Chicago Cubs 2020 Top 50 Prospects

Cole Roederer and Brennen Davis. Photo credit Rikk Carlson. @rikkcarl10 on Twitter

Promise or production? How do you view prospects, and how much weight do you give to each of these areas?

Those are the questions surrounding the Cubs minor league system, and how you interpret them shapes your perception.

For those leaning heavy on promise, the Cubs‘ minors are robust and ready to bounce back into the top ten in baseball. But the other edge of that sword is the fact that most of that promise dwells in the lower regions system. Injuries, plateauing, or simple lack of development can wipe out that promise and plunge the Cubs‘ farm further into the depths of baseball.

As for production, well, there isn’t a lot there. Years of ineffective drafting and international signings, along with questionable deals, have left the upper parts of the system practically void of any talent that can impact the majors this season.

In the final analysis, how you view the Cubs‘ system is in the eye of the beholder.


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1

1. Nico Hoerner, INF/OF

Nico Hoerner by Rebecca Snyder

Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Chicago Cubs
2019 stats: (AA Tennessee) 70 G, 294 PA, .284/.344/.399/.743, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 8 SB, 11.5 K%, 7.8 BB%
(Chicago) 20 G, 82 PA, .282/.305/.436/.741, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB, 13.4 K%, 3.6 BB%

While it is trendy in some quarters to name other players as the Cubs‘ best prospect, make no mistake. Hoerner is THE best prospect in the Cubs system. At least, until he passes the rookie threshold. As far as his floor potential, the gulf between Hoerner and the rest of the Cubs prospects is vast. Although some question Hoerner’s power hitting ability, his contact, plate disciple, and athleticism is exactly what the Cubs‘ lineup needs. The ability to project to shortstop, second base, or centerfield enhances Hoerner’s value. ETA 2020

2. Brailyn Marquez, LHP

Brailyn Marquez by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A+ Myrtle Beach
2019 stats: (A South Bend, A+ Myrtle Beach) 22 GS, 9-5, 1o3.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 1.302 WHIP, 128 K, 50 BB

Although Marquez has been on the radar since being signed by the Cubs in 2015, the lefty’s 2019 can be considered a breakout performance. Marquez was able to get control of his upper-90’s fastball as well as his change and power curve. Now, the focus is on how the Cubs will handle that success. Over the past 7 years, Cubs management has moved at a glacial pace with their pitching prospects and allowed injuries to creep in. How the Cubs both nurture Marquez’s development and get him to the majors in one piece will pique the interest of observers. ETA 2021

3. Brennen Davis, OF

Brennen Davis by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: 50 G, 204 PA, .305/.381/.525/.907, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 4 SB, 18.6 K%, 8.8 BB%

Coming into 2020, many consider Davis to be the Cubs‘ highest level prospect. Yet, others considered it odd that the Cubs named Davis their 2019 Minor League Player of the Year after playing little more than a third of a full season. Looking at Davis’ numbers, the potential is there both offensively and defensively. Davis has the ability to barrel the ball and put up big power numbers, while maintaining the speed and arm strength to project to all three outfield positions. How Davis does at a higher level of competition over the length of a full season remains to be seen. ETA 2022


Tier 2

4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP

Adbert Alzolay by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: Chicago Cubs
2019 stats: (AA , AAA Iowa) 16 GS, 2-5, 69.1 IP, 2.86 ERA, 1.341 WHIP, 94 K, 33 BB
(Chicago) 4 G, 1-1, 12.1 IP, 7.30 ERA, 1.784 WHIP, 13 K, 9 BB

As mentioned above, Alzolay was one of the pitching prospects that burst on the scene in in 2017. But as the Cubs hesitated on bringing Alzolay to the majors, injuries began to crop up. The result was bringing the Venezuelan to the North Side in less than optimal conditions, only to have his 2019 season end with another injury. None of the injuries were structural in nature, and if the Cubs fully commit to Alzolay, he could become an integral part of their pitching staff. Just where he fits is the biggest questions. With a four pitch arsenal highlighted by an upper-90’s fastball, Alzolay can be a mid-rotation starter. But at barely 6-foot, the Cubs may have Alzolay junk his change and slider to become a back of the pen reliever. ETA 2020

