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Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Dynasty Prospects

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Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that minor league systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We might even see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action. Throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet so players who signed for large bonuses or come from well-off families will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. Today, we’re kicking off our look at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

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The Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects Quick Synopsis

Years of attempting to be competitive have taken a bite out of the Cubs’ minor league system both with lower draft slots and trades involving prospects such as Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez. The system has some high-ceiling prospects but the Cubs also have a tendency to acquire a lot of raw, athletic types.

 

1. Brailyn Marquez, LHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank:  62
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2021

Marquez doesn’t get a lot of press but he’s an intriguing high-ceiling arm that was quite likely on the cusp of a huge breakout when the 2020 season went sideways. He made huge strides with his control in the second half of 2019 but I have concerns that the long layoff could impact the improvements made last year. Even if things fail to click permanently with the control and command, Marquez is one of the rare southpaws that can hit triple digits with his heater so he could end up as a high-leverage reliever. He backs up the heat with a promising breaking ball and decent changeup which suggests he has the weapons to pile up strikeouts regardless of his future role.

 

2. Nico Hoerner, SS/2B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 77
2020 Prospect Rank: 33
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Hoerner isn’t the most electric prospect and will likely settle in as more of a good-not-great MLB contributor. But he’s a safe bet to contribute to a big-league club as a middle infielder that could play multiple positions to increase his value. Hoerner could be a 15-15 (HR-SB) player with the ability to produce a solid batting average, as well. He earns good grades on his makeup, so he should be able to squeeze all available talent from his toolbox.

 

3. Brennen Davis, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 131
2020 LEVEL:  A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Davis was considered a relatively raw prospect when he was drafted out of high school because of his multi-sport focus. But he’s been a quick learner since focusing solely on baseball. Davis oozes tools and has enviable athletic ability. He should eventually hit for excellent in-game power (20 or more homers) thanks to his quick bat and developing frame, while also stealing 20 or more bases.

 

4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 141
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

This young pitcher was beaten around in his MLB debut in 2019 and might be better suited to relief work at the big league level. His fastball-curveball combination can elicit strikeouts but he’s not the biggest pitcher and also struggles with his command — both of which prevent him from working deep into games. Standing just six-foot, Alzolay struggles to generate a downward plane on his offerings and generates too many fly balls.

 

5. Ryan Jensen, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 209
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

College pitchers that struggle and only find success in their draft seasons always worry me a bit and Jensen is no exception -- even though the Cubs didn’t hesitate to take him 27th overall in the 2019 draft. He’s a shorter pitcher but has an athletic frame so there is hope that he’ll pitch bigger than his six-foot frame. He has an excellent fastball, solid breaking ball, and a modest changeup, which suggests he may be destined for a bullpen role unless he uses this time away from the game to polish his secondary offerings and his control.

 

6. Miguel Amaya, C

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

If we were rating prospects on real-world skills rather than fantasy baseball skills, Amaya would rank higher on the Cubs’ prospect list. His best skills come from the defensive side of his game. He has a chance to produce a decent on-base average because he’ll take more than his fair share of walks but he’s not an overly gifted hitter. There is also a chance that he could consistently hit double-digit home runs if he continues to get stronger and plays every day.

 

7. Christopher Morel, 3B

2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Morel was signed way back in 2015 but he’s still just 20 years old. He’s struggled to add muscle to his very slender frame but he has a lightning-quick bat and could eventually grow into some impressive pop. He reached full-season ball for the first time in 2019 and showed promise but he needs to hone his way-too-aggressive approach if he’s going to find success in the upper levels of the minors.

 

8. Cory Abbott, RHP

2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Abbott is a solid-but-unspectacular arm who has had a lot of success in the minors because he understands his strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t try to be someone he’s not. Abbott has an average fastball but he has a four-pitch mix which helps him miss bats by keeping hitters off balance. If he can show average-or-better command and control in the Majors, he has a chance to be an innings-eating No. 4 starter.

 

9. Chase Strumpf, 2B

2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

An offensive-minded second baseman, Strumpf could develop into a solid-but-unspectacular second baseman at the MLB level. He has a chance to hit 30-40 doubles if he doesn’t eventually morph some of that pop into more over-the-fence power. To do that, though, and not wash out in the upper levels of the minors, he’ll need to keep the swing-and-miss in check.

 

10. Riley Thompson, RHP

2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Thompson has shown a fastball that can tickle triple digits and can back it up with a potentially-plus curveball. So why isn’t he ranked higher? He has a checkered past in terms of his health and lacks a third reliable pitch which suggests he could eventually end up in the bullpen. However, for now, he’s an intriguing prospect with a chance to stick as a starter.

More Prospect Analysis




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