Pete Crow-Armstrong – Picture by Todd Johnson

On the very first day of North Side Bound‘s existence, Jimmy Nelligan, Greg Huss, Greg Zumach, and I all released our very own prospect lists. The next day, we released a combined list and we only used 23 players between us. There was not a lot differentiation between us. 

This year‘s combined list is a lot different.

For starters, the three of us had a problem stopping at 20 to 25 prospects. In fact, we all went to 40 and some beyond. But for this combined list, we stopped counting at each of our top 25s. As a result, there were 34 different players that received top 25 votes. That makes for a much more diversified list and some interesting choices.

For example – some of us had solo picks where the prospect was only in one top 25. Some of these guys appeared later in the lists but did not receive any North Side Bound Prospect Points.

Greg Huss’ List – Jordan Nwogu, Chase Strumpf, Chris Paciolla

Todd Johnson’s List – Jeremiah Estrada, Pedro Ramirez

Greg Zumach’s List – Ryan Jensen, Kohl Franklin, Yohendrick Pinango

We all have our favorite prospects here. And that’s good because it brings discussion about the system and we’re OK disagreeing with each other. But you’re the one who benefits as you get to see three different lists, different takes, different viewpoints, and now they’re all combined into one.

By the Numbers
OF – Six, five of which are in the top 10 and three of which went 1, 2, 3. I thought there would be more.
3B – One lonely corner man made it
SS – Three and they are all 21 and under
2B – Just one. He will be 19 soon.
1B – Only one and he mashed it.
C – Two backstops made the list.
RHSP – 10. Wow! That’s a bit more than I expected. I am a little stunned actually!
LHSP – Five south paws filled up the list.
RHRP – One is the loneliest number and he will be in Chicago soon.

With 33 guys getting North Side Bound prospect points, we wound up deciding to go with 30 for our combined list.  The following players just missed the top 30 – Yohendrick Pinango, Chase Strumpf, and Christopher Paciolla. The biggest surprise is that Jake Slaughter did not make a top 25 nor did Ethan Hearn, Zac Leigh, Luis Verdugo (watch out for him in 23), or Adan Sanchez,

Let’s get started. CLICK ON THE ARROW TO EXPAND.

30. Luke Little – LHSP

The big lefty only pitched beyond inning #4 two times this year. Much will be expected of him as the Cubs will probably loosen his pitch count and innings limit in 2023.

2023 Assignment – South Bend and Tennessee

28. (Tie) – Pedro Ramirez – 2B

Usually, guys at the back end of the list are just coming into their own and that should be the case for Ramirez in 2023. I am excited to see the totality of his game this year. That includes his defense, his arm, and his ability to run the bases.

2023 Assignments: Ramirez – Myrtle Beach and South Bend

28. (Tie) – Ed Howard – SS

Hopefully Ed will make the ultimate comeback. I was really impressed with him in person when I saw him in Davenport. His maturity and work ethic are second to none. This is why I think he will come back strong. When…well, that’s a story for another day.

2023 Assignment – South Bend

27. Jordan Nwogu – OF

Greg Huss said the following:

“For posting the fourth best hitter in the system this year, I seem to have Nwogu awfully low. He improved in quite literally every offensive stat and metric you can imagine from 2021 to 2022 and I still don’t hate him defensively in the outfield.”

2023 Assignment: Tennessee

26. Kohl Franklin – RHSP

2023 might be thee breakout year where he puts it all together.

2023 Assignment: South Bend and Tennessee

25. Ryan Jensen – RHSP

While he does have a 40-man spot, his future career path is highly uncertain as will be just how much the Cubs continue to tinker with him. While some of you may want to know if he is going to be a starter or reliever, the Cubs don’t seem to be in a rush to make that decision.

2023 Assignment: Tennessee and Iowa

24. Miguel Amaya – C

If the arm does not come back in Spring Training, when will it? The bat was much improved in 2022 and he is now so close to just putting the whole package together.

2023 Assignment: Iowa

23. Jeremiah Estrada – RHRP

He is MLB ready now.

2023 Assignment: Chicago for Estrada 

22. Drew Gray – LHSP

The Cubs 2021 Draft Pick will be highly limited and monitored in his pitch count. Don’t expect to see him hit the fourth inning until July. 

2023 Assignment: Myrtle Beach

21. Riley Thompson – RHSP

 I am higher on him than the Gregs, but man is he a big game pitcher.

2023 Assignment: Iowa…and ???

20. Caleb Kilian – RHSP

There’s a lot of uncertainty about Kilian. The Cubs may have moved him from Tennessee to Iowa too fast. He still needs more experience against elite competition. Then again, the adjustments he makes could happen very quickly and his development could just take off at the speed of light.

2023 Assignment: Iowa and Chicago

18. (Tie) Kevin Made – SS

As for Made, Greg Huss is still big on him. Greg added:

“For a guy who has seen some pretty extreme ups and downs on the field, I’ve actually felt pretty consistent in how I view him as a prospect. Another run in South Bend will do him wonders.”

2023 Assignment – South Bend to start, Tennessee later

18. (Tie) – Jackson Ferris – LHSP

This is a weird tie for me as Ferris has not thrown a single pitch in a live game yet while Made flashes some serious leather. When the bat comes around for him in South Bend, he should be in Tennessee quickly.

I really dug how Greg Zumach described Ferris’ talents:

I was fist-pumping when I heard the Cubs would go aggressive to draft Jackson Ferris in the second round. In many ways it was a second first-round pick. Ferris throws four pitches and the upside is there for a frontline starter. It’ll take some time to get there. Questions arise for whether the Cubs make any significant mechanical changes. Do they toy with what’s working?

