Cubs Farm System And Prospects Discussion Thread

CSF77

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Welp that is Randy Johnson level domination...if that doesn't get a top 100 invite not much else will.
 

Spunky Porkstacker

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Bleacher Nation

Hultzen is due to be a minor league free agent after this season, and there's a chance some team out there would be willing to give him a 40-man spot on a big league deal. Cubs have first crack at it, and wouldn't be shocked to see him added and called up in September.


Danny Hultzen continuing to dominate. His stuff is solid, particularly the plus change, but not overwhelming in way the stats indicate. I wonder if he’s getting some deception. He stands on the front corner of third base side of rubber and delivery is very horizontal towards 1B.

Huge rub with Hultzen heading into next year? No minor league options. So if he's on the 40-man come spring, he either makes the team or he hits waivers. But if you don't add him to 40-man this year, good chance he gets plucked by another club in November.
You can see it a bit here. Hultzen stands with his right foot in a pretty unique spot, and his body not centered towards the plate. It even seems like his initial push-off is in that direction, allowing him to keep that front shoulder really closed off as long as possible.
https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1161372089112285184/photo/1
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CSF77

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Brailyn Marquez had a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits over five innings. Marquez struck out four and did not walk anyone. Marquez has now gone 22 innings without allowing a run, dating back to his time in South Bend

Adbert Alzolay turned in four strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits over four innings. The one run scored on a leadoff home run by Jared Walsh in the fourth inning. Alzolay struck out seven and did not walk anyone.

Danny Hultzen pitched a scoreless ninth inning and got the save. Hultzen walked one, but did not allow any hits. He struck out two.


DH Addison Russell then went back-to-back with Evans, his third-straight game with a home run. Russell went 1 for 2 and he was hit by pitches twice. Russell has seven home runs for Iowa this year.
 

CSF77

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So Marquez is now dominating A+. It wouldn't shock me to see him in Tenn next year.

I could see Hulltzen given a opertunity at the 2nd lefty. Alozay still has a long relief feel about him. He gasses after 4 innings.

Russell is doing a nice job of building trade weight. Good for him. They can pack him and Maples up for a set up.
 

CSF77

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Colin Rea starts today. 1 win short of tieing the franchise record of 14 wins. He has made a nice recovery from T.J. and contravercy.
 

CSF77

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This kinda sums up why, for me personally, Miguel Amaya is the Cubs’ top prospect:

Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith
@cubprospects
If Miguel Amaya’s last 34 games had come at a different time, perhaps to start the season, we’d be making a bigger deal out of it. Perhaps he’s been overshadowed by Marquez. But this is so huge for 20 y.o. catcher:

.313 AVG
.426 OBP
.536 SLG
20 BB (14.7 BB%)
17 K (12.5 K%)

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Consider that Amaya is young for his league, is developing (very well) at the most demanding defensive position, plays in a park that does not help offense, and is this year NOT wearing down late in the season. Like Bryan said, this is huge. The guy is now hitting .241/.365/.405 for Myrtle Beach, good for a 127 wRC+ in that league. That’s 10th best in the Carolina League, and none of the nine ahead of Amaya are as young as he is. He also has the 11th best strikeout rate in the league, despite having the 9th highest ISO. Even if Amaya were, like, a corner outfield prospect, we should be taking serious note of what he’s doing offensively. But he’s a PLUS-GLOVE catching prospect!
 

CSF77

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Myrtle Beach Pelicans

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ICYMI: Brailyn Marquez has been pretty good this season, and has been named the @Cubs Minor League Player of the Year 🐻

Read: http://bit.ly/Playeroftheyear

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CSF77

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By Iowa Cubs | August 26, 2019 4:35 PM

Right-hander Colin Rea has been selected to the All-PCL Team, the league announced today. The prestigious lineup is selected annually by vote of the PCL's field managers, broadcasters, general managers and media representatives.

In his first season in the Cubs' organization, Rea is 14-3 with a 3.74 ERA (59ER/142.0IP) in 25 starts for Iowa. The righty's 14 wins are the most for a PCL pitcher since 2016 and also ties the Iowa single-season franchise record.

Rea has dominated the PCL, topping the league in ERA, wins, games started and innings pitched (140.0). He ranks fourth in strikeouts (115) and opponent average (.253), and fifth in WHIP (1.35).

