Cubs Prospect Notes: Alcántara, Kilian, Wesneski, PCA, Perlaza, Estrada, Sanders, More

One more month and one more week. That’s when the minor league season kicks off. Sure, the big league season will get most of the oxygen, but I am very excited to see another year of Cubs prospects developing …

  • Random and fun fact – Cubs outfield prospect Kevin Alcántara is literally the youngest player in baseball on a 40-man roster:
  • Speaking of Alcántara, good gravy the eyes-on praise he was getting from Lance Brozdowski and Andy Martinez in their podcast at Marquee. I mean, Brozdowski – who is not a thoughtless homer – was saying there’s a non-zero chance Alcántara could appear in the BIG LEAGUES this year. The gist was that Alcántara, who has filled out more this offseason, already makes big league caliber contact, and it’s conceivable that he’s just raking too much out of the gate at South Bend that he heads up to Double-A Tennessee very quickly. From there, you just don’t know.
  • Caleb Kilian has become almost an afterthought among Cubs upper level pitching prospects, which is obviously an overcorrection. Yes, we probably got too high on him after his dominant run in the second half last year and especially in the Arizona Fall League, but the pitches and the physical talent are still there to be a quality big league starting pitcher. He just had some serious work to do in pairing his improved stuff with his previously-excellent command, and the Cubs referenced some work he had to do in how he used his lower half (I’m not advanced enough to really be able to eyeball that kind of thing).
  • Hayden Wesneski knows he can’t live on his exceptional slider alone, so he’s trying to make his four-seam fastball a little more playable (and the Cubs do indeed love cut-ride fastballs):
  • I would say this is high praise, given that Marcus Stroman knows what a big league hitter looks like:
  • Uh, hello Yonathan Perlaza:
  • Perlaza, a switch-hitting 24-year-old outfielder, hit .255/.358/.491/122 wRC+ last year at Double-A, with 23 HR, and 15 SB. He is in camp on a non-roster invite, and seems very likely to head to Triple-A Iowa to open the season. He’ll have to hit a whole lot at Iowa to profile as a (mostly) corner outfielder, but he’s really quite talented.
  • Bryan talking up one of the Cubs’ lesser-known IFA prospects from last year’s class:
  • This is a really nice and fun interview with Cubs relief prospect Jeremiah Estrada:
  • I’m not sure Estrada will make the Opening Day bullpen because it’s such a crowded group and he’s got options left, but nobody is going to rule it out. His fastball – when it’s right – is among the best in baseball, and he’s got a wipeout slider to go with it. Estrada at his best is easily one of the eight best relief options for the Cubs. But we know he’ll be up at some point this year no matter what, and if the Cubs feel like there is still something for him to work on at Iowa, I wouldn’t take it as an insult if he doesn’t make the team out of camp. He did rise all the way from High-A to the big leagues last year, making just six appearances at Triple-A.
  • Speaking of relief prospects we could see in Chicago this year:
  • Now that Sanders is (presumably) fully converted to relief, I wonder if we’ll see a real breakout. The live fastball is there for him, and now it’s just a question of the secondaries and the command.
  • 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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