BA Newsletter: Get Analysis, Rankings Delivered To Your Inbox!

Chicago Cubs

Prospects Overview

Top 29 Prospects

Click prospect for player report

Prospect Lists

Best Tools

Top Prospects of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Player Reports

  1. 1. 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.
    Minors: .260/.375/.494 | 19 HR | 8 SB | 350 AB

    Track Record: Davis is the son of former NBA point guard Reggie Theus, but his father is not a part of his life. He was raised by his mother Jakki, a former standout long jumper at Washington, on a ranch in Arizona, where he tended to goats, llamas, chickens, horses, cats, dogs and other animals as part of his childhood responsibilities growing up. Davis grew into a multi-sport standout and helped Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) High win the Arizona 6A state basketball championship as a junior while being named his region’s defensive player of the year, but he stopped playing basketball as a senior to focus on baseball full-time. The decision paid off when the Cubs drafted him in the second round and signed him for an above-slot $1.1 million bonus to forgo a Miami commitment. After being limited by a broken finger in his first full season and spending 2020 at the alternate training site, Davis broke out in 2021. He missed the start of the season after he was hit by a pitch in the face during spring training and suffered a broken nose and a concussion, but he still rose from High-A to Triple-A and led all Cubs full-season minor leaguers in runs (66), doubles (25) and OPS (.869). He hit two home runs at the Futures Game in Denver and was named MVP.

    Scouting Report: Davis is built like a basketball player with his long, lean 6-foot-4 frame. His long arms create excellent leverage in his swing and help him generate plus power to his pull side. He has progressively filled out as he’s matured and still has room to get stronger and add more power. Davis’ long levers previously made it difficult for him to be on time against fastballs, but he adjusted his swing to be shorter and quicker and now has no trouble catching up to velocity. He turns around both fastballs and breaking balls, covers the entire plate and drives the ball hard to all fields. Davis occasionally expands the strike zone, especially against secondary pitches down and away from lefthanded pitchers, but he generally forces pitchers to throw strikes. He projects to be an average hitter as long he maintains his patient approach and swing adjustments. Davis is a plus runner who uses his speed more effectively in the outfield than on the basepaths. He effortlessly runs down fly balls in all directions and projects to be an above-average defender in center field. He may slow down as he fills out and move to right field, where his plus arm strength will fit. Davis is a thoughtful, charitable individual who offered to pay off his mom’s house with his signing bonus and donated 40 pairs of cleats to his high school. He continues to care for his pet llamas, Marco and Polo, in the offseason.

    The Future: Davis has the talent to be an all-star and the personality to be a fan favorite in Chicago. He is likely to begin the 2022 season back at Triple-A, but with the Cubs firmly in a rebuilding period, his major league debut should come in 2022.

  2. 2. Cristian Hernandez | SS
    Cristian Hernandez
    Born: Dec 13, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Gian Guzmán/Louie Eljaua/Alex Suarez.

    Track Record: Hernandez showed elite swing mechanics from an early age in the Dominican Republic and established himself as arguably the top player in the 2020-21 international signing class. The Cubs signed him for $3 million, a franchise record for an international amateur, the first day the signing period opened. Hernandez began his pro career in the Dominican Summer League and delivered a promising early return on that investment. He posted an .822 OPS with 21 stolen bases and nearly as many walks (30) as strikeouts (39).

    Scouting Report: Hernandez is the rare explosive athlete who is also a polished hitter for his age. He generates excellent bat speed, gets on plane early and keeps his barrel through the zone for a long time. He effortlessly drives the ball hard to all fields and projects to grow into plus power as he fills out his projectable, 6-foot-2 frame. Hernandez got off to a slow start in his pro debut, but he showed the ability to adjust and caught fire at the end of the season. He has a high baseball IQ and a preternatural ability to slow the game down. Hernandez is impressively coordinated for his age and has the hands, instincts and range to be an average defender at shortstop. He may outgrow the position as he fills out and has the plus arm strength for third base if he has to move.

