Chicago Cubs Pegged as Having One of the Most Underrated Farm Systems, and One of the Best at Player Development

The Chicago Cubs have gotten better at player development. I just don’t think that’s a controversial statement if you’ve been following the complete overhaul of their development infrastructure over the past few years. We’ve heard anecdotes around the game about the improvements, we’ve seen data that indicates there have been significant improvements, and now the Cubs also come in for a survey mention.

The top player development organizations in baseball, according to team execs:

No, the Cubs aren’t yet up there with the best of the best, but to be included at all among the teams up there is a pretty nice plaudit. The Cubs also got specific mentions among the organizations that are the best at developing pitchers AND among the best at developing hitters, which feels right to me (and is a little crazy given where things were five years ago on that front).

Also included in that survey? The most underrated farm systems, where the Cubs tied with the Astros for the second most votes, behind only the Cardinals (grumble). The Cubs even got at least one vote for having THE BEST farm system in baseball, which, hey, I appreciate the support, but let’s not go crazy just yet.

The Cubs could obviously stand to have more upper-level, impact-caliber, top-100 types in their farm system, but I think they tend to be underrated because the sheer volume of their legitimate prospects is incredible. I’d like to see some big breakouts this year, but I think if the Cubs just keep doing what they’ve been doing on the development side, they’re going to have a consensus top 10 farm system by midseason. (As it stands, FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline already have their system inside the top 10.)

As far as impact at the big league level goes, we’ve seen bits and pieces over the past year or so, but the long tail of player development means it necessarily takes several years for big changes in your processes (scouting, drafting, signing, developing) to actually show up in the big leagues. It should be a good next few years if the executives in this survey are to be believed. (I believe it.)

More here in the farm system survey.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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