Rea also received PCL mid-season All-Star honors in July. He is the first I-Cub to take home All-PCL honors since catcher Victor Caratini and righty Matt Carasiti in 2017.
 

CSF77

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He pretty much justified a rotation spot in 2020.

He was a top prospect with SD. Then he was traded to FLA and FLA said that they were dealt him with a known injury. After that SD had to take him back. Gave him a treatment that failed. Then TJ and then cut.

He took the offer from the Cubs due to him being from Iowa and being driving distance from their house.

Now I believe Jed was the GM of the Padres when he was drafted in 2011. So seeing him get a shot is really not a stretch.
 

CSF77

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Cubs (Mesa): Nico Hoerner, SS (No. 1, MLB No. 48); Miguel Amaya, C (No. 2, MLB No. 88); Erich Uelmen, RHP (No. 24); Jordan Minch, LHP; Keegan Thompson, RHP; Jared Young, 1B

The Cubs will ship their top two prospects to the AFL, and the sweet-swinging Hoerner started with the Mesa Solar Sox last fall as well. Amaya already has played in two SiriusXM All-Star Futures Games at age 20 and has the chance to be solid offensively and defensively. Complete roster »
 

garapp

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Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat Dec 5

Theo says @javy23baez will play 4-5 times a week, 2B and SS, in Puerto Rico, and hitting coach Mallee will be there to work with him. #Cubs





This year began with people wondering how long the Cubs could keep Javier Baez down at Triple-A Iowa. It ended with Cubs fans and the Chicago media wondering how you could hand him a big-league job in spring training.

That’s how much perceptions changed after Baez struck out 95 times during his first 229 plate appearances in The Show.

But the reality is the Cubs still expect Baez to be their Opening Day second baseman in 2015. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein made that clear during Tuesday’s postmortem on Clark Street.

“Javy is very likely to be given the opportunity to show he can make those adjustments at the big-league level,” Epstein said. “We believe he will. He’s got some of the best raw ingredients to work with in all of Major League Baseball.

[MORE CUBS: Could Manny Ramirez become next hitting coach?]

“But his approach and some mechanical things need to be tweaked. He’s well aware of that (and) he’s excited to make those changes without losing his identity as an aggressive, feisty hitter in the box.

“He’s someone that — for the long-term — you’re going to want to bet on.”

No doubt, Baez has world-class bat speed and the supreme self-confidence summed up by the Major League Baseball logo tattooed onto the back of his neck. The Cubs named him their Minor League Player of the Year in 2013 after a 37-homer, 111-RBI season at advanced Class-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. Baseball America had ranked him as the industry’s No. 7 overall prospect before his promotion from Iowa in early August.

Baez blasted three homers during that first three-game series at Coors Field, including the game-winning shot in the 12th inning to beat the Colorado Rockies in his Aug. 5 debut. He had six homers the rest of the way, but zero after Sept. 13. He finished the audition hitting .169 with a .551 OPS.

[MORE CUBS: The Year in Cubs Quotes]

“Javy is extraordinarily talented and also very raw at the same time,” Epstein said. “He came up as a 21-year-old and learned an awful lot this year. On one hand, how talented he is and how some of those things translate right away to the big-league level. And on the other hand, quite a few adjustments that he’ll have to make and just how good major-league pitching is.

“(There are) some adjustments that he’s going to have to process and make this winter. Some players can make those adjustments in-season. More often than not, they occur over the winter. That’s one of the reasons why we called him up when we did.

“It doesn’t always happen overnight either. He has to look no farther than Anthony Rizzo, who came up at about the same age and really, really struggled and had to go back to the minor leagues and make those adjustments.”

The Cubs don’t want to send Baez back to Des Moines, but they also can’t live with the kid striking out almost 42 percent of the time.

Baez has crushed Cactus League pitching the last two years, so another highlight-reel show in Arizona wouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s also impressed the organization with improved focus and more attention to detail defensively. That maturation is another reason why the Cubs are comfortable betting big on him.