5. Miguel Amaya, C

Miguel Amaya by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A+ Myrtle Beach
2019 stats: 99 G, 410 PA, .235/.351/.402/.753, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 2 SB, 20.2 K%, 15.8 BB%

The 2020 season could be a crossroads for Miguel Amaya. After putting up so-so numbers in Advanced-A ball, Amaya batted only .224/.291/.286/.577 in the Arizona Fall League. Now Amaya faces stiffer competition in the pitching-heavy Southern League. Scouts remain concerned that Amaya’s power is all muscle. That will affect Amaya’s slash line production unless he further refines his approach. While Amaya is praised for his receiving skills and arm, some are still concerned about his pop-times. Whether Amaya can make strides both at the plate and defensively in Double-A remain to be seen. ETA 2022

6. Ryan Jensen, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: 6 GS, 0-0, 12.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.750 WHIP, 19 K, 14 BB

A surprise first round pick in 2019, Jensen has a similar profile to Alzolay as an undersized starter with a questionable change-up. The 6′, 180 lbs. Jensen has a max-delivery approach that may not translate well to the rotation. With an upper-90’s fastball and slider, expect Jensen to eventually end up in the bullpen. For now, Jensen will probably remain in the rotation to build up his innings. ETA 2021

7. Cole Roederer, OF

Cole Roederer by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: 108 G, 448 PA, .224/.319/.365/.684, 9 HR, 60 RBI, 16 SB, 24.8 K%, 11.6 BB%

The Cubs used the exact opposite approach in developing Roederer than they did with Davis, opening him with full-season South Bend. That resulted in production coming in fits and starts from Roederer, as he became overly aggressive at the plate. With a full season under his belt, Roederer should be able to return to a more disciplined approach. Defensively, Roederer lacks top arm strength but shows great range and instincts. ETA 2022

8. Kohl Franklin, RHP

Kohl Franklin by Dustin Smith

Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: (A- , A) 11 GS, 1-3, 42.0 IP, 2.36 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 52 K, 19 BB

After taking a chance on Franklin in the 6th round in 2018, it appears the gamble is paying off for the Cubs. Franklin has put on weight to get his fastball to top out at around 96-97 mph. Scouts also like his change-up, but feel Franklin should switch to a slider from his curve. ETA 2022

9. Jack Patterson, LHP

Jack Patterson by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: (A , A+, AA ) 24 G, 8-1, 1 Sv, 79.2 IP, 1.69 ERA, 1.004 WHIP, 80 K, 32 BB

Coming out of nowhere in the 32nd round of the 2018 draft from Bryant College, Patterson took the Cubs‘ system by storm in 2019. Off of most scout’s radar due to an underwhelming fastball (91-93 range), Patterson uses exceptional command and control along with a cerebral approach. With an excellent feel for his slider and curve, Patterson can spot up his fastball and fringy change to keep hitters off balance. ETA late-2020

10. Christopher Morel, 3B

Christopher Morel by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: 73 G, 278 PA, .284/.320/.467/.787, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 9 SB, 21.6 K%, 3.9 BB%

Like Davis and Roederer, Morel is a highly athletic young player just beginning to realize his full potential. With still room to grow on his 6′, 140 lbs. frame, Morel generates good power for a player his size. Morel has the athletic ability to play shortstop or centerfield, but could become an elite defender at third. ETA 2022

11. Riley Thompson, RHP

Riley Thompson by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: 21 GS, 8-6, 94.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 87 K, 31 BB

Although he has a better frame at 6’3″, 205 lbs., Thompson has a similar profile to Alzolay and Jensen. But that can change. Thompson got a better feel for his curve and change in the latter half of the season. That came together in the Midwest League championship where Thompson struck out 10 in 5 perfect innings. With a mid-90’s fastball, Thompson can also figure as a middle rotation starter. ETA 2021

12. Chase Strumpf, 2B
Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-, A) 39 G, 171 PA, .244/.374/.400/.774, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, 31.1 K%, 13.5 BB%

Comparable to 2018 first round pick Nico Hoerner, 2019 second rounder Strumpf has great bat-to-ball skills. With a better power profile than Hoerner, Strumpf can also move through the system at a rapid pace. Holding Strumpf back could be his defense, where his marginal athletic ability limits him to second and possibly first base. ETA 2021


