With a little over two months in on the minor league season and a month away from the draft, it seemed like the right time to do an update to the BCB Top 25 Cubs prospects list.
I don’t like to make major changes based on just two months of games. Still, we are approaching the halfway point of the minor league season and that’s a good time to take stock. On top of that, there will have to be an update to this list after the draft and the trade deadline, so doing this update now breaks the season up into a nice three parts.
As a reminder, to be on this list, you have to still have rookie eligibility. One player from my pre-season list, Hayden Wesneski, has dropped off the list because he now has 50 major-league innings under his belt.
I’ve put the ranking I gave the prospect back in January after their name. Well, technically after their position. I’ll also give a short blurb giving some insight into my thinking.
- Pete Crow-Armstrong. OF (1)
Still the one. He’s putting up better numbers in Double-A than he did in High-A. Most of the criticism of him is, in my opinion, nitpicking.
2. Cade Horton. RHP (4)
Possibly the best Cubs pitching prospect since Mark Prior. If he can stay healthy (yeah, I know), Horton could be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
3. Ben Brown RHP (6)
More of a number-three pitcher than an ace, but he’ll likely see Wrigley this year. While the Cubs may start him in the majors as a reliever, his future is in the rotation.
4. Kevin Alcántara OF (3)
Alcántara is heating up in June after a poor May. The ceiling on him is still sky-high.
5. Miguel Amaya C (10)
The Cubs’ catcher of the future and maybe the present.
6. Jordan Wicks LHP (9)
Wicks has been dominating in Double-A. Maybe I have him ranked too low here.
7. Owen Caissie OF (11)
The strikeouts are a problem, but not much else is. Tremendous power and I’ve seen some improvement in his outfield defense this year.
8. Matt Mervis 1B (5)
Mervis is hitting the ball hard, but some of the critiques about making consistent contact are playing out. Should fall off this list in a week or two if he doesn’t get sent back down to Iowa. Which he shouldn’t be.
9. Jackson Ferris LHP (14)
Ferris has been impressive in the short start to his professional career in Myrtle Beach.
10. James Triantos 2B (17)
Have the Cubs found a position for Triantos? He got a late start to the season, but he’s been scorching the ball in High-A South Bend. And he’s still just 20.
11. Brennen Davis OF (2)
This was a “prove it” season for Davis and he hasn’t proven much so far. And he’s hurt again. But he has significantly cut down on his strikeouts, so that’s promising. Can still bounce back, but time is running out.
12. Cristian Hernandez SS (8)
Hernandez has been “fine” again as a 19-year-old down in Low-A Myrtle Beach, but we really want more than “fine” out of a top prospect. He still has plenty of time to regain top prospect status, however.
13. Pablo Aliendo C (19)
He’s having a breakout year in Double-A Tennessee. Aliendo already has hit a career-high eight home runs.
14. Moises Ballesteros C (21)
I still don’t think he ends up as a catcher. But Ballesteros can hit.
15. Alexander Canario OF (13)
On track for an early-August return from the injured list to Triple-A Iowa.
16. Porter Hodge RHP (22)
The ERA in Tennessee is ugly (5.61) but the peripherals are strong and he was the Southern League Pitcher of the Month for May. Maybe the most overlooked prospect in the system.
17. Kohl Franklin RHP (NR)
Franklin is pitching well and back on the prospect lists after missing two seasons (2020-21) and struggling last year in his return.
18. Chase Strumpf INF (24)
Three-true-outcome player with above-average defense at 2B and 3B. Now in Triple-A Iowa, he reminds me of Mark Bellhorn with better defense.
19. Jeremiah Estrada RHP (20)
If he throws more strikes, he could be a dominating reliever
20. BJ Murray Jr. INF (NR)
Maybe a bit aggressive on the ranking because it’s not clear he can play 3B in the majors, but he’s done nothing but hit in Double-A Tennessee. I think he benefited from playing in the World Baseball Classic.
21. Jefferson Rojas SS (NR)
He’s 18 and in Low-A. He was also very good in the Dominican Summer League last year. Rojas will rocket up the rankings if he has a strong season in Myrtle Beach.
22. Daniel Palencia RHP (NR)
He throws 100 mph and is in Triple-A Iowa. If he puts it all together, he’s a shutdown closer.
23. Caleb Kilian RHP (12)
At some point, you’ve got to start producing. Kilian’s stuff still looks like he has a future in a major league rotation, but the results just aren’t there.
24. Haydn McGeary 1B (NR)
McGeary just keeps putting up videogame numbers. I don’t know what the Cubs have in McGeary yet, but I’m eager to find out.
25. DJ Herz LHP (15)
My fear that more advanced hitters would just take his nasty stuff that breaks out of the zone is bearing out in Double-A. If Herz can learn to throw a few more strikes, he’ll start moving up the list again. If not, he’ll fall off the list altogether.
Other than Wesneski who fell off the list because of his eligibility, Ryan Jensen falls off the list because he’s officially made the move to the bullpen. Kevin Made fell off the list because his bat hasn’t made any progress and there’s still the question of his ceiling. Ed Howard falls off the list because others have passed him by as he recovered from his hip injury. Pedro Ramirez also just got passed by other players. All four of these players would still be ranked if I took the list out another 5-10 places.