[MORE CUBS: Wait till next year? Time for rebuilding Cubs to 'step it up']

But it also speaks to a larger point about the rebuild and how the Cubs will construct next year’s roster. They’ll hope to catch lightning in a bottle, but won’t be surprised when Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant struggle. That’s why Epstein can talk about winning the National League Central while at the same time tempering expectations.

“We are competing to win and we’re also developing young players,” Epstein said. “We’re not going to sell out to win in 2015. We’re not going to bail on all our young players the second that they show that there are still more adjustments to be made.

“But at the same time, we have some expectations for them — that they will continue to grind and try to speed up the learning process as much as possible. That’s very much, I think, the story of the 2015 Cubs.”

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/theo-epstein-cubs-wont-bail-javier-baez-2015
 

beckdawg

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From BA's top 10

1. Brailyn Marquez | LHP
Born: Jan 30, 1999
Bats: L Throws: L
Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 185
Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
Signed By: Marino Encarnacion/Jose Serra/Alex Suarez/Louie Eljaua.
View Player Card

BA Grade: 60. Risk: High
Tool Grades: Fastball: 80. Slider: 60/ Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

Track Record: When the Cubs gave Marquez $600,000 in 2015, they did so with the idea that his fastball, which sat in the low 90s, had the potential to give hitters nightmares. They were right. Marquez hinted at his potential in an excellent 2018 season that ended with the No. 3 spot among the Northwest League’s Top 20 prospects and a pair of strong starts at low Class A South Bend. He showed up even stronger in 2019, which ended in his first appearance on BA’s Top 100 list.

Scouting Report: Marquez’s signature is his fastball, which sits in the upper 90s and regularly reaches triple-digits. The pitch’s peak was 102 mph, which it reached 24 times in 2019. Marquez pairs the fastball with a spike slider in the low 80s and, at its best, tunnels with his fastball and features short, late snap. He also throws a changeup in the 89-91 mph range that he can use to get swings and misses. The pitch needs more consistency to reach its projection as an average major league offering. Marquez’s stuff on its own makes him a tantalizing prospect, but the dedication to improving his body and delivery, which in turn improved the command of his arsenal, speaks to his makeup. The Cubs point to a two-year process Marquez went through to get his arms and legs to sync up during his delivery as one of the main drivers of his improved ability to throw quality strikes. They also worked to get his arm stroke back to the longer, smoother version he showed as an amateur instead of the shorter, choppier one it had morphed into in the early portion of his pro career. Once those elements were in place, he needed to learn how to sequence. Instead of using his velocity to blow fastballs by hitters, he needed to have the intuition and confidence to throw his offspeed pitches in appropriate counts. That process was part of the reason the Cubs kept Marquez at low Class A South Bend until Aug. 6. When he did get to the next level, he dominated. His first start at Myrtle Beach was a gem of five hitless frames, and he finished his season with 26 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Overall, Marquez finished his season averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings, an improvement over his 9.7 figure from a year prior. Even with his raised profile, there are still plenty of ways Marquez can continue to improve. Maintaining command will be a continual process, especially given his size and long levers. He needs to continue to refine his changeup, especially considering that it is thrown with similar velocity as his breaking ball. When he did get out of sync, he tended to drift a bit to his armside.

The Future: For an organization that has struggled mightily to develop its own pitching, Marquez represents hope. If he can maintain his delivery and bring his offspeed pitches forward, he could fit as a franchise starter at the front of a rotation. If not, his elite velocity from the left side could lead him into a closer’s role. Either role would be an outcome befitting the organization’s No. 1 prospect.

  1. 2. Nico Hoerner | SS
    Born: May 13, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 200
    Drafted: Stanford, 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Gabe Zappin.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Medium
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 50. Run: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

    Track Record: During his career at Stanford and his summers in the Northwoods and Cape Cod leagues, Hoerner exhibited all the traits of a professional hitter. The Cubs were confident enough in Hoerner’s hitting track record that they drafted him 24th overall in 2018, then watched as he made it to low Class A after just 10 games. An elbow strain ended his regular season, but Hoerner sidelined him until the Arizona Fall League, where he shined. Hoerner spent his first full year at Double-A. He missed the bulk of the regular season with a broken hand, but once again shined later in the season, this time as a September callup.

