Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects Updated

There are some intriguing athletes sprinkled throughout the lowest levels of the minors but this system has fallen on hard times and lacks depth.

Click here for the pre-season Top 10

1. Miguel Amaya | C | A —> Amaya, 19, was a monster in the first half of the year before tiring during the latter portion of his first full season (.865 vs .634 OPS). An encouraging sign: He maintained his walk rate while trimming his strikeout rate in the second half despite the diminished offence. In his prime, he should get on base at an above-average rate and produce solid pop. He has work to do on his receiving and game calling but he’s shown potential with throwing out base runners.

2. Adbert Alzolay | RHP | AAA —> It was basically a lost year for Alzolay, who started just eight games before getting hurt. He’s an undersized righty but he can hit the mid-90s and shows flashes of a plus curveball. His makeup is universally lauded so expect him to squeeze out every ounce of potential with a ceiling of a No. 3-4 rage if he gains consistency with the secondary stuff. My biggest concern aside from injury is his fly-ball tendencies.

3. Justin Steele | LHP | AA —> Steele had Tommy John surgery late in 2017 but made a quick return and reached double-A at the end of the season. The lefty can hit the mid-90s and pairs his heat with a plus curveball. A reliable changeup and consistent command could help him reach the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.

4. Nico Hoerner | IF | A —> He’s not the most toolsy player but the Cubs invested a first-round pick on Hoerner in 2018. I like his swing and think he’ll hit for a solid average but his power output is modest. In the plus side, he’s shown a willingness to take a walk and has the speed to nab 15-20 bases. He should end up somewhere in the middle of the diamond, although he may never be better than average at shortstop.

5. Brailyn Marquez | LHP | A —> Marquez has a chance to be the top mover in the Cubs system in 2019 after showing extremely well in short-season ball this year. Just 19, he has a solid pitcher’s frame and can work in the 92-97 mph range. He also shows flashes of a plus curveball. His command remain a work in progress but he limited the walks this year and struck out 59 batters in 54.2 innings.

6. Brendon Little | LHP | A —> A former first-round pick, Little has lost velo in pro ball and now operates with a fastball in the low 90s. He has a potentially plus curveball and improving changeup. Unless he re-discovers his heat, Little looks like an innings-eating No. 4 starter who will develop above-average control due to a smooth delivery.

7. Alex Lange | RHP | A+ —> Pretty much a right-handed version of Little, Lange has a stronger framer with a tad more velocity. He should develop into an innings-eating starter with a potentially-plus curveball and an average changeup. It’s possible he could end up in the bullpen if his delivery causes him to struggle to throw consistent strikes — which might also help him discover some of his lost velo from college.

8. Erich Uelmen | RHP | A+ —> The development of Uelmen’s secondary stuff will go a long way in determining his future role. For now, he looks like a potential No. 4 starter. He has a good pitcher’s frame and shows athleticism on the mound. He also appears to have some deception in his delivery with a low arm slot, which also helps him keep the ball down and generates a lot of ground-ball outs.

9. Duane Underwood | RHP | AAA —> Given a million dollars to sign way back in 2012, Underwood has always had a good arm but he’s struggled with consistency, injuries and drive. For me, he’s miscast as a starter and might thrive as a high-leverage reliever where he might sit more consistently in the upper-90s. His above-average curveball would give him a chase-pitch.

10. Aramis Ademan | SS | A —> Ademan came into the year with a lot of hype but fell on his face as a teenager in A-ball. He has excellent makeup but he needs to get stronger and focus on consistently using the whole field. He should stick at shortstop long term.

Just Missed:

Keegan Thompson | RHP | AA —> Thompson reached double-A in 2018 based on the strength of his secondary offerings. His fastball is merely average and he’s not the biggest guy. He might be best suited to middle relief but he’s a starter for now.

Cole Roederer | OF | Rookie —> The Cubs love to draft young athletic players out of the prep ranks and Roederer is the latest project. He looked excellent in his pro debut, even with some swing-and-miss to his game. He showed a willingness to take a walk, good instincts on the base paths and surprising pop. He needs work on hitting lefties, though.

Erling Moreno | RHP | A —> I continue to be one of the bigger believers in Moreno. He has shown an excellent fastball with ground-ball tendencies and has a strong frame. Unfortunately, he can’t stay healthy and has lost valuable development time, which has caused his secondary offerings to lag behind. He may be a reliever in the long run but there might be high-leverage potential with a consistent breaking ball.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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brood550
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brood550

Great article. Just curious what the current write-up is on Oscar De La Cruz? That suspension this season didn’t help him any.