Keith Law Drops His Top 20 Cubs Prospects List for 2021, Including a Big Swing in the Top Ten

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Keith Law Drops His Top 20 Cubs Prospects List for 2021, Including a Big Swing in the Top Ten

Chicago Cubs

The Athletic’s Keith Law has been rolling out his team top 20 prospects lists this week, and with the Cubs installment, we get some new names on these types of lists from third party services. So that’s always fun.

See the full write-up here from Law, including a breakdown of each prospect on the list.

Historically, Law likes to take at least one big swing on his lists, and this year, you’ll see a very big swing at number eight:

1. Brennen Davis, OF
2. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
3. Miguel Amaya, C
4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
5. Ed Howard, SS
6. Kohl Franklin, RHP
7. Ryan Jensen, RHP
8. Yohendrick Pinango, OF
9. Riley Thompson, RHP
10. Reginald Preciado, SS
11. Chase Strumpf, 2B
12. Cole Roederer, OF
13. Chris Clarke, RHP
14. Christopher Morel, 3B
15. Yovanny Cruz, RHP
16. Rafael Morel, SS
17. Michael McAvene, RHP
18. Yeison Santana, SS
19. Owen Caissie, OF
20. Ethan Hearn, C

I hope you recognize the name, since it’s one of the best in minor league baseball. Yohendrick Pinango, who came in at number 35 on our Cubs prospect list, doesn’t even turn 19 until May, so outside of the memorable name, he might not be on a lot of your radars. But he was ranked one of the best prospects in the DSL after his debut in 2019, and presumably was getting after it during the shutdown in 2020.

Law’s take on Pinango, which pegs him as simply an advanced hitter for his age: “Signed for $400,000 in 2018, Pinango looks like an advanced left-handed hitter, with good pitch recognition and bat-to-ball skills for his age. The Venezuelan outfielder has a running back’s frame and looks like he’s going to get a lot stronger, potentially with plus power, even though he didn’t homer in 274 PA in his DSL debut (albeit with 20 doubles). He’s in center now but probably moves to a corner in time, so the power has to develop for him to be a solid regular or better. He’s already passed some of the Cubs’ higher-dollar signs from that same year, including pitcher Richard Gallardo and outfielder José Lopez.”

Outside of the Pinango surprise, you can see that Law concurs with the consensus that Reggie Preciado was the best prospect in the Darvish trade. Law looks to be higher on the Cubs’ big righty pitching prospects than most, too, relative to the position players in the system, which is interesting. This is as high as you’ll see Thompson and Clarke and Cruz and McAvene ranked, for example. (If you’re wondering about top IFA signing Cristian Hernandez, if I remember correctly, Law does not rank freshly-signed international players on these lists.)

The write-ups are useful on each of the 20 prospects (there are also a number of other prospects who are discussed thereafter), but I will say that you do get the sense that Law is down on the group overall (hence his low ranking for the farm system last week). Like I said then, I’ll say again now: with a system this young and with a year lost to the pandemic, it’s hard to beef much with any prospecting service that wants to actually see the Cubs’ investments in player development pay off. That list right there from Law has a ton of upside. So many breakout types, given the talent and the youth. But until they do it – until scouts and other organizations and other teams can see it manifest on the field – you’re not left with a ton of information to go on.

I’m extremely excited about the coming minor league season …

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.