No, the Cubs didn’t make a mid-season trade for a new No. 1 prospect. This isn’t quite that extreme. But they did get a new No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, my personal go-to for top-100 rankings, who just did their mid-season re-shuffle.
After a red-hot start to the season, and a promotion to High-A, where he’s one of the youngest players in his league, Pete Crow-Armstrong (PCA) is now the top prospect in the Cubs organization to at least one publication.
No. 34: Pete Crow Armstrong (prev. 43)
No. 47: Brennen Davis (prev. 37)
No. 78: Christian Hernandez (prev. 79)
No. 82: Caleb Kilian (prev. 91)
PCA was acquired from the Mets at the 2021 MLB Trade deadline in exchange for Javy Báez and Trevor Williams, and he has rocketed up top prospect lists ever since. But for the most part, that ascension has left him short of Brennen Davis for the top spot in the Cubs system, competing instead with Christian Hernandez and Kevin Alcantara for the No. 2 overall spot.
But Baseball America doesn’t just have him out of contention with those two, he has him leapfrogging Davis, who reached Triple-A this season and would’ve likely already been with the Cubs if it wasn’t for his back injury. This is an aggressive bump up for a publication that was already high on PCA, but it’s hard to argue with it.
Coming into the season, PCA was already an elite defensive center fielder with speed and bat-to-ball skills. But he’s taken his entire game – and projection – up a level at High-A, where he’s slugging .505 with a .242 ISO. Indeed, after a brief adjustment period at High-A, PCA is slashing .347/.365/.612 (159 wRC+) over his last 52 PAs. Again, all while playing elite center field defense. I’m just so fired up by this ranking.
Along the same lines, I don’t entirely blame them for Davis’ tumble. I still think he’s got a fantastic big league career ahead of him, but Davis was struggling before his injury and hasn’t played much this season (though the Cubs would tell you those two things are connected, so maybe BA is acting a bit rash). Remember, though, Baseball America was already a bit lower on Davis than many of the other rankings out there, so hopefully he’ll get to prove them wrong this August, when he’s supposed to return from his injury.
In the meantime, Hernandez moved up one spot, which is nice, and Kilian got a pretty nice bump up to 82. He’ll be back up with the Cubs some time this season.
Kevin Alcantara is a blatant oversight in my opinion, as he’s arguably in the same upside range as the top-3 listed above. I tend to think he’ll reach top-100 status by the end of the season anyway, which means the Cubs could be looking at 5 top-100 prospects, before they make a top-10 pick in the 2022 MLB Draft *and* trade away Willson Contreras and David Robertson, potentially among others, at the deadline.