Miguel Amaya Shows All-Around Potential
Miguel Amaya is hard to top in terms of pedigree, performance and potential, a combination that makes the Cubs think he could emerge as a frontline catcher.
Amaya tailed off after participating in the Futures Game, but he finished his age-19 season at low Class A South Bend with 12 home runs in 116 games while hitting .256/.349/.403. That production paired with intangibles the Cubs first observed when they made a seven-figure investment in the captain of his Panamanian national team.
"We saw a lot in the first half,” senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod said, "especially the way he was driving the ball through the middle of the field, to the opposite field.
"I think the kid’s going to hit, and hit for some power, and be a game-caller and a guy who can—I’m not going to say completely shut down the running game—but he can be a solid thrower behind the plate.”
Righthander Keegan Thompson stood out among a cluster of college pitchers the Cubs recently drafted. The 23-year-old pushed his way to Double-A Tennessee in the second half.
While there isn’t necessarily a breakout top-tier prospect or a future No. 1 starter among the group, the Cubs are developing internal options. Thompson—a 2017 third-rounder out of Auburn—made 25 starts this season between high Class A Myrtle Beach and Tennessee, going 9-6, 3.61 with 115 strikeouts and 34 walks in 129.2 innings.
Thompson's numbers at Tennessee look even better if you discount his Double-A debut and a string of three August starts in which he allowed 16 runs in 6.2 innings. Otherwise, he recorded a 2.36 ERA in the Southern League.
Cubs Begin To Build Their Next Young Core
While the Cubs' farm system is not anywhere near as well stocked as it was four years ago, it did yield multiple bright spots in 2018.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Dominican lefthander Brailyn Marquez is years away from Chicago, but he showed enough coming out of the organization’s international program and this year at South Bend and short-season Eugene that the Cubs can dream about a powerful starting pitcher. They already foresee him climbing up the prospect rankings.
"Because he’s so physical,” McLeod said. "He’s 6-foot-5, 225 (pounds). He’s lefthanded. He’s been up to like 97-98 (mph). He’ll get a lot of prospect buzz going into next year.”