Cubs Prospect Notes: Banner Speaks, PCA's Defensive Comp, Kilian's Level, Triantos' Swing, Howard's Future, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Banner Speaks, PCA’s Defensive Comp, Kilian’s Level, Triantos’ Swing, Howard’s Future, More

Chicago Cubs

Minor league camp is fast approaching, and whatever happens at the big league level, there is plenty to be following this spring down on the farm. Some Cubs prospect notes …

⇒ The Cubs’ new Farm Director Jared Banner hopped on 670 The Score this weekend to talk about the state of the farm system, a number of specific prospects, and the coming year. A number of the Cubs’ top prospects re-arrived back in Arizona this past weekend for a mini-camp in advance of minor league Spring Training opening next week. Banner was very careful to avoid talking about any prospects on the 40-man roster – he wouldn’t even comment generally about the impact of the lockout on prospects who can’t participate with the team this offseason, focusing instead on the guys they can work with right now. So if you were hoping to get some thoughts on that worrisome issue, no dice.

⇒ Among Banner’s comments, the praise for Pete Crow-Armstrong (who overlapped briefly in the Mets organization with Banner) was eye-popping: “I don’t like major proclamations, but he’s one of the best CFs I’ve ever seen.” From a defensive standpoint, Banner was suggesting the outfield impact could be right up there with Mookie Betts. My word.

⇒ Banner wouldn’t reveal too much on where specific players were going to play, though the way he talked about Caleb Kilian certainly suggested that if Kilian simply shows at Triple-A what he was showing late last year, he is likely to have a chance to help the big league team this season. (Again, Banner didn’t SAY that, but it sounded like that was the implication, and it’s what we’ve though on Kilian all offseason.)

⇒ Banner called James Triantos’ swing one of the best in the system, and it certainly is beautiful:

⇒ Banner was also asked about 2020 top pick Ed Howard, who had a tough pro debut at the plate in a challenging assignment, but who Banner believes has put in the work to have a great year in 2022. Howard sees it the same way:

⇒ Man, I really want Ed Howard to succeed. Having that story, being a Chicago little leaguer, a Chicago high schooler, a first round Chicago Cubs pick, and then playing for the Cubs? That’d just be such a great story. The glove is clearly going to be big league caliber – I think anyone who watches Howard play can already project that with confidence. But the bat showed a long, long way to go last year, facing a full-season league in his first organized action since his junior year in high school thanks to the pandemic. It was a really tough ask, and while there was some improvement as the season went on, I think it’s likely we’ll see Howard, 20, back at Low-A Myrtle Beach to open the season. You’d like to see him finish out the year at South Bend, having shown more consistent contact and more power.

⇒ I found this an excellent read on how different things are now for prospect nerds who want to be able to follow players in the lowest levels of the system, something that was previously borderline impossible:

⇒ For example, if you want to see some highlights of top Cubs IFA signing Adan Sanchez, you can just flick through his Instagram:

⇒ Some Arizona visuals:

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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.