It’s going to be an exciting week coming up as a MLB Pipeline will drop their latest Cubs top 30 prospect list along with Future Star Series. The Cubs currently have four players in Pipeline’s top 100 in Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cade Horton, Ben Brown, and Kevin Alcantara. Think about this for a second – none of those guys were with the system at the beginning of 2021. Not a single one.
In February of 2021, I sat down at my desk and rattled off who I thought would be in the Cubs top 10 in 2023.. That list had Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard, Kevin Made, Richard Gallardo, Cole Roederer, and Ronnier Quintero, as well as two unnamed #1 draft picks. Needless to say, that list was made coming off a year in which there was no minor league baseball. Depending on which list you look at today, I only got three of those names correct. They would be Wicks and Horton as well as Cristian Hernandez. However, I don’t think Hernandez is going to be in the top 10 list much longer.
If I was to look ahead to 2025, which I might do later this fall or winter, it’s a little bit tricky because the Cubs are probably going to be buyers this winter and again next year at the deadline. And, some of these guys that will be in MLB Pipeline’s upper portion of the list will be in Chicago by the summer of 2024. That is an article I will be tackling later this week and it looks very hard to predict who will be around and with whom.
The Playoff Chases
Iowa’s neck and neck in the second half with Indianapolis, Louisville, and St. Paul, but holds a slight lead for the full year record over St. Paul. Tennessee has built up a decent lead over Rocket City and Chattanooga and things are looking good for the Smokies. They do not finish their season until September 17. South Bend has slipped to about four games back for a spot to second place Peoria as Cedar Rapids is winning this half as well as already having won the first half. The Cubs are still in it, but they’re going to need a good two week stretch to climb the ladder as there are three teams in front of them. Myrtle Beach is already in and both Myrtle Beach and South Bend end their seasons on September 10. So they only have five weeks left. The rookie leagues both end 2023 on August 22 and none of those three teams are set to be in the playoffs although the Red team in the Dominican has been playing quite well lately.
Things to Look Out for in August from Each Affiliate
Iowa – The bullpen really needs to solidify and regain the dominance it had earlier in the year. As well, the I-Cubs will have to adjust to anybody getting called up. Ben Brown is at the top of the list and right behind is Bailey Horn. As for position guys, Perlaza’s been ready for a few months now but does not have a 40 man spot. When it comes to PCA…that’s more of a September agenda item.
Tennessee – Consistency is the big thing. Getting BJ Murray, Cole Roederer, and Owen Caissie locked in would be a good thing heading into the playoffs. Getting Cade Horton is a big deal for the rotation and Brandon Birdsell is now up as well. Those two should anchor the rotation with Kohl Franklin, Walker Powell, Manny Espinoza, and possibly Chris Kachmar.
South Bend – This lineup is now so different from the early part of the year. Ballesteros and Stevens clicked in during July and now draft picks Rivera and Matt Shaw need to integrate themselves into that lineup and it could do some serious damage the next five weeks. Losing Horton and Birdsell will be tough, but Noland, Arias, Devers, and McCullough have what it takes. It should be interesting to see who else joins them. Tyler Santana starting is an option and Grant Kipp coming up from Myrtle Beach is another.
Myrtle Beach – They need to get ready for the playoffs. To do that, they will need to incorporate some draft picks into the everyday lineup like Brett Bateman, Brian Kalmer, and Jonathon Long (who should be up this week). As well, the rotation will probably take a hit as Kipp is going to be moving up to South Bend. I would expect to see Rujano, Gray, and Ferris stay and the return of Marino Santy from the Development List means he could be one of the top arms in the playoffs. Who else ends up in the rotation is the bigger question. Or Is someone coming up form Mesa or will it be a draft pick or nondrafted free agent?
Hitter of the Week – This was a neck-and-neck affair. Felix Stevens won out with 3 HR and 9 RBI on the week while hitting .300.
Starting Pitcher of the Week – Luis Devers threw 10 innings, allowed just 3 hits, no runs, and he had 14 Ks. Runner up – Jackson Ferris – 3.1 IP, 9 Ks.
Reliever of the Week – Starlyn Pichardo went 4 innings and struck out 5 on the week with no runs.
Greg Zumach and a few other people have started a new online community to talk about Cubs and Cubs prospects on a site called Discord. The name of the community is 1060 West. Just click on the link and it will take you there. It has several different message boards for you to peruse and discuss the latest news and rumors.