FanGraphs Drops a Prospect Update With Two Cubs Prospects Moving Strongly in Opposite Directions

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FanGraphs Drops a Prospect Update With Two Cubs Prospects Moving Strongly in Opposite Directions

Chicago Cubs

The prospecting folks over at FanGraphs dropped a top 100 prospect update today (only a handful of prospects were adjusted), which was minor overall, but impacted two Cubs prospects significantly.

Among those significant changes? Reggie Preciado, the very young shortstop prospect who is struggling (in a challenging assignment!) at Low-A, had his rating and ranking changed significantly from a fringe top 100 guy before the season (50 FV) all the way down to just the 16th ranked prospect in the Cubs’ system (40+ FV):

I was too aggressive ranking Cubs infielder Reginald Preciado and Yankees shortstop Alexander Vargas during their early Complex League days. Preciado’s breaking ball recognition issues are a big reason he’s punching out 40% of the time (a source of mine who warned me of this and reads the site is going to send me an “I told you so” text very shortly).

FanGraphs’ initial ranking of Preciado was, indeed, among the most aggressive out there, and I do think it’s fair to bump him back after the deep struggles he’s shown (despite, again, being extremely young for his level). This far back? Oh, I think we could probably make an argument that the high upside still merits something closer to that top ten in the system, but it’s hard to quibble. The specific concern about pitch recognition issues is notable and will be worth following in the years ahead. As we’ve discussed, pitch recognition is one of the harder things to “teach,” and any improvements tend to be only at the margins.

Overall, Preciado, who just turned 19, is hitting .212/.272/.314/67 wRC+ at Low-A Myrtle Beach with a 38.8% strikeout rate. For what it’s worth, his wRC+ is closer to league average (with a 33.1% K rate) since mid-April.

On the much brighter side, though, Pete Crow-Armstrong was adjusted in the other direction, as you might expect. He is now a 50 FV, and a high one at that – ranked 46th overall. I think we’ve seen that PCA is now a near universal top 50 prospect in the game.

In the system, PCA now ranks second only to Brennen Davis (55 FV), and ahead of the other 50 FVs (Kevin Alcántara, Owen Caissie, and James Triantos). The reason for his update was not just the huge numbers, but real changes to his game:

Six other players have moved into the 50 FV, four of whom were anticipated coming into the season and two of whom weren’t. Cubs center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong and Braves center fielder Michael Harris II have both made swing changes. PCA made his change in the offseason and has had time to generate a meaningful sample showing that it has indeed unlocked meaningful pull-power to go with his incredible center field defense. He now ranks among the other excellent up-the-middle defenders poised to make at least one-note offensive impact, in the 40-50 overall range of the list.

For what it’s worth, PCA is finding his first challenge at High-A (where he’s a couple years young for the level), hitting just .184/.184/.447/67 wRC+ through his first 9 games.



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.