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Baseball America updates their Cubs Top 30 prospect list

Ranking minor leaguers is popular, so check out where Baseball America ranks the current Cubs minor leaguers

Brennen Davis
Brennen Davis
Rikk Carlson

Baseball America, the original publication that ranked minor league prospects, has been more aggressive in updating their prospect lists this season. Recently, they did a mid-season update of the Top 30 prospects for all minor league teams. I can’t blame them — nothing gets more attention in the minor leagues than a Top 30 list. But there is also another good reason to do a mid-season update: the trade deadline. Many prospects are going to get dealt in the next week and in the past, fans would get angry or excited over a trade because of a prospect ranking that was compiled back in December and January. This year, BA’s rankings will more accurately reflect the industry consensus after almost four month of minor league baseball.

The other thing a mid-season update allows BA to do is include the picks from the most recent draft.

Baseball America also has been regularly updating their Top 100 prospects list all season. Nico Hoerner is the only Cubs prospect on their list. He is currently ranked as the 44th-best prospect in all of baseball.

The rankings and scouting reports are behind a paywall, but I can list their new Cubs’ Top 30 prospect as well as offer my own thoughts on the list.

The number after the player’s name is the change, either plus or negative, from their pre-season ranking.

  1. Nico Hoerner—SS (No change)
  2. Miguel Amaya—C (No change)
  3. Brennen Davis—OF (+2)
  4. Adbert Alzolay—RHP (+2)
  5. Brailyn Marquez—LHP (-2)
  6. Cole Roederer—OF (-2)
  7. Chase Strumpf—INF (NR)
  8. Ryan Jensen—RHP (NR)
  9. Ethan Hearn—C (NR)
  10. Richard Gallardo—RHP (+1)
  11. Cory Abbott—RHP (-3)
  12. Paul Richan—RHP (-5)
  13. Riley Thompson—RHP (+7)
  14. Justin Steele—LHP (-5)
  15. Tyson Miller—RHP (NR)
  16. Nelson Velazquez—OF (-3)
  17. Aramis Ademan—SS (-7)
  18. Erich Uelmen—RHP (NR)
  19. Zack Short—SS (No change)
  20. Brenden Little—LHP (-3)
  21. Alex Lange—RHP (-7)
  22. Mark Zagunis—OF (NR)
  23. Robel Garcia—2B (NR)
  24. Reivaj Garcia—2B (-1)
  25. Luis Verdugo—INF (-13)
  26. Jose Albertos—LHP (-10)
  27. Jimmy Herron—OF (No change)
  28. Kohl Franklin—RHP (NR)
  29. Jack Patterson—LHP (NR)
  30. Edmond Americaan—OF (-14)

Falling off the list are RHP Dillon Maples (18), RHP Oscar De La Cruz (21), RHP Thomas Hatch (22), 1B Jared Young (24), OF D.J. Wilson (25), C Jhonny Pereda (26), RHP Trevor Clifton (28), RHP Keegan Thompson (29), RHP Erick Leal (30).

My thoughts on the list

—The three 2019 draft picks that were ranked were slotted into spots seven, eight and nine, so everyone after that should lose three spots just based on that. Baseball America had the Cubs’ second-round pick Strumpf ranked higher going into the draft than their first-round pick Jensen, and they’re keeping that ranking here. Plus, Strumpf is off to a good start in Eugene.

—Obviously the big riser in this list is Tyson Miller, who goes from unranked to number 15. BA credits a new offseason conditioning program and a simplification of his delivery for his rapid improvement this year.

BA is not as impressed with Ademan’s 2019 campaign as I was and thinks it’s a sign that he’s stalling out in High-A. (They’re also writing this about 15 games after me, including 15 games in which Ademan was pretty bad.) I have to agree that Ademan fading down the stretch for a second consecutive season is very worrying.

—Everyone is impressed with Brennen Davis so far. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he replaces Amaya as the number two prospect when the 2020 lists come out this winter.

—I’m not sure why Luis Verdugo and Dillon Maples fell so far. Verdugo is just treading water in rookie ball, but he did that last year and was ranked much higher. He’s still just 18. You could argue he was ranked too highly in the first place. Maples looks better this year than last season. He’s cut down on his walks in the minors. I’d argue the ERA in Iowa is higher because of the change in balls in Triple-A. Perhaps it’s simply a matter that he hasn’t taken that major league job and ran with it. Maybe they think he never will.

—I also don’t know why Americaan dropped so much except that I think they had him ranked way too high in the first place. I do like him, but I think this ranking is closer to where he should be.

—I’d say Robel Garcia is ranked too low, but to be fair, no one knows how to rank Garcia. His path to the majors is without precedent. There is literally no one you can compare to Garcia and then see how they did in the majors.

—Jose Albertos isn’t walking batters at the same obscene rate he was last year, but he still walks a lot of batters. He also hasn’t really been any good. Albertos has also been hurt. Like Oscar De La Cruz, he’s someone who might never put it together.

Mark Zagunis’ stint in the majors and his strong campaign in Triple-A since being demoted has him back in the rankings. Good.