Tier 3

13. Zack Short, SS

Zack Short by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA Iowa
2019 stats: (Rookie, AA, AAA) 63 G, 259 PA, .235/.363/.404/.767, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, 33.8 K%, 14.7 BB%

Short lost most of his 2019 to a broken hand. If not for the injury, Short may have gotten the late season nod to the majors that Hoerner received. Many feel that with his quickness and arm, Short can be a plus-plus defender at shortstop. If Short can balance his pull-heavy approach at the plate, he is major league bound. ETA 2020

14. Michael McAvene, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: 6 G, 0-0, 12.2 IP, 1.42 ERA, 0.771 WHIP, 20 K, 4 BB

Essentially a two-pitch pitcher, the 2019 3rd round selection’s future will depend on the development of his change-up. The Cubs would like to move the 6’3″”, 210 lbs. McAvene into the rotation, where he has the body of an innings-eater. If he cannot develop the change, McAvene will take his upper-90’s four seam fastball and power slider to the pen. ETA 2021

15. Ethan Hearn, C
Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 23 G, 98 PA, .163/.286/.275/.561, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 45.0 K%, 13.3 BB%

The top prep catcher in the 2019 draft, the Cubs were able to get Hearn in the 6th round due to questions of his signability. Hearn projects as a left-handed power hitter with a strong arm. However, Hearn will need to refine himself both at and behind the plate. ETA 2023

16. Cory Abbott, RHP

Cory Abbott by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: 26 GS, 8-8, 146.2 IP, 3.01 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, 166 K, 52 BB

The 6’2″, 220 lbs. Abbott had the most consistent season of any Cubs pitching prospect, leading the system in strikeouts. Abbott’s superb cut fastball combines with his four-seam, slider and change to generate a swings-and-misses. Aside from Alzolay, Abbott will probably battle Patterson to become the first Cubs pitching prospects to impact this coming season. ETA 2020

17. Richard Gallardo, RHP
Opening Day Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-) 13 G, 0-2, 34.1 IP, 3.93 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 25 K, 14 BB

A late season start at Eugene in 2019 has some prospect followers in a frenzy over whether Gallardo can make the jump to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach this year. However, the need to put more meat on his 6’1″, 187 lbs. body and lack of command of the high movement on his pitches leads to a more conservative grade. ETA 2023

18. Luis Verdugo, INF
Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 53 G, 221 PA, .305/.367/.447/.813, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 8 SB, 19.8 K%, 8.6 BB%

A prospect ready to blossom, this spring will be very telling for Verdugo. Starting slowly each of the past two seasons, Verdugo hit all of his home runs in the final month of 2019. Some believe Verdugo to be a better defender than Zack Short. If he can start strong, Verdugo may be in the opening day line-up for South Bend. ETA 2023

19. Pedro Martinez, INF

Pedro Martinez by Dustin Smith

Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-) 54 G, 233 PA, .311/.388/.437/.825, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 19 SB, 30.6 K%, 10.3 BB%

The switch-hitting Martinez was not as dominant at the plate when he moved to Eugene late in 2019. However, Martinez should make a strong push to play in South Bend this spring with his ability to make contact, his speed, and tools to play anywhere on the infield. ETA 2023

20. Ronnier Quintero, C
Opening Day Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Did not play

A major prize for the Cubs in the international signing period, Quintero displays left-handed power potential. The biggest concern is whether Quintero can maintain his conditioning in order to remain behind the plate defensively. ETA 2024

21. Nelson Velazquez, OF

Nelson Velazquez by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: (Rookie, A) 78 G, 306 PA, .288/.341/.441/.782, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 5 SB, 29.2 K%, 7.5 BB%

Still a prospect with a lot of raw, untapped potential, Velazquez my benefit from his winter playing in Puerto Rico and a new batting infrastructure in the Cubs‘ coaching. Velazquez is almost elite defensively, with the range for center and the arm for right. ETA 2022

22. Chris Clarke, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: 9 G, 0-0, 23.0 IP, 1.96 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 26 K, 4 BB

Experience and imposing size allowed Clarke to dominate in his pro debut after being selected in the 4th round in 2019. Now, Clarke takes his 6’7″ frame and upper-90’s fastball to full season ball, where he will see if he can develop a change and stay in the rotation. ETA 2022

