Cubs Prospect Notes: Rostering Deadline Looms, Rankings, Draft, AFL Championship, Kilian, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Rostering Deadline Looms, Rankings, Draft, AFL Championship, Kilian, More

Chicago Cubs

Some Cubs prospect notes to offer up this Wednesday afternoon …

⇒ Big rostering deadline coming on Friday, as it’s the last day to add Rule 5-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft. You can see the eligible list here at TCR.

⇒ For the Cubs, we know that outfield prospect Nelson Velazquez is going to be added. We know that fellow AFL’er Andy Weber is a maybe, while Brendon Little’s injury probably takes him out of consideration. Jared Young has had some great years in the minors, sandwiching some real struggles, so the Cubs might roll the dice there. Luis Vazquez just doesn’t seem close to ready for the big leagues. Same with Danis Correa and Yonathan Perlaza. A trio of pitchers are question marks, too, including Brandon Hughes, who got some love recently, and these two guys:

⇒ MLB.com has an article on the tough Rule 5 decisions for every org, and it includes righty Riley Thompson there for the Cubs. Coming off a season lost to injury, and the pandemic the year before that, and pitching only at Low-A in 2019, I don’t think Thompson is a serious risk to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. I still think the upside is there for a big league arm if he’s healthy next year, but I don’t see a club plucking him right now for their big league roster.

⇒ Overall, the Cubs are in a very good spot now to protect everyone who needs protecting, thanks in large part to the bulk of their top prospects being younger and not yet eligible, and also thanks to a number of guys who were added earlier when the big league roster was getting cleared out.

⇒ The Chicago Cubs’ contingent in the Arizona Fall League will get a chance to play for a title this weekend. The team on which they play, the Mesa Solar Sox, just clinched a spot in the game:

⇒ The Northside Bound crew combined their four top prospects lists using a points system to complete an overall top 20 Cubs prospects list. Interestingly, it winds up being a consensus number one in Brennen Davis (obviously), and then a tier together of the next five (Cristian Hernandez, Kevin Alcantara, Reggie Preciado, Pete Crow-Armstrong, James Triantos, and DJ Herz). Then there’s a pretty clear next tier of seven (Jordan Wicks, Owen Caissie, Ryan Jensen, Ed Howard, Kevin Made, Brailyn Marquez, and Caleb Kilian), and then another clear tier thereafter. Interesting how it worked out that way, using four separate lists and a points average. Personally, I don’t know that I’d have those two tiers quite as differentiated, but I do generally think the ordering is pretty close to the best you can do with a system like this. Check it out.

⇒ Baseball America is doing to a draft class wrap now that the season is over, and you can see the Cubs here. Second round infielder James Triantos continues to come in for heavy love (in a re-draft, you better believe he wouldn’t get out of the first round this time), and I like seeing third rounder Drew Gray get some hype. The high school left showed up only a bit in instructional ball, but apparently he showed out. We were hearing good things from folks who saw him, and BA reports that he’s got elite spin on his fastball.

⇒ In answering a question about which Cubs pitching prospects could become a future fixture of the big league rotation, Sahadev Sharma talked through a few options and then said this about Caleb Kilian, shining further light on his AFL performance:

So if I had to make a choice today, it’d be Kilian. If you look at his numbers in the Arizona Fall League, the 5.14 ERA over 14 innings doesn’t look pretty. But in his first outing, he reportedly got to the mound late and only got two or three warm-up pitches. He retired no batters and gave up seven runs. Since then, he has had a 0.64 ERA with a 32.7 percent strikeout rate and a 7.2 percent walk rate.

The ball also changed — it was tackier two weeks into the AFL — which only helped his normally pristine command. The velocity has also ticked up as well. I’d like to see a more pure swing-and-miss pitch, but Kilian’s been dominant and had success throughout his minor-league career. Results are all you can really ask for sometimes. He’s already reached Double A, so I’m curious to see what his trajectory is, but he looks like a real nice get from the Giants in the Kris Bryant trade.

⇒ Some Cubs prospect fun:

⇒ And prospect talk on Max Bain’s podcast:


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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.