It’s been sort of an axiom that the Cubs farm system has been in decline since the “graduation” of players like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and others.
But per Baseball America’s new Top 100 prospects list (subscription required), perhaps the system is beginning to produce good players who are nearly big-league ready.
Brailyn Marquez (37), Nico Hoerner (40) and Brennen Davis (94) are the Cubs in BA’s Top 100 this year. Here’s what BA said about those three.
The big, hard-throwing lefty became the talk of the lower levels last year with his 100-mph fastball and rapidly improving command. As his secondaries and fitness improve, Marquez has a chance to be the Cubs’ best homegrown pitcher since Carlos Zambrano.
Hoerner missed two months with a wrist fracture and still reached the majors in his first full season, taking over as the Cubs everyday shortstop in September. With advanced hitting ability and exceptional feel for the game, Hoerner is the next in line of Cubs homegrown, productive position players.
The Cubs were taking a chance when they drafted Davis as he had less of a track record than many of the top prep bats in the 2018 class. So far it looks like they picked a winner. Davis is athletic, fast and strong and he impressed at the plate in an injury-shortened 2019 season.
All of that sounds pretty good, no? Hoerner, of course, has the chance to start the season on the Cubs’ 25-man roster. If not, he’ll head to Triple-A Iowa and likely be up at some point during 2020. Marquez could start at Double-A Tennessee, while Davis is probably ticketed for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, with the possibility he’ll be promoted to Tennessee during the season.
Per BA’s “just missed the Top 100” list, Miguel Amaya and Cole Roederer came just short of making the Top 100. Amaya was on MLB.com’s Top 100 list last year (94) and I’m a bit surprised he didn’t make BA’s list. He’s probably also going to start this year in Double-A. Roederer, the Cubs’ second-round pick in 2018, had a bit of a rough offensive season at Low-A South Bend in 2019 (.224/.319/.365 with nine home runs in 108 games), but he was just 19 and the first Cubs HS prospect to play a full season at that level in 20 years. He’ll probably be at Myrtle Beach this year, at age 20.
Congratulations to all these Cubs prospects; hopefully we’ll see them performing at Wrigley Field soon.