Cubs Prospect Notes: Six Breakouts, Hernandez Assignment, Alcantara Upside, Made, Reid, Mustache, More

Social Navigation

Cubs Prospect Notes: Six Breakouts, Hernandez Assignment, Alcantara Upside, Made, Reid, Mustache, More

Chicago Cubs

Keith Law released his top 100 prospects list at The Athletic yesterday, and then held a chat after to discuss. The Cubs, who placed just one prospect on the list, did not come up in the chat. At all. And then Law released his 14 just-missed prospects today. The Cubs, once again, did not come up. At all. Which kinda says a lot about the state of the system at the moment. Yes, other prospectors will have quite a few more Cubs in their top 100/top 150, but you can’t just throw away the opinions that are unflattering.

I’m bullish on the Cubs’ system! But that’s because of the potential to show potential, rather than an elite tier of prospects that everyone is just itching to discuss at a national level. The next steps have to show out this year. I believe they can and will for a large number of Cubs prospects. Until it actually happens, some folks like Law will simply not have many Cubs prospects on their top X radar.

But that doesn’t mean WE don’t have plenty to discuss on the prospect side …

⇒ Including from the duo of Cubs beat writers at The Athletic. In tandem with the release of Law’s list, Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney got into six of the biggest breakout potential prospects in the system who are getting the most offseason scouting buzz (can you guess the six before you look? because there could be upwards of, what, ten or eleven?):

⇒ Bah. I went five for six, thinking that maybe Reggie Preciado was getting a little more buzz than Pete Crow-Armstrong, since the latter has only been doing rehab work. But the six are PCA, and then the five I – and many of you – would have guessed: Caleb Kilian, Kevin Alcantara, Cristian Hernandez, Owen Caissie, and James Triantos.

⇒ Because of the nature of these types of prospects, you could look at each one and say, “Well, HE’S the one with the highest upside if everything clicks!,” so I’m not going to do that (though, because of his defensive home and ability, I think the answer has to be Hernandez, right?). But I do want to point out something we probably don’t mention enough: Kevin Alcantara’s offensive potential is enormous. Here’s some of what Sharma and Mooney say: “The full package of tools with potential to turn that into production; year-to-year improvement as he’s taken to various swing adjustments and not lost athleticism as he’s slowly filled out; and impressive on-field makeup that’s been evident since they’ve gotten him in a Cubs uniform. Those who are highest on Alcantara see him as behind only Davis in the system with a chance to be a star, especially at the plate, if everything clicks. At 6-foot-6, Alcantara is long and still getting bigger as the offseason prospect camp has reportedly really helped that process, particularly in his lower half with still room to grow throughout. If the consistent improvement he’s shown over the years continues, this could be a special hitter with the potential for plus-plus power.” That? As a center fielder? That’s a superstar.

⇒ So much more in that Athletic article on the Cubs prospects. You will want to check it out.

⇒ I can’t wait for minor league assignments to drop (though we’re still quite a ways from that, as minor league Spring Training games don’t begin until mid-March). The Athletic pegs Hernandez’s likely 2022 assignment as the Arizona Complex League, by the way. That’s what you would expect for a guy who just turned 18, though we saw last year with Kevin Made that the Cubs were willing to send an 18-year-old prospect to Low-A without having played in the Complex League. That doesn’t mean Hernandez is behind the curve or anything if he doesn’t see Low-A before the year is up! I’m only saying that it’s not off the table. Every prospect is different.

⇒ Speaking of Made, keep in mind as you read and watch this that he was 18 last year, playing in full-season ball in his pro debut:

⇒ I think we know enough on Made now to say that the glove can stick at shortstop, and that’s not at all a small note for a guy that young at Low-A. As Bryan indicates, however, the question is whether Made can take substantial steps forward in plate discipline and power, both of which are likely to be necessary for the bat to become big-league-caliber. Despite a .356 BABIP last year, Made hit just .272/.296/.366 (80 wRC+). His age is a huge factor there, so I am not grousing about his performance. On the whole, it was impressive. But I’m just cautioning, like Bryan, that a whole lot of physical and swing and selection development is still necessary. Hopefully we see it this year.

⇒ Bailey Reid was one of the Cubs’ undrafted free agent signings following the shortened 2020 draft (only five rounds, so you could count Reid as, like, what, a 7th to 15th rounder or something?). He was a strikeout machine in his pro debut in 2021, albeit with a walk rate that needs serious corralling. But Bryan’s right, it’s pretty easy to have your eyes popped by a few of these pitches:

⇒ I would say that’s a 60 present value mustache, but I can see 70 upside:

⇒ Two stray reminders at the end:

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.