Alexander Canario – Picture by Micah Manuel/Tennessee Smokies

Welcome to our first mailbag post for the 2022–2023 minor league off-season! We’re excited with all the questions that we received over the past week and we are still taking questions if you would like to get one in. You can tweet at us on Twitter, you can send us an email, or you can just put one in the comments down below.

Let’s get started!

Today’s question comes from TheBullpen@RealCubsAnalyst. It’s a doozy!

“Who makes it to the outfield in Chicago first in 2023 – Canario or Davis?”

With both players set to be on the 40 man roster come November 18, either player could come up at any time. Davis turns 23 on November 2, Canario won’t be 23 until next May. But which one is going to be ready first is what we’re going to sort out.

Greg Huss

Of course I’m not betting against the top player in the Cubs farm system. While I respect the insane offensive output that Canario put together this season, Brennen Davis will make his big league debut first.

Entering the 2023 campaign, Davis is on the same trajectory as he was to begin the 2022 season. He’ll do his damndest to crack the MLB roster out of Spring Training but likely be sent to Iowa to prove he can get off to a hot start and earn his promotion. These two guys are similar in many ways — center fielders that project as right fielders, easy opposite field power, have seen peaks and valleys as prospects already.

What I’m banking on is the Brennen Davis revenge tour. This lost season almost assuredly motivated him to come out the gates hot next year and prove that it was no fluke that he is No. 1 in the system.

Greg Zumach

I’ve been completely torn on this question now since it was posed, but I believe I’ve finally settled on the answer I can feel best about. To do that we have to reference the actual question: “Who makes it to the outfield in Chicago first in 2023 – Canario or Davis?” That question only asks about debut timeline, not who sticks, or who performs better in Chicago. So the answer, to me, is Alexander Canario. Both players will already be on the 40 man roster come 2023, but Canario already has been and his minor league options are diminishing. No disrespect to either, but Brennen is still if not the top prospect in the organization, he’s 2nd with Crow-Armstrong. Brennen also was injured this past year and is still making up time in the AFL. Canario is much more of a likely candidate to come up in the event of an injury or ineffectiveness of an OF than Brennen Davis. Though both are important members of the Cubs system and clear top 7 prospects to me, Canario is the player that makes more sense to bring up for a short time to cover playing time. Similar to the original plan with Chris Morel, sometimes players just run with the opportunity.

Todd Johnson

I know my answer might upset some people, but Canario will make the adjustment faster to get to Chicago. Both players have shown the ability to adapt to when moving up levels. Brennen struggled for a while at South Bend and so did Canario. They both struggled in Tennessee for a month before they each turned it on. And the same thing happened at Iowa for both players. But once Canario gets locked in, he’s a totally different kind of hitter than Brennen Davis. Canario is a little bit louder, he has much more power, and he’s a pretty good defender with an amazing arm. His only problem is that he does not hit for a high average except when he’s on fire.

We’ve never really seen a full season from either prospect in one setting to know how well they can both hit for average. Luckily, that might be at Chicago. However, every single tool that Canario has is better than Davis’. And no, that’s not sacrilegious. If you compare their stats for their MiLB careers, Canario’s power numbers just blow Brennen’s away – 82 HRs and 282 RBIs to Brennen’s 32 dingers and just 102 RBIs. Being practically the same age, Canario looks like he is the favorite. His ability to stay healthy just might be the deciding factor.

We will be back next week, maybe, with Episode 2 of our mailbag! We will see you then!

Offseason Mailbag Series
Episode 1 – Canario and Davis to Chicago
Episode 2 – Cade Horton in 2023
Episode 3 – Nazier Mule
Episode 4 – Who’s Your Guy in the Draft
Episode 5 – Rule 5 Predictions
Episode 6 – Is the System for Real
Episode 7 – Weakness