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More praise for Cubs minor league prospects

The Cubs had four minor leaguers make Fangraphs’ list of the Top 100 prospects

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Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Fangraphs announced their Top 100 minor league prospects for 2023 yesterday and four Cubs players made their list.

The list was compiled by Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin. The four players who made the top 100 were:

14. Outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong

PCA is one of the best defensive center fielders in the sport and a swing change unlocked dormant power in 2022.

73. Outfielder Kevin Alcántara

Long, lanky and loaded with tools and projection, Alcantara is a loose, 6-foot-6 outfielder with massive potential.

88. Right-handed pitcher Hayden Wesneski

Wesneski’s slider is really nasty and his entire repertoire fits nicely together.

100. Shortstop Cristian Hernandez

Hernandez has fantastic bat speed and power for a no-doubt shortstop prospect, but he K’d at a concerning rate in 2022.

You can read the full write-ups at the site along with tool grades (on the 20-80 scale) for all the prospects at the site.

Fangraphs rankings are a bit different than some of the other ones that you may have seen. They rank the players primarily on their projected Future Value (FV), which they also put on a 20-80 scale. They emphasize that the actual rankings aren’t as important as the FV number. For example, there are 12 players, including Crow-Armstrong, who have a “60” FV. There are 73 players, including the other three Cubs on the list, who get a “50” ranking. The difference between the players they rank at a “50” is not substantial. For example, even though Alcantára is ranked 27 places ahead of Hernandez, there is not that great a difference between them. There is, however, a very big difference between Crow-Armstrong and Alcantára, in their minds.

Additionally, earlier this month both ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel and The Athletic’s Keith Law announced their top Cubs prospects. When you get rankings by single analysts like this one, they tend to be much-more idiosyncratic than the ones done by committee like Baseball America or MLB Pipeline.

McDaniel ranked the Cubs as having the 11th-best farm system in baseball. The actual rankings are behind a paywall. McDaniel used to work for Fangraphs and he created the method that Fangraphs continues to use. But clearly different people can evaluate players differently, so the two lists are not identical.

McDaniel ranked 18 Cubs prospects as having a FV of 40+ or better. Eight more are ranked at 40. He ranked seven players at 50 FV or better. They are:

  1. Pete Crow-Armstrong OF
  2. Jordan Wicks LHP
  3. Kevin Alcantara OF
  4. Cristian Hernandez SS
  5. Hayden Wesneski LHP
  6. Owen Caissie OF
  7. James Triantos SS

I don’t know if I would rank Wicks that highly, but I share McDaniel’s enthusiasm for his potential.

Law’s lists from earlier this month are similarly behind a paywall. He ranked the Cubs as having the 10th-best farm system in baseball and he said that even that was a little disappointing as he expected some prospects to progress better than they did last year.

Here’s how Law ranked the top 10 Cubs prospects. (The Athletic sub. req.)

  1. Pete Crow-Armstrong OF
  2. Kevin Alcántara OF
  3. Brennen Davis OF
  4. James Triantos 3B
  5. Hayden Wesneski RHP
  6. Kevin Made SS
  7. Miguel Amaya C
  8. Jordan Wicks LHP
  9. Cristian Hernandez SS
  10. Cade Horton RHP

For those wondering, Matt Mervis was ranked 12th by Law and 15th by McDaniel.

From all these lists, a few things emerge. First is that Pete Crow-Armstrong is considered the top Cubs prospect by everyone. Everyone likes Alcántara as well. Beyond that, there is a real difference of opinion between the lists about Cubs prospects. But all of them feel that the Cubs’ farm system is, like the franchise in general, on the upswing.