Here’s hoping your Friday is treating you well, and that these Cubs prospect notes contribute to that treatment …
⇒ Baseball America released a podcast on the Cubs’ farm system, and their top prospect rankings. It’s 50 minutes of pure Cubs prospect goodness, so there’s a tonnnnn they get into. It turns out that BA is going to have the Cubs’ farm system bumped up from where it was last year (22nd last year, didn’t say exactly where they’ll be this year yet), which feels like a modest course change from the kinds of things we were hearing in the fall. Could be that the scouting reports that rolled in, combined with the reports from instructs, and the sense of how good the Cubs’ young group could be has improved. That said, the podcast gets deep into the fact that the strongest part of the Cubs’ system features extreme variance (i.e., the super young guys are legit prospects, but the vast majority of those types don’t actually reach the big leagues as impact players). So this is a system that could have a load of guys break out this year, and suddenly it’s a top ten type system … or the variance is so extreme that too many of the youngsters don’t make big developmental steps this year, and it remains a system far too thin at the upper levels.
⇒ Cristian Hernandez, who had ranked number two on the BA Cubs list, comes in for a LOT of love. The main reason he ranked number two at BA in the system is because of the scouting reports they were getting from evaluators around the game and in the Cubs organization. That is to say: the Cubs are very, very high on Hernandez.
🎙️: Cristian Hernandez established himself as arguably the top player in the 2020-21 international signing class.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) January 28, 2022
⇒ Meanwhile, BA also wrote up 15 prospects who were injured last year that they are particularly eager to see healthy this year, and two Cubs come in for mention: outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong (non-throwing shoulder surgery) and lefty Brailyn Marquez (COVID and then shoulder strain).
⇒ I see you, Nelson Velazquez and Luis Vazquez, making the PR roster for the Caribbean Series (and some other old friends on there, too):
Roster of the Criollos de Puerto Rico for the 2022 Caribbean Series!
— Edwin Hernández Jr. (@LBPRCinEnglish) January 24, 2022
⇒ This has gotta be good experience for Velazquez and Vazquez to be getting, being around a lot of long-time professionals in a highly-competitive environment.
⇒ Cubs’ VP of International Scouting Louie Eljaua discussed the recent IFA signing class over at MLB.com, including thoughts on a couple of the signees we hadn’t otherwise heard much about:
Outfielder Josefrailin Alcantara (D.R.), who agreed to a $500,000 bonus per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez:
“He’s a left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing center fielder. We think he’s got the athleticism to stay in center long-term. He’s a five-tool guy. I mean, he can run, he can throw, he’s got power. He’s got a chance to be more of a physical guy that can play that position and bring some power to his game and really impact the game in many different ways. He’s just an exciting type of prospect.”
Outfielder Daniel Benschop, who is the first player from Aruba to agree to a deal with the Cubs:
“He’s going to be able to handle the center field position and at least start his career there, and hopefully, long-term, stay there. He’s played some shortstop in the past, but we see him more in the outfield, at least for now. He’s another kid who’s very athletic. He’s fun to watch.”
⇒ Kevin Goldstein offering up a kibosh on any early talk about Brennen Davis not making the Cubs out of Spring Training being a sign of service time manipulation:
Jon G: Brennen Davis needs more AAA reps, right? I’m already seeing Cubs fan takes that the only reason for him to not be on the opening day roster is service time manipulation…
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, that feels aggressive. There is plenty of service time manipulation out there, but not every prospect not being on an opening day roster is service time manipulation. Davis had a near 30% K rate at the upper levels. There are things to work on.
⇒ It’s odd that the topic has even come up for a guy who is still very young, still has very little pro experience, and has played in just 15 games at Triple-A. Brennen Davis’s time will come, probably at some point in 2022, but it will be dictated entirely by (1) his readiness to compete and contribute at the big league level, and (more importantly?) (2) the timeline that is best for his long-term development.
⇒ Just some Owen Caissie swing and sound for you to enjoy:
— Brad (@ballskwok) January 22, 2022
⇒ Happy birthday to the Cubs’ 2020 first rounder, Ed Howard:
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) January 28, 2022
⇒ The Cubs’ top prospect on The Bain Campaign podcast:
Always good catching up with Brennen Davis, as we did this week on The Bain Campaign. He viewed 2021 as really the first opportunity for him to put his off-field development work into games, and my god did it translate. I know you’ll enjoy this one.https://t.co/3LVgKtw4h7
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) January 24, 2022
⇒ Visuals, including a lot of players who are now healthy:
Enjoyed seeing @JackJP3 and @bjhecht11 back on the field and getting ready to have bounce back seasons! Hard work is going to pay off! Let's go Jack & Ben!! #rehabsucks #Cubs #CubsProspects #baseball pic.twitter.com/wGfrNP3vg1
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) January 26, 2022
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) January 22, 2022
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) January 23, 2022
So exciting to see all the talented position players in the Cubs system (and this barely scratches the surface of how many there are!) @jgnwogu42 @ehowardIV Cristian Hernandez @ReginaldPrecia4 and Kevin Made #Cubs #CubsProspects #baseball #GoCubsGo pic.twitter.com/aNJyKX4HH4
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) January 27, 2022
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) January 23, 2022