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Chicago Cubs

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

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Player Reports

  1. 1. Brailyn Marquez | LHP
    Brailyn Marquez
    Born: Jan 30, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Mario Encarnacion/Jose Serra/Alex Suarez/Louie Eljaua.

    Fastball: 80. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Curveball: 45. Control: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: The Cubs signed Marquez out of the Dominican Republic for $600,000 in 2015, the largest signing bonus given to any lefthanded pitcher in that year’s international class. He sat in the low 90s with a projectable body when he signed and has since filled out to become one of baseball’s hardest-throwing lefthanders. Marquez began touching 98 mph as a starter in the short-season Northwest League in 2018, then in 2019 began sitting in the upper 90s and touched 102 mph as he conquered both Class A levels. The Cubs sent him to their alternate training site in 2020, where he held his own facing more experienced hitters. He received his first callup on the final day of the regular season, but it did not go well with three walks, two wild pitches and five earned runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning against the White Sox.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Marquez generates some of the easiest velocity of any pitching prospect. His fastball sits 97-98 mph and frequently touches triple digits with startlingly little effort. He holds his velocity through his starts and has steadily become more durable every season. Marquez can dominate with his fastball alone and often does, but he is still working to improve his fastball command. He has long limbs and a thick midsection, so the Cubs have had to work with him to remain athletic in his delivery and get his upper and lower body synced up. Marquez throws his fastball for strikes when he’s on time in his delivery, but when he isn’t, it sails to his arm side or gets pulled into the righthanded batter’s box. Marquez previously threw a mid-80s slider as his breaking ball, but he began working on pitch design at the Cubs’ alternate site and separated out a slider and curveball. His slider now sits in the upper 80s with added power and tunnels well off of his fastball. His mid-80s, slurvy curveball is a change-of-pace option he can land for strikes. Marquez rounds out his arsenal with a hard 89-91 mph changeup that is getting more swings and misses every year. He sells his changeup with his arm speed and has gradually improved his command to make it a more consistent weapon. Marquez goes right after hitters and isn’t afraid to challenge them, but he still has spurts of wildness. He is continuing to work on landing his secondary pitches in the strike zone and maintaining consistent fastball command.

    THE FUTURE: Marquez features explosive, top-of-the-rotation stuff from the left side. Whether he continues to improve his control will determine whether he reaches that ceiling or ends up in the bullpen, where he would have closer potential.

  2. 2. Brennen Davis | OF
    Brennen Davis
    Born: Nov 2, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Chandler, Ariz., 2018 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Steve McFarland.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 60. Running: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: Davis starred in both baseball and basketball in high school and signed with the Cubs for $1.1 million after they drafted him 62nd overall in 2018. He had a standout first full season at low Class A South Bend, but was limited to 50 games after he was hit by a pitch and fractured his right index finger. He returned healthy in 2020 and spent the year holding his own against older pitchers at the Cubs’ alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Davis is a long, lean athlete dripping with physical projection. His long levers and growing strength give him plus raw power to his pull side and allow him to drive the ball hard up the middle and the opposite way. Davis crushes breaking balls, but he has had to work hard to get on time against plus velocity and is still progressing. He’s a fast learner who makes quick adjustments and controls the strike zone. Davis is a plus runner underway in the outfield and has a plus arm, but he projects to slow down as he fills out. He may begin his career in center field before eventually moving to right.

    THE FUTURE: Davis has all the tools to become an everyday outfielder for the Cubs. He should see the upper minors during the 2021 season.

  3. 3. Cristian Hernandez | SS
    Cristian Hernandez
    Born: Dec 13, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 165
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2021.
    Signed By: Gian Guzmán/Louie Eljaua/Alex Suarez

    TRACK RECORD: Several international scouts considered Dominican shortstop Cristian Hernandez to be the best player available in the 2020 international class. He has enormous upside, with the offensive ability to develop into an impact hitter in the middle of the lineup and the defensive skills that could keep him at shortstop. The Cubs signed him for $3 million when the international period opened on Jan. 15.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Hernandez is 6-foot-2, 165 pounds with elite swing mechanics that have stood out for years while training in the Mejia Top 10 program. He generates excellent bat speed, gets on plane early and stays through the hitting zone for a long time. Hernandez has a knack for manipulating the bat head, enabling him to barrel pitches in all parts of the strike zone and drive the ball well to all fields. He has performed well in games and showed big power for his age early on during batting practice, with that power translating more now against live pitching. Hernandez needs little effort to generate that power, which flashes plus and should grade higher once he fills out his lean, athletic frame. He could develop into a plus or better hitter with a chance for 30-plus home runs. Early on, some scouts questioned whether Hernandez would eventually outgrow shortstop. Instead, he has enhanced his athleticism, speed and defensive ability over the last couple of years. He's now at least a plus runner underway, moving well to both sides at shortstop with the range, hands and instincts to stay there. He can throw from different angles with a plus arm that could bump up a grade once he gets stronger.

