Cubs Prospect Notes: Amaya, Little, Palencia, Noland, Triantos, Rojas, Murray, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Amaya, Little, Palencia, Noland, Triantos, Rojas, Murray, More

Chicago Cubs

Filling the big league off-day with some nice minor league notes …

  • It’s incredible to me just how much Miguel Amaya seems to have developed over the last few years, despite barely playing any competitive games:
  • I think, given how well Amaya was received by the pitchers, we are very likely to see him back in the big leagues later this year if he keeps hitting at Iowa. At some point, it’s going to be important for him to work a whole lot with the big league pitching staff in advance of 2024, when he would be taking on a bigger role. That, and obviously the bat might actually help the Cubs …
  • The Luke Little bullpen conversion has been going PRETTY well:
  • Michael Arias had another very effective start for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Over his last two starts at Low-A, the 21-year-old flamethrower has allowed 2 earned runs over 8.0 innings on 6 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 13. Remains one to watch.
  • Connor Noland, the Cubs’ 9th rounder last year, joined Brandon Birdsell in being older college arms making their pro debuts at High-A South Bend. And, like Birdsell, Noland continues to get results – he’s up to 27.1 IP with a 2.96 ERA, a 23.9% K rate, and a 6.2% BB rate. Noland, 23, was the Friday night starter for the Arkansas Razorbacks last year, filling in for top prospect Payton Pallette went down with Tommy John surgery. Noland was a football player when he arrived at school, and focused solely on baseball only after his freshman year. The next year was the pandemic, which mucked things up for his development I’m sure. I wouldn’t say it’s a definite that the Cubs landed a surprising star here – you’d want to see that strikeout continue to improve – but he does kinda have the background of a later bloomer. Hasn’t walked a soul over his last three starts.
  • James Triantos had a four-hit game for South Bend, continuing to scorch since getting finished with his knee rehab and getting activated at High-A. His very weird 28 plate appearances so far: .360/.429/.440/156 wRC+, with a 0.0% walk rate and 0.0% strikeout rate. Yup, hasn’t walked OR struck out yet. Ultimately, the ISO is going to need to be MUCH higher (which will probably require accepting some strikeouts as he gets more selective and takes bigger cuts), and he’ll need to take a walk or two. But it’s just kinda fun that he came out of the gate spraying line drives all over the place in every single at bat. (Ah, but you’re wondering about the OBP if he hasn’t taken any walks – *three* HBPs already.)
  • Get ready to watch Jefferson Rojas’s numbers closely in the Arizona Complex League this year. The just-turned-18-year-old second base prospect has been raking in extended spring training, according to Arizona Phil’s accounting at The Cub Reporter, and you may remember that Rojas, a sizable IFA signing, was getting some hype over the winter, too.
  • In a piece at The Athletic on prospects who you don’t know but should, infielder B.J. Murray gets a nod. *YOU* know about him, but it’s pretty wild to see him getting national attention. The switch-hitting corner infielder has outstanding numbers in his first go at Double-A (.259/.400/.526/155 wRC+, 17.9% BB, 24.1% K, .267 ISO), and you’ll remember that the Cubs sent him for a little time in the Arizona Fall League last year, which means THEY see his upside (and Team Great Britain made him their third baseman in the WBC). The 23-year-old was a 15th rounder in 2021, and already looks like a steal.
  • Oh, by the way? Murray really struggled in his first 10 games at Double-A this year (and recall they are using the the sticky ball in the Southern League), but since then he’s hit .310/.440/.644/191 wRC+. He might be the hottest hitter in the organization not named Christopher Morel.
  • Moises Ballesteros strikeout rate check: down to 11.2%. Owen Caissie strikeout rate check: down to 39.8%. Dramatically different numbers, but each very interesting in their own way!
  • Because all Triple-A parks now have Statcast data, the samples are getting big enough for some things to start showing up on player pages at FanGraphs. One of the easiest was max exit velocity, which is a very useful tool to show you a player’s power potential. No big surprises here (and as the sample gets larger, I’m sure some of these guys will top their current high):

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.