It is heartening to see our sense of the Chicago Cubs’ farm system confirmed by third party services, even those that generally do not rank the system very high. That sense is this: although the Cubs are lacking in upper-level impact prospects at the moment – the type you generally see on top 100 lists – they have a load of very young prospects who are *of the caliber* that could break out into top 100 types as soon as this year.
Sometimes you worry that you’re just getting a little too homer-y on the young prospects – who, by their very nature, make them a little easier to dream on than prospects who’ve risen through the ranks, shown more warts, etc. You worry that there’s actually nothing notable about the Cubs’ group compared to years past or compared to other organizations. It is nice to get some confirmation that you’re not just missing something.
With Baseball America having just released its preseason top 100 prospects list, and with the Cubs landing just two prospects on it – Brennen Davis and Cristian Hernandez – you wonder how BA perceives the rest of the Cubs’ top ten-ish prospects. All those younger, lower-level guys who (we believe) have substantial upside, but who have barely any pro experience. Are they even close to top 100 consideration? Are we right that some of them are seen by third parties as guys who could break into the top 100 with a good showing in the first few months of 2022?
Well, according to Baseball America, the answer is yes, with respect to at least two of the prospects:
With our Top 100 release yesterday, these are 12 potential breakout prospects with a chance to jump into the Top 100 by the end of the year.https://t.co/xjHgXhMKDd
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) January 20, 2022
Out of 12 potential breakout prospects, the Cubs have two of them named: infielder James Triantos and outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong.
From Ben Badler’s write-ups, you get the sense that Triantos needs to show the same high-level offensive production in A-ball in early 2022 that he showed in the Complex League, because there’s not a lot of belief in the defensive ability to stay at shortstop. But if he does show that caliber of bat, then it kinda starts not to matter where he plays because the bat will carry him.
Triantos, who turns 19 later this month, was the Cubs’ second round pick last year (at an over-slot $2.1 million bonus), and hit .327/.376/.594 (143 wRC+) in his pro debut.
With PCA’s write-up, you get the sense that he was expected to be a top 100 type last year as a mid-first round pick, but then the shoulder injury happened just as he was starting his first pro season in 2021. So it’s basically a matter of him confirming expectations in the first half of the 2022 season in order to get top 100 consideration. Everyone still expects the glove to be fantastic in center – better than Albert Almora as a prospect, which is wild – but we need to get some meaningful data on the bat, since he has pretty much not played competitive games in a couple years at this point.
Although not named, you could make an argument for several more Cubs prospects having the potential to be top 100s by the end of the season: Caleb Kilian, Jordan Wicks, Reggie Preciado, Owen Caissie, and Kevin Alcantara are among those who jump to mind most quickly, but, heck, there are plenty of others. I mean, if D.J. Herz shows a modest increase in command and the ability to hold his stuff and mechanics for 5+ innings at High-A and Double-A? He’s gonna be a top 100. All the *ifs* are what make it easy to say – the *ifs* won’t actually happen for many of these guys – but to even have this many prospects who are the type who COULD make top 100 lists seems like a really good thing.
Nice to see BA giving love to a couple of them.