    THE FUTURE: Hernandez is still 17 and like everyone else in the 2020-21 international class needs to be tested in pro games, but he has a chance to develop into a premium player.

  4. 4. Miguel Amaya | C
    Miguel Amaya
    Born: Mar 9, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 230
    Drafted/Signed: Panama, 2015.
    Signed By: Marino Encarnacion/Jose Serra/Alex Suarez/Louie Eljaua.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 55. Running: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: Amaya starred for Panama in international tournaments as an amateur and signed with the Cubs for $1 million in 2015. He quickly stood out and represented the Cubs in both the 2018 and 2019 Futures Games, then impressed manager David Ross with his physicality and work ethic during major league spring training in 2020. Amaya spent the summer at the Cubs’ alternate training site gaining experience working with older pitchers.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Amaya is a big, physical backstop who looks the part of a major league catcher. He matured greatly at the alternate site camp and improved his focus, motivation and investment on defense, helping his receiving and pitch framing improve to average. He has a quick exchange and a plus arm that shuts down running games. Amaya is a patient hitter who controls the strike zone and swings at the right pitches. He has the strength to hit 20 or more home runs, but he frequently hits the ball on the ground and is still learning to elevate.

    THE FUTURE: Cubs officials were pleased with Amaya’s improved work ethic behind the plate at the alternate site camp. That development has him in line to be the Cubs’ catcher of the future.

  5. 5. Ed Howard | SS
    Ed Howard
    Born: Jan 29, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Chicago, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: John Pedrotty.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 45. Running: 55. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: Howard led Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West to the Little League World Series championship game in 2014 and emerged as the top prep shortstop in the 2020 draft class after a standout career at Mount Carmel High, 15 miles south of Wrigley Field. Howard didn’t get to play his senior year before the coronavirus pandemic canceled his high school season, but the Cubs had seen enough of the hometown product to draft him 16th overall and sign him for $3.745 million to forgo an Oklahoma commitment.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Howard is a gifted defensive shortstop who is mature beyond his years. He makes both flashy plays and routine ones with his reliable hands and a plus, accurate arm. He has a solid internal clock and moves fluidly across the diamond, showing impressive body control for his age and elite athleticism. Howard makes contact in the strike zone against fastballs and recognizes spin, but he needs to refine his approach and add strength to impact the ball. Optimistic evaluators project .260 with 15-18 home runs as Howard’s modest offensive ceiling. His elite work ethic gives him a chance for more.

    THE FUTURE: Howard’s defense gives him a strong foundation. How his offense develops will determine if he becomes the Cubs’ shortstop of the future.

  6. 6. Adbert Alzolay | RHP
    Adbert Alzolay
    Born: May 1, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 208
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2012.
    Signed By: Julio Figueroa/Hector Ortega.

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: Alzolay signed with the Cubs for just $10,000 when he was 17. He soared to Double-A in a breakout 2017 season, but injuries to his lat and biceps limited him the next two years. He still made his major league debut in 2019 and returned to the majors in 2020, where he posted a 2.96 ERA in six appearances.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Alzolay added a two-seam fastball and slider to his repertoire in 2020, giving him five distinct pitches. His fastballs both range from 93-97 mph, with his riding four-seamer more effective than his fading two-seamer, and his mid-80s slider has become a dominant swing-and-miss pitch. He has both a vertical, late-breaking version of his slider and a sharp, horizontal one when he moves to more of a cutter grip. His changeup is an above-average pitch that runs away from lefties and his snapping, low-80s curveball is a solid offering that gets a lot of called strikes. Alzolay pounds the strike zone when he has a good pace, but his control and deception suffer when he rushes through his delivery.

    THE FUTURE: Alzolay’s expanded pitch mix has solidified his future as part of the Cubs’ rotation. He should take his place there in 2021.

  7. 7. Kohl Franklin | RHP
    Kohl Franklin
    Born: Sep 9, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Broken Arrow, Okla., 2018 (6th round).
    Signed By: Ty Nichols.