    Scouting Report: Hoerner entered pro ball as an accomplished hitter, but he still had polish to add. The Cubs focused early in the season on adjusting Hoerner’s stance and approach to allow him to work the ball to the left-center field gap more often. The adjustments also allowed Hoerner to pull breaking balls in the air with more regularity. Those changes quickly took hold and made Hoerner into a more complete hitter and allowed him to put his best swing on more pitches. Defensively, he still has a chance to play shortstop, but he’s more likely to slide over to second base as his career moves along—especially considering Javier Baez has shortstop well in hand. He’s an average runner but his instincts amplify his pure speed.

    The Future: Hoerner fared well in his big league debut and could compete for a return engagement out of spring training. Whenever Hoerner makes it to Chicago for good, he should settle in as an offensive-minded infielder.
  2. 3. Brennen Davis | OF
    Born: Nov 2, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 175
    Drafted: HS--Chandler, Ariz., 2018 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Steve McFarland.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 60. Run: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Davis came to the Cubs a bit raw in terms of his baseball skills after splitting his high school career between the diamond and the basketball court. The athleticism that allowed him to excel on the hardwood also provided Davis with considerable baseball upside. The Cubs spent a second-round pick on him and used a $1.1 million bonus to sign him away from a commitment to Miami.

    Scouting Report: Davis was originally slated to start in extended spring training before moving to short-season for the summer. He outplayed expectations, however, and forced the Cubs to push him to low Class A South Bend. Davis performed well in the Midwest League, but his season was disjointed because of a pair of pitches that hit him in nearly the same spot on his right index finger. The second pitch broke the finger and ended his season. Before the injury, the Cubs moved Davis off the plate a bit to allow his long levers a better chance to get extended and create torque against more pitches. He took to the changes quickly, and the result was an excellent first exposure to pitchers outside Rookie-level ball. The Cubs expect Davis to add considerably more strength to his lithe frame, which should add more power. Given that 20 of his 54 hits in 2019 went for extra bases, those projections appear to have already started to take hold. His long strides and plus speed help him in the outfield, where his above-average arm strength plays up because of its accuracy.

    The Future: After a tantalizing glimpse of his tools becoming skills in 2019, Davis should get a chance to build on that success in 2020. He could develop into a center fielder who provides value on both sides of the ball.
  3. 4. Miguel Amaya | C
    Born: Mar 9, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 185
    Drafted: Signed: Panama, 2015.
    Signed By: Cirillo Cumberbatch/Hector Ortega/Louie Eljaua.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Run: 20. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: The Cubs thought enough of Amaya’s combination of defensive and offensive skills to give him a $1 million signing bonus out of Panama. He’s moved a level per year since signing, with full seasons at low Class A South Bend and high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Amaya has represented the Cubs at the Futures Game in each of the past two seasons as well.

    Scouting Report: Slowly but surely, Amaya is developing into the player the Cubs envisioned. He spent 2019 adjusting his approach to hit the ball in the air more often. The concept is a tough sell at Myrtle Beach, where flyballs don’t get rewarded as often as at other parks. Amaya’s 11 home runs fell one short of the career high he set in 2018, but he did so in 73 fewer at-bats. Notably, Amaya opened the season as the youngest position player in the Carolina League. He can get overaggressive and get himself out early in counts, which is another area he’ll work to improve. Amaya has work to do behind the plate, where he’s still a bit of crude receiver. He has the arm strength to produce pop times of just more than 2.0 seconds and caught 35 percent of attempted basestealers.

    The Future: After a full year at high Class A plus time in the Arizona Fall League, Amaya should move to Double-A Tennessee in 2020. He projects as a solid but not spectacular everyday catcher.
  4. 5. Chase Strumpf | 2B
    Born: Mar 8, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 191
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50: Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 40. Fielding: 45. Arm: 45.

    Track Record: Strumpf put together a stellar career at California’s prestigious JSerra HS, where he was teammates with 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. His five home runs led the 2013 15U National Team, which had a roster with 2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak, 2019 No. 3 overall pick Andrew Vaughn and 2017 first-rounder Nick Pratto. After high school, Strumpf put together three excellent seasons at UCLA, including an outstanding sophomore season in which he hit .363/.475/.633 with 12 home runs. His numbers were down a bit in 2019, but the Cubs were convicted enough by his bat to draft him in the second round. He ranked No. 6 among the short-season Northwest League’s Top 20 prospects.

