Chicago Cubs Top Prospects

After another hiatus, here are our Chicago Cubs’ top prospects. For time purposes and so that we can get out more top prospect lists, we are switching to the following format. Enjoy!

 

#NamePositionGradeETARiskNotes
1Adbert AlzolayRHPA-late-2018MediumAlzolay is one of the most underrated pitching prospects in the game. He looks like the type of pitcher who you would select to throw a game seven, and feel comfortable with him on the mound. The Cubs may have emptied out the cabinets at this year’s trade deadline, however they managed to save one top shelf guy for themselves.
2Jose AlbertosRHPB2019MediumAlbertos seems very likely to play a part in the Cubs rotation sooner rather than later. He should be in the majors by the end of 2019 (when he’s 21 years old). The control and the change are the real calling cards here.
3Oscar De La CruzRHPBlate-2019Relatively HighHe’s exceptionally well-rounded and he has a high floor. There’s really nothing not to like about this kid. As a Cub, He looks like a No. 3 or a No. 4, however on most other teams he’s a solid No. 2.
4Justin SteeleLHPBlate-2018Relatively LowHe’s a safe, durable lefty who can easily stick as a starter. While he’s not going to be the guy who you pick for Game 7 of the World Series, when he’s on the mound, you have a shot to win.
5Victor CaratiniCB2018Relatively LowUnfortunately for Caratini, he’s blocked for the foreseeable future, and like Mark Zagunis, would be better off traded, however there is an attainable ceiling as a top-10 catcher. The hit tool has always been good and he has sneaky power. The glove isn’t amazing, but it works.
6Mark ZagunisOFB-2018LowFirst things first, this kid isn’t going to break out in Chicago. He needs to be traded, as he is currently blocked. There’s a lot to like about Zagunis though. He is only going to hit about .250, but his on base percentage will be about .1-.12 points higher than his average and he has decent power as well. Overall, we’re looking at a .250/.360/.425 line good for a 785 OPS. An expectation of about 12-15 long balls a year is within reason.
7Dillon MaplesRHPC+2018LowMaples could be a closer. He handled himself exceptionally well in the Pacific Coast League, he can hit 100 mph with his fastball and has a plus curve and a plus slider. He could be in late-game situations at Wrigley by May.
8Jen-Ho TsengRHPC+2018LowTseng has great control with good stuff. He’s not going to overpower hitters, however, he looks like a guy who could go 6-7 innings regularly with a 4.25 ERA.
9Tom HatchRHPC+2019Relatively LowOverall, the kid is very solid. He can hit 96 mph with his fastball and mixes in a very good slider. There isn’t much of a ceiling (back-ender), however, the floor is a fifth starter or a strong swing.
10Keegan ThompsonRHPC+Late-2019MediumThompson is solid in every aspect of the game. He pitched almost exclusively in relief in 2017 and looked great. He was essentially everything that the Cubs had hoped for grabbing him in the third round. He has closer potential.
11Cory AbbottRHPC+Mid-2019Relatively LowAbbott seems like a pretty safe bet to make it to the majors at some point barring injuries. The control is great, however he lacks a ceiling and doesn’t look like he is going to be more than a No. 4 or a No. 5. Nevertheless, that is very valuable.
12Daniel CamarenaLHPC+2018LowCamarena is a lefty starter who has looked the part at every level that he has played at. He’s similar to Dietrich Enns in that he came up in a Yankees organization that has had some exceptionally intriguing talent overshadowing him. While the Cubs could be the worst landing spot for Camarena, his skill and results point to a No. 4 projection, however he’s depth with the Cubs barring injury.
13Brendon LittleLHPC+2020Extremely HighThe control is worrisome. He’s definitely a wild card and could go either way. He could turn out to be an all-star reliever, or he could turn out to be another Arquimedes Caminero.
14Daury TorrezRHPC+/C2019MediumDaury Torrez is quietly a very legitimate relief prospect who could make an impact as soon as this season. He has very strong control and could be a solid setup man.
Lange is a good pitcher, however as a first round pick, he may never live up to his title. Based on the concerns about his durability, he looks like a Zach Duke type (in terms of stability), which is valuable, but may be looked down upon based on his draft status.
16Eddy MartinezOFC+/Clate-2019HighIt wouldn’t be wise to give up on Martinez just yet, however, it hasn’t looked as if he will be able to be a starter. He could, however he a very strong fourth outfielder based on his power, speed and his arm.
17Alec MillsRHPC+/C2018MediumHe doesn’t look like a reliable major league starter. Between the fact that he only has two solid pitches and his extensive injury history, he seems like he would be considerably better in a relief capacity.
19Duane UnderwoodRHPC+/C2018MediumUnderwood hasn’t been good as a starter based on his control. At this point, it would make sense to move him to a relief role. He can already hit 97 mph and has a great curve and cutter, which could play up in the pen. The Ceiling there is still high.
20Trevor CliftonRHPC+/C2018LowThe control is very shaky here. He has a good fastball, and a decent curve, however he definitely gets hit a lot and walks a lot of batters. That being said, however, he looks like he will at least be able to contribute in 2018 and still carries a decent ceiling as a solid back-ender.