    Fastball: 60. Changeup: 60. Curveball: 50. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Franklin is the nephew of 12-year major league pitcher Ryan Franklin and came from the same Oklahoma high school that produced Brad Penny and Archie Bradley. The Cubs liked his size and pedigree and drafted him in the sixth round in 2018 despite the fact he missed most of his senior year with a broken foot. Franklin signed for an above-slot $540,000 bonus and saw his stuff jump as he climbed to low Class A South Bend the following summer.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Franklin checks all the boxes for a young pitcher with a projectable 6-foot-4 frame, an athletic delivery and three pitches he can throw for strikes. He pounds the strike zone with a 92-95 mph fastball and shows advanced feel for an 80-84 changeup. His biggest development has been his curveball, now a big breaker at 75-77 mph with increased depth that gets batters swinging and missing over the top. Franklin’s frame and athleticism provide optimism he will add velocity and develop above-average control in time. He’s thrown just 50.2 professional innings and needs to show he can maintain his stuff and command over an expanded workload.

    THE FUTURE: The Cubs believe Franklin has the upside of a mid-rotation starter. He’s on track for full-season ball in 2021.

  8. 8. Ryan Jensen | RHP
    Ryan Jensen
    Born: Nov 23, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Fresno State, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Gabe Zappin.

    Fastball: 70. Slider: 55. Changeup: 40. Control: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: Jensen began as a reliever at Fresno State before transitioning to the rotation as a sophomore. He blossomed as a junior, winning Mountain West Conference pitcher of the year honors, and the Cubs drafted him 27th overall and signed him for $2 million. Jensen pitched a 2.25 ERA in his pro debut at short-season Eugene, but also struggled with his control with 14 walks and 19 strikeouts in 12 innings.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Jensen is a tremendous athlete with loads of raw arm strength. His fastball is a plus-plus offering that ticked up to 95-100 mph based on data the Cubs received during the shutdown, and it plays up further with plus armside life. Jensen’s mid-80s slider continues to get sharper the more he throws it and projects to be an above-average pitch. Jensen rarely threw a changeup in college and is still in the early stages of developing one. He is relatively new to starting, so his control and feel to pitch are still developing. Some Cubs officials believe Jensen is athletic enough to become an average strike-thrower, but others are less bullish.

    THE FUTURE: Jensen’s changeup and control will be key to watch in his first full season in 2021. If they stall, his fastball and slider combination will play in high-leverage relief.

  9. 9. Christopher Morel | 3B
    Christopher Morel
    Born: Jun 24, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 140
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Jose Estevez/Gian Guzman/Jose Serra.

    Hitting: 45. Power: 60. Running: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 70.

    TRACK RECORD: The Cubs signed Morel for $800,000 as part of their stellar 2015 international signing class that included Brailyn Marquez, Miguel Amaya and current Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes. Morel struggled initially after signing but broke out at low Class A South Bend in 2019 before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. The Cubs brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Morel has some of the loudest tools in the Cubs’ system. He has massive, plus-plus raw power, is a plus runner and has a cannon for a right arm. Morel’s issue is he often plays too fast. He’s an aggressive, free swinger who chases fastballs up and breaking balls down and away and rushes plays in the infield, resulting in too many throwing errors. He reeled in his approach to stay up the middle at the alternate site and improved greatly over the course of camp, giving the Cubs hope he will hit enough to get to his power. He’s an average defender at third base who can also stand at shortstop and second base. The Cubs plan to experiment with him in center field to expand his versatility.

    THE FUTURE: Morel made great strides at the alternate site in 2020. He’ll see if they hold in 2021.

  10. 10. Chase Strumpf | 2B
    Chase Strumpf
    Born: Mar 8, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 191
    Drafted/Signed: UCLA, 2019 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.

    Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Running: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: Strumpf preceded Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, as the shortstop at national power JSerra High in Southern California. Strumpf went on to a decorated three-year career at UCLA, capped by winning Most Outstanding Player of the Los Angeles Regional his junior year. The Cubs drafted him in the second round, No. 64 overall, and signed him for just over $1.05 million. He reached low Class A for six games in his pro debut.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Strumpf is a consistent, mature hitter with a patient approach and knack for putting the barrel on the ball. He works counts, takes his walks and lines the ball hard to the gaps when he gets a pitch to hit. Strumpf is mostly a contact hitter, but he has sneaky power the Cubs believe will translate into more home runs as he takes a more aggressive approach. Strumpf makes all the routine plays at second base and has shown better arm strength in pro ball than he did in college, allowing him to play the left side of the infield as needed. Strumpf has dealt with foot, back and wrist injuries in the last three years, so health is a concern.

    THE FUTURE: Strumpf has a chance to develop into a steady, everyday second baseman who hits for average and possibly power. He’ll move to full-season ball in 2021.

