I’m not too surprised, once again, that the Chicago Cubs have two prospects on the latest top 100 list in advance of the 2021 season. They are perceived as the clear top two prospects in the system, and with a lost season, the love just isn’t there yet for Miguel Amaya. There isn’t full buy-in yet to the changes that Adbert Alzolay made. And the rest of the top prospects in the system are all so young/far off.
So, then, it’s still just Brennen Davis (51) and Brailyn Marquez (72):
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 28, 2021
On Davis, the upside is clear, but you’re talking about a guy who’s played just 50 games at A-ball: “He was a shortstop in high school but has handled the move to center field well, showing enough range already to project to stay there over the long term and even end up an above-average to plus defender. He just needs reps, as with so many players drafted in 2018-19 who haven’t gotten much playing time yet, but has star upside between the OBP/power potential and his range in center.”
I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see that Davis is a clear top 30 prospect by midseason, because most of the caution so far is just that people haven’t seen him in action enough.
On Marquez, Law continues to express concern about the big, long lefty repeating his complicated delivery (in addition to the usual questions about having enough effective pitches to remain a starter): “The main concern I have on Márquez is his delivery, which is tough for him to repeat because of the way he spins off his front heel, how late his arm is relative to when his front foot lands, and his tendency to let his arm slot drift downward, all of which put his command at risk and may lead to a bullpen role in the future.” This is not an uncommon concern on high-end pitching prospects who can generate massive velocity/spin/movement/stuff thanks in large part to a delivery that is tough to keep consistent.
Guys who look like Marquez when he pitches rarely remain starting pitchers at the highest level. That doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t pull it off, and some guys do. But it will probably require either him being a rare guy who can do it with those mechanics (which will require a ton of athleticism, among other things), or he’ll have to keep working on the delivery to tighten it up a bit.
Baseball America had the same duo in their top 100, but Baseball Prospectus added Amaya and 2020 top pick Ed Howard. All the lists generally have Davis and Marquez in this range, for what that’s worth.