Picture of Pete Crow-Armstrong by Todd Johnson
In a year that turned towards an “eye on the future” relatively early, fans were left wondering how the farm system would build. The official flagship prospect ranking publication, MLB Pipeline released their Top 30 organizational ranking AND their Top 100 overall prospects. Let’s dive into MLB Pipeline‘s top 30 Cubs prospects.
The national consensus now appears to be that Pete Crow-Armstrong (PCA) is the Chicago Cubs top prospect. While the writers at North Side Bound still list Brennen Davis first, it’s undeniable how impressive PCA has been in his first full season. His ascension to Top 50 overall prospect is a huge boon to the system and it’ll only be strengthened as Davis begins his rehab process on the field.
MLB Pipeline also released their Top 100 ranking with PCA (31), Brennen Davis (51) and Kevin Alcántara (91) making the list. Based on previous comments from Jim Callis, it appears Cade Horton just missed the Top 100.
The vast majority of the expected names dot the Cubs Top 10 list. A few players merit some special attention. Cade Horton sitting at 4th overall is a strong statement, especially when his underslot saving allowed the Cubs to sign LHP Jackson Ferris (ranked 8th). On Horton, Pipeline was effusive, “Though he doesn’t have a long track record of performance, he was the best pitching prospect in college baseball this year and could become a No. 2 or 3 starter. ” The Cubs managed to turn a strong half-season of David Robertson into Ben Brown (7th), which adds another dynamic arm to the organization. Alexander Canario is a man possessed. He’s made incredible hitting changes to drop his strikeout rate while turning up the power to 11. Canario now ranks 9th in a very deep Cub system.
In the 11-20 range, there are a handful of players who would normally rank much higher in other organizations. Hayden Wesneski (12th) was in the Yankee’s top 10. James Triantos (11th) has held his own in a long season at Myrtle Beach. DJ Herz (13th) was striking everyone out, hitting personal highs in velocity, and adapting to AA as a 21-year-old. Daniel Palencia’s (19th) fastball is graded as a “75”. It’s an absolutely elite pitch. Don’t sleep on any player in this tier. There is a good chance they’ll make you regret it.
The final 10 show just how deep the farm system is in 2022. Mat Mervis (21st) is knocking on the door to Wrigley Field. Porter Hodge (22nd) has put himself firmly on the prospect map after an incredible offseason work led to a jump in stuff. According to Pipeline’s report, “Hodge’s jump in stuff came after he dedicated his offseason to improving his conditioning and athleticism. He has a strong 6-foot-4 frame build that can handle a starter’s workload, and his size creates quality extension in his delivery, though he’ll have to throw more strikes to remain a long-term starter. His fastball/slider combination could make him a late-inning weapon if he winds up in the bullpen.” Players like Luke Little (27th), Ryan Jensen (28th), and Kohl Franklin (29th) supply major firepower towards the end of this ranking.
Two names not included were Pedro Ramirez and Adan Sanchez. Both young players are dominating their respective leagues (Arizona Complex and Dominican Summer League). In a system this deep, there are bound to be players that can’t crack the list.
We shall see how this list changes this winter after the AZL Fall League and instructional league. In the meantime, go compare Pipeline’s list to North Side Bound’s Top 25.