  11. 11. Reggie Preciado | SS
    Reggie Preciado
    Born: May 16, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Panama, 2019.
    Signed By: Chris Kemp/Richard Montenegro. (Padres)

    Hitting: 55. Power: 55. Running: 45. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Preciado trained with his father Victor, a former Yankees minor leaguer, growing up and emerged as Panama's top prospect in the 2019 international class. The Padres signed him for $1.3 million. Preciado's professional debut was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but he participated in instructional league in the fall. The Cubs acquired him as one of five players for Yu Darvish after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Preciado grew since signing and now stands 6-foot-5 with a skinny, projectable frame. He isn't overly twitchy, but he has a knack for being on time at the plate. Preciado's lefthanded swing has an elliptical path and his righthanded swing is a more compact stroke. They're different swings, but he can drive the ball from both sides and has room to grow into power as he fills out. He is still learning to control the strike zone. Preciado is a fringe-average runner, but his advanced instincts and polished defensive skills allow him to handle shortstop. His above-average arm strength should improve as he matures physically and gets stronger.

    THE FUTURE: Preciado's future hinges on how his body fills out. He'll be 17 years old on Opening Day and still has lots of growth ahead.

  12. 12. Riley Thompson | RHP
    Riley Thompson
    Born: Jul 9, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Louisville, 2018 (11th round).
    Signed By: Jacob Williams.

    Fastball: 55. Changeup: 50. Curveball: 60. Control: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Thompson had Tommy John surgery his freshman year at Louisville and struggled to throw strikes when he returned, leaving him with a career 5.82 ERA despite solid stuff. The Cubs drafted him in the 11th round and gave him an above-slot $200,000 bonus because they believed they could fix his control. Thompson rewarded that faith in his first full season at low Class A South Bend, going 8-6, 3.06 in 21 starts and, most importantly, walking fewer than three batters per nine innings.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Thompson has a prototypical starter’s build and three pitches he can throw for strikes. He attacks the zone with a high-spin fastball that ranges from 90-96 mph and complements it with a high-spin, mid-80s curveball that shows flashes of being a putaway pitch. Thompson found a changeup grip that worked for him in his first instructional league, settling on a “Vulcan” grip, and the result was a sinking change that gets swings and misses in the strike zone. Thompson’s command and control have improved the further he’s moved away from Tommy John surgery, in part because he’s throwing with more conviction and confidence.

    THE FUTURE: Both the Cubs and opposing evaluators believe Thompson is a solid future starter. He has a chance to see Double-A at some point during the 20201 season.

  13. 13. Cory Abbott | RHP
    Cory Abbott
    Born: Sep 20, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Loyola Marymount, 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.

    TRACK RECORD: Abbott didn't attract much attention in college until he learned a new slider grip from watching videos of Noah Syndergaard. Armed with his new slider, Abbott became an All-American his junior year and threw the first perfect game in Loyola Marymount history. The Cubs drafted him 67th overall and signed him for just over $900,000. Abbott continued his ascent in pro ball and led the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts in 2019. He spent 2020 at the Cubs' alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Abbott's success starts with his slider. It's a short, firm offering at 86-88 mph he commands to both sides of the plate. Lefties struggle with the break and righties don't pick it up out of his slightly crossfire delivery, allowing Abbott to get both swings and misses and called strikes with it. He also has a hard, 12-to-6 curveball that gets batters swinging over the top. Abbott's fastball sits 90-92 mph and tops out at 94, but it plays well up in the zone with an elevated spin rate. His changeup is a nonfactor. Abbott is competitive, durable and adjusts quickly. He commands all his pitches and moves the ball around the strike zone.

    THE FUTURE: Abbott is in line for his major league debut in 2021. He projects as a solid, durable starter or swingman.

  14. 14. Burl Carraway | LHP
    Burl Carraway
    Born: May 27, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 173
    Drafted/Signed: Dallas Baptist, 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Todd George.

    TRACK RECORD: Carraway cemented himself as the top reliever in the 2020 draft class when he made five appearances for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team and didn't allow a run. He followed with a dominant showing as Dallas Baptist's closer as a junior before the season shut down. The Cubs drafted him in the second round, No. 51 overall, and signed him for $1.05 million.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Carraway brings high-octane stuff from the left side. His fastball sits 96-98 mph and explodes out of his hand, getting on batters even quicker than they expect. He complements his fastball with a sharp, knee-buckling curveball in the mid 70s with 1-to-7 shape that is another plus pitch at its best. Carraway is a pure reliever with a slight frame and a high-effort delivery, which leads to inconsistent control. His wildness sometimes helps him by making batters uncomfortable in the box, but other times he sprays his fastball around and struggles to land his breaking ball.

