James Triantos Joins 3 Other Cubs Prospects on Futures Game Roster

Per a press release from his agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, Cubs infield prospect James Triantos has been added to the National League’s Futures Game roster. He joins Matt Shaw, Moises Ballesteros, and Owen Caissie to give the Cubs quite a contingent at the annual showcase during the All-Star festivities on July 13. This latest honor comes just a few days after Triantos was named the Southern League Player of the Month for hitting .393/.438/.607 with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies in June.

Ed. note: Triantos is actually replacing Caissie on the roster so the outfielder can give his back a little extra rest during the break.

Triantos was also named the Arizona Fall League’s Offensive Player of the Year in late 2023 on the strength of an impressive 1.144 OPS with a .679 slugging percentage and 57 total bases. The 21-year-old was drafted in the second round three years ago following an insane performance as a senior for the James Madison High School Warhawks in Vienna, VA. I mean, the dude posted a .712 batting average with 11 home runs, 27 RBI, and 23 stolen bases while going 9-0 with a 1.18 ERA and 62 strikeouts to capture a Class 6 Virginia State Championship.

It took Triantos a little time to adjust during his first full professional season at Low-A Myrtle Beach, but he still managed to hit .272 with a 102 wRC+ against players who were two years older on average. His 2023 campaign was slowed by arthroscopic knee surgery in March, after which he excelled at High-A South Bend with a cup of coffee at Double-A late in the season.

Now he appears to have figured that level out despite being roughly three years younger than his average competitors and colleagues. Triantos has always been incredibly hitterish and his strikeout rate continues to drop even as he is promoted, but what makes that more impressive is that he appears to be finding his power. His seven homers in 312 plate appearances this season matches a career high set over 504 PAs with the Pelicans two years ago.

That pop should only continue to improve as he matures, putting him in line to be at least a low double-digit dinger guy in MLB. Combine Triantos’s projection with Shaw’s steep upward trajectory and you can better understand why the Cubs are at least willing to listen to offers for both Christopher Morel and Nico Hoerner as the deadline approaches.

Morel seems by far the most likely of that duo to be moved, in large part because his defense leaves so much to be desired. Of course, the front office could also see fit to move either Shaw or Triantos since both have incredibly high value while lacking a set position at this point. Knowing how Jed Hoyer tends to do things, I’d say it’s more likely he wants to bank on that cheap future production instead of paying big in a trade for a current star.

This conversation takes on a bit more depth with the Cubs in Baltimore to face an Orioles team built on the backs of top prospects drafted following multiple 100-loss seasons. They went 178-368 during a miserable stretch from 2018-21, but have since gone 244-173 and are legitimate World Series contenders with an incredibly bright future. It’s a formula Cubs fans know well: Draft and develop top picks, trade veterans for more prospects, then trade for and sign established players once those young guys make it to the bigs.

The only problem is that Hoyer hasn’t really picked a lane over the last two years, choosing instead to drive over the dividing line while everyone honks at him. Do the Cubs want to be competitive or do they want to stockpile cheap talent? It’s actually yes to both, which is part of the problem. They couldn’t justify to fans another extended rebuild like the one Hoyer helped to engineer just over a decade ago and they apparently lack the available resources to spend their way back to the top.

Making matters even more ironic is that the Cubs just faced another East Coast team with a strong blueprint for success. Phillies owner John Middleton was willing to be stupid with his money rather than commit to intelligent spending, which included hiring uber-aggressive baseball boss Dave Dombrowski to hand out big contracts. Whether the current iterations of the O’s or Phils end up with a better legacy will take time to sort out, but we know for sure the Cubs aren’t there with either of them right now.

Anyway, congrats to Triantos and I hope he’s up in Chicago before long.

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