2019 Chicago Cubs Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: Nico Hoerner (Photo by Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images)

To see the Cubs top prospects, click here. 

Josh Norris: I am thawed out from Vegas. Let’s chat about the Cubs.

Zac (NYC): 

    How close was Alex Lange to the top 10? What does he have to do to get there?

Josh Norris: There are many questions about Alex Lange at this point. First, his fastball seems to have dropped a grade. Scouts reported seeing him in the 89-92 mph range with not much in the way of life. Secondly, there’s concern about the delivery being so herky-jerky and relieverish that there’s corresponding concern about whether he’s starter in the long-term. The curveball (plus) and changeup (average) are still enough to last as a starter, but the fastball must improve.

Bobby (Baltimore): 

    Which rhp are you higher on right now and why – de la Cruz, Gallardo or Hatch?

Josh Norris: Gallardo. His blend of power, feel and youth is very intriguing and puts him well above De La Cruz (so many questions with him between the injuries and suspension) and Hatch (needs to improve the changeup) at this point.

OneMillionCubsProject (Madison, WI): 

    Had the Cubs not traded Dylan Cease to the White Sox, where would he rank on this year’s Cubs Top 10 list?

Josh Norris: No. 1

Pedro (Chicago): 

    What pitching prospect will make 10 starts for the cubs over the next two years?

Josh Norris: From this list, Adbert Alzolay, and maybe Cory Abbott or Justin Steele.

Tyler (AL): 

    Where do you see the Cubs system ranking this year?

Josh Norris: In the 25-30 range, probably. It’s a system in transition, for sure.

Mike (State of Denial): 

    I heard Jose Albertos came down with the case of the yips. Is that true? Is he just toast as a prospect now? Any reason to be optimistic about his future?

Josh Norris: I cannot confirm or deny The Yips, but I have heard whispers about them. He’s in the Top 30, and I tend to believe yips don’t have to kill a guy’s career. Plus, a dude who can throw mid-90s from the left side will always get chances.

Frank (Indianapolis, IN): 

    How many of these guys are likely to make the BA 100, if any?

Josh Norris: I could see Hoerner and Amaya on the list come February.

Navin (Pasadena, CA): 

    What pushed Nico Hoerner ahead of Miguel Amaya?

Josh Norris: The track record plus an outstanding Arizona Fall League against some of the better competition in the minor leagues. He could move pretty quickly, and the Cubs’ track record with hitting prospects is pretty darn good in recent years.

Dan (Dallas, TX): 

    About where would you rank this system overall, and what are its’ biggest weaknesses/strengths?

Josh Norris: As I mentioned earlier, this system will probably rank in the 25-30 range. Its biggest strength is an influx of hitters toward the top of the 30 (Hoerner, Amaya, Davis, Roederer) and its biggest weakness is pitching, especially at the upper levels.

Mike S (Nashville): 

    Does Brailyn Marquez present the most upside at this point in the system and why? Who in the 2018 draft class presents the most upside and why?

Josh Norris: As far as pitchers are concerned, yes. The reviews on Marquez in the NWL were very good. There’s definitely work to be done and a long way to go, but I will pretty much always bet on lefties who throw mid-90s. (I’m breaking a lot of ground there, I know). In the 2018 Draft class, multiple evaluators threw the name Andrew Benintendi around when discussing Cole Roederer, so that’s some pretty good upside.

Doug (Chicago): 

    How close was Richard Gallardo to making this list?

Josh Norris: He’s pretty close, as you’ll see when you receive the Handbook (which goes to press on Friday)!

Mike (Chicago): 

    What are your thoughts on the Cubs’ AZL teams and Eugene? A lot of young talent down there.

Josh Norris: I mean, my thoughts were pretty clearly positive on those squads considering half of my Top 10 (Hoerner, Marquez, Roederer, Davis, Richan) all saw time on those teams at some point this season. Plus, totally unbiased here, but Eugene plays in one of my very favorite parks in the country. Has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I spent two years living in the apartments just over the left field fence.

Navin (Pasadena, CA): 

    What is a likely starting destination for Gallardo? Extended spring training and AZL?

Josh Norris: I would say that’s a fair assessment.

Bryan (Illinois): 

    Thoughts on Keegan Thompson?

Josh Norris: I could see Keegan Thompson getting to the major leagues, but it’s unlikely he’ll be a staple of the rotation. He’s got a nice pitch mix, but needs to work on FB command. He’s probably an up-and-down major leaguer.

Doug (Missouri): 

    How soon will we see Hoerner at Wrigley Field?

Josh Norris: Late 2020 seems like a good bet if he has a solid, healthy 2019 season.

Chad (Chicago): 

    How far off was Brendon Little? What did scouts have to say about his year and his needs to improve?

Josh Norris: He needs to improve his command and his changeup. Also, the fastball was sitting in the high-80s at points this year. Plus there’s probably some sharpening to do with the curveball so he has a knockout offering in his arsenal.

Ben (CA): 

    Thanks for the chat. It’s always fun. Is it me or coul Mark Zagunis serve as a regular on a mediocre or bad team? Does he break the top 20 on the cubs list this year?

Josh Norris: Maybe on a bad team, but he’s got the problem of being a corner outfielder without the power to profile there. He’s got easily the best batting eye in the system, though.

OneMillionCubsProject (Madison, WI): 

    Will Cubs 4th rounder Ethan Roberts crack the top 30, or is he in consideration for the list?

Josh Norris: He’s certainly in consideration for the list, but he got hit pretty hard in his debut so his inclusion is unlikely.

Ed (Chicago): 

    What are realistic expectations for Zack Short?

Josh Norris: I could see him being a defensive-minded backup with a fair amount of power in spurts. He’s one of the best defenders in the system.

Josh Norris: Thanks for chatting, Cubs Nation. Back to work on the Handbook.

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