Last week started with the Cubs having zero players on the Baseball America Top 100 prospect list and then one on the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 prospect list. Over the weekend, MLB Pipeline, the prospect news site run by mlb.com, announced their Top 100 prospects and the Cubs placed two prospects in the top 100: Catcher Miguel Amaya was ranked as the 94th-best prospect and shortstop Nico Hoerner was ranked as the 100th-best.
Amaya was the Cubs’ number-one prospect according to MLB Pipeline, which is different than some other rankings that have Hoerner number one, but completely understandable when you look at what Amaya offers. As a 19-year-old, Amaya hit .256/.349./.403 with 12 home runs in Class A South Bend this past summer and he played in the Futures Game after a very strong first half of the season. On top of the pop that Amaya offers at the plate, he’s gotten rave reviews for his defense behind the plate. Sure, he’s a bit unpolished at this point, but for a 19-year-old playing his first full season of minor league ball, he showed incredible promise. From all reports, pitchers love throwing to the young Panamanian as well. True starting catchers who can contribute on both sides of the plate are a rare commodity and Amaya has a solid chance to be one at the major-league level.
Hoerner has been talked about a lot on these pages over the past week, including in the first two articles linked to above. After his first season as a professional was cut short after just 14 games with an elbow injury, Hoerner played in the Arizona Fall League and excelled against players who were older and much more experienced than he was. Several rankings have Hoerner as the number-one prospect in the Cubs system after his AFL campaign (including this one), but some, like Fangraphs, agree with MLB Pipeline and have Amaya ranked as number one.
Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was ranked as the number one prospect, to no one’s surprise.
In any case, it is always good to see young Cubs get the recognition on the national stage like this. The rankings by Keith Law at ESPN.com come out this week and we’ll see if either or both of these players can land on his Top 100 prospects.