    THE FUTURE: Carraway has the stuff to move quickly to the Cubs bullpen. He has a chance to pitch in high-leverage relief if he can throw strikes more consistently.

  15. 15. Cole Roederer | OF
    Cole Roederer
    Born: Sep 24, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Newhall, Calif., 2018 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.

    TRACK RECORD: Roederer was the latest standout to come out of Hart High in suburban Los Angeles, following James Shields, Tyler Glasnow and Trevor Bauer. He suffered a separated right shoulder just before the draft, but the Cubs still selected him 77th overall and gave him an above-slot $1.2 million signing bonus to forgo a UCLA commitment. Roederer had a strong pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but he began selling out for power and struggled in his first full season at low Class A South Bend. He showed little improvement at instructional league in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Roederer shows plenty of promising tools. At his best, he has a quick, direct swing from the left side that produces hard contact, is an above-average runner and defender in center field and has developed a physical, athletic frame. Roederer's issue is his approach. He gets too pull-happy and tries to hit the ball as far as he can rather than focusing on contact. As a result, pitchers dominate him with changeups he's too far out in front of. Roederer hits elevated fastballs. but has yet to show he can stay back and adjust to offspeed pitches.

    THE FUTURE: Roederer has the tools to be an everyday center fielder. Whether he adjusts his approach will determine if he gets there.

  16. 16. Ismael Mena | OF
    Ismael Mena
    Born: Nov 30, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Chris Kemp/Alvin Duran/Felix Feliz. (Padres)

    TRACK RECORD: Mena was one of the most athletic players in the 2019 international class and signed with the Padres for $2.2 million, the largest bonus the club awarded that year. His professional debut was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but he put on good weight and stood out in instructional league. The Cubs acquired him as one of five players for Yu Darvish after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Mena is a lean, sleek center fielder with plus-plus speed in the outfield and on the bases. He's a slashing hitter who sprays the ball around with a whippy swing from the left side, although he's added strength and leverage and has started to drive the ball in the air. Mena's swing can be too steep at times and he's prone to striking out, but that may improve with experience and maturity. Mena's routes and instincts in center field are a work in progress. He has the speed for the position but needs experience to refine his play. He has a plus arm that could become a plus-plus weapon as he gets stronger.

    THE FUTURE: Mena shows hints of a potential top-of-the-order center fielder, but he's extremely raw and will need time. His professional debut awaits in 2021.

  17. 17. Yeison Santana | SS/3B
    Yeison Santana
    Born: Dec 7, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 170
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Felix Felix/Chris Kemp (Padres).

    TRACK RECORD: Santana trained with Rudy Santin in the Dominican Republic and signed with the Padres for $300,000 in 2017. He quickly added strength and emerged as one of the top players in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his stateside debut, finishing fourth in batting average (.346) and sixth in on-base percentage (.429). He continued to impress at instructional league in 2020. The Cubs acquired him as one of five players for Yu Darvish after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Santana emerged as one of the more promising hitters in the Padres system before the Cubs acquired him. He's an aggressive hitter who swings hard but has the hand-eye coordination and barrel awareness to make consistent contact. He lines the ball to all fields, especially up the middle and the opposite way, and shows a keen eye for the strike zone. He is a lithe, twitchy athlete with explosive hands and may grow into power as he gets bigger. Santana plays with energy in the field and has a good awareness for the game. He occasionally plays too fast but has a chance to stay at shortstop with his solid range and improving arm strength.

    THE FUTURE: Santana was frequently asked about in trade discussions before the Cubs landed him. Some evaluators see a utility future, but others think he could be an everyday middle infielder at his peak.

  18. 18. Luis Verdugo | SS
    Luis Verdugo
    Born: Oct 12, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 172
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2017.
    Signed By: Sergio Hernandez/Louie Eljaua.

    TRACK RECORD: The Cubs paid $1.2 million to the Mexico City Red Devils for the rights to sign Verdugo in 2017, continuing the club's scouting push into Mexico. Verdugo struggled in his first year after signing, but he rebounded with a strong year in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019 and was targeted by other clubs at the 2020 trade deadline.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Verdugo's main draw is his bat. He is a mature hitter with a selective approach and solid bat speed. He has a lot of moving parts in his swing and gets streaky when he falls in and out of sync, but at his best he controls the strike zone, rarely strikes out and drives the ball hard to all fields. Verdugo signed as a shortstop but projects to move to third base as he fills out. He has solid actions in the field and throws well from varied angles on the run, although he occasionally plays too fast and makes errors as a result.

