Pete Crow-Armstrong – Picture by Jordan Bastian

Prospects Live is the young upstart talent evaluation publication that has been turning heads the past three years with its in-depth coverage and analysis of MiLB prospects and the draft. This morning, they released their preseason top 100 prospect list for 2022. Needless to say, the number of Cubs on the list is going to turn your head just as much as who they selected and where they were placed.

For most of this prospect season, the Cubs have not infiltrated most top 100 lists with more than a couple of prospects. Usually, we find Brennen Davis in the top 20 or 25 and then we might see the occasional guy in the last 20 or so like Brailyn Marquez or Cristian Hernandez. FanGraphs was one exception to that a couple weeks ago when they placed Davis, Kevin Alcantara, Owen Caissie, James Triantos and Reggie Preciado in their top 114. Baseball Prospectus was the only other major publication this winter with more than two as their list contained Davis, Caissie, Preciado, and James Triantos.

Prospects Live put four Cubs in their top 100. It was no surprise to see Brennen Davis at 15, but it was a huge moment to see Pete Crow-Armstrong ranked all the way up at number 60, especially after missing 95% of 2021. Cristian Hernandez joined them at number 79 and Kevin Alcantara was at 85. That is a pretty impressive grouping!

This trend of the Cubs placing multiple Cubs prospects on the top 100 list is only just beginning. Think about this for a minute: James Triantos, Reggie Preciado, Owen Caissie, and Caleb Kilian are all not on this list. In addition, the Cubs have several other players who will probably be in consideration for a midseason top 100 including Kohl Franklin, Ed Howard, and Brailyn Marquez if they can bounce back along with other rising guys like Jordan Wicks, Daniel Palencia, Kevin Made, DJ Herz, and a host of other players.

To be quite frank, my first impression when I started reading the list was, “Who cares! Let’s see who the Cubs land on there this summer.” And then it hit me they already had four and Crow-Armstrong was already up to number 60. At that moment, the list got my attention.

It is clear that the Prospects Live list is much more aggressive than the conservative BA and MLB Pipeline. Prospects Live is buying more into talent and projection than performance and experience. Like FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, Prospects Live tends to focus more on the upside.

I tend to fall somewhere in between.

Outside of Davis, not one Cub prospect on this list has played more than 10 games above rookie ball. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m excited to see all of these guys start playing exactly a month from tomorrow. Hopefully, their performance will back up their ranking and Prospect Live’s evaluation of their talents will look downright omnipotent if that occurs.  

When this list is done later in the year, whether that’s after the draft or before the draft, we are probably all going to have to reevaluate where we rank Cubs prospects because it’s just going to be a crazy year with the amount of prospects that I mentioned above going out and either living up to the hype or struggling to keep their head above water. It’s going to be fun watching them play ball. 

So, let’s take today for what it is, a glimpse into a possible future list with even more Cubs on it. In other words, this is just the beginning.