23. Yohendrick Pinango, OF
Opening Day Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
2019 stats: 62 G, 274 PA, .358/.427/.442/.869, 0 HR, 36 RBI, 27 SB, 7.3 K%, 9.9 BB%

Pinango was a cut above the competition in the Dominican last summer, with his impressive slash line and walking more than striking out. How that projects remains to be seen, but Pinango has the speed and raw ability to develop into an intriguing prospect. ETA 2024

24. Andy Weber, SS

Andy Weber by Lauren Usiak

Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: 127 G, 544 PA, .275/.338/.400/.738, 3 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB, 22.3 K%, 7.9 BB%

Despite some rather ordinary numbers both offensively and defensively in 2019, Weber showed improvement in both toward the end of the season. With continued development, Weber has the skills to be one of the best all-around infielders in the system. ETA 2022

25. Brendon Little, LHP

Brendon Little by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A+ Myrtle Beach
2019 stats: (Rookie, A , A+) 12 GS, 2-2, 55.1 IP, 3.58 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 57 K, 26 BB

A prospect teetering on the brink, Little may need a great 2020 to avoid the dreaded “bust” label. Little has struggled to maintain velocity on his mid-90’s fastball and curve. Without a solid third pitch, Little may end up as a reliever if he can find consistency. ETA 2022

26. Kevin Made, INF
Opening Day Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Did not play

Another high profile acquisition during international signing period, Made looked excellent in workouts defensively, and has a big arm. Made has a good feel for the strike zone, but some question his power potential. ETA 2024

27. Justin Steele, LHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: 11 GS, 0-6, 38.2 IP, 5.59 ERA, 1.681 WHIP, 42 K, 20 BB

The often-injured Steele has a mid-to-upper 90’s fastball and 12/6 curve to project as a high leverage reliever if he can remain in one piece. That would mean the Cubs scrapping the idea of Steele as a starter and limiting his innings to regain his health. ETA late-2020/2021

28. Keegan Thompson, RHP

Keegan Thompson by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: (Rookie, AA) 3 GS, 0-2, 10.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 0.500 WHIP, 13 K, 1 BB

Thompson is another would-be starter that experience injury issues last season. Thompson also appeared rusty in the Arizona Fall League, but did show some flashes. Similar to Abbott, Thompson uses his above average secondaries to play up his low 90’s fastball. ETA 2021

29. Erich Uelmen, RHP

Erich Uelmen by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: (A+, AA) 17 GS, 5-6, 91.0 IP, 4.45 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 76 K, 37 BB

Along with Abbott, Uelmen may end up salvaging a disappointing pitching-heavy 2017 draft for the Cubs. An extreme ground ball pitcher, Uelmen’s low-90’s sinker and slider induces weak contact. The back of the rotation or the bullpen seem to be in the future for Uelmen. ETA 2021

30. Fabian Pertuz, INF
Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 49 G, 212 PA, .325/.358/.437/.795, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 9 SB, 23.3 K%, 4.2 BB%

A shade below Verdugo and Martinez as a middle infielder, the Cubs will most likely be cautious with Pertuz in 2020. Pertuz has shown consistent offensive numbers in his two seasons as a pro. Maintaining that offense while figuring out his best position will be the tasks for this coming season. ETA 2023


Tier 4

31. Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 50 G, 241 PA, .283/.357/.325/.683, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 19 SB, 21.2 K%, 8.7 BB%

A 2018 13th round selection, Pagan is developing into the type of centerfielder/lead-off prospect that the Cubs front office craves. ETA 2023

32. Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Opening Day Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AAA Iowa
2019 stats: 17 G, 4-2, 5 Sv, 49.1 IP, 5.29 ERA, 1.581 WHIP, 61 K, 34 BB

Last season, the Cubs seemed determined to misuse Mekkes. Rather than seeing action as a low-leverage, one-time-through-the-order middle reliever, Mekkes was used as a closer and saw his ERA balloon. ETA 2020

33. Hunter Bigge, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-) 9 G, 2-0, 16.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 1.063 WHIP, 22 K, 10 BB

The 2019 12th round pick, Bigge could open as South Bend’s closer this coming season. ETA 2022

