The 2020 BN Top Cubs Prospect List, Honorable Mention: The Kids

Here’s where I need your help, BN’er. Today there’s going to be a little less meat on the bones of the prospect write-ups. It’s the nature of describing kids whose entire career has come in complex leagues and backfield workouts. For pretty much every player you’re reading about today, we’re operating on a lot of guesswork and some scouting-informed hope.

So I think the simplest solution is a groundswell of pressure at Bert to send the BN boys to the Dominican! You guys deserve first-hand scouting write-ups! I’m thinking about you. Not about the beach. On Brett’s dime. Not. At. All.

[Note: all players in Honorable Mention will appear in alphabetical order. The age listed will be their 2020 baseball age, the affiliate is my projection at their Opening Day assignment. Previous honorable mentions here, here, and here.]

Brayan Altuve, C, 17, DSL (No Stats). And we start with the guy there’s the least information about. Altuve sounds like an ultra-athletic catcher, which is an interesting player type, and I expect he’ll be moved a lot slower than IFA classmate and catcher Ronnier Quintero. I’ll be honest with you, he’s in the honorable mention because a seven figure bonus and the Cubs history identifying catchers earns it. (Acquired: IFA, 2019)

Reivaj Garcia, 2B, 18, Eugene (Stats). I preached a year ago to not get too excited too quickly with Garcia merely because of his 2018 success at a still unfathomable 16 years old in the AZL. As impressive as it was, it was also fueled by BABIP. When that came back to reality, we see a guy who’s clearly a superbly talented contact hitter with not a lot of other obvious tools at the (still young) moment. (Acquired: IFA, 2017)

D.J. Herz, LH SP, 19, Eugene (Stats). Herz is a lanky, athletic lefty from North Carolina who got an over-slot bonus, and looks like he shouldn’t be able to drive. The Cubs are betting on the projectability to bring some velocity, and his breaking ball already has the look of a pitch that will eat left-handed hitters up. Excited to see what he looks like after Extended Spring Training. (Acquired: 8th round, 2019)

Josue Huma, IF, 20, South Bend (Stats). It’s hard not to get a little excited about Huma as a utility infielder when you see the 17% walk rate that equals his strikeout rate. He’s doing that with a swing that pretty clearly has room for smoothing, as you’ll see below. (Acquired: IFA, 2016)

Jose Lopez, CF, 18, AZL (Stats). The Cubs gave Lopez a lot of money 18 months ago despite opposing scouts insisting Lopez needed a swing overhaul. I’m not sure his DSL statistics pushed anyone off that belief, but he showed good baseball instincts that leave the Cubs still intrigued by this investment. (Acquired: IFA, 2018)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfPVtpOnOye/

Kevin Made, SS, 17, DSL (No Stats). I probably should have Made in the top 30 when I talk about being most ceiling-focused, but I’m waiting to see how the instincts play on the field first. He’s clearly one of those uber-talented guys whose stronger than his body suggests, who could stay lean and stick at shortstop or add weight and power and move to third. I love the wrists in his swing; I can’t wait to see if the offensive approach is advanced or not. (Acquired: IFA, 2019)

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Kevin Made, 15, one of the high profile shortstops in the Dominican Republic for 2019. Lots of line drives with good carry off his bat for his wiry, athletic build. – #baseballplayer #baseballlife #hitting #shortstop #baseballlove

A post shared by Ben Badler, Baseball America (@ben.badler) on

Rafael Morel, SS/3B, 18, AZL (Stats). Impossible not to be excited about a guy who combines 25 extra-base hits, 23 steals and 26 walks in 60 games in his debut. When you combine the fact that he comes from a baseball family with a brother I’ve already seen to have such an intelligent baseball brain, I’m stoked. (Acquired: IFA, 2018)

Fabian Pertuz, IF, 19, Eugene (Stats). Signed out of Colombia a couple years ago, Pertuz got his first taste of stateside action in the Arizona Rookie League last year where he showed good bat-to-ball ability, but also a whole lotta swinging, not a lotta walking, and not a lotta power. He’s young, though, and with the ability to play shortstop, he will be on the radar for a while yet. (Acquired: IFA, 2018)

Ben Rodriguez, RH SP, 20, Eugene (Stats). If you look at his professional numbers so far, you might be a little skeptical on how I could put a guy with just 92 strikeouts in about 128 low-level innings on here. But check out the video below, you see a projectable right-hander with natural movement and already-present velocity. Bet on the natural spin, and hope the pitching coaches can add the strikeouts as he fills out. (Acquired: IFA, 2017)

Felix Stevens, LF/RF, 20, AZL (Stats). Out of Cuba, Stevens was a little old for the DSL last year, and so I take his numbers with a large grain of salt. He’s also got the body and swing of a future power hitter, and in a system devoid of power, that means something to me. For Stevens, it will be the swing and miss that will determine career trajectory. (Acquired: IFA, 2018)

written by

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.

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