Jordan Wicks – Picture by Todd Johnson
It has reached the point in the year where it seems like every other day there’s a new prospect list because there is. Today, it was the Marquee Sports Network’s turn as Lance Brozdowski dropped his top 25 Cubs list. The list itself is not that surprising. The players on it are all familiar but there is, like every list, a few eccentricities to ponder.
The list begins with Brennen Davis at the top followed by Pete Crow-Armstrong and then Kevin Alcantara is ranked third. After that, it’s up for grabs. What’s interesting about this list is it takes into account some recent changes and performances by certain pictchers and hitters. It also includes a lot of batted ball data which we don’t get in any other list. As well, there’s even some pitch data including the statistic Stuff+ with an explanation of what it means.
Brozdowski‘s list really takes a left turn, pun intended, with Jordan Wicks at number four. WIcks is clearly Lance’s his favorite pitcher in the system and really believes in the improvements that Wicks has made the past two months,. Most of that is with the slider and the fourseamer up in the zone. I think Jordan‘s been pitching lights out since about the middle of June and this list reflects that. He’s on a pretty good run.
Lance did add this nugget that there is even room for more improvement from Wicks:
Wicks’ feel for the zone and execution is the best in the system for the level of “stuff” he possesses. Some of the biggest gains in results based on velocity come once a pitcher starts to cross the 93-94 mph threshold. Wicks currently sits around 92 mph. Adding a few ticks — even at the expense of some command — would vault him into front-line starter territory.
At number five is a Owen Caissie followed by Cristian Hernandez. I don’t have a problem with either of those two slotted there. I like that Lance put my guy Alexander Canario in at number seven. I also like the fact that Lance includes maturity and its influence on his pitch recognition and approach.
Coming in at number eight is Cade Horton which I don’t find to be too out of the ordinary. DJ Herz comes in at number nine and then Hayden Wesneski rounds out the top 10.
From 11 to 25, there was a lot of mobility up and down the list. You had some players fall out of the top 10 like James Triantos and then you have Matt Mervis all the way up to 12. I like that Benjamin Brown is 13, although I might have him a little bit higher in my list. However, he’s only thrown two starts as a Cub and I want to see more. Caleb Kilian drops all the way to 14 and he talks about that the Cubs might want to reduce the number of pitches Kilian throws to take advantage of movement going away from certain types of hitters.
Ed Howard and Miguel Amaya are at 15 and 16 and the recent performances of Ryan Jensen keep him in the top 20 at 17. Lance describes how Jensen‘s new cutter and slider are massive upgrades to his repertoire that allow him to get up to 95 on the cutter. Lance even thinks Jensen can stay in the rotation with his new arsenal.
Coming in at number 18 is Daniel Palencia which seems about the right area for him along with Drew Gray, which is pretty close where I had him as well. Second round pick Jackson Ferris slots in at 20 while Lance goes with Yohendrick Pinango at 21, Moises Ballesteros at 22, and Kohl Franklin at 23.
I know this is weird to say, but my favorite part of the list is the inclusion of Jeremiah Estrada 24 and the newly promoted Zac Leigh at 25. I love those two guys as future bullpen pieces in the big leagues. We should see both of them at some point next year.
Lance does include a “Just Missed Category” that includes Kevin Made, Luke little, Luis Devers, and, my guy, Porter Hodge.
Overall, it’s a pretty good list I like the fact that there’s a lot of data involved for both pitchers and hitters and that really sets it apart and makes it different from other list that we see from Baseball America and MLB Pipeline that tend focus more on production at certain levels and tools. This gives you a little bit more analytical feel to the list and I like it.
Go check out our lists at North Side Bound that we completed right before the draft,