    The Future: Hernandez has the potential to be an impact hitter in the middle of the lineup, but he’s a long way away. He is set to make his U.S. debut in 2022.

  3. 3. 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.

    Track Record: Marquez signed with the Cubs for $600,000 when he was 16 and blossomed into one of the hardest-throwing lefthanded pitchers in the minors. He made his major league debut on the final day of the 2020 season and entered last year as the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect, but he contracted Covid-19 before spring training and then suffered a shoulder strain trying to build up his arm strength. His shoulder injury lingered and caused him to abort multiple rehab attempts throughout the year, and he ended up missing the entire season.

    Scouting Report: When healthy, Marquez overwhelms hitters with a fastball that sits at 96-98 mph and touches 102 with remarkably little effort. He pairs it with a mid-to-upper 80s slider with excellent depth and a 90-91 mph changeup he sells well with his arm speed. He also developed a low-80s curveball at the alternate training site in 2020 that he can land for strikes early in counts. Marquez’s stuff is overpowering, but he’s only a fair athlete and struggles to repeat his delivery and release point. His fastball sails high to his arm side when his delivery is not on time and he has yet to show he can throw his slider and changeup for strikes consistently. He has stretches where he pounds the strike zone, but he also has spurts of extreme wildness. He projects to have fringe-average control overall and will have to improve both his fitness and mechanics to reach average control.

    The Future: Marquez is a wild card depending on the health of his shoulder. Provided his stuff returns intact, he has a chance to be a hard-throwing, mid-rotation starter if he improves his control. If not, he has the stuff to be a closer out of the bullpen.

  4. 4. Pete Crow-Armstrong | OF
    Pete Crow-Armstrong
    Born: Mar 25, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Los Angeles, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Rusty McNamara (Mets).
    Minors: .417/.562/.500 | 0 HR | 2 SB | 24 AB

    Track Record: Crow-Armstrong starred at Harvard-Westlake High in Los Angeles, the same school that produced Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty, and was a two-time member of USA Baseball’s 18U National Team in a decorated amateur career. The Cubs nearly drafted him with their first-round pick in 2020, but ultimately opted for local shortstop Ed Howard. The Mets drafted him three picks later and signed him for $3.359 million to forgo a Vanderbilt commitment. Crow-Armstrong’s pro debut in 2021 was cut short after six games by a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required season-ending surgery. Despite the injury, the Cubs still acquired him at the trade deadline for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams.

    Scouting Report: Crow-Armstrong is slightly built but has innate instincts that help him play bigger than his size. He has a sweet lefthanded swing geared for contact, has few holes in his swing path and controls the strike zone with a disciplined approach. He doesn’t hit the ball particularly hard yet, but he projects to be at least an average hitter and should grow into 10-15 home run power as he adds strength to his lithe frame. Crow-Armstrong shines most brightly on defense. He’s a confident, fluid defender in center field with plus speed, elite anticipation and graceful actions. His above-average arm keeps runners from taking extra bases and rounds out his plus-plus defensive ability.

    The Future: Crow-Armstrong has the skills to be a Gold Glove-winning center fielder who hits at the top or bottom of a lineup. He should have no trouble dealing with the spotlight—his parents, Ashley Crow and Matthew Armstrong, are both accomplished actors in L.A.

  5. 5. Jordan Wicks | LHP
    Jordan Wicks
    Born: Sep 1, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Signed By: Ty Nichols.
    Minors: 0-0 | 5.14 ERA | 5 SO | 3 BB | 7 IP

    Track Record: Wicks led the Big 12 Conference in strikeouts last spring and set Kansas State’s single-season (118) and career (230) strikeout records despite playing only two full seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Cubs considered him a top 10 talent in the draft and were happily surprised he was available at No. 21, where they quickly selected him to make him the first Kansas State player ever picked in the first round. Wicks signed for $3,132,300 and made his brief pro debut with four abbreviated starts at Low-A Myrtle Beach.