    THE FUTURE: Verdugo has a chance to hit for average and power as an everyday third baseman. He is many years from that ceiling, however, and will aim to make his full-season debut in 2021.

  19. 19. Chris Clarke | RHP
    Chris Clarke
    Born: May 13, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 212
    Drafted/Signed: Southern California, 2019 (4th round).
    Signed By: Tom Myers.

    TRACK RECORD: Clarke had Tommy John surgery in high school and struggled his first two years at Southern California, but he clicked working with Bethesda pitching coach Bill Sizemore in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League after his sophomore season. Clarke followed with a breakthrough junior year as the Trojans' closer and was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round, signing for $426,600.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Clarke's success came as a closer, but the Cubs believe he can start. He's a big, 6-foot-7 righthander who throws a lot of strikes with a sinking 92-95 mph fastball and a big-breaking curveball in the low 80s that he commands to make it a plus or better pitch. His sinking heater and downer curveball induce a steady stream of ground balls and prevent hard contact in the air. Clarke complements his two primary pitches with a darting slider in the mid 80s and a changeup with solid depth. He is a good athlete for his size and has a smooth, repeatable delivery that allows him to fill up the strike zone.

    THE FUTURE: Clarke will jump to full-season ball in 2021. He will continue developing as a starter and has a fallback as a late-inning reliever.

  20. 20. Michael McAvene | RHP
    Michael McAvene
    Born: Aug 24, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Louisville, 2019 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Jacob Williams.

    TRACK RECORD: McAvene had Tommy John surgery his freshman year at Louisville but rebounded to become the Cardinals' lockdown closer by the time he was a junior. The Cubs drafted him in the third round and signed him for $500,000, then sent him out as a starter at short-season Eugene in his pro debut.

    SCOUTING REPORT: McAvene has a high-powered arsenal fronted by a 93-96 mph fastball that touches 98-99 in short stints. He has a high-effort delivery with a pronounced head whack, but he's strong enough to repeat his mechanics and pound the strike zone. His fastball gets lots of swings and misses in the strike zone, and he complements it with a hard, sharp slider with unique depth that has a chance to be a wipeout offering. He has rarely used a changeup in his career and needs to develop one.

    THE FUTURE: McAvene's history, pitch mix and effortful delivery point to a relief future, but the Cubs see the athleticism and control to give him a chance to start. He's set to make his full-season debut in 2021.

  21. 21. Kevin Made | SS
    Kevin Made
    Born: Sep 10, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 160
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Louie Eljaua/Jose Serra/Gian Guzman.

    TRACK RECORD: Made trained in the same program as fellow Cubs 2019 international signee Ronnier Quintero and signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic. He hit well in games as an amateur and was set to make his pro debut in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Made is a wiry, high-waisted athlete with a lot of present ability and plenty of room to get stronger. His quick hands and strong wrists give him surprising thump for his lean frame, and he makes a lot of contact with good hand-eye coordination and a mature, selective approach. As he adds weight and strength, he has the potential to hit for both average and power. Made should stick at shortstop even as he gets bigger. He has good instincts and actions at the position, ranges well in all directions and has a plus, accurate arm that could become plus-plus as he gets stronger.

    THE FUTURE: Made is set to make his professional debut in 2021. He's far from the majors, but he is the Cubs' best pure shortstop prospect outside of Ed Howard.

  22. 22. Justin Steele | LHP
    Justin Steele
    Born: Jul 11, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Lucedale, Miss., 2014 (5th round).
    Signed By: J.P. Davis.

    TRACK RECORD: Steele became the highest-drafted Mississippi high school pitcher in 15 years when the Cubs selected him in the fifth round in 2014 and signed him for $1 million. He had Tommy John surgery in 2017, missed most of 2018 recovering and was limited by an oblique injury in 2019, but he rebounded to earn his first big league callup in 2020. He didn't get to pitch before returning to the alternate training site, and then suffered a hamstring injury.

    SCOUTING REPORT: The Cubs prepared Steele for a bullpen role at the alternate site and saw his stuff tick up in shorter stints. His fastball jumped to 94-96 mph with riding life, and he integrated a sharp, mid-80s slider into his arsenal that was rarely used before. He still has his downer, 76-80 mph curveball that was his best pitch as a starter and a usable changeup with late fade. Steele struggled to keep a consistent rhythm in his delivery as a starter and suffered control problems, but he throws enough strikes in relief.

    THE FUTURE: The Cubs haven't given up on Steele as a starter but like what he offers in the bullpen. His major league debut should come in 2021.

  23. 23. Alfonso Rivas | 1B
    Alfonso Rivas
    Born: Sep 3, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 188
    Drafted/Signed: Arizona, 2018 (4th round).
    Signed By: Scott Cousins (Athletics).

