Brennen Davis is the number one prospect in the Cubs system, even according to Prospects Live. Let’s just get that out of the way first. After Brennen, though, we know how much of a crapshoot the next 15 or so names have been when looking at Cubs top prospect rankings.
Prospects Live has quickly become one of the most respected publications out there thanks to their in-depth analysis, frequent live looks, and awesome writing staff. I say all that to really drive home the point that I put plenty of weight into what the folks over there say about the Cubs system. In a world where there seems to be national publications coming out with team-focused rankings every week, PL is one that you should put atop your list as “they really do know what they are talking about.”
Now back to the list…
Their top 10 is free for anyone to see and contains some of the usual suspects after Davis. You’ll find young position players Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cristian Hernandez, Kevin Alcantara, Jordan Wicks, Caleb Kilian, Ed Howard, and Owen Caissie all present between No. 2 and No. 8 on the list.
But the first curveball is sitting right there at No. 9: Alexander Vizcaino. The righty, acquired in the Anthony Rizzo deal last year, wasn’t featured at all on our North Side Bound prospect list and actually made only one of our four individual lists, down at No. 24 on Jimmy’s ranking.
PL’s Justin Lada praised Vizcaíno for his “good raw stuff, an overpowering fastball at times and a wicked changeup coming from an athletic, loose armed pitcher.” The weaknesses for Vizcaíno are in his command and control, while noting he needs to make improvements to his slider. His age may limit him, but in the eyes of PL, the Cubs brought in quite a talented player, albeit one who may end up in relief.
While players ranked 11 through 30 are included as a part of PL’s Patreon subscription, I can give you a bit of a sneak peak because there are definitely a few interesting twists included in there.
I’ve said before that relief prospects don’t get enough love in rankings but they sure did today. Ethan Roberts, Burl Carraway, and Ben Leeper can all be found on this list, coming in at 19, 20, and 28 respectively. The Cubs development team and minor league coaching staffs have been more liberal in their use of relievers in multi-inning roles and, with an ever-changing pitching landscape across Major League Baseball, inclusion of Roberts, Carraway, and Leeper could prove to be very smart in the long run.
On the other end of the spectrum, James Triantos and DJ Herz come in ranked 12 and 15, lower than what we had them at NSB (tied at No. 6). The ranking of Herz follows a trend that we’ve seen throughout the offseason as the highest we’ve seen him on lists is Baseball America’s ranking of him at No. 9.
With Prospects Live now out of the way, just two major publications remain for the big offseason rankings cycle: Kiley McDaniel at ESPN and the MLB Pipeline crew.