Baseball America, the oldest and most-respected of the now-numerous publications offering prospect lists, announced their picks for the top ten Cubs prospects heading into the 2023 season. To no one’s surprise, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong tops their list. A fan favorite also slides into the top ten at number four.
The actual top ten prospects are behind a paywall (Baseball America subscription required) we can share their list, even if you have to pay to get the scouting reports. Also, anyone can read their list of the “Best Tools” in the Cubs system. (Please ignore their “projected 2026 lineup.” I don’t know why they still do that feature.)
The top ten prospects in the Cubs’ minor league system, according to Baseball America, are:
- Pete Crow-Armstrong OF
- Brennen Davis OF
- Kevin Alcantara OF
- Matt Mervis 1B
- Cade Horton RHP
- Ben Brown RHP
- Cristian Hernandez SS
- Hayden Wesneski RHP
- Miguel Amaya C
- Caleb Killian RHP
Baseball America is very high on Crow-Armstrong. The “80” grade (on the 20 to 80 scale) for Crow-Armstrong’s defense should come as no surprise to those who have been following his career, but they also give him an aggressive “60” for his hit tool. BA also notes his power surge this year and while they only give him a “45” for power right now, they believe Crow-Armstrong could add more power as he matures.
Davis stays in the number two position despite an injury-filled 2022 season. The 6’6” Alcantara is listed as the “Best Athlete” in the system and the one with the most upside of anyone.
Baseball America has certainly changed their opinion on Mervis over the past season. They take note of the changes Mervis has made to his swing and they’ve allowed him to not get beat on inside pitches like he used to. They now project Mervis to be an “everyday” first baseman.
On thing that sticks out on this list is how close most of these players are to the majors. Other than Alcantara, Horton and Hernandez, the rest of the list has either made their major-league debut or are on-track to possibly make a major league debut sometime in 2023. This is a big change from last year, when much of the talent in the minors was far down in the system.
The top three pitchers, Horton, Brown and Wesneski, weren’t even in the system on July 1 of this season. Horton was the first pick in this year’s draft and Brown and Wesneski came over in trades for David Robertson and Scott Effross respectively. The fourth-ranked pitching prospect, Caleb Killian, came over in a deal for Kris Bryant at the trade deadline in 2021.
Overall, it seems like this is a strong list of players that is an improvement over recent years but perhaps not quite as strong as the prospect lists from the 2014 to 2016 period. Still, Pete Crow-Armstrong projects to be a real impact player on both sides of the ball and several other players could be keys to the Cubs’ success in the 2023 season.