Haydn McGeary – Picture by Todd Johnson

In about ten days, North Side Bound will begin to put out our midseason prospect lists. The two Gregs and I will each do individual ones and then we will do a collective one on Thursday the 29th. I started making my list and I am running into a lot of questions that I need to answer between now and then.

Let’s go behind the scenes and take a look at my thought process

How Many Will Be On It?

Looking back at my prospect list from last winter, I had a 21 person ala carte list and 25 top prospects. Up until last year, the biggest prospect list I had done after 2015 was just 21 guys. The reason for that was the Cubs just did not have the depth that they currently have. One of the things that I decided to do to begin assembling this newest list was I began to organize them into tiers or ranges. Looking back at the original tiers, I’ve got a lot of changes to make in terms of who’s going to be on that list and what range they’re going to be in because I did not include a few names. However, it’s looking like my list is going to be between 30 and 40 prospects. I can get to 30 names pretty quickly. And I can also get to 40, but there’s not that much differentiation between those 10 prospects.

Will There Be Any Surprises?

The simple answer to that is yes.

I am a bit more of a risk taker in assembling lists than the Gregs. They tend to stay with certain players a little bit longer than I do. As a result, my lists are a little bit more volatile, but things do change with prospects. Guys break out, guys slump, adjustments need to be made. I know many people were looking at my last list strangely when I put a Alexander Canario at number two. But that dude has a ton of tools, and when you sit down and objectively look at how they compare with other players in the system, Canario’s tools, just jump off the tape. Whether it’s his arm or his bat, they are much louder than his peers. I am going to have one top 10 prospect that’s going to be a bit of a shock for some people, unless your name is David.

Will There Be an à la carte Menu This Time?

No. I am pretty sure I deleted that from this summer‘s list.

Will there be some fluctuation between this next list and the one in November?

Of course there will be. There is still a lot of baseball left to be played. There’s a whole half of close to 70 games and instructs and the Arizona Fall League. There’s guys getting promoted and we get to see how they do with the next level. And that doesn’t include some draft picks who could be working their way into full season ball. This year‘s draft class is deep enough that this year’s top pick at #13 could be a top three player on a prospect list this fall, depending upon who it is. And yes, you read that right = top three!

So what’s left for me to decide over the next 10 days?

I am really going to be focusing on how some players do in the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Complex League as well as a couple of players at Myrtle Beach. I will be focusing on how those players perform but also what other people tend to say about them over the next 10 days. Maybe Arizona Phil will make a comment, maybe Rich Biesterfield will have some video or he could even make a comment in his Arizona recap, and we might even see something from Jim Callis on “The Road to Wrigley.” Even Baseball America could chime in with some thoughts. These lists are not made in a vacuum.

There’s still a lot of baseball left in 10 days and I won’t be finalizing my list until the night before and that’s just a matter of moving guys around. Which leads to another question…

How much better do the lowest level top prospect players “look” in 2023 vs 2022 or earlier?

To begin, there already a few starting pitching prospects in Drew Gray and Carlos Garcia that deserve attention along with Mason McGwire. With Adan Sanchez, Alexis Hernandez, Anderson Suriel, and Chris Paciolla leading a more polished hitting group this year, last year’s group was a bit more raw and unrefined while this year’s class is a little ahead of that curve.

So, is the list most likely already done?

Most of the names are going to stay the same. It’s just going to be the order and it’s going to be really slight. For example, if Drew Gray makes another start in Arizona, and then gets bumped up to Myrtle Beach to start there, that could really influence how I look at him, and where I might rank him just based on getting able to see him at a fall season affiliate on MiLB.TV.

I have lots of work to do between now and the list.