    Scouting Report: Wicks is a polished lefthander who pounds the strike zone with five pitches. His four-seam and two-seam fastball both sit 92-93 mph and touch 95, and they each play up with late movement and deception out of his slightly crossfire delivery. His four-seamer gets excellent carry through the zone with cut and ride and his two-seamer features late run. Wicks expertly mixes his secondary pitches, headlined by a plus-plus changeup that was the best in the 2021 draft class. It’s a tumbling pitch with late drop in the low 80s that he sells with his arm speed and gets early swings and misses. Wicks’ mid-80s slider has improved to become an above-average pitch and his upper-70s curveball is a usable offering. Wicks works quickly and fills up the strike zone with plus control. He is an outstanding teammate who is eager to learn.

    The Future: Wicks has weapons to get both righthanded and lefthanded hitters out and should move quickly up the minors. He projects to settle in as a No. 3 or 4 starter similar to Marco Gonzales.

  6. 6. Kevin Alcantara | OF
    Kevin Alcantara
    Born: Jul 12, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2018.
    Signed By: Edgar Mateo/Juan Piron (Yankees).
    Minors: .345/.423/.588 | 5 HR | 5 SB | 119 AB

    Track Record: Alcantara signed with the Yankees for $1 million during the 2018 international signing period and advanced out of the Dominican Summer League just nine games into his pro debut. He got off to a hot start during extended spring training and the beginning of the Florida Complex League season in 2021, leading the Cubs to acquire him with righthander Alexander Vizcaino for Anthony Rizzo at the trade deadline. Alcantara took off after joining the Cubs, posting a 1.024 OPS in the Arizona Complex League and becoming a scout favorite.

    Scouting Report: Alcantara is physically gifted with his long, lean 6-foot-6 frame, growing strength and impressive athleticism. He has a balanced, powerful swing and generates plenty of leverage with his long arms. The ball jumps off his bat in the air to all fields with little effort, and he has a chance to grow into plus power as he gets stronger. Alcantara’s swing gets long and will need to be shortened, but he’s receptive to coaching and has already shown the ability to adjust. He recognizes spin well for his age, stays balanced through his swing and uses the whole field, giving him a chance to be an average hitter. Alcantara is a plus runner who covers lots of ground in center field with his long strides. He has a chance to stay in center but may outgrow the position as he fills out. He has average arm strength.

    The Future: Alcantara’s raw tools give him as much upside as anyone in the Cubs system. How his swing develops will determine whether he reaches his all-star potential.

  7. 7. Caleb Kilian | RHP
    Caleb Kilian
    Born: Jun 2, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Todd Thomas (Giants).
    Minors: 7-4 | 2.42 ERA | 112 SO | 13 BB | 101 IP

    Track Record: Kilian led Texas Tech to back-to-back College World Series appearances as a member of the Red Raiders starting rotation and finished third in school history with 23 career wins. The Giants drafted him in the eighth round in 2019 and signed him for $397,500. Kilian impressed in his pro debut after signing and, after missing the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, rose to Double-A in a breakout 2021 campaign. The Cubs acquired him with outfielder Alexander Canario at the trade deadline for Kris Bryant, and Kilian continued his ascent with a star turn in the Arizona Fall League after the season.

    Scouting Report: Kilian previously succeeded with average stuff and plus control, but his stuff has ticked up to enhance his future outlook. His fastball now sits 91-94 mph and touches 97-98 mph. He has maintained his advanced feel for pitching through his velocity bump and manipulates his fastball to alternately give it cut, sink or ride depending on the hitter. Kilian primarily succeeds throwing different varieties of his fastball, but his curveball has improved to flash plus with good depth and he can mix in both an average cutter and changeup. Kilian locates his fastball on both edges of the plate and fills up the strike zone with all four of his pitches. He has a good feel for changing speeds and moving the ball around the strike zone.

