Two Cubs Show Up on a List of 10 Prospects Who Could Break Out in Their Full-Season Debut

I really like this idea from Baseball America to talk specifically about ten prospects who will be making their full-season debuts this year, and who really have the potential to “raise eyebrows all spring and summer.”

With big league Spring Training underway and minor league Spring Training coming soon, the timing is right to put as many possible breakout prospects on your radar as possible, and the guys who haven’t even played full-season ball yet (Low-A or above) make for a particularly good group of breakout candidates.

Of even more fun for us, two of the ten – that’s 20%, because I can Math – are Chicago Cubs prospects.

First, there’s IFA bonus baby Cristian Hernández, who was among the top prospects in his class in 2021, and who made his stateside debut in Complex Ball last year:

Hernandez was one of the Cubs’ most ballyhooed young prospects in recent years and showed flashes of his talent this past summer in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League. His biggest issue right now is plate discipline, and he struck out a little more than 30% of the time in his stateside debut. Hernandez’s power is prodigious and easy and would be amplified a bit more with a more refined hit tool. He’s got a decent chance to stick at shortstop depending on the way his body develops, but his power and plus arm would easily allow him to stick at third base if such a move were necessary.

Last season in the ACL, Hernández hit .261/.320/.357/88 wRC+, striking out 30.3% of the time. Like a lot of prospects at a new level – or in a new country, in Hernández’s case – he did improve after the first 10 games or so, but only modestly.

Hernández, who only just turned 19, would still be quite young for Low-A Myrtle Beach, if that is indeed where he makes his season debut this year. As BA notes, the part of his game that was needing the most work was the swing-and-miss and contact quality. They are big issues, yes, but not necessarily anything that freaks you out when talking about an 18-year-old making his stateside debut. The swing is beautiful with great bat speed, the athleticism is outstanding, and the raw power is really impressive for a shortstop. There’s far more to like here than not.

But this season, if he’s going to take that next step into top-100 prospect consideration, he’s simply going to need a lot more contact, and a lot more barrels. If those areas do improve, then he has the potential to explode quickly (which is why he shows up on a list of ten prospects like this).

The Cubs also have a member of the list on the pitching side, and it’s number seven overall pick, Cade Horton:

After a lengthy college season, Horton didn’t throw at all as a pro. That was true for both the regular season and instructional league. His overall body of work includes just one collegiate season—53.2 innings in 2022 with Oklahoma—but he shined in the postseason thanks to a pitch mix that includes a double-plus fastball and wipeout slider at the front of a four-pitch mix. Despite the small sample size, feedback from executives and evaluators during our Top 100 Prospects process placed him as a contender for a spot on the list.

Listening to a recent BA podcast on the Cubs’ system, they said they’d heard from some around the game that they already should’ve had Horton on the top-100, and that there were teams ready to take him in the draft right after the Cubs at seven. I think two things can be true: (1) taking Horton and signing him under slot was part of a strategy to ensure the Cubs could also get Jackson Ferris, a first round talent, in the second round, and (2) Horton might wind up having been drafted exactly where he should have been.

Basically, if Horton really is the guy he showed late in the year (after fully recovering from Tommy John surgery and ramping up, mind you) and in the College World Series, he’s going to show it early at Low-A Myrtle Beach or High-A South Bend, and then he would be a top-100 prospect at midseason. Most evaluators just want to see how he looks in pro ball, because the sample size of him being elite is both very small and only against college competition.

So, in sum, among just ten named prospects who could really break out this year as they arrive in full-season ball, two are Cubs prospects. And both are guys who would likely be instant top-100 prospects if the first couple months of those full-season debuts look good.

For the other eight named prospects, check out the BA piece. And no, the Cubs aren’t the only team from the NL Central with inclusions.

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.

more cubs news

MLBits: MLB Investigating David Fletcher, Giants Lose Jung-Hoo Lee for the Season, More

MLB Notes — Major League Baseball is reportedly investigating former Angels infielder—and current Braves' minor league player—David Fletcher regarding allegations that he placed illegal sports bets with the same bookie that former teammate Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara placed bets...

The Cubs Have Signed YET ANOTHER Minor League Arm

Once again, because the Cubs have signed so many in-season pitcher deals, I have to start with the same intro: The Chicago Cubs are seriously going off on the minor league pitching signings here after the start of the season....

Cubs Farm Report | May 20, 2024: Tough Day for the Cubs Affiliates

Cubs Farm Report — It was a rough afternoon for the Cubs affiliates, who were swept in four games and scored a combined 10 runs. However, Ethan Roberts made his first appearance with Iowa since 2022 and tossed a scoreless...

Ever See a “2 RBI Walk” …?

