There are still a couple national lists yet to come, but a couple that recently dropped have the Cubs’ top four prospects in the league-wide top 100. Thus, I think it’s now fair to say – as we anticipated at the end of last season – the Cubs now have four top 100 prospects for the first time in four years (Ian Happ, Eloy Jimenez, Albert Almora, and Dylan Cease qualified back in 2016.)
This weekend, MLB Pipeline dropped its pre-season top 100, with the top four prospects for the Cubs landing thusly:
51. Nico Hoerner, SS
68. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
78. Brennen Davis, OF
95. Miguel Amaya, C
And today, Baseball Prospectus dropped its pre-season top 101, with the same four Cubs prospect shaking out this way:
41. Nico Hoerner, SS
78. Miguel Amaya, C
84. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
92. Brennen Davis, OF
As you can see, neither list pegs any of the Cubs’ prospects at top 30 or 40 guys, and the order is pliable. But still, we all agree that these are the Cubs’ top four prospects, and having them all considered among the top 100 is a very nice sign for the returning Cubs farm system. (Baseball America’s top 100 featured only Marquez, Hoerner, and Davis, though they mentioned that Amaya was closer to 100 than to 150, and they were actually the highest on Marquez and Hoerner.)
There’s still work to be done down on the farm if the Cubs actually want to turn their next wave of prospects into a competitive core at the big league level. But this is a very good start, and I think the Cubs have a number of really intriguing breakout candidates right now just beyond this top group. I’d call the Cubs’ farm system, right now, probably right around the 18 to 23 range, but with the arrow pointing up.
Throw in the massive overhaul of, and investment in, the player development structure, and it’s not crazy to think the Cubs could be in even better shape in just a year or two.