The Cubs Farm System Took a Big Leap, and Baseball America Could See an Even Bigger Leap From Here

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The Cubs Farm System Took a Big Leap, and Baseball America Could See an Even Bigger Leap From Here

Chicago Cubs

Yesterday, Baseball America dropped its pre-2022 farm system rankings, featuring a significant jump for the Chicago Cubs, from 22 last year (and 24 in August) all the way up to 15. For a team that drafted in the ’20s, had only rentals to trade, traded its most valuable July asset for big league players, and saw so many top prospects miss the entire season with injury, that’s actually a massive improvement. It really stood out to me.

And here’s the thing: we know it can get much, much better from here. We’ve talked about it a lot, so this isn’t news to you, but the Cubs have an extraordinarily deep system right now. More than that, they are particularly deep in very young, very high-upside types who are at that moment in their careers where a big start to the 2022 season could instantly make them top 100 types (and, in theory, they have invested heavily in improving the development infrastructure for those prospects over the past two years). That’s the kind of thing where, if it does play out that way for just a few of those guys – and you’re drafting 7th overall this year – you could suddenly have 5+ top 100 prospects by this time next year, and a clear top ten farm system.

Turns out, Baseball America sees it the same way:

Among BA’s comments: “If some of the premier young prospects like infielders (Cristian) Hernandez, (James) Triantos and Reggie Preciado and outfielders Kevin Alcantara and Owen Caissie make successful jumps to full-season ball, pitching prospects Brailyn Marquez, Kohl Franklin and Riley Thompson get healthy and breakout prospects like lefthander D.J. Herz and outfielders Yohendrick Piñango and Nelson Velazquez continue their ascents, the Cubs could very well have a top 10 farm system within the next year. Having the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft will help, too.”

It may sound like that’s a lot of “if this and if that,” but you have to keep in mind: (1) those bars aren’t actually that high, and (2) that’s far from the full crop of legit upside prospects in the system that could help drive the ascent.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think we can sit here today and say that the Cubs *definitely will* have a top ten farm system by this time next year. The young prospects have to stay healthy and produce, the Cubs have to unearth some more surprise developments, and the Cubs have to draft well. Farm rankings are relative, and the Cubs won’t have the only system on the rise. Moreover, even if the Cubs go into sell mode this July, they are unlikely to have a tremendous crop of short-term assets from which to bring in significant impact prospect types. So a lot still has to go right for the Cubs to climb those prospect rankings.

But all the ingredients are there. The potential is there for this to become a top-tier farm system in a way that the potential has not been there for a long time. I am as excited for, and nervous about, the Cubs farm system as I’ve been since the nascent days of the rebuild almost a decade ago.

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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.