    Scouting Report: After scoring big in 2018 with Nico Hoerner, a bat-first middle infielder from the Pacific-12 Conference, the Cubs went back to that well again in 2019.In Strumpf, Cubs scouts saw a polished hitter with a solid approach and a grinder’s mentality both at the plate and in the field. He’s shown mostly doubles power as a pro, but the Cubs believe a few tweaks can help him start putting more balls over the fence. Specifically, they want him to back off the plate a little bit more and use his long arms to generate the torque his frame and strength will allow. They’d also like to see him be a little more aggressive later in counts, especially on pitches he can impact. Strumpf is a serviceable second baseman with strong hands and feet who can make routine plays but is not likely to wow anyone his glove. He has fringe-average arm strength.

    The Future: Given his pedigree, Strumpf should move to high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2020. He projects as a bat-first middle infielder.
  5. 6. Cole Roederer | OF
    Born: Sep 24, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 175
    Drafted: HS--Santa Clarita, Calif, 2018 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 45.

    Track Record: Improved strength and power in his draft season led Roederer to make quick moves up draft boards. Even after he separated his shoulder and pulled his hamstring, the Cubs were sold enough to draft him Roederer in the second supplemental round and sign him for $1.2 million. He put together a solid pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he ranked as the league’s No. 7 prospect.

    Scouting Report: Roederer’s value is tied mostly to his bat, which showed in 2019 that it will need a bit more polish. Specifically, Roederer tried too hard to pull the ball with power rather than shooting line drives to all fields. In turn, his numbers suffered. Still, evaluators both inside and outside the system see the potential for a solid hitter. He has a quick, direct swing and a still head which should allow him to make plenty of solid contact if he can adjust his approach. Pitchers in the MWL learned to set up Roederer with high fastballs followed by offspeed pitches low in the zone. Now it’s on him to adjust. He’s a solid defender whose above-average speed and fringe-average should fit well in left field.

    The Future: Roederer projects as a solid regular in the outfield. He should see high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2020 but might start back in the Midwest League.
  6. 7. Ryan Jensen | RHP
    Born: Nov 23, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 55. Changeup: 40. Control: 40.

    Track Record: Jensen moved from the bullpen at Fresno State into the rotation in the middle of his sophomore year and saw mixed results. His stuff was plenty strong to thrive, but his scattershot command and control often counteracted his powerful pitch mix. Still, the Cubs were intrigued by Jensen’s raw tools and what they could become when paired with pro coaching. They were so strongly convinced, in fact, that they used their first-round pick on Jensen and signed him to a $2 million bonus. He made six starts in the short-season Northwest League before shutting it down after throwing a career-high 100 innings at Fresno State.

    Scouting Report: Jensen’s intrigue comes from his two-seam and four-seam fastballs. While plenty of pitchers have both of them in their repertoire, Jensen throws both pitches at the same velocity while keeping them as two distinct pitches. Both pitches average 96 mph, but the four-seamer features carrying life through the zone while the two-seamer shows power sink and armside run. He backs up the fastballs with a mid-80s slider with power break. His changeup is a distant fourth pitch and was seldom needed in college. The key will be honing Jensen’s mechanics to make them more repeatable and helping him control the length of the movement on his pitches. He showed fatigue toward the end of the season, but area scout Gabe Zappin and West Coast crosschecker Shane Farrell noted that Jensen held his stuff throughout his outings despite a smaller than normal frame from a power pitcher.

    The Future: After an offseason to recover, Jensen will likely move to one of the Cubs’ Class A levels to begin 2020. His upside is as a high-end power arm in the rotation but could be a power reliever as well and use his fastballs and slider to wipe out hitters.
  7. 8. Ethan Hearn | C
    Born: Aug 31, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 60. Run: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: After plumbing the college ranks in the first five rounds, the Cubs made Hearn—a sturdily built catcher from Alabama—their first prep pick in 2019. He was a preseason first-team All-American entering the year, and then hit .482 with 11 doubles and 11 home runs in his draft year. He was the first high school catcher selected. The Cubs signed him for $950,000, the highest bonus for a sixth-rounder in the past two drafts and assigned him to the Rookie-level Arizona League.