    The Future: Kilian’s newfound velocity and advanced feel for pitching gives him a chance to be a mid-to-back of the rotation starter. He is in position to make his major league debut in 2022.

  8. 8. 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).
    Minors: .302/.434/.489 | 7 HR | 1 SB | 182 AB

    Track Record: Caissie starred for the Canada’s junior national team and rose to prominence as a high school senior when he hit a home run off Double-A pitcher Conner Overton that hit the batter’s eye at the Blue Jays spring training stadium. The Padres drafted him 45th overall and signed him for $1.2 million, then traded him to the Cubs six months later as one of five players for Yu Darvish. Almost immediately, Caissie emerged as the best prospect in the Darvish trade. His power earned comparisons to Joey Gallo’s during extended spring training and he rampaged through the Arizona Complex League with a 1.074 OPS. He finished the year with a promotion to Low-A Myrtle Beach.

    Scouting Report: Caissie has the most power in the Cubs system and gets to it with remarkable ease. He has a compact, powerful lefthanded swing and keeps his barrel in the zone a long time. The ball jumps off his bat with his natural strength and leverage and frequently clears 400 feet to both his pull side and the opposite field. He puts together quality at-bats, keeps a good direction in his swing and controls the strike zone enough to project to be an average hitter with 35-plus home run power. Caissie is less refined defensively. He’s a below-average right fielder who struggles with high fly balls and is short on game experience. He’s a good athlete and hard worker and should improve in time. He has above-average arm strength.

    The Future: Caissie checks all the boxes of a future middle-of-the-order run producer. His bat may allow him to rise quickly through the minors.

  9. 9. D.J. Herz | LHP
    D.J. Herz
    Born: Jan 4, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Billy Swoope.
    Minors: 4-4 | 3.31 ERA | 131 SO | 44 BB | 82 IP

    Track Record: Herz played quarterback on the football team and guard on the basketball team in addition to being the ace lefthander at Sanford High in Fayetteville, N.C. The Cubs identified Herz early as a draft target and selected him in the eighth round in 2019, signing him for an above-slot $500,000 bonus. Herz looked primed for a breakout during 2020 spring training before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season, but he carried it over into 2021. Herz led the organization with 131 strikeouts while spending time at both Class A levels and averaged 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings, third-highest in the minors among pitchers who threw at least 80 innings.

    Scouting Report: Herz is an athletic lefthander who continues to grow into more stuff every year. His fastball jumped from 88-91 to 92-95 mph and plays up with late carry and deception from his crossbody delivery. Hitters don’t see his fastball and are consistently late on it. Herz’s changeup has developed into a borderline plus-plus pitch with insane drop, in the words of one evaluator, and his tight, vertical curveball is at least an average pitch that ties up righthanded batters. Herz has three swing-and-miss pitches, but his long arm action and cross-body finish make it difficult for him to control his arsenal. He averaged nearly five walks per nine, hit eight batters and threw 14 wild pitches. His arm action also raises concerns about future injuries.

    The Future: Herz has electric stuff but needs to improve his control to reach his mid-rotation potential. If he doesn’t, he could still be a shutdown lefthanded reliever.

  10. 10. 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.
    Minors: .276/.327/.373 | 5 HR | 8 SB | 421 AB

    Track Record: Pinango stood out for his hitting ability as an amateur in Venezuela and signed with the Cubs for $400,000 in 2018. He lived up to the billing by leading the Dominican Summer League in hits in his pro debut and followed up by hitting .272 at offense-stifling Myrtle Beach in his first full season in 2021. He ended the year with a promotion to High-A South Bend.