2023 Assignment: Myrtle Beach and South Bend

17. Luis Devers RHSP

He is Rule 5 eligible and all three of us think he will slide through. If he doesn’t somebody is not going to be happy.

Here is what Greg Zumach wrote in his list:

The Cubs MiLB pitcher of the year, Devers was awesome this past season built upon the back of good command and a changeup that fools hitters. His velocity has ticked up, but it remains to be seen how this profile will continue to perform against advanced hitters.

2023 Assignment: Tennessee, Iowa

16. DJ Herz – LHSP

2023 is not a make or break year for DJ but it will be an important part of his career. Right now, his focus should be on throwing strikes to get to Iowa. Here is what Mr. Zumach added in his list:

The stuff, clearly, still plays at higher levels. Command is still a work in progress. I’m curious if Herz will learn a slider. Consider me very much a believer in DJ Herz.

2023 Assignment: Tennessee, Iowa

15. Moises Ballesteros – C

Insert my “Hype” quote or “tweet” right here because this kid can hit.

2023 Assignment: Myrtle Beach, South Bend

14. James Triantos – 3B

Greg Huss is still very high on Triantos and expects him to do some “elevating (without making a very clear effort to do so) outside the brutal hitting confines in Pelicans Ballpark.” As for fan #1, Greg Zumach added:

“Triantos’ ranking mostly reflects the depth of the system. He’s more than performed well enough to be a Top 10 caliber player. It was a long season for Triantos and he had a dip in his performance later in the year. Expect him to start out at HiA where he could move quickly if everything is in sync.”

2023 Assignment: South Bend, Tennessee

13. Porter Hodge – RHSP

Greg Huss said the following:

“It’s a top 5 slider in the org and his fastball and changeup have flashes of brilliance as well. This ranking is too low and I’ll be kicking myself when next season rolls around.”

2023 Assignment: South Bend and Tennessee

12. Ben Brown – RHSP

Greg Huss said the following of the big righty:

“His fastball is in the high-90s and he was just added to the 40-man roster yesterday. A slurve, like the one Brown features, can be a real tricky pitch to master. There are few really good ones, but the ones that are truly plus offerings are devastating on hitters. His might be there.”

2023 Assignment: Tennessee, Iowa

11. Daniel Palencia – RHSP

100 MPH Fastball.  100 MPH Fastball. 100 MPH Fastball. 95 MPH Slider. Sit down!

2023 Assignment: Tennessee and then Iowa

10. Alexander Canario – OF

Both the ankle and shoulder injuries scare me a bit, to be completely honest. He probably fell nearly ten slots on the Gregs’ lists because of that. Athleticism and explosiveness are keys to his electric profile so I’m hoping for a full recovery that maintains his strength and accentuates his massive skill sets on offense and defense, which I think are second only to PCA.

2023 Assignment: Iowa

9. Christian Hernandez -SS

Oh, 2023 will be exciting just to hear Sam Weiderhaft go crazy about something Hernandez will do in a game. Can’t wait to hear that!

2023 Assignment: Myrtle Beach

8. Jordan Wicks – LHSP

I like what I said, “After adding a slider, I could finally see him pitching in Chicago for the first time.” Good for Mr. Wicks. 

2023 Assignment: Tennessee, Iowa

7. Cade Horton – RHSP

Greg Zumah has written many times that “Cade Horton was a bad man!” As Zumach says, “Horton can do some wicked things with his pitches. Currently it’s more fastball and sweeper slider, but expect the Cubs to build out his arsenal.”

2023 Assignment: South Bend, Tennessee

5. (Tie) Owen Caissie – OF

If he gets stronger this offseason, all of our projections about him will be wrong. And I would be just fine with that.


2023 Assignment: Tennessee, Iowa

5. (Tie) Matt Mervis – 1B

Mashing in Chicago should be commencing in April. He’s got nothing left to prove in the minors. Time to develop in the Windy City.

2023 Assignment: Chicago

4. Hayden Wesneski – RHSP

Armed with a plus-plus slider and a changeup, he may never see the minors again. I’m hoping he can earn a rotation spot in the spring as it looks like the Cubs got a good one. Greg Huss added that, “There’s no denying that Wesnasty’s slider is one of the best in the entire sport. That alone warrants this top ten placement.”

2023 Assignment: Chicago

3. Kevin Alcantara – OF

Greg Huss said he has the highest upside in the system while I added that I don’t think I’ve been this excited to see a position guy in person at South Bend since Eloy back in 2016.  I also love what Greg Zumach wrote about Kevin:

Alcántara absolutely oozes potential and he’s beginning to see those results in game. It is incredibly difficult to hit in the Carolina League, but Alcántara didn’t just hit. He showed power, patience, and production. Alcántara also proved capable of playing a solid centerfield. 

2023 Assignment: South Bend and Tennessee

2. Brennen Davis – OF

I have no doubt that he could be a major league player fairly quickly, he’s just got to be healthy to do it. Greg Huss still has him at #1. He said, “Don’t get distracted by this year, Davis is still The Truth.”

2023 Assignment: Iowa and then Chicago

1. Pete Crow Armstrong – OF

Greg Zumach said it best when he wrote:

The future power projection adds even more value to his profile. PCA had an adjustment period in South Bend, but rebounded to post a .287/333/.498 with 9 more home runs in 68 games in the Midwest League. While many are already dreaming of PCA roaming Wrigley Field in 2023, a word of caution. While I wouldn’t bet against Pete Crow-Armstrong, the AA level is a huge test for any hitter. It’s far more likely that any MLB debut comes in 2024. “

2023 Assignment: Tennessee and then Iowa