The minor league season officially ended yesterday together with the MLB season, as Triple-A’s extended run finished up. Appropriate, then, to discuss prospects of the year!
We’ll have our own installment soon enough (with perhaps a different approach), and the Cubs organization will name its own player and pitcher of the year. But for today, we get MLB Pipeline offering up its picks for the 30 farm systems. Spoiler alert: they’d be my picks, too, and I suspect they’ll be the Cubs’ picks when all is said and done.
See the Pipeline write up for every org in baseball, but here are the Cubs winners:
Brennen Davis, OF (Cubs No. 1/MLB No. 14): After missing much of the season’s first month after getting beaned in Spring Training, he climbed from High-A to Triple-A at age 21 while slashing a combined .268/.379/.510 with 19 homers in 96 games. The 2018 second-rounder out of an Arizona high school also won MVP honors at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
D.J. Herz, LHP (Cubs No. 13): In his full-season debut, the 2019 eight-rounder from a North Carolina high school went 4-4 with a 3.31 ERA, .157 opponents’ batting average and 131 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings between Low-A and High-A. If he had a few more innings to qualify, he would have led the Minors in strikeout rate (14.4 per nine innings) and ranked second in opponent average.
Pretty hard to argue with the guy who made himself a consensus top 20 prospect in baseball, and the guy who did things in the low minors that virtually no one ever does. They are also the two Cubs prospects who went all year without ever having a decent chunk with their foot off the gas. I could argue that, for example, Nelson Velazquez had a hotter month-long stretch than any of Davis’s months, or that Ryan Jensen had a month that tops Herz’s best month. But each of Velazquez and Jensen also had stretches of struggle that we didn’t really see from Davis or Herz.