    Scouting Report: The best pure hitter in the Cubs system, Pinango has a quick, lefthanded swing and elite contact skills for his age. He rarely swings and misses, keeps his barrel in the zone for a long time and sprays balls from line to line. He complements those contact skills with a patient approach and is a consensus future plus hitter. Pinango swings down on the ball and mostly hits it on the ground, making it unlikely he’ll ever elevate enough to be a home run threat, but he makes hard contact and posts above-average exit velocities for his age. Pinango is physically mature already and projects to be a left fielder with his average speed and arm strength. He has advanced instincts and plays under control on both sides of the ball.

    The Future: Pinango’s hitting ability gives him a chance to be a starting corner outfielder even with his lack of home run power. He may see Double-A as a 20-year-old in 2022.

  11. 11. James Triantos | 2B/SS
    James Triantos
    Born: Jan 29, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: Billy Swoope
    Minors: .327/.376/.594 | 6 HR | 3 SB | 101 AB

    Track Record: Triantos was originally part of the 2022 draft class but re-classified for 2021. In the final game of his high school career, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning and hit the go-ahead home run to give Madison High the Virginia 6A state championship. Cubs scouting director Dan Kantrovitz was in attendance, and three weeks later the Cubs drafted Triantos in the second round. He signed for an above-slot $2.1 million.

    Scouting Report: Triantos is a precocious hitter who possesses elite bat speed and an innate feel for the barrel. He consistently squares pitches up and drives them hard to all fields. He complements his physical abilities with a keen sense for making adjustments and solid plate discipline, helping him project to be a plus hitter with average power. A shortstop in high school, Triantos is now a second baseman and has a lot of work to do defensively. His hands and feet get disconnected and the game frequently speeds up on him, leading to sloppy errors. His above-average arm strength is negated by a poor arm action.

    The Future: Triantos projects to hit enough to overshadow his defensive shortcomings. He’ll make his full-season debut in 2022.

  12. 12. 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.
    Minors: .215/.406/.304 | 1 HR | 2 SB | 79 AB

    Track Record: Amaya starred for Panama at international tournaments throughout his youth and signed with the Cubs for $1 million in 2015. He received back-to-back Futures Game selections in 2018-19 and was invited to the alternate training site in 2020. Amaya opened 2021 at Double-A, but he played just 23 games before going on the injured list with forearm tightness in early June. He had a setback during his rehab and ultimately had Tommy John surgery in November.

    Scouting Report: When healthy, Amaya is a well-rounded catcher who makes an impact on both sides of the ball. He is an extremely disciplined hitter who recognizes pitches and stays in the strike zone. He swings at the right pitches and has above-average power, but he frequently hits the ball on the ground and will have to learn to elevate more. Amaya is a big, physical presence behind the plate defensively. His receiving and framing are average and he is a good blocker who keeps the ball in front of him. He shut down running games with a quick exchange and plus arm strength prior to surgery.

    The Future: Amaya’s surgery will keep him out all of the 2022 season. He is scheduled to return in 2023.

  13. 13. 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.
    Minors: .272/.296/.366 | 1 HR | 2 SB | 235 AB

    Track Record: Made signed with the Cubs for $1.5 million as one of the top players in the 2019 international class. The Cubs pushed him aggressively in his professional debut, sending him straight to Low-A Myrtle Beach as an 18-year-old in 2021. Made impressively hit .272 facing older competition, but he also walked only six times in 58 games.

    Scouting Report: Made’s offense was his strength as an amateur, but his defense has jumped ahead as a pro. He is a borderline plus-plus defender at shortstop with quick reactions, reliable hands and plus-plus arm strength. Though he isn’t the most electric or rangy defender, he plays second base, shortstop and third base flawlessly in the words of one evaluator and quickly picks up the actions, angles and footwork of each position. Made’s swing is mechanically sound and he makes hard contact when he connects, but he’s an extraordinarily aggressive hitter. He swings at almost any fastball and bails pitchers out by chasing fastballs well out of the strike zone. He does hit fastballs in the zone and recognizes breaking balls.

    The Future: Made’s defense will buy him time to improve his plate discipline. He’ll move to High-A South Bend in 2022.

