Cubs Prospect Notes: Heaping Praise on Horton, Cubs Depth Aplenty, Davis, Palencia, PCA, Visuals from Arizona, More
Some Chicago Cubs prospect notes for your Tuesday afternoon enjoyment …
- Jim Callis has some high praise for Cubs pitching prospect Cade Horton, whom Callis believes was the best college pitcher in the 2022 draft:
- The Cubs obviously took a huge swing on Horton with the 7th overall pick when there were still several top-tier bats on the board. The Cubs did so, in part, so they could take Jackson Ferris in the second round, so we’ll have to evaluate the Horton pick with that context in mind. That said, you still want to see Horton emerge as having been a worthwhile pick in his own right, and that’s going to mean that you want to see him this year looking like the guy he was in the College World Series.
- Oh, but a stray thought on Horton’s progress this year before we get there: even though he’s a college draft pick, you shouldn’t necessarily expect him to rocket up to High-A immediately, like you see with a lot of other college pitchers in their pro debut. For one thing, Horton only just turned 21 in August. For another thing, he threw just 53.2 innings TOTAL in his college career. For still another thing, his 2022 season was his return from Tommy John surgery, so caution is advised anyway. And for still another thing, he was also a position player in college, so he’s only just now fully focusing on pitching. In a lot of ways, Horton is more like a high school pitching draftee than the kind of polished college arm that, for example, Jordan Wicks was.
- The Cubs placed three prospects on Keith Law’s top 100, though all three were in the top 50. How many others were close to making the top 100? Well, in a chat, Law said that the answer is “kinda none,” but also “kinda a lot.” I’ll let him explain:
J.D.: How close were any of the other cubs prospects to making your list? Your list makes me even more mad about the Cade Horton pick! They better not have missed.
Keith Law: They have a big group of guys who would be on a top 150 if I went that far, but nobody on the Just missed list for tomorrow (11 names). Triantos was next and I do like him a lot. Horton we have to see pitch in games but the data on him is so limited.
- That tracks with a lot of our thinking on the Cubs’ system right now – not enough tip-top impact guys for top 100 lists, but a whole lot of guys who COULD be ranked in that 101 to 200 range. Having that quality depth is great. It’s more than I can remember the Cubs ever having in my time tracking the prospect world. But, yes, they need some big breakouts.
- Speaking of Triantos, stray reminder of how he heated up:
- More here on the Cubs’ 2023 international class, including thoughts from Louie Eljaua, the Cubs’ vice president of international scouting. You have heard of the top three signings by now, but the Cubs inked quite a few more players, and the pitchers are the ones you tend not to hear as much about.
- Brennen is back:
- The healthy upside of Brennen Davis is still star-level. There are more reasons for concern now than there were at this time last year, but the ceiling is still there. Him getting back to where he was could be a transformative event for the organization, and I will be fascinated to follow his Spring Training.
- More visuals from Arizona thanks to Rich:
- I cannot wait to see Daniel Palencia this season, because I think he’s so much better than many give him credit for. Well, Brendan certainly gives credit:
- Cole Roederer, who has been playing in Australia this offseason, got crazy hot to end the season. You would love to see him get back on the radar this year:
- Pete Crow-Armstrong recently got an 80 grade placed on his defense in center, which feels like a good time for a thread of defensive joy:
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