The big prospecting thing in our world, of course, is that Bryan has dropped the start of his top Cubs prospects list, going in reverse order with his numbers 1 through 10 last night. Numbers 11 through 50(!) will be coming soon.
In the meantime, some of my stray thoughts on Bryan’s top ten:
⇒ I love what we’re hearing on Cristian Hernandez from those who’ve seen him this offseason. That initial arrival stateside can tell you so much about an international prospect, and Bryan’s comments that Hernandez could possibly see time at Low-A Myrtle Beach this year is incredible praise/hype. Not to mention the fact that Bryan chose him as the number two prospect in the system even before the stateside debut.
⇒ Bryan figures to be the high man on D.J. Herz, which doesn’t surprise me because he’s been all over Herz since the pandemic shutdown when we were hearing just how much improvement/development was happening behind the scenes. Bryan is less concerned about the cross-fire delivery long-term, and seems to be very optimistic that Herz can become a consistent 5-6 inning guy.
⇒ Although Bryan is waaaay high on Owen Caissie’s bat, you can count him among the pundits who see it being tough for Caissie to stick in the outfield long-term. That, in turn, will put even more pressure on the bat to be elite. For me, *IF* I didn’t think Caissie could stick in a corner outfield spot at least in his early big-league career, I would have a hard time ranking him ahead of guys like Kevin Alcantara, James Triantos, and even Reggie Preciado at the moment.
⇒ I love what Bryan is hearing about Pete Crow-Armstrong’s offseason work. If he shows up this year with a legit bat? That’s a prospect that is just going to explode up the rankings, and he could even rapidly climb to High-A.
⇒ Bryan isn’t giving up on Brailyn Marquez’s huge ceiling just yet, which is completely fair. But he put it perfectly, in my opinion: “Expect Brailyn to either be at least five spots higher or five spots lower the next time I do one of these.” If Marquez shows up this year his normal self, healthy and in good shape, then you pretty much have to pop him into the top five. But if he’s not healthy or if his stuff has backed up after a couple mostly lost years? Tough to keep dreaming on a rotation spot, at a minimum.
Elsewhere around the Cubs prospect world …
⇒ There’s another top Cubs prospects list that just dropped today, from Prospects Live, and the theme we’ve seen all offseason continues: Brennen Davis is obviously number one, and then there’s a mass of huge upside guys ranked in a dealer’s choice kind of order through the top ten and beyond (because there are actually about 13 or 14 names you should reasonably be considering for the top ten).
After plenty of trades, international free agency, and the draft, the Cubs farm system looks a lot different. 4 of the top 5 were not there at this time last year!
Top 10: https://t.co/x0k6OB4ts6
— Prospects Live (@ProspectsLive) February 16, 2022
⇒ Interesting that Prospects Live is still very high on Ed Howard even after the rough offensive start to his pro career (ranks 7th, ahead of guys like Owen Caissie, Reggie Preciado, and James Triantos). They are also extra high on Pete Crow-Armstrong, who appears to be a pretty clear number two prospect to them, based on the writeup. If he hits out of the gate, PCA will be a 60 OFP to them, which is a stud on the order of Brennen Davis.
⇒ The Northside Bound crew dug deep to find some sleeper relief prospects in the Cubs’ system, which is simultaneously a very doable task (there are SO MANY options) and also a terribly difficult one (there are SO MANY options). I’ll share Greg Huss’s choice, 2021 6th rounder Riley Martin:
Riley Martin has been my guy since the moment he was drafted. A former GLVC guy out of D-II Quincy University, this long-haired cat struck out over SEVENTEEN batters per nine innings his senior season as a starting pitcher. He came into the Cubs system and immediately saw his velo increase thanks to professional development staff and a shift to shorter stints out of the bullpen. Martin will be 24-years-old when this 2022 campaign comes around and might zoom through the system pretty quickly with a pretty simple fastball-curveball combo. He all the quirkiness and fire you could ever want out of a lefty reliever and that makes it incredibly easy to root for him.
⇒ I like the choice on Martin because it’s some seriously deep sleeper stuff, given his age and senior-sign status out of a D-II school. Martin was a bonus-pool-savings selection, which provides important context, but you can’t ignore that the Cubs still liked him enough – as this type of guy – to use their 6th round pick on him. Clearly *they* think he could be a sleeper after a bullpen conversion. We’ll see if he puts himself on the radar in the early going.
⇒ James Triantos bulking up:
Seems like each day there are more players in #Cubs minor league camp. Great to see @JamesTriantos in camp and it obvious he's been working hard during the off-season! #CubsProspects #ST2022 #baseball pic.twitter.com/TiaP8SkE62
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) February 16, 2022
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) February 14, 2022
⇒ Fun prospecting throwback right here:
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) February 16, 2022