Chicago Cubs 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update
The Cubs’ farm system is still in a bit of a transitional period after providing the big league club with a young core of talented hitters, including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber. They spent high-end talent to acquire playoff reinforcements over the last few years, which has left their system in a state of flux.
Chicago dealt three Top 30 prospects -- RHP Paul Richan (12), RHP Alek Lange (21) and OF Jimmy Herron (25) -- at the deadline.
The Cubs’ current No. 1 prospect, shortstop Nico Hoerner, has big potential but missed two months of the season due to injury. Outfielder Brennen Davis has exceeded the team’s expectations, and infielder Robel Garcia has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the first half.
1. Nico Hoerner, SS
Hoerner earned an aggressive assignment to Double-A Tennessee to begin his first full season thanks in part to a scorching campaign in the Arizona Fall League and makeup that has really impressed the player development staff. He missed a big chunk of the year with a broken hand, but the Cubs believe he will be the next in their line of talented hitters.
2. Miguel Amaya, C
Amaya’s development has been a slow burn, but he’s continued to gain strength in an effort to prove he’ll have what it takes to be an asset on both offense and defense. He’s also been of the Cubs’ representative at the last two Futures Games.
3. Brennen Davis, OF
The Cubs’ original plan was to send Davis to short-season Eugene this season, but his performance in spring training changed their minds and he broke camp with low Class A South Bend. He’s showed an impressive approach at the level and earned a berth in the Midwest League’s all-star game.
4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
After recovering from a lat injury that ended his 2018 season, Alzolay made it all the way back and made his big league debut on June 20. He’s running his fastball into the mid- to upper 90s and has regained feel for his full complement of offspeed pitches.
5. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
One of the highest-upside arms in the system, Marquez has touched 100 mph with his fastball and is gaining a better feel for his offspeed pitches as his body continues to mature.
6. Cole Roederer, OF
The talented prep outfielder drew raves during his pro debut in 2018, but he has sputtered a bit in low Class A. He’s occasionally strayed from what should be a line-drive approach and has instead try to sell out for power more often.
7. Chase Strumpf, 2B
After an excellent three years with UCLA, Strumpf has started hot in pro ball and profiles as a bat-first middle infielder. Although he’s a second baseman by trade, the Cubs might get Strumpf some reps at shortstop, too.
8. Ryan Jensen, RHP
Fresno State’s Friday starter in 2019, Jensen brings big-time velocity and a potentially plus slider as his signature pitches. As a pro, he’ll continue working to develop his changeup.
9. Ethan Hearn, C
The Cubs went over-slot to sign Hearn—who was a BA first-team high school All-American—away from a commitment to Mississippi State. He’s a strong player who shows a potentially plus arm behind the plate and big power from a leveraged lefthanded swing.
10. Richard Gallardo, RHP
The numbers in the Rookie-level Arizona League aren’t sparkling, but the Cubs believe Gallardo, who is just 17 years old, has the potential for a plus fastball and slider and a solid-average changeup.
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RHP Tyson Miller dedicated himself this offseason to bettering his body and simplifying his delivery, and the results were dazzling numbers at Double-A Tennessee.
RHP Riley Thompson has shown a nasty curveball and a low-90s fastball at low Class A South Bend, and as a result, he earned a berth in the Midwest League all-star game.
OF Brennen Davis has paid off the Cubs’ investment in him early in his pro career.
SS Aramis Ademan started hot but still needs to get strong enough to sustain a full season’s workload. He is physically stronger and more consistent defensively, but he’s still scuffling at the plate in a return to high Class A Myrtle Beach.
LHP Jose Albertos has a fractured middle finger and is out for the rest of the season. It's the latest in a string of injury issues for Albertos, who has less than 100 innings pitched in four pro seasons.
SS Zack Short missed nearly two months with a fractured hand.
SS Nico Hoerner missed two months with a broken hand.
LHP Justin Steele is working his way back from a strained oblique that has kept him out since June 21.
OF Nelson Velazquez is also rehabbing a strained oblique that has kept him out since May 24.
The Cubs have gotten at-bats from Robel Garcia, Taylor Davis and Mark Zagunis and have gotten innings from Adbert Alzolay, Rowan Wick and Dillon Maples, but no rookie has graduated from prospect eligibility so far in 2019.