A lotta Cubs prospect notes to get into today, and not just because that has become a necessary focus in recent weeks …
• So, originally, the (long) Brailyn Marquez delay to the start of this season was attributed to a case of COVID, and the Cubs thereafter wanting to be extremely cautious about ramping him up. Fine, and assuredly true. But it turns out that, at some point in that process, he also got injured:
Welp, now we know a little about Marquez. No time table, but this more than just recovering from COVID. However, there's no time table mentioned of when he could return. Ugh!
Full article ($) here – https://t.co/puJIVQWwtS
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) July 5, 2021
• A shoulder “strain” – i.e., muscular – is a whole lot less scary than something structural in there or in the elbow, so while I’m not as much worried about the injury, I am worried about two largely lost development years for the Cubs’ most important pitching prospect. There was hope, before the season, that we could see Marquez in the second half of the year in the big leagues – probably in the bullpen – teeing himself up for a shot at the big league rotation in 2022. That now seems impossible, and you just have to hope he can get in half of a season at Double-A.
• We also haven’t seen Kohl Franklin yet this year (oblique, I believe), and we’re a week into July. He was viewed by many – including us – as one of the biggest breakout candidates for the Cubs this year. It’s just a real bummer for two guys who could be critical to the Cubs’ success over the next few years.
• FanGraphs finally unveiled its top Cubs prospects list, the last of the organizations and several months after most came out (before the season). You still can enjoy the list and seeing the sheer volume of quality prospects in the system, but you have to take some of the evaluation with a grain of salt, because big chunks clearly took place long before this season (when we didn’t have a lot of information on these guys because of the shutdown). When DJ Herz doesn’t make the top 49 in the Cubs’ system, well, like I said. Some caution is warranted.
• Among the things you’ll notice: FG is far higher on Reggie Preciado than any other service, ranking him as the SECOND BEST prospect in the Cubs’ system, behind only Brennen Davis. Brailyn Marquez is all the way down at six and Miguel Amaya at eight, with Christopher Morel there in the middle, so they are clearly not going with consensus. Overall, though, you get the sense that FG is very high on the depth in the system (I mean, 49 ranked prospects (35+ FV) is a ton – appears to be in the top 5-7), and sees a whole lot of upside in the youngest prospects (what else is new).
• Speaking of Morel:
— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) July 5, 2021
• Brennen Davis is on scorching fire at Double-A (his last eight hits are all for extra-bases, and he doubled three times yesterday, twice off the wall). He’s up to .268/.372/.464 (134 wRC+) at Double-A, when he played just 50 games at low-A before this season (two years ago!), and he’s just 21. Anyone really paying attention to his constant adjustments and explosions – and his age/experience/level – would tell you that’s an easy top 30 prospect profile. As it stands, though, I wonder if he even reaches consensus top 50 by the end of the season. He should. I just feel like he’s not being followed closely enough.
• More love and deep-diving on breakout Cubs relief prospect Ben Leeper:
"I felt like I had nothing left." @IowaCubs reliever Ben Leeper has turned into one of the biggest surprise stories in the organization this season. But back in 2016, he was close to walking away from baseball. https://t.co/u460V0Oj4j
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) July 6, 2021
• Just wanted to make sure everyone saw this:
We feel you, Keithron Moss. pic.twitter.com/zoUb8KN6C6
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) July 4, 2021