34. Tyson Miller, RHP

Tyson Miller by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA Iowa
2019 stats: (AA, AAA) 17 GS, 7-8, 136.2 IP, 4.35 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 123 K, 43 BB

A favorite of prospect-raters across the internet. Unfortunately, Miller has only put together two good half-seasons before getting hammered in the PCL last year. ETA 2020

35. Flemin Bautista, INF
Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: (Dominican, Rookie) 56 G, 243 PA, .256/.351/.469/.820, 8 HR, 50 RBI, 12 SB, 31.9 K%, 11.9 BB%

The switch-hitting Bautista slugged 23 of his 53 hits for extra bases as he worked his way up the system. Settling on a primary position will be a goal for 2020. ETA 2023

36. Benjamin Rodriguez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 12 GS, 2-3, 50.1 IP, 3.58 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 38 K, 17 BB

A one-time highly rated prospect, Rodriguez put up decent numbers in his first season stateside. ETA 2023

37. Alfonso Rivas, 1B/OF
Opening Day Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA Las Vegas
2019 stats: (A+, AAA) 122 G, 543 PA, .292/.387/.423/.810, 9 HR, 60 RBI, 2 SB, 25.9 K%, 14.7 BB%

Alfonso Rivas, Vermont Lake Monsters, July 2018 – photo credit Greg Bessette on Flickr

Acquired from Oakland for INF/OF Tony Kemp, Rivas got a late season bump to AAA. Rivas also batted .306/.417/.449/.866 in the AFL. A good defensive first baseman with some pop, Rivas will open with AA Tennessee in 2020. ETA 2022

38. Nestor Heredia, INF
Opening Day Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
2019 stats: 48 G, 184 PA, .313/.385/.444/.828, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 14 SB, 16.9 K%, 8.2 BB%

In his two seasons as a pro, Heredia has consistently hit for power while improving his contact rate. Capable of filling out at 6’1″, 179 lbs., Heredia can project to either third base or shortstop. ETA 2023

39. Rafael Morel, INF
Opening Day Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
2019 stats: 60 G, 268 PA, .283/.373/.448/.821, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 23 SB, 16.5 K%, 9.7 BB%

The brother of Christopher Morel, the younger Morel projects more as a shortstop than his sibling. Morel does display the same exciting power/athleticism combination of his brother. ETA 2023

40. Adam Laskey, LHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Did not play

Selected in the 19th round in the 2019 draft, the Cubs chose not to pitch the oft-injured Laskey after signing him. The 22-year old lefty has a low-90’s fastball along with an above average slider and change. ETA 2021


Tier 5

41. Luis Rodriguez, LHP
Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 11 G, 2-4, 47.1 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.437 WHIP, 44 K, 24 BB

While his ERA and WHIP were not as gaudy as they were in 2018, Rodriguez had a good showing in the rookie league in 2019. ETA 2023

42. Matt Swarmer, RHP

Matt Swarmer by Stephanie Lynn

Opening Day Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: AAA Iowa
2019 stats: 27 G, 10-11, 151.1 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.487 WHIP, 137 K, 44 BB

A “utility pitcher”, Swarmer’s numbers suffered from overexposure as a starter. The best role for Swarmer is spot starter/long relief. ETA 2020

43. Jared Young, 1B/OF

Jared Young by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA Tennessee
2019 stats: 123 G, 504 PA, .235/.297/.319/.615, 5 HR, 57 RBI, 5 SB, 23.3 K%, 6.5 BB%

The 2018 Minor League Player of the Year fell off the map in 2019, as he found Double-A a bit more challenging. Expect Young to return to Tennessee this spring. ETA 2021

44. Fernando Kelli, OF
Opening Day Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: 62 G, 254 PA, .229/.298/.357/.654, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 24 SB, 29.1 K%, 5.9 BB%

A speed player, Kelli found the going tough after a hot start to 2019. If Kelli can practice more plate discipline, his speed on the base paths can be devastating. ETA 2022

45. Reivaj Garcia, 2B
Opening Day Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-) 35 G, 130 PA, .221/.258/.262/.520, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 4 SB, 16.4 K%, 3.0 BB%