    Scouting Report: Hearn looks like a player built to mash, and that’s exactly what he does. He pairs a quick bat with strong hands, legs and forearms to generate above-average raw power from the left side. He has a power-over-hit profile and lived up to that rep by striking out at a 36.7-percent clip in his pro debut. The Cubs are working with Hearn to build more lift into his swing and prioritize hitting the ball deeper in the strike zone. Beyond his offensive skills, Hearn has the tools necessary to stay behind the plate. Baseball America ranked him as the second-best defensive catcher available in the high school ranks, and the Cubs see short-area quickness combined with plus arm strength that has allowed him to flash 1.9-second pop times.

    The Future: Hearn projects as a catcher with a blend of offensive and defensive gifts. He should begin his first full season as a pro in extended spring training before moving to short-season Eugene.
  8. 9. Riley Thompson | RHP
    Born: Jul 9, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 205
    Drafted: Louisville, 2018 (11th round).
    Signed By: Jacob Williams.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: Thompson transitioned into the starting rotation in the middle of his sophomore year at Louisville after being used exclusively as a reliever in 2017 both in college and in a five-game stint in the Cape Cod League. He was a draft-eligible sophomore, and the Cubs selected him in the 11th round. He had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and was a 37th-round pick of the Reds out of high school and a 27th-round pick of the Yankees as a redshirt freshman. He had a successful first half-season as a pro with short-season Eugene, which included a run to the Northwest League Championship Series.

    Scouting Report: As a starter, Thompson has begun showing the makings of a true four-pitch mix. He starts with a fastball that averages 93 mph and touches around 96 mph while spinning at an above-average rate of 2,300 rpms. He pairs the fastball with a downer curveball that spins at better than 3,000 rpms and is thrown in the mid-80s. He’s made great strides with his changeup, which the Cubs rebuilt during their instructional league in January 2019. After running through a variety of grips, Thompson and the Cubs settled on a split-fingered, “Vulcan” grip. The new version of the pitch tunnels well off of his fastball and is easiest for him to command. He’s also shown the makings of a potentially average slider. Thompson finished his season in style with five perfect innings with 10 strikeouts in the decisive third game of South Bend’s Midwest League Championship Series win over Clinton.

    The Future: Thompson threw a career-high 94 innings in 2019 and will need to continue being built up to handle a starter’s workload. The next step is high Class A Myrtle Beach.
  9. 10. Cory Abbott | RHP
    Born: Sep 20, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 220
    Drafted: Loyola Marymount, 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.
    View Player Card
    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 50. Curveball: 55. Slider: 50. Changeup: 40. Control: 45.

    Track Record: Abbott’s draft stock took off after he watched a video of Mets ace Noah Syndergaard throwing his slider and began replicating the pitch. He threw a perfect game in his draft year at Loyola Marymount, then was selected by the Cubs in the second round. He mastered both Class A levels in his first full season as a pro, then rung up 166 strikeouts at Double-A in 2019. That figure ranked 11th in the minor leagues and tops among Cubs farmhands.

    Scouting Report: Abbott starts his arsenal with a fastball in the 89-93 mph range that can touch a few ticks higher when needed. The pitch is commanded well and has the characteristics to get swings and misses up in the zone. He backs it up with a hard curveball with 12-to-6 break that he uses to tunnel off of his fastball. He still uses the slider, which has the potential to be an above-average pitch with cutterish break, as a way to give hitters a look at something that breaks from east to west. His changeup is present but is a clear fourth pitch that needs further polish before it can project even as average. He’s made considerable improvements to his body, especially his lower half, and the Cubs are fans of the cerebral, competitive mentality he brings to the mound.

    The Future: After finding success in the Southern League, Abbott will move to the hitter’s Hades of the Pacific Coast League in 2020. He has the upside of a back-end starter.
 

CSF77

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2023.

Here are the position players in their crystal ball:
C: Willson Contreras
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Nico Hoerner
SS: Javy Baez
3B: Kris Bryant
OF: Jason Heyward, Brennen Davis, Kyle Schwarber

Baseball America also listed a possible rotation, adding Marquez, Thompson, and Abbott to veterans Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks (who would both be in their final years). The publication also anointed Ryan Jensen as the closer of the future.
 

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