Cubs Prospect Notes: International Draft, Wicks Four-Pitch Mix, More PCA Love, Alcántara, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: International Draft, Wicks Four-Pitch Mix, More PCA Love, Alcántara, More

Chicago Cubs

Not that this post has to be a safe space from CBA talk – it’s kinda touching on everything at the moment – but I apologize that the first mention is about those negotiations.

But it’s prospect-related stuff:

Most have expected the international draft was coming eventually, and probably as soon as the next signing class. It is going to be a separate draft, and you can expect there will be SUBSTANTIAL advantages built in for small market teams. Scouting processes and investments are going to become all the more important, I would expect, because just getting to a guy early will no longer work, and you also probably aren’t going to be able to overspend.

Elsewhere …

⇒ I’ve been waiting on a profile of Jordan Wicks like this, where we hear more specifics on changes to his pitch arsenal this offseason (his first as a pro, when you often see the biggest changes):

⇒ Wicks has always had a good four-seamer, so it’s not a surprise that it will be his primary fastball going forward. We’ve already heard a bit about the work on his curveball, and we already knew that his plus-plus changeup was the out pitch. But apparently he’s also developed a sweeper – the vogue kind of slider these days, that has more lateral movement:

“I threw two [sliders] with my old grip and it was like, ‘Eh, I don’t really like that,'” Wicks said. “‘Let me just try something.’ So I just tried it and me and [High-A South Bend pitching coach Tony Cougoule] were both like, ‘What in the world was that?'”

The new slider has the “horizontal sweep” that Wicks was trying to find. Wicks laughed when asked if he currently has more comfort with the curveball or the slider.

“Ask me tomorrow. It might be different,” he quipped. “As long as they’re both making progress, which they are.”

⇒ For Wicks, the fastball/changeup combo is good enough that he probably only *needs* one of the breaking balls to be playable for him to be a big league starter. But if either one of them can become plus, or if they are both solid pitches (even if not plus), that’s what could help make him into a mid-rotation starter or better.

⇒ Still wonder where Wicks will start his first full pro season. He’s so polished that you could make an argument for Double-A Tennessee, but he made only that one very brief appearance at High-A South Bend last year, so it’s not like it would be weird or slow-playing for him to start out at South Bend.

⇒ Cubs Farm Director Jared Banner spoke with the Cubs Weekly podcast, including more love for Pete Crow-Armstrong:

⇒ Speaking of PCA, wow:

⇒ Kevin Alcántara is just a monster of a young man:

⇒ And since Alcántara is like eight feet tall, he’s gonna be able to rob ’em from the Green Monster if he ever gets a chance:

⇒ Cristian Hernández batting practice anybody:

⇒ The Myrtle Beach lineup is (rightly) going to get a ton of attention from Cubs fans out of the gate, but the South Bend lineup has the potential to be really interesting, too, because it’s like 2/3rds guys who are of the “Yeah, he would actually be a huge prospect if he had a breakout first half” type:

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.