The updated Cubs prospect rankings at MLB Pipeline had Pete Crow-Armstrong in the top spot as potential carried the day when it came to arranging the top 30. But with all due respect to Jim Callis and others, it’s difficult for those who cover the game on a broad level to accurately rank all the players across every organization. That’s why I put more stock in the top 25 list compiled by Lance Brozdowski of Marquee Sports Network.
Brozdowski knows the Cubs system as well as anyone and his analysis is second to none, whether we’re talking this organization or the baseball industry as a whole. So when he says Brennen Davis is still the best prospect the Cubs have, he’s not doing it just to make waves. As Brozdowski noted, there was a lot of unnecessary fear over the procedure that has limited Davis this season because people freaked out when they heard or read “back.”
In keeping with that theme, Marquee’s rankings don’t seem to ding other players quite as harshly for being injured. What’s more, Brozdowski isn’t a slave to either scouting reports or box score numbers because he’s so plugged into the Cubs’ coaching staff and the players themselves. That shows up in his individual breakdowns, which provide a great deal of context for the rankings themselves.
In making this list, I basically drew a line between the Top 10 prospects in this system and the next 15. The way to interpret this break is that the difference between No. 10 and No. 11 on this list is larger than the difference between No. 10 and No. 7 or No. 11 and No. 14.
Below is the “full” list, with a little over half the names redacted to give you a little more incentive to head over to Marquee. It also makes for a fun little game for those of you who might like the challenge of trying to guess the extra spots. Let’s meet back up after you’ve perused for a little more commentary.
- Brennen Davis, OF
- Kevin Alcántara, OF
- Owen Caissie, OF
- Alexander Canario, OF
- Cade Horton, RHP
- Matt Mervis, 1B
- Ryan Jensen, RHP
- Jackson Ferris, LHP
- Kohl Franklin, RHP
- Zac Leigh, RHP
Starting from the bottom, it’s good to see Leigh getting a little love here since relievers don’t often have the same hype as starters. Franklin is up a few spots higher than we saw from Pipeline, which is interesting because Brozdowski is basing his ranking largely on the assumption that Franklin will see his pitch mix change in the offseason. That’s precisely the kind of thing I like to see when projecting players’ futures.
I’ll skip Ferris for now because he’s yet to pitch professionally, so it’s on to Jensen and his reworked delivery. The mechanical changes he made, along with some grip tweaks and the fact that he’s touched triple digits since coming back, have him much higher here than on other lists.
Mervis is also ranked significantly higher than you’re likely to see elsewhere and it’s because Brozdowski believes the results are real. While some still think Mervis is experiencing some form of luck or that the book will get out on him, lower rankings elsewhere are more because his ceiling isn’t super high as a power-hitting first baseman. After all, those guys aren’t really hard to find. The key is that Mervis also has a high floor.
I don’t know that the upper tier of the list merits much conversation because a lot of the names are somewhat interchangeable. It’s worth noting, however, that Brozdowski believes he may have Canario too low. Also of note is the idea that Alcántara isn’t getting enough respect for his speed simply because he’s so big. The 6-foot-6 outfielder may lose a little of that high-end sprint speed as he gains mass, but he’ll still be an incredible athlete.
As with the previous breakdown, the big takeaway is that the Cubs have a lot of exciting young talent coming up through the system. If you’ve reached this point without clicking the link above to review the list and the analysis for yourself, please go ahead and do that now.