Garcia came back to earth after hitting .302 as a 16-year old in the rookie league. Fortunately, the 18-years old Garcia still has time to bounce back if he can take 2019 as a learning experience. ETA 2023

46. Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A- Eugene
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-) 9 G, 1-2, 23.2 IP, 6.46 ERA, 1.648 WHIP, 28 K, 19 BB

A highly valued prospect last year, Cruz was limited in 2019 due to injuries. When injury-free, Cruz possesses a mid-90’s sinker to go with an advanced slider and change. ETA 2022

47. Zach Mort, RHP

Zach Mort by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: (A-, A) 27 G, 9-5, 106.1 IP, 3.39 ERA, 1.204 WHIP, 76 K, 37 BB

The Cubs selected swingman Mort in the 8th round of the 2018 draft. Mort will contend for a spot on Advanced-A Myrtle Beach’s pitching staff this spring. ETA 2022

48. Zac Taylor, OF
Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: A+ Myrtle Beach
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-, A, A+) 50 G, 204 PA, .254/.315/.427/.742, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 12 SB, 31.2 K%, 7.8 BB%

After being selected in the 25th round last year, Taylor made a meal out of the lower minors’ pitching. Taylor has a good combination of speed/power/defense that should provide a talent boost to the upper levels of the system. ETA 2021

49. Nelson Maldonado, 1B/OF

Nelson Maldonado by Rikk Carlson

Opening Day Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A South Bend
2019 stats: (Rookie, A-, A) 56 G, 246 PA, .332/.378/.456/.834, 3 HR, 37 RBI, 4 SB, 15.5 K%, 6.9 BB%

A high character player selected in the 21st round in 2019, Maldonado should provide solid leadership as well as some pop at the plate for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. ETA 2022

50. Juan Mora, INF
Opening Day Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: Dominican
2019 stats: 63 G, 254 PA, .271/.394/.444/.838, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 19 SB, 16.4 K%, 13.4 BB%

At 5’9″, 176 lbs., Mora is an undersized hit-first prospect. Mora has some power but will need to settle on a position defensively. ETA 2024

 




About Tom Usiak 19 Articles
Born and raised on Chicago's Northwest side, Tom is entering his tenth year covering the Cubs minor league system, writing for prestigious sites such as Chicago Cubs Online, Locked On Cubs, and Cubs Den. Over that period, Tom has published interviews with top prospects such as Aramis Ademan, Miguel Amaya, Willson Contreras, Jeimer Candelario, Dylan Cease, Ian Happ, Eloy Jimenez, Cole Roederer, and Gleyber Torres. Known as "Tom U" across the internet, Tom also has a close working relationship with the front offices of all four of the Cubs' full season minor league teams. A frequent guest of the South Bend Cubs on WSBT radio, Tom has also written monthly articles for the South Bend Cubs' stadium program.

5 Comments

  1. Great list Tom! If we projected the 2020 list two years ago, I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted that (assuming they still were in Cubs minor league system) any 2020 Cubs top 50 prospect list could exclude Ademan (as senormota mentioned above), Jose Albertos, Jeremiah Estrada or Oscar De La Cruz!

    Lower tier ratings generally have more subjectivity than upper tier considerations. With that in mind, I am interested in factors considered for comparing two players at extremely different levels, For example, what comes into play choosing Juan Mora over, say, Bailey Clark.

    • Thank you for your comments. I will cover the reasons why excluded Ademan and Albertos in my article for Prospects 1500 next month. I pondered a great deal over Jeremiah Estrada when making this list. I opted to wait and see if he was fully recovered from arm surgery before placing him in the rankings.

      As I stated at the top of the article, both promise and production have to be taken into account when viewing prospects. At this time, I do not feel that the promise and production of Bailey Clark warranted inclusion in the top 50 list. However, that can change over the course of the season. I am a strong believer in rankings being fluid.

      As for Mora, while he was slightly overaged at his level last season, his power for a 5’9″ player in an environment not conducive to power is something that caught my eye. A high OBP and OPS also means Mora scores high in the area of promise.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Missing Persons: Why Ademan and Albertos Failed to Make the Cut | Prospects1500
  2. Missing Persons: Why Ademan and Albertos Failed to Make the Cuton April 8, 2020 at 11:00 am | ThingsToDoInChicago.co

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