  14. 14. Reggie Preciado | 3B
    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)
    Minors: .333/.383/.511 | 3 HR | 7 SB | 141 AB

    Track Record: Preciado starred for Panama in international tournaments throughout his youth and signed with the Padres for $1.3 million in 2019. He stood out during 2020 instructional league and was acquired by the Cubs as one of five players for Yu Darvish a few months later. Preciado skipped over the Dominican Summer League and made his debut in 2021 in the Arizona Complex League, where he hit .333 and finished tied for 10th in the league in hits.

    Scouting Report: Preciado stands 6-foot-5 and has plenty of room to fill out his lanky frame. A switch-hitter, he has excellent hand-eye coordination, advanced barrel control and a natural feel for contact from both sides of the plate. Preciado’s bat-to-ball skills and power potential give him plenty of offensive upside, but he’ll need to tighten his plate discipline. He is extremely aggressive and prone to chasing pitches out of the strike zone. Preciado signed as a shortstop but has already outgrown the position. He’s not particularly agile, but his reliable hands and above-average arm strength give him a chance to be an average defender at third base.

    The Future: Preciado projects to be a power-hitting, everyday third baseman if he can fine-tune his approach. He’ll still be 18 on Opening Day and has plenty of time.

  15. 15. Nelson Velazquez | OF
    Nelson Velazquez
    Born: Dec 26, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Edwards Guzman.
    Minors: .270/.333/.496 | 20 HR | 17 SB | 385 AB

    Track Record: Velazquez went to high school in Florida before moving back to Puerto Rico and becoming one of the island’s top draft prospects in 2017. The Cubs drafted him in the fifth round and signed him for $400,000. Velazquez disappointed his first few seasons, but he began to show signs of life before the coronavirus pandemic hit. He broke out in 2021 and led the Cubs system in total bases (191) while advancing to Double-A Tennessee, then won MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: Velazquez has long had loud tools and is finally turning them into production. He generates above-average power out of his compact, muscular build and has made swing adjustments to better access it. He previously struggled with fastballs and was too pull-oriented, but he flattened his swing to stay in the zone longer and now drives high-velocity fastballs to all fields. He remains prone to chasing breaking balls off the plate but makes enough contact overall to project to hit .240 with 20-plus home runs. Velazquez is a good athlete given his bulk and makes highlight-reel catches in both center and right field. He has average speed and plus arm strength.

    The Future: Velazquez is on track to be at least a part-time outfielder in the majors. He was added to the 40-man roster last fall and may make his major league debut in 2022.

  16. 16. 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.
    Minors: 3-7 | 4.16 ERA | 90 SO | 31 BB | 80 IP

    Track Record: Jensen touched 98 mph and was the Mountain West Conference pitcher of the year as a junior at Fresno State, but the Cubs still went above industry consensus when they drafted him 27th overall in 2019. Concerns about Jensen’s control appeared well-founded at the start of his full-season debut with High-A South Bend in 2021, but he locked in his delivery and release point midway through the year. He posted a 2.28 ERA in his final 11 starts and rose to Double-A.

    Scouting Report: Jensen is undersized, but he is a power pitcher with a pair of plus-plus fastballs that overwhelm hitters. His four-seamer averages 96 mph and rides above barrels and his two-seamer averages 95 mph and breaks bats with its late run and bore. Jensen’s mid-80s slider with lateral run is an above-average pitch and he introduced a vertical curveball last year that flashes average. His upper-80s changeup gets swings and misses in the strike zone but doesn’t get chase swings. Jensen has an effortful delivery with a long arm action that leads to inconsistent mechanics and bouts of below-average control. He’s a good athlete who took off when he found a consistent release point.

    The Future: Jensen has the stuff to be a hard-throwing back-end starter if he maintains his delivery and release point. If not, his stuff should play in late relief.

