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Cubs Prospect Notes: Triantos, Howard, Little, Davis, Instructional League, More

Chicago Cubs

The minor league schedules this year were a little wonky because of the pandemic, with some already ended and some still going, but I’m certainly not complaining. We actually GOT a minor league season this year after what happened in 2020, and I’m pretty grateful. Most of the stateside leagues have wrapped up, with only Triple-A going for another couple weeks. The Dominican Summer League is also still underway for a little while longer.

Against that timeline, Baseball America checked in on the organizational standings through the minors, and although the merits there are debatable, it’s interesting to see where various orgs fall:

The Cubs are in the bottom third in record, with their best team records at Low-A, High-A, and in Complex Ball. Again, that doesn’t actually tell you as much as you might think about prospect standing, but it’s just interesting that the “best” Cubs minor league teams were also arguably the most prospect-dense.

Other prospecting bits from around the organization …

⇒ As noted in the tweet, so many Cubs positional prospects finished the year hot, but maybe none more than second rounder James Triantos, who started doing some absurd things as an 18-year-old high school pick in his first pro experience:

⇒ Triantos, whom we’ve heard the Cubs really loved going into the draft (far more than most teams, it seems), finished the ACL year hitting .327/.376/.594 over his 109 PAs (143 wRC+), together with a 16.5% K rate, a 6.4% BB rate, and a .267 ISO. He had nearly as many extra-base hits (14) as strikeouts (18). Oh, and five of those strikeouts – but none of the extra-base hits – came in his first three games. Heck, after his first five games, Triantos hit .366/.402/.695 (172). In a world where the league was longer or short-season Low-A were still a thing, it’s not hard to imagine he would’ve gotten a look at a higher level, because clearly, he was too good to be playing rookie ball by the end of the season.

⇒ More love for Triantos, who showed up on a list of draft-and-stash players for deep dynasty leagues, behind only two pro players in Japan who might come to the States:

⇒ I presume Triantos will open the 2022 season at Low-A Myrtle Beach, but I’m not sure High-A South Bend is out of the question, and certainly not by the second half. The crazy thing is that Triantos, who is a shortstop but could wind up at 2B/3B, doesn’t even turn 19 until the end of January.

⇒ Speaking of middle infielders who finished the season strong, Ed Howard’s final month at Myrtle Beach: .333/.384/.500 (138 wRC+). The BABIP and K rate for those numbers (.436 and 25.6%) still make you concerned, but at least he put together a strong run to finish what was otherwise a brutal season at the plate. I don’t know if it was just too aggressive of an assignment for Howard given the missed time, or whether there are now some very serious long-term concerns about the bat. Suffice to say, next year might already be a pivotal one for the Cubs’ 2020 first round pick. And this offseason will be critical, too.

⇒ Cubs 2020 4th rounder Luke Little has been working with the Cubs in Arizona before getting in TOO much game action – it was known he might be a bit of a project, but the arm was just so monster that I’m glad the Cubs took him when they did. Little, who just turned 21, made only five ACL appearances this year, but definitely saved the best for last:

⇒ I’m always here for more Brennen Davis content:

⇒ If you missed the injury updates on Brailyn Marquez, Miguel Amaya, Kohl Franklin, and Pete Crow-Armstrong.

⇒ Instructional League is coming for the Cubs very soon, and that means some of the organization’s best international prospects will be coming to the States for the first time. Arizona Phil has the informal first look at the roster, and among the highlights:

⇒ Instructional League is a post-season “league,” which is really more like a Spring Training-type environment. Yes, there are games, but the focus is heavily developmental. It can be an introduction into organizational expectations, an opportunity to set up offseason work/focuses, a way to get in extra innings/at bats, a chance to play at a new position, etc. It tends to be for the younger prospects, though that’s not exclusively the case.

⇒ Thanks to Bryan for his great coverage all year:



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.