Cubs Prospect Notes: Triantos Going Off, Positional Talk, Alcántara Dinger, AFL, End-of-Season Honors, More

A bunch of Cubs prospect stuff to get into today, and make sure you didn’t miss Bryan’s end-of-season All-System Team

  • I wouldn’t say we’ve been “fooled” by Arizona Fall League performances before – prospect-obsessed Cubs fans usually do a pretty good job of understanding the context in which the league takes place – but I do always want to be cautious about extrapolating anything. We’ve seen absolutely monster performances in recent years from Caleb Kilian, Matt Mervis, and Nelson Velazquez, and it didn’t necessarily translate to a huge breakout at that player’s next level the following season. The samples are small, the offensive environment is strong, and the player pool varies wildly from year to year and game to game. So we should continue to keep that in mind when look at results from the AFL.
  • Which isn’t to say great performances aren’t a good thing, or that we can’t enjoy them as they unfold! This year, James Triantos is setting the AFL on fire (while playing second base and center field, for what it’s worth). He’s got the second highest OPS in the league and is slashing a silly .417/.563/.833 through seven games, and he had another big night last night with a triple and his first homer:
  • More on Triantos at MLB Pipeline:
  • Like a lot of players, you’d love if Triantos settled down into one defensive position and was really, really good there. But if that isn’t going to happen – there are questions about the glove long-term at third and at second – then the next best thing would be for him to become at least passable at multiple positions. If the bat is going to carry him to the big leagues, then you have to figure out a way to keep it in the lineup. That said, he’s only 20. There’s still plenty of time – development happens on the defensive side, too, you know.
  • Also, before you say it: no, you don’t worry about Triantos’s position relative to other prospects in the system. You can’t assume all of them are reaching the big leagues with the Cubs, much less at a starter level. So the fact that the Cubs have other top center field prospects, or other top 2B/3B prospects – you just can’t worry about that right now. Let the bat keep developing, together with the defense wherever it works best for Triantos.
  • Although he hasn’t put together the overall numbers that Triantos has so far, Kevin Alcántara seems to be getting into a groove:
  • Fun with Kevin Alcántara BP:
  • Some AFL visuals from Rich:
  • A profile on Cubs pitching prospect Nick Hull, who is among the pitching contingent in the AFL. Apparently Hull’s slider tops 3,000 RPMs, which is elite.
  • A year-end prospect report from Jordan Bastian at Cubs.com. Gotta agree with Bastian’s big question at the end: “Can the farm system provide better relief options for the MLB bullpen? Chicago’s relief corps did get some help from the farm this season — most notably, righty Daniel Palencia and Little — but it was not to the extent expected. The arms at Triple-A and Double-A did not impact the Cubs as much as needed, especially as injuries took a toll at the big league level down the stretch. Beyond adding experienced options for the ‘24 group, the Cubs need to count on their system to fill in the gaps, or to have a few more pieces emerge as legitimate, trusted bullpen arms.”
  • Cubs prospects of the year honors once again going to Owen Caissie on the positional side and Cade Horton on pitching side (MLB Pipeline, Cubs on Deck Pod). It’s not that a lot of Cubs prospects didn’t have fantastic seasons. There were a lot! It’s just that, for me, it’s crystal clear that Caissie and Horton had the best years. From MLB Pipeline:
  • Owen Caissie, OF (No. 3/MLB No. 64)
    Despite being the sixth-youngest regular (turned 21 in July) in the Double-A Southern League, Caissie made the all-star team and ranked in the top five in 12 significant offensive categories, including third in on-base percentage (.398), slugging (.519) and OPS (.917), fourth in homers (22) and fifth in batting (.289).

    Cade Horton, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 29)
    Kept on tight pitch counts in his pro debut, Horton compiled a 2.65 ERA, .191 opponent average and a 117/27 K/BB ratio in 88 1/3 innings while moving from Single-A to Double-A. Among Minor League pitchers with 80 or more innings, he placed fourth in strikeout minus walk percentage (25.8), fifth in WHIP (1.00) and 10th in strikeout percentage (33.5).

  • Speaking of Horton, org-mate Max Bain with some big love:
  • https://twitter.com/CHGO_Cubs/status/1711875145806016606

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    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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