I've seen versions of this play first hand ... back in my little league days. But even then, it was saved for our fastest player, and it usually involved him immediately stealing second base after a walk, when everyone's guard...

Cubs Set a Target Date for Dansby Swanson’s Return, Daniel Palencia Also On His Way

First, a quick update I kept out of the headline: Nico Hoerner is not in the Cubs lineup today, as he continues to deal with left hamstring tightness. The Cubs have now blown past the maximum IL backdate optimization, which...

Drew Smyly Reportedly Set for a Rehab Outing at South Bend

[ankin_law] Chicago Cubs lefty Drew Smyly has been out on the Injured List with a right hip impingement since April 23, but he's getting much closer to finally returning. After throwing multiple bullpens and facing live hitters, it looks like...

Site News! Welcome to Our New Official Legal Sponsor, Ankin Law!

My friends. It’s time for a big announcement. Something very important to us here at Bleacher Nation, and something we’ve never really been able to do before. We have had a lot of great partners over the years, but we’ve...

18 Years Ago Today, Michael Barrett Kindly Disagreed with A.J. Pierzynski

With the Cubs having lost three of four against the Pirates this weekend, and with the offense listing along and injuries continuing to mount, I would understand if you're not in the mood for "hey, today's an anniversary"-type post. BUT!...

Tough Stretch for the Offense, Down Series, Brown’s Role, Trade Target, and Other Cubs Bullets

Without a game today, I wonder if we'll find out exactly what's going on with the reported Luis Vazquez call-up, or if we're going to have to wait until tomorrow. I can talk myself into explanations that don't involve a...

REPORT: Cubs to Call Up Infield Prospect Luis Vazquez

A surprising report tonight ahead of tomorrow's off-day for the Chicago Cubs. Another infielder is coming up, and he'd be making his big league debut in the process. It's defensive stud Luis Vazquez, a guy whom many had been calling...

Latest News

Ever See a “2 RBI Walk” …?

I've seen versions of this play first hand ... back in my little league days. But even then, it was saved for our fastest player, and it usually involved him immediately stealing second base after a walk, when everyone's guard...

NFL Rookie QB Futures: Passing Yards Leaders, OROY Odds for Williams, Daniels, Maye, McCarthy, More

While we're in football's offseason, there are still plenty of fun future betting options out there! With such a large contingent of first-round quarterbacks taken in this year's NFL draft, there are several NFL Rookie QB Futures out there to...

MLB Hit and HR Props: Best Bets for Yankees, Dodgers, and More Tonight

As the MLB season heats up, tonight's games offer a plethora of betting opportunities for baseball enthusiasts. From HR props to hits props, the matchups featuring teams like the Yankees and Dodgers are particularly enticing. In this article, we'll dive...

MLBits: MLB Investigating David Fletcher, Giants Lose Jung-Hoo Lee for the Season, More

MLB Notes — Major League Baseball is reportedly investigating former Angels infielder—and current Braves' minor league player—David Fletcher regarding allegations that he placed illegal sports bets with the same bookie that former teammate Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara placed bets...

How to Watch Nationals Games: Full 2024 Schedule, Live Stream and More

If you’re a Washington Nationals fan and looking to watch their games on TV, most of them can be found on MASN but there are many other options as well. Let’s break down the cable and streaming options for watching...

DraftKings $1500 Promo Code, Canucks-Oilers Odds, and More for Tonight

It's an exciting night in sports as we have a game 7 between the Oilers and Canucks, MLB action, and more sports for bettors to get in on the action. You can score a DraftKings promo code as a new...

Cubs Farm Report | May 20, 2024: Tough Day for the Cubs Affiliates

Cubs Farm Report — It was a rough afternoon for the Cubs affiliates, who were swept in four games and scored a combined 10 runs. However, Ethan Roberts made his first appearance with Iowa since 2022 and tossed a scoreless...

How to Watch Pirates Games: Full 2024 Schedule, Live Stream and More

If you’re a Pittsburgh Pirates fan and looking to catch their games on TV, you can catch most of them on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. Let’s break down the cable and streaming options for watching your Pirates, and check out the...

Drew Smyly Reportedly Set for a Rehab Outing at South Bend

[ankin_law] Chicago Cubs lefty Drew Smyly has been out on the Injured List with a right hip impingement since April 23, but he's getting much closer to finally returning. After throwing multiple bullpens and facing live hitters, it looks like...

Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, May 20, 2024

The Los Angeles Dodgers (32-17) roll into Monday's matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks (22-25) looking to extend a three-game winning streak. The contest starts at 10:10 PM ET on MLB Network with the Dodgers listed as -237 favorites on the...

more cubs news