Keith Law Unveils His Top 20 Cubs Prospects, With Discussion
After ranking the Chicago Cubs farm system the 10th best in baseball, noting that the organization has a cluster of prospects who are just outside the top 100 (but could pop this year), The Athletic’s Keith Law has dropped his top 20 Cubs prospects list.
You’ll have to head over to The Athletic to see the full list and the individual write-ups (it’s premium, so I’ve gotta fairly balance how much to share and discuss), but I wanted to comment on some things that stood out …
- James Triantos all the way up at number four is a surprise, with Law really buying the bat and believing – contrary to others – that Triantos can stick at second base, if not third. This might underscore more than anything just how clustered the Cubs’ non-top prospects are, because for some other rankers, I suspect Triantos is going to be down in the 12 to 15 range (the ones who don’t buy the bat, and/or think he is without a position).
- Wow, Kevin Made at number six:
The Cubs have been very aggressive with Made, who hit .266/.354/.450 for Myrtle Beach last year as a 19-year-old and moved up to High A, where he hit just .162/.267/.246 in 37 games to end the season. He’s a true shortstop who puts the ball in play enough to give him a high floor as a utility infielder, and a swing overhaul has given him more ability to drive the ball. He’s a below-average runner and I know some scouts who question whether he’s a shortstop in the long term. I think he is, and the bat will make him a solid regular, with a chance for more if the approach holds up.
- That’s as high as you’ll see Made anywhere, and is the ranking you could get if you believe – as Law does – that he sticks at shortstop (where he’s shown, to me at least, that he can be very good), and if you were impressed by his improvements at the plate in 2022 (I was), then you should see him as this caliber of prospect. It’s just that basically no one outside the Cubs prospect nerd sphere does, so it’s nice to see here.
- Similarly, I feel like more folks should be high on righty Daniel Palencia after showing the stuff he did last year at South Bend, and Law has him at 14 with a chance to stay a starting pitcher. That’s fair to me right now, but I bet he’ll be lower on most non-Cubs-prospect-nerd lists.
- Law is still pretty high on Miguel Amaya’s bat, and thinks that if Amaya can still catch and throw like he could pre-Tommy John, he could be the Cubs’ starting catcher before too long. Here’s hoping.
- Law still sees “frontline” stuff from Kohl Franklin, but postulates that his problem is pitching from the stretch.
- Law might be the low man on Owen Caissie, who only barely makes the top 15 thanks to concerns about his platoon power splits (for me, I’d be less concerned about that given his age – he probably hadn’t faced a lot of really good lefties yet in his life, and you need lots of those reps to really get adjusted to the difference).
- Among the bigger names who do not make the top 20 for Law (and he gets into why): Caleb Kilian, D.J. Herz, Nazier Mulé, Ryan Jensen, Pedro Ramirez, Yohendrick Pinango, Ed Howard, Drew Gray, Luis Devers, and Jordan Nwogu. Something of a “just missed” list.