It’s getting to be that time of the winter that every prospect writer hates – The dead of winter, otherwise known as January. It is usually a month where there’s not a lot of excitement. Sure, you get the occasional prospect list and we could see several this month from ESPN, Prospects Live, The Athletic, and maybe even a MLB Pipeline list or one from the Marquee Sports Network. For the most part, though, it is a pretty mundane time.
With the lockout still grinding on, a prospect list would be a nice change of pace from the slow news of the week which is very little. I took a poll to see which prospect list most people wanted to see first. I wanted to see Prospects Live drop their latest list. However, I’m in the minority on this one.
In a strange twist of fate, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic predicted that the Cubs could have 5 prospects on a top 100 list this summer. The big surprise though is that Brennen Davis was not one of them as he saw him in Chicago. Instead, Sharma named Owen Caissie, Caleb Kilian, James Triantos, Kevin Alcantara, Cristian Hernandez, and Pete Crow-Armstrong as possibilities along with Jordan Wicks, DJ Herz, and Drew Gray not far behind. Missing from that list for me are Reggie Preciado, Nelson Velazquez, and Brailyn Marquez.
On Friday, MLB Pipeline published an article on the top 5 rising farm systems in baseball. If you thought the Cubs would be in that mix, you would be wrong. Pipeline is usually pretty conservative when it comes to ranking farm systems as they tend to put more emphasis on performance of prospects at Double and Triple-A. However, if the Cubs young prospects are as good as everyone thinks, 2022 should be a breakout year for all the talent the Cubs acquired the past year.
There are also not a lot of transactions going on this year because the Cubs have plenty of their own prospects arriving at Triple-A as depth for the major league squad. This is a big change from years past and it’s actually kind of exciting to know that we’re going to get to see several prospects make their MLB debut in 2022. What also makes it exciting is that it is going to be a mixture of everything. There could be a starting pitcher or two, a few relievers, and even a couple position guys that will get their first taste of major-league baseball.
In the meantime…
The 2022 version of international free agency will kick off on January 15, which is now less than two weeks away. The Cubs have been associated with three major free agents in SS Alexis Hernandez, 3B/C Adan Sanchez, and SS Jefferson Rojas since last summer. Baseball America should have their international preview here next week and we will get to see exactly who else the Cubs are in on with this year.
What are the odds of any of the Cubs’ three top IFAs making a top prospect list?
Their chances of getting on a Top 30 Cubs’ prospect list are between slim and none right now. Had any of them been been in the top 10 of a list, we might be having a different conversation. However, Hernandez is the highest ranked Cubs over on MLB Pipeline’s Top 50 at 18 while Sanchez gets that nod at 22 at BA. Over on FanGraphs, only Hernandez made their list at 20. We will have a much fuller picture of them this summer. Even then, the chances of them making a top Cubs’ list are slim considering the current depth in the system. They might have better odds of making a list next fall if they have a good debut season.
My Eduarniel Nunez Kick
Let’s see…here’s a guy that throws 98-99 consistently and then flashes a killer hammer curve and no one is talking about him. I took it upon myself this week to talk more about the potential of Eduarniel Nunez. He still has some things to work on. There’s no doubt that he could be one of the most exciting pitchers the Cubs have, especially in the second half of the year. If he does well at Tennessee, he’s going to be a stone’s throw from Chicago this summer.
Draft Q and A
It won’t be long before junior colleges all throughout the South begin playing games that matter. When that happens, the 2022 MLB Draft season kicks into gear. NCAA Division 1 will begin in early March and the lists will be changing greatly thereafter. This week, our own Greg Zumach took some questions from Twitter and answered them in a two part series. Part 1 | Part 2
Coming up on North Side Bound
The Monday mailbox is going to continue this week with a question on if any starting pitching could possibly help out in Chicago next year. Tuesday will see pitcher Johzan Oquendo get profiled for the very first time. We will also look at the top shortstops in the system on Thursday. Who knows what’s going to happen from day-to-day this week. Hopefully, one of the aforementioned prospect lists will drop and give us something special to talk about.
Fantasy Football Championships today on Yahoo.
I am all in on Josh Allen, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Deebo Samuel, David Montgomery, and the Tampa Bay defense having big days today along with Eagles kicker David Elliot. I hope to bring home another championship trophy or two!
Jam of the Week
I settled into a nice groove on Wednesday listening to some classic Gillian Welch who is probably the most underrated songwriter of the last 25 years. Here is “Everything is Free” from the now classic album, “Time (The Revelator).” It is a nice mellow jam, contemplative and beautiful.