    TRACK RECORD: Rivas was regarded as one of the college baseball's best pure hitters at Arizona and was drafted by the A's in the fourth round in 2018. He raced to Triple-A in his first full season and followed with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, leading the Cubs to acquire him for Tony Kemp.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Rivas is a bit of a throwback as a sweet-swinging first baseman with modest power. He is extremely disciplined at the plate and rarely chases outside the strike zone. He's a tough at-bat who grinds pitchers down, draws his walks and hits the ball where it's pitched, using the whole field. Rivas mostly lines singles and doubles into the outfield. Evaluators question whether he will surpass 15 home runs, but believe he may hit enough doubles for a decent slugging percentage. Rivas is a top-notch defensive first baseman who briefly pitched in college and has above-average arm strength.

    THE FUTURE: Rivas' professional approach and hitting ability have him close to the majors. Whether he accesses more power will determine if he becomes an everyday player.

  24. 24. Jordan Nwogu | OF
    Jordan Nwogu
    Born: Mar 10, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 235
    Drafted/Signed: Michigan, 2020 (3rd round).
    Signed By: John Pedrotty.

    TRACK RECORD: Nwogu attended Michigan on an academic scholarship to study computer engineering and was a recruited walk-on to the baseball team. He was nearly cut in fall ball as a freshman but rebounded to become a three-year starting outfielder. He led the Wolverines in on-base percentage and slugging percentage as a sophomore to lead them to the College World Series finals and was off to a scorching start in 2020 before the season shut down. The Cubs drafted him in the third round and signed him for $678,600.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Nwogu received Division I football scholarship offers in high school and is still built like a linebacker at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. That strength and size yields plus-plus raw power to go with plus speed on the bases. Scouts aren't sure Nwogu's funky, top-hand heavy swing will work against pro pitching. He does have a good bat path and controls the strike zone, providing optimism he'll make enough contact to access his power. Nwogu played left field before moving to center at Michigan, but projects to move back to left with his uneven routes and below-average arm.

    THE FUTURE: Nwogu's future depends on his swing development. He has a chance to become a power-hitting corner outfielder if everything clicks.

  25. 25. Owen Caissie | OF
    Owen Caissie
    Born: Jul 8, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Burlington, Ont., 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Chris Kemlo (Padres).

    TRACK RECORD: Caissie starred as the top power hitter on Canada's junior national team and generated buzz in the spring when he hit a home run over the batter's eye at the Blue Jays' spring training stadium. The Padres drafted him 45th overall and signed him for just over $1.2 million to forgo a Michigan commitment. Caissie briefly played at the Padres alternate training site, but he got hit by a pitch on the elbow at the start of instructional league and missed most of the fall. The Cubs acquired him as one of five players for Yu Darvish after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Caissie is a big lefthanded hitter with plus raw power and room to add even more strength. He posts some of the top exit velocities and longest home run distances in every environment he plays. Caissie's swing can get long and he is prone to striking out, but when he gets a fastball over the plate he crushes it. He is a hard worker who spends every free moment in the batting cage. Caissie is much more raw defensively. He has average speed and an average arm, but he's not comfortable with high fly balls and is still learning proper footwork.

    THE FUTURE: Caissie has the power for 30-plus home runs if he can make enough contact. His pro debut awaits in 2021.

  26. 26. Yohendrick Pinango | OF
    Yohendrick Pinango
    Born: May 7, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 170
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2018.
    Signed By: Julio Figeuroa/Hector Ortega/Louie Eljaua.

    TRACK RECORD: Pinango hit well in games as an amateur in Venezuela and was one of the Cubs' top signings in their 2018 international class. He burnished his reputation as a top hitter in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, leading the league with 86 hits and finishing fourth with a .358 batting average.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Pinango has unique bat-to-ball skills for his age. He is a patient hitter who rarely chases and has an advanced feel for picking out pitches he can drive. Pinango has a quick, impactful swing and drives the ball hard to all fields on a line. He has doubles power now and may grow into home run power as he matures physically. Pinango enhances his offensive game with his speed and went 27-for-34 on stolen bases in the DSL. He plays center field now and has a chance to stick there, although he may move to a corner depending on how his body develops.

    THE FUTURE: The Cubs already consider Pinango one of the best pure hitters in their system. He should make his stateside debut in 2021.

  27. 27. Tyson Miller | RHP
    Tyson Miller
    Born: Jul 29, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 225
    Drafted/Signed: California Baptist, 2016 (4th round).
    Signed By: Alex Lontayo.

