The prospecting calendar right now has younger Cubs prospects working in Arizona in the Instructional League, which is kinda like minor league spring training in the fall. If you want to follow the games as best as one possibly can without physically being there, Arizona Phil’s write-ups at TCR are great.
There you would see, for example, that 2019-20 and 2020-21 bonus babies Brayan Altuve and Moises Ballesteros are now over to participate in the States for the first time. You can see some of the images from instructs via John Antonoff and Rich Biesterfeld on Twitter:
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) October 5, 2021
In today's Instructs game, watched 2019 @Cubs #1 draft pick @rystacks24 throw the first 2 innings. Looked strong with 4 K's and allowed only 1 infield hit. #Cubs #CubsProspects #Instructs2021 #MiLB pic.twitter.com/qCdjls8ZAQ
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) October 3, 2021
Team 'Rehab Sucks' back out on the field today! Looking forward to these guys getting healthy and being a force in 2022! @KoenMoreno @kohlrf @rileythomp19 @mamaya_9 #Cubs #CubsProspects #MiLB #RehabSucks pic.twitter.com/dLnWjAdchj
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) September 29, 2021
Elsewhere around the farm system …
⇒ Brennen Davis, recently named the Cubs’ positional prospect of the year by MLB Pipeline, also got some extreme love from RotoWire – he was just ranked the THIRD BEST prospect in baseball for future fantasy purposes, behind only Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt. Whether you care about fantasy or not, that’s just fun as heck (and a huge compliment):
The final update to the @RotoWire Top 400 Prospect Rankings is live!
What a fun year of pop-ups, breakouts and dominant performances. The top 100 is as loaded as I can ever recall.
— James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) October 1, 2021
⇒ Speaking of Davis, a great write-up on the Cubs’ top prospect here at The Athletic. How exactly did the Cubs land (and develop) such a stud in the second round back in 2018? The Cubs had been on Davis closely the year before – when he was still playing basketball – which put them in a position to stay convicted on his ability even after he was injured his senior year. Here’s a snippet from the piece:
As a raw talent with a relatively limited baseball background, Davis presented a unique opportunity in a second round in which the Cubs held three selections in 2018. Multiple Cubs officials at the time — a group that included Jason McLeod, Sam Hughes and Jaron Madison — weighed in on the scouting evaluations and development curve and spoke with conviction about his offensive profile. Seeking consensus, Dorey tried to frame the discussions in the draft room around Davis’ obvious abilities and potentially longer road to the big leagues.
“When you’re assessing risk, the money becomes less of the issue and the pick becomes more (important),” Dorey said. “I was aligned with the makeup. All the other tertiary parts of the evaluation process were locked in. It was, ‘What’s our comfort with this demographic potentially scuffling for a couple years? Are we going to have patience?’ And then there were conversations with our development people because I wanted to frame it like a worst-case scenario: ‘If this is a slow burn, we’re going to have to have tolerance for that.’ Everybody was comfortable with that, and that’s what made me comfortable.”
⇒ Even more on Davis’s huge early success at Triple-A Iowa here.
⇒ We have gotten little clues like this, but still no full rosters for the AFL:
Cubs pitching prospect Khol Franklin will participate in the Arizona Fall League.
— Down on the Farm (@DownontheFarm8) September 30, 2021
⇒ It starts next week, and I’m really looking forward to seeing guys like Franklin finally get in game action after missing all of this year (and, from a game standpoint, last year, too).
⇒ Two Cubs prospects get attention as possible 2022 breakouts from BP in a group of ten here, Owen Caissie and Reggie Preciado, the top two prospects from the Yu Darvish deal. Caissie gets love for the absurd ACL numbers (he was one of the top prospects in the league for a reason), but I appreciated also hearing that he also sported “quite ludicrous hard contact metrics for a teenager.” That’s the kind of data that we as outsiders don’t always have a lot of access to, and can only try to extrapolate from the results. It’s also the kind of data that tends to translate very well to numbers up the ladder.
⇒ As for Preciado, who wasn’t seen as having quite the same huge year that Caissie did in the ACL, I love the full picture:
Preciado is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound infielder with significant physical projection remaining. He made his stateside debut in the Arizona Complex League this summer, hitting .333/.383/.511 over 154 plate appearances. As expected, he’ll need to continue to improve upon his pitch recognition/selection, but he is already showing at least above-average raw power and projects for plus impact at maturity.
On the defensive side of the ball, Preciado displays smooth, fluid actions and an above-average arm at shortstop. His sheer size and lack of speed make it likely he shifts over to third or even a corner outfield spot before all is said and done, but his instincts are strong enough to stick in the short term.
Just 18 years old, there’s a significant development path remaining and a number of ways the profile could go, but Preciado offers tantalizing upside and will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2022.
⇒ The sky is the limit for Preciado’s value and role and production if you take that report at face value. He will likely start his year at Myrtle Beach, where, as noted, he will be very young for the level.