Chicago Cubs 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: Nico Hoerner (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo)



Josh Norris: Hello, Cubs fans. Let’s chat about Cubs prospects.

Zac (NYC):

     If the Cubs part with Bryant, who are some guys in the system who could man 3B long term?

Josh Norris: I don’t think they have that guy right now, certainly not in the immediate term unless that’s where you want Hoerner to land. But there’s nobody else in the upper levels of the system who would fit that role. The next closest might be Christopher Morel, whom the Cubs are high on, but has only had a half-season at low Class A.

Jon (Peoria):

     Long-term, do you feel like Jensen can develop a decent enough changeup to remain a starter? If so, what is his ceiling?

Josh Norris: His 99th percentile ceiling, to me, is a No. 3 starter in the middle of a rotation. As to the first part of your question, it’s hard to say. That’s a cop out, I know, but the Cubs have overhauled their player-development staff somewhat this offseason, so there’s really no track record to go on, in that regard.

Navin (Pasadena, CA):

     I was surprised a safer but lower ceiling prospect like Abbott snuck into the top 10 over some higher ceiling, higher risk guys like Ademan, Franklin, Gallardo and C. Morel. Were any of those 4 in the discussion for the top 10?

Josh Norris: Ademan was nowhere near the Top 10. All four are in the book, with Franklin being the highest of the group. Morel would be higher but he only has a half-season of low Class A under his belt. It was a pretty good season, but I’d like to see a little more.

Bob (Mundelein, IL):

     What are your thoughts on Kohl Franklin? Also, is it safe to say that this system is still among the five worst in MLB?

Josh Norris: Franklin has a decent ceiling as a back-end type of starter whose future will depend on the development of his curveball. If he can bring that up to the quality of his other two pitches, his path to the rotation will be much clearer. As for the five worst, might be a little better than that with two Top 100 prospects in Marquez and Hoerner, but it has a ways to go.

Jon (Peoria):

     Do you think the Cubs will continue trying Adbert Alzolay as a starter or transition him into being a reliever?

Josh Norris: This is a huge year for him. He’s got the stuff to stay in the rotation but he has to learn to make it more consistent from outing to outing. That will happen through a combination of mental and physical adjustments, but he has the ceiling to stay a starter though it’s not a slam dunk.

Sean (Everett):

     Robel Garcia had a whirlwind year in 2019. Going forward, is he a guy who can be more than a bench bat?

Josh Norris: I don’t think so, no, but nobody thought even that much of him before the year, so …

Joey (Rogers Park):

     Best case scenario, who is Brennan Davis’s closest major league comp?

Josh Norris: There are approximately infinity questions in here about Brennen Davis and his MLB comp. I don’t really like comps because they create unrealistic ceilings for the player and expectations for fans of that player. Here’s what I will say about Davis: He’s athletic, has shown a quick ability to turn that athleticism into production and has the potential to hit and hit for power. His overall ceiling is as high as anyone in the system.

nb (philly):

     Seems like Brennen Davis jumped onto everyone’s prospect radar this year. What do you see as his development plan and long term potential? Thanks!

Josh Norris: And even more Brennen Davis questions! Given that he’s already accelerated his own timeline once, I could very easily see him moving to high Class A Myrtle Beach with a hot spring training. As mentioned before, a new player-development staff might have different ideas and philosophies about the correct timelines for players.

Ramón (Ciudad de México):

     What Is the projection of Manuel Rodríguez recently added to the 40 Man roster?

Josh Norris: Rodriguez fits as the classic power-armed middle reliever who can blow gas for an inning and rack up the swings and misses. He’s in the Top 30.

Jamal (Las Vegas):

     Hey guys, seems like Chris Morel is an omission here to me. He put up an extremely solid sseason at 20 in South Bend. Is he close to the top 10 at least?

Josh Norris: The problem with Morel was that it was an extremely solid half-season. And those 73 games represented a career-high. He’s got the tools and the Cubs believe in him, but he still has to prove he can do it over the course of a full season.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Under the plan to shrink the minor league affiliates, the Cubs lose Salem-Kizer. A big change like this is bound not to effect all major league teams equally. If the contraction goes forward will this be a + or minus for the Cubs?

Josh Norris: The Cubs do not lose Salem-Keizer. They are currently in Eugene. The Giants are in Salem-Keizer.

Michael (Chicago):

     Are the odds better (or worse) than 60/40 that Marquez ends up in the rotation as opposed to the bullpen?

Josh Norris: I think those are pretty good odds right now. I was very surprised about highly outside scouts thought of him. The standard line here applies: He’s going to be given every chance to start until he proves he can’t. Either way, he should provide big-time impact.

Michael Stern (Rochester NY):

     Roederer did not have a very good year in 2019 but do the Cubs still view him as a potential productive everyday big league player? What went wrong for him last season? Thanks for the chat!

Josh Norris: Roederer kind of got out of what made him productive — i.e. a pure hitter’s skill set — and tried to pull everything for power. That approach is sexy but doesn’t work for everyone. If he can revert to his prior approach he can get back on track quickly.

Dan (Lansing):

     Yohendrick Pinango had a good year in the DSL. What type of player could we expect from him going forward?

Josh Norris: He’s a good hitting prospect with excellent bat-to-ball skills but still needs to work on hitting the ball to the pull side more often and getting more lift in his swing. That will be a goal of his going forward.

José Santana (Rep.Dom.):

     Why the cubs just keep taken so Many infilders ??

Josh Norris: Why not? If they’re the best players you think are available either via the draft or in the IFA market, go ahead and get them. Keep the best ones and trade the other ones.

Bob (Mundelein, IL):

     Do you feel like Tyson Miller could have a chance to help the big league club later in 2020?

Josh Norris: Yes. It is very hard to say that the new baseball didn’t affect Miller’s output somewhat. Thirteen home runs surrendered in 48.2 innings is jarring, especially for a guy who entered the year with 26 HRs allowed total. He’s better than his Iowa numbers, and I could see him getting a taste this year.

Don (Rosemont, IL):

     How would you compare Ronnier Quintero with Ethan Hearn?

Josh Norris: Hearn is a little more well-rounded as a prospect at this point whereas Quintero needs more work on the defensive side. They both have nice offensive skill sets.

Chris (Chicago):

     The early results on the Cubs 2019 Draft Class look very promising. Can you let us know of some later round picks from their Draft Class that you really like?

Josh Norris: Hunter Bigge throws really hard and has a two-way player’s background. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him develop quickly with hitting out of the way.

Tyler (Alabama):

     Have you gotten any reports on how Richard Gallardo is progressing? His minor league numbers don’t jump out, but I was surprised they sent him out stateside this year.

Josh Norris: He was viewed as a guy with excellent pitchability right now who throws his fastball in the low 90s. The changeup needs to come forward a little bit and there needs to be more power to curveball.

Josh Norris: Thanks, all. See you Chicagoans again for White Sox time.

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