Cade Horton – Picture by Todd Johnson

School is now out. I am learning how to do nothing again. It takes a while for me to get into summer mode. I am starting to get the hang of it. For one, I am doing some planning on some things to write like a few profiles, a few updates, a 10 round mock draft, and a prospect list at the end of the month.

Last time, I did a list of 25 organized names and an a la carte menu of 21 names. I am not going to go to 46 next time. But I want to stop at 30 names. I have not finished the list yet, I have only begun assembling them into tiers, which actually might be better.

The names are in no particular order, but the tiers are.

PCA Tier – PCA…of course
Blue Tier – Jackson Ferris, Horton, Wicks, Brown, Alcantara, Canario, Caissie, Amaya
Red Tier – Palencia, Hodge, Davis, Triantos, Little, Slaughter, Vazquez
White Tier – Ballesteros, Hernandez, Kilian, Gray, Aliendo, K. Franklin
Gray Tier – Devers, Made, Herz, Howard, Sanchez, Paciolla, C. Franklin

*These tiers and names are subject to change over the next month.

For those that counted, you can see that I am a one short of 30. For one, I am not sure where to put Derniche Valdez, the Cubs top IFA from last January. I also want to include BJ Murray and I am not sure where to place him. He could land in the White or the Gray tier for now. And, I know this sounds weird, but Chase Strumpf is having an extremely productive year at the plate in Tennessee and probably should be on the list as well. And I just thought of adding Connor Noland and Brandon Birdsell, and the possibility of Koen Moreno breaking out in the second half. And then there’s a resurgent Cole Roederer. It never ends.

It is looking more and more like I will be assembling a 35 name prospect list.

Other News

Pitcher Zac Leigh is making his way back. He began a rehab stint with South Bend yesterday and threw one scoreless inning and struck out one. How long his rehab in the Midwest League is going to be is up in the air at this point.

For MLB Pipeline, they announced that Jeremiah Estrada had graduated from prospect status. Taking his place in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 is BJ Murray, the 2021 15th round pick out of Florida Atlantic who also stands a good chance of being Hitter of the Month for May here at NSB. 

Hottest Pitching Prospect

MLB Pipeline also published an article on the hottest pitching prospect in each organization. Pipeline picked Jordan Wicks. That was probably a tough choice considering how well Ben Brown is pitching as well as Jackson Ferris, Connor Noland, and Brandon Birdsell. BUt there’s nothing wrong with selecting Wicks as he should be headed to Iowa soon. Here is what Pipeline said on the lefty hurler.

Wicks has used one of the best changeups in the Minors and the ability to throw four pitches for strikes to allow just five earned runs and 20 baserunners while whiffing 27 in his last 24 Double-A innings. The 2021 first-rounder from Kansas State has an overall 2.55 ERA, .202 opponent average and 44 strikeouts in 35 1/3 frames.

Under the Radar Prospects

Jordan Bastian, the Cubs beat writer, penned a piece about some underrated prospects in the system. The Cubs Director of Player Development, Jared Banner, did most of the talking and he laid 6 guys to watch for this summer. If you read North Side Bound on a daily basis, you will see some very familiar names we have been talking about.

Banner talked at length about Luis Vazquez as a player to watch. Bastian stated: 

“Banner noted that the Cubs’ hitting group worked with Vazquez on lowering his hands and shortening up his path to the ball. Combined with better swing decisions, the adjustments have paid off to date.”

Bastian would also chronicle comments on Miguel Amaya, James, Triantos, Luke Little, and Nick Hull.

Complex League Schedule

Both begin on Monday June 5. Both leagues play Monday and Tuesday and are off on Wednesdays. Then, they play Thursday through Saturday and are off on Sunday.

News in Mesa

Aside from Brayan Altuve going off at the plate in Arizona, the big news of the week was that 2022 Draft Pick Mat Peters made his 2023 debut. His unique story was one of the highlights of last year’s draft class.

Player Conversion of the Week

Cards of the Week

Coming Up at North Side Bound This Week

It will be a busy week here at the ole NSB. Tomorrow will see the Breakdown, Tuesday has a big day of Transactions planned along with the latest Cubs on Deck episode. On Wednesday, I will have a prospect update and on Thursday I will roll out the May All-Star Team and Players of the Month. Greg Zumach might be rolling out a ten round Cubs only mock and I will be countering a few days later… I probably should get working on that.

Jam of the Week

Summer’s here! Let’s just get weird in the court of the Crimson King with “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic  Part II” from 1982. This was one of my favorite songs to listen to on a bike ride. A straight up groove.