2-D2. Sigh.
I guess every star has a humble beginning, and someone has to be there to document it all before they’re famous. So here’s some notes about the Cubs potential, future stars (a.k.a. prospects).
- Ahead of their 2020 Top 100 Prospect rankings, MLB Pipeline is going through the top-10 prospects at each position. They’ve already gone through the top right-handed pitchers and first baseman, but the Cubs didn’t land any players on those lists. They did, however, land Brailyn Marquez (#9) on the Top-10 Left-Handed Pitching Prospects list, which is no surprise given that they think his fastball is one of the best they’ve seen from a lefty in quite some time. Uh, do not trade that man, please. Thanks.
- And when they revealed their top-10 catching prospect rankings, I was happy to see Miguel Amaya crack the list. I did hope he’d by slightly higher on the rankings than #10 – and he doesn’t earn any marks for top tools or superlatives – but it is good to see him recognized nonetheless. It’s tough to say where he’ll land on the top-100 rankings when those roll out, if he does at all, but it’s safe to say the back-end is likely. Last year’s top-100 featured 9 catchers (including Amaya at #90) and I suspect he’ll end up around there once again.
- Internally, I can tell you that Bleacher Nation (particularly Brett) is much higher on Amaya than the national pundits tend to be. But given that he should reach Double-A this season – for as young and talented as he is – I’m a believer. Dude’s gonna be good.
- On the flip side of the Cubs most well-known prospects, our friends at Cubs Insider have put together a stock watch on some of the Cubs “less heralded players” worth your attention this season. Give it a read:
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) January 11, 2020
- Baseball Prospectus has released their Top-10 Cubs rankings for the 2020 season, and headlining the list is none other than recently-debuted Nico Hoerner. Hoerner was forced into the big leagues late last season after a series of injuries, but held his own in his cup of coffee. I still expect him to play second base long term and start the season off in the minors, but given everything we’ve seen from him and how close he is to becoming a full-time big leaguer, I can understand the top ranking.
- Speaking of which, here’s Hoerner’s take on his “crash course” intro to life as a big leauge player (video).
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 12, 2020
- Amaya, by contrast, is much further away than Hoerner, but takes the number two spot on the list because his upside as a 20-year-old catcher who’s already hit very well in High-A and can more than hold his own behind the plate is a freakin’ good prospect. The top-4 is rounded out – predictably – by Brailyn Marquez and Brennan Davis, both of whom have extraordinarily high ceilings, but also plenty of risk. I really love the Cubs top-4 prospects right now.
- The only moderate surprise on the BP list, by the way, is Kohl Franklin, coming in at #6 overall. That’s new. Here’s a quick-hit from our prospect guru, Bryan:
Dig the Kohl Franklin love shown over at @baseballpro.
A real chance that Franklin shows up Opening Day with some extra heft, more comfort with the curveball, no blister in sight, and takes off like a rocket.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) January 15, 2020
- At The Athletic, Sahadev Sharma discusses the Cubs deal with the A’s, in which they acquired first base prospect Alfonso Rivas in exchange for Tony Kemp. On the one hand, Sharma uses the deal as a vehicle to reinforce the Cubs intentions to focus beyond 2020, but on the other hand, he contends that the Cubs legitimately consider it a steal. New Cubs Scouting Director – Dan Kantrovitz (a very exciting hire, if you remember) likely led this effort, given his previous role with the Athletics when Rivas was drafted, and it’s precisely why we were so excited about him in the first place. The guy knows hot to scout and he just hand-picked a player from his former team’s 2018 draft class. I like it.
- Rivas, as we’ve discussed, still needs develop that in-game power, but if he can (or if the juiced ball helps a tiny bit), he might be one heck of an all-around hitter. Fortunately, with Rizzo entrenched at first base, he’s got plenty of time to figure it out.
- Unlike Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America’s Top-10 Cubs prospect list for 2020 has Brailyn Marquez up top, followed by Hoerner, Davis, and eventually Amaya. And if you’re looking for more of an understanding on those decisions – as well as, apparently, a conversation about Cory Abbot (#10) – this BA podcast is perfect for you:
— Brad-Tor and the Snow Dog (@ballskwok) January 17, 2020