21Jeremiah EstradaRHPC+/C2020MediumHis arsenal is promising, and his ceiling is about as high as a reliever can get, however the control is a bit worrisome. If he can get that on track, he will be dominant, however if he can’t, he might be a taxi-squader who looks great some days and awful others.
22Dakota MekkesRHPC+/CLate-2018Relatively LowHe’s huge and the deception on his fastball in exceptionally enticing. Furthermore, his control isn’t bad which makes his success look much more legitimate. He’s another personal favorite of mine.
23Randy RosarioLHPC/C+Late-2018Relatively LowRosario looks like a lefty specialist, however that is assuming that he is not rushed. He is not major-league ready just yet, but his ceiling is that of a high leverage reliever.
24James PuglieseRHPC/C+2018LowPugliese is looks like a very reliable mainstay middle reliever with the floor of a solid, albeit unspectacular taxi guy.
25Bijan RademacherOFC/C+2018LowBijan is a personal favorite. He has a good hit tool and amazing plate discipline. He also brings with him solid enough power. At the very least, he looks like a Jeremy Hazelbaker type.
26Michael RuckerRHPC/C+Early 2019Relatively LowThe control is a plus, however he may not be durable enough to stick in the rotation. Nevertheless, a multi-inning reliever similar to a Mike Mongtomery is certainly attainable.
27Darryl WilsonOFC/C+mid-2019HighThe thing that Wilson has on those guys, however, is his glove, which could make him a very stellar fourth outfielder. Look at this kid with the expectation of a toolsy fourth outfielder, and if the bat comes around, then perfect. Wilson has the tools, but so did Rymer Liriano, Francisco Peguero, Arismendy Alcantara and Dominic Brown.
28Taylor DavisCC2018LowDavis looks like a contact first emergency catcher who sees major league time in parts of every season for the next decade, however is never quite good enough to stick. The plate discipline is promising, though.
29Charcer BurksOFC2018Relatively LowBurks’ speed and power mix and his glove are great, however it is debatable that he will be able to hits for enough average to make it as a starter. My expectation is .240/.340/.390 with solid defense, 5-7 homers and 10 stolen bases.
30Luke FarrellRHPC2018Extremely LowFarrell is pretty much a lock to be at least a swing. It’s not out of the question for him to be a solid back end starter, however at this juncture, he looks like he’s in the bullpen.
31Jacob HannemannOFC2018LowHannemann is a decent looking fourth outfielder. He has solid speed, a decent glove and a decent enough hit tool. While the ceiling isn’t terribly high, he has a high floor.
32Wladimir Galindo3BClate-2019HighAs a corner infielder, there’s really no power there, and while his arm is great, his glove isn’t. Factor his lack of speed and we’re looking at a ceiling similar to Tommy Joseph, which is organizational depth floor.
33Rob ZastryznyLHPC2018LowHe’s in the bigs, however what we’ve seen of him (both in Triple-A and the big leagues) looks like a good ballpark of what we can expect. He has good velocity, however we’ll have to see how it plays out.
34Chesny YoungUTILC2018LowYoung is versatile, however, he’s already 25, he’s only an average hitter and runner with an average glove and absolutely no power to speak of.
35Bryan HudsonLHPC2020HighHudson has gotten by in the low minor leagues, however his control is pitiful and he gets hit a lot. His stuff may not hold up at the major league level regardless of size. His ceiling is that of a mid-rotation guy, but he’s really far away from that.
36Jose PaulinoLHPC2019Relatively LowPaulino is solid, he’s just hittable. His control isn’t much of a problem, but the slider and 96 mph fastball would play up in shorter stints, possibly as a LOOGY.
37Aramis AdemanSSCmid-2020HighThe bat is rough and his glove is only okay. He is fast and has a good arm, which could make a move to the outfield make some sense. He could be a decent bench guy, but he’s far away. His prospect status is still elastic.
38David Bote2BClate-2018Relatively LowBote’s on base percentage is solid, however his hit tool is no more than league average. Bote will get a few call-ups here and there, however it remains to be seen if there’s anything beyond that.
39Jason Vosler3BClate-2018Relatively LowHe and Bote are both similar prospects, as they both have similar ceilings and floors. Overall, He gets a cup of coffee or so, however not much more.
40Nelson VelazquezOFC2023Extremely HighThere’s obvious power here, but the approach is awful. If he refines it, there’s a ceiling, but at this point, he’s looking like a power bench bat at best,
41Alberto BaldonadoLHPC2019HighThe big lefty had some trouble with the PCL last season, however there’s enough zip on his stuff to make me believe he could be a solid high upside LOOGY.
42Carlos Sepulveda2BC2020HighSepulveda struggled in High-A mightily. The glove is great, as are the flashes of tools, however it remains to be seen if he can make enough contact in the bigs.
43Erling MorenoRHPCmid-2020Extremely HighThis ranking has nothing to do with his talent. He is certainly a kid with upside. My problem is his delivery and injury history. The question, however, is, can stay healthy long enough for him to have a big league career. If he can, he could be a middle reliever.

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