    TRACK RECORD: Miller was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round out of Division II California Baptist following a dominant showing in the Cape Cod League the previous summer. He progressively made his way up the minors and took a step forward at the Cubs' alternate training site in 2020, leading to his major league debut in August.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Miller is a big, sturdy righthander who generates lots of natural movement on his pitches. His 90-95 mph fastball features natural cutting action and late ride at the top of the strike zone, and he backs it up with a true cutter in the upper 80s that also plays at the top of the zone. Miller mostly relies on those two pitches. He has a low-to-mid-80s slider that cuts late and a changeup, but both are fringy-to-below average offerings. Miller struggled with his control in the majors but was efficient in the minors with above-average control. He avoids barrels and generates soft contact more than swings and misses.

    THE FUTURE: The Cubs used Miller as a spot starter/long reliever in his debut. He'll try to force his way into a larger role in 2021.

  28. 28. Keegan Thompson | RHP
    Keegan Thompson
    Born: Mar 13, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Auburn, 2017 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Alex McClure.

    TRACK RECORD: Thompson was Auburn's ace the moment he stepped foot on campus as a freshman, but missed his junior year after having Tommy John surgery and his stuff wasn't as crisp when he returned. The Cubs still drafted him in the third round in 2017 and signed him for $511,900. Thompson moved quickly to Double-A in his first full season, but he made only one start in 2019 before going on the injured list with elbow inflammation and received a platelet-rich plasma injection. He returned to pitch well in the Arizona Fall League and spent 2020 at the alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Thompson is the proverbial bulldog on the mound who stays on the attack, fills up the strike zone and doesn't give in. His stuff is modest with a 90-93 mph fastball, above-average 85-87 mph slider, average 79-81 mph curveball and average 83-85 mph changeup, but he expertly sequences his pitches to keep hitters off balance. He moves the ball around the strike zone with plus control and avoids self-induced mistakes like walks, hit batters and wild pitches.

    THE FUTURE: The Cubs added Thompson to the 40-man roster after the 2020 season. If healthy, he has a chance to make his major league debut in 2021.

  29. 29. Moises Ballesteros | C
    Moises Ballesteros
    Born: Nov 17, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2021.

    TRACK RECORD: After signing Ronnier Quintero in 2019, the Cubs added another promising Venezuelan catcher in their 2020-21 class with Ballesteros, who trained with Alvaro Diaz. Ballesteros grew up playing a lot of baseball, including at the U-12 World Cup in Taiwan in 2015 when he hit cleanup as the youngest player on the Venezuelan team. The Cubs signed him on Jan. 15.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Ballesteros consistently performed well in games in Venezuela, managing his at-bats well for his age with a selective approach and good bat control from the left side. His contact skills and plate discipline give him the foundation for strong on-base skills for a catcher, and when he connects it's often for hard contact. He can drive the ball for extra-base damage now with occasional over-the-fence shots and a chance to grow into average power. Ballesteros has a stout, blocky that gives some scouts concerns and about his future physical projection. He has a strong upper body but will need to work to stay on top of his conditioning and maintain his mobility behind the plate. Ballesteros is an offensive-minded catcher who needs more work with his blocking and receiving, though he is surprisingly quick behind the plate getting rid of the ball with a strong arm and pop times into the 1.9s in games.

    THE FUTURE: The trek up the minor league ladder for teenage catchers is long and treacherous. Ballesteros will begin his climb in Rookie ball in 2021.

  30. 30. Jack Patterson | LHP
    Jack Patterson
    Born: Aug 3, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Bryant, 2018 (32nd round).
    Signed By: Matt Sherman.

    TRACK RECORD: Patterson took a line drive to the head in college that caused severe concussion symptoms for nearly two years, but he recovered to win Northeast Conference pitcher of the year as a senior in 2018. The Cubs drafted him in the 32nd round. Patterson posted a 1.69 ERA as he jumped three levels to Double-A in his first full season, and the Cubs brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Patterson's fastball previously sat 88-91 mph but rose to 91-94 mph after the Cubs made an adjustment to his lower half. That velocity bump has helped him be more aggressive, and he still has advanced pitchability from when he threw softer. Patterson complements his fastball with a downer, low-80s curveball that helps him generate ground balls. He is capable of missing bats, but he primarily induces weak contact on the ground. His changeup is developing but flashes average. Patterson struggled with walks in college, but he's shown an easy, efficient delivery and improved strike-throwing in pro ball.

    THE FUTURE: Patterson fits in the Cubs' plans as a future swingman or lefthanded reliever. He has a chance to make his major league debut in 2021.

View Players 11-30

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