  17. 17. 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.
    Minors: .225/.277/.315 | 4 HR | 7 SB | 302 AB

    Track Record: Howard grew up on Chicago’s South Side and led the city’s Jackie Robinson West All-Star team to the Little League World Series in 2014. He followed with a standout career at Mount Carmel High, 15 miles south of Wrigley Field, and was drafted 16th overall by the Cubs in 2020. Howard jumped straight to Low-A Myrtle Beach for his pro debut in 2021 but struggled with the aggressive assignment. He hit just .225 with a 30% strikeout rate and missed nearly a month with a strained hamstring.

    Scouting Report: Howard has long stood out for his athleticism and defense at shortstop. He is an electric, rangy defender who makes both the flashy and routine plays with his soft hands, plus arm strength and an excellent internal clock. He moves fluidly across the diamond, takes good angles to the ball and keeps his throws on target to project as a plus-plus defender. Howard’s offense has further to go. He struggles to recognize or hit breaking balls and hits the ball on the ground too often. He has plenty of bat speed, shows solid hand-eye coordination and flashes average power, but his poor pitch recognition precludes him from being more than a below-average hitter.

    The Future: Howard’s defense will buy him time for his bat to develop. He’ll start 2022 back in the Class A levels.

  18. 18. 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.

    Track Record: Franklin’s projectable frame and athletic delivery enticed the Cubs to draft him in the sixth round in 2018 and give him an above-slot $540,000 signing bonus. He showed well during his pro debut at short-season Eugene, but injuries and the coronavirus pandemic have largely kept him off the mound in three of the last four seasons. He missed most of his senior year with a broken foot, lost 2020 due to the pandemic and missed all of last season with a strained oblique.

    Scouting Report: The nephew of former closer Ryan Franklin, Kohl throws three pitches for strikes out of a loose, athletic delivery and has room to fill out his 6-foot-4 frame. His fastball sits 92-95 mph and projects to tick up as he gets stronger. He pairs his heater with a potentially plus changeup in the 80-84 mph range and an average spike curveball in the mid 70s that shows solid depth. Franklin pounds the strike zone and projects to have above-average control. His biggest question is his durability—he has thrown just 50.2 innings in four professional seasons.

    The Future: Franklin began throwing bullpen sessions last fall and should be ready for 2022 spring training. He has mid-rotation potential but has to show he can stay on the mound.

  19. 19. Chase Strumpf | 3B/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.
    Minors: .231/.352/.381 | 7 HR | 4 SB | 268 AB

    Track Record: Stumpf rose to prominence as the starting shortstop at national prep power JSerra High in SoCal and put together a solid three-year career at UCLA. The Cubs drafted him in the second round, No. 64 overall, and signed him for just over $1.05 million. Strumpf’s full-season debut was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but he made up for lost time by racing to Double-A in 2021. He overcame a slow start to finish with a 1.028 OPS in his final month.

    Scouting Report: Strumpf is the epitome of a professional hitter with a calm, patient approach, an easy swing and a natural feel for the barrel. He works counts until he gets a pitch to hit and smoothly drives balls from gap to gap. He fell into some bad habits trying to lift the ball at Double-A initially, but he eventually rediscovered his form to retain his status as a potential above-average hitter. Strumpf has sneaky power, particularly the other way to right-center, and should complement solid batting averages with double-digit homers. He is an average defender at second base and has started to play third base on occasion. He is more comfortable at second and his fringe-average arm fits best there.

    The Future: Strumpf’s hitting ability should make him at least a solid contributor. He’ll see Triple-A in 2022.

  20. 20. Alexander Canario | OF
    Alexander Canario
    Born: May 7, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 203
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Ruddy Moreta (Giants)..
    Minors: .230/.300/.431 | 18 HR | 21 SB | 408 AB

    Track Record: Canario signed with the Giants for $60,000 and quickly surpassed many players who signed for larger bonuses. He starred in both the Rookie-level Arizona League and short-season Northwest League before being invited to the Giants alternate training site in 2020, and he impressed against older competition. Canario scuffled in his full-season debut with Low-A San Jose in 2021, but the Cubs still acquired him with righthander Caleb Kilian at the trade deadline for Kris Bryant.

