I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “It’s been 24 hours since I’ve seen a national prospect writer talk about Cubs minor leaguers. What am I going to do?”
Don’t worry. Because John Sickels has joined The Athletic and he has revealed his top 100 minor league prospects. (The Athletic sub. req.) On his list, Sickels has two Cubs prospects in his top 100: catcher Miguel Amaya is ranked at #89 and shortstop Nico Hoerner is #95. In addition, Sickels lists two “breakout sleeper” candidates from each team who could be in the top 100 in the next two or three years. His choices for the Cubs minor league system are outfielder Cole Roederer and right-handed pitcher Yovanny Cruz.
Sickels says that Amaya is a good defensive catcher who has the potential to be a great one. He also thinks his power and control of the strike zone makes him a potential breakout candidate with the bat.
On Hoerner, Sickels notes that he was very impressive in the Arizona Fall League and that he offers plate discipline along a nice potential combination of speed and power.
Sickels’ list is an odd one, not because it’s bad (it’s not), but because the list is intended to be primarily a guide for fantasy baseball players, but not entirely. A player’s fantasy value isn’t the same as his real world value. Defense doesn’t count in fantasy baseball, but if you’re looking to take a minor league ballplayer in a dynasty league, his ability to play defense will play a big role in whether or not he makes the major leagues and how much he actually plays. But in a fantasy context, there is no question that the bad-glove third baseman like the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would rank ahead of the good-glove shortstop like the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., even though their real world value would be much closer. But in a non-fantasy context, a good glove catcher like Amaya might rank even higher.
In case you were wondering, White Sox (and former Cubs) farmhand Eloy Jimenez ranked third on Sickels’ list behind Guerrero and Tatis. The pitcher who accompanied Jimenez to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade, Dylan Cease, ranked as number 18. Tigers (and former Cubs) farmhand Isaac Paredes ranked 60th.
So here’s yet another national writer heaping mild praise upon Amaya and Hoerner. Let’s hope that a successful 2019 season for both players leads to much stronger rave reviews for these two players in 2020.