Cubs Prospect Notes: Davis, Horton, Brown, Wesneski, Hernández, Hodge, Alcántara, More
For those of you not glued to the NBA Trade Deadline, here are some Cubs prospect notes for your afternoon …
- The Baseball America crew dropped an entire podcast on the Chicago Cubs farm system, and it’s a fantastic listen for you prospect nerds. The next seven bullets are about the pod, but there’s so much more in there.
- On the whole, it was a very positive discussion about the state of things. The Cubs have lots of depth, the system has clearly taken big steps forward. It is not not an elite system, but there’s definitely a swell of talent on the way. It’s a well-rounded system, too, with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and at all levels of the system. You got the sense from their comments that they were seeing things largely the same way we have: the system is missing the tip-top, clear-impact guys that we HOPE they will have by midseason or end-of-year, but there are too many legitimately good and interesting prospects to be down on the system. It’s just good and solid. Not great yet. But good.
- I was surprised how much time they spent talking about Brennen Davis having swing decision issues – possibly pitch recognition issues – separate from the back injury. I don’t think I’d heard that before. We knew he had some holes late in 2021 (fastballs up, primarily) that he was to be working on in 2022, though, so I have a hard time saying for sure that the problem was that he showed worse on that front in 2022 because he didn’t improve, as opposed to he showed worse in 2022 because he was feeling like crap. I think it’s been fair to get way more guarded on Davis as a prospect because of the injury and because of the missed reps, but I’m not sure it’s fair to get down on him because of how he looked in 2022 – that wasn’t ever really him.
- In the industry, when BA released its top 100, apparently Cade Horton was one of the most frequently mentioned “hey, you should have this guy on there” guys. (Wow.) There were teams right after the Cubs in the draft who wanted to take him, apparently. Within the industry, the thinking is that if Horton is the guy he showed in the College World Series, he was easily a top ten pick, and there would be a LOT of buzz about him. Instead, because of the way things worked out with the “more famous high school names,” Cubs fans may not have appreciated that Horton was a very good pick in his own right (not just an under slot guy). If he shows up this year and shows off the stuff he showed last year, he’ll be on the top 100 right away.
- The Cubs told their pro scouts, coming out of the pandemic, to start looking at guys who they were down on at the end of 2019, but who then showed up in 2021 looking totally different. Because those were the guys the Cubs were going to want to target in trades. Ben Brown was one of those guys. The Cubs actually tried to acquire Brown at the 2021 Trade Deadline, couldn’t get it done, but then managed to get him in 2022.
- Cubs also tried to get Hayden Wesneski in 2021, so it sounds like he was in that same bucket of guys that the Cubs scouted hard coming out of the pandemic. Internally, according to BA, the Cubs don’t necessarily see Wesneski as a front-of-the-rotation type, but more like a solid mid-to-back type. The Cubs and the industry don’t see him as a top 100 type, so says BA. But still good.
- The numbers weren’t great on Cristian Hernández this year in the ACL, but the scouting reports that BA got were still really strong. Great athleticism, great body, great power, great bat speed, great swing, but just a little too much swing and miss.
- Big love for Porter Hodge as a guy outside the top ten who could fly way up the boards with a good start to his 2023 season. The fastball and the slider are clearly very good. The big question is whether the curveball or the changeup take a step forward. Interesting aside: a lot of teams asked the Cubs about Hodge.
- Off the podcast and onto the prospect visuals. Kevin Alcántara still has room to fill out, but he’s definitely looking thicker and stronger than early last year:
- Cubs pitching prospects getting after it:
- Hello, Michael Arias:
- Arias was one of the many complex-level arms about whom you would hear some good things last year from a stuff perspective, but who wasn’t yet ready to put it all together on the results side. Here’s hoping 2023 is the year for him.
- This will be very handy for evaluation purposes:
- Infield prospect Fabian Pertuz has had a good offseason playing in Colombia:
- The 22-year-old utility man is going to have to hit quite a bit more than he did at High-A South Bend (.237/.285/.370/81 wRC+), but he runs well and plays good defense, including shortstop, so there’s a possible floor there.
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