    Scouting Report: Canario looks the part of a major leaguer with a physical, 6-foot-1 frame, good athleticism for his size and loads of strength. He has plus-plus bat speed and generates impressive torque when he rotates to produce plus-plus raw power to all fields. He hits the ball hard even when he’s off-balance. Canario’s power is prodigious, but he is prone to overswinging and chasing breaking balls in the dirt. His poor plate discipline limits him to a below-average hitter who may struggle to get to his power in games. Canario is an aggressive defender who plays hard in the outfield. He fits best in right field with his above-average speed and plus, accurate arm.

    The Future: Canario’s power gives him a carrying tool if he can get to it. He finished in High-A South Bend and may return there to start 2022.

  21. 21. 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.

    Track Record: Thompson had Tommy John surgery at Louisville and battled shoulder troubles after he returned, but the Cubs saw enough stuff to draft him in the 11th round and give him an above-slot $200,000 bonus. Thompson appeared to break through in 2019 at Low-A South Bend and pitched five no-hit innings with 10 strikeouts in the clinching game of the Midwest League championship series, but he hasn’t pitched since. The coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 minor league season and he missed all of 2021 with shoulder discomfort.

    Scouting Report: Thompson fits a starter’s mold with a 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and three pitches he can throw for strikes. His high-spin fastball ranges from 90-96 mph and touches higher in relief. His high-spin, mid-80s curveball is a plus pitch that puts hitters away and his average changeup with late sink gets swings and misses over the top. Thompson struggled to throw strikes in college, but he began throwing with more conviction and confidence in pro ball and now shows average control. His primary concern is durability. He has pitched more than 33 innings in a season only once in college or the minors.

    The Future: Thompson started throwing bullpens in the fall and should be ready for 2022 spring training. He has starter stuff, but his health may limit him to relief.

  22. 22. 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.
    Minors: 5-6 | 5.91 ERA | 130 SO | 53 BB | 96 IP

    Track Record: Abbott pitched the first perfect game in Loyola Marymount history and shot up draft boards to the second round in 2017, where the Cubs picked him 67th overall. He led the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts in 2019, but he took a step back during the coronavirus shutdown and struggled at both the alternate training site and instructional league. His struggles continued in 2021 with a 5.91 ERA at Triple-A and a 6.75 ERA in his major league debut.

    Scouting Report: Abbott relies on precision more than stuff. His fastball is a fringy pitch that sits 92 mph and plays on the edges of the strike zone, but it gets crushed when he leaves it over the plate. His best pitch is a short, above-average 86-89 mph slider that gets swings and misses both in and out of the zone. His vertical mid-80s curveball is an average pitch with solid depth and he rounds out his arsenal with a rarely-used, below-average changeup. Despite his lack of big stuff, Abbott racks up strikeouts with his ability to locate to both sides of the plate. He has average control.

    The Future: Abbott will likely settle in as a swingman but has an outside chance to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. He’ll return to the majors in 2022.

  23. 23. 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.
    Minors: .248/.344/.390 | 10 HR | 16 SB | 323 AB

    Track Record: Nwogu walked on at Michigan and became a three-year starter for the Wolverines. He led the team in most offensive categories during its run to the 2019 College World Series finals and got off to another hot start before the 2020 season shut down. The Cubs drafted him in the third round and signed him for $678,800. Nwogu made his pro debut at Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2021 and started slowly, but he improved as the year progressed and hit .296/.383/.415 over the final eight weeks.

    Scouting Report: Nwogu is a physical specimen who received Division I football offers to play defensive end. He stands a muscular 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and gets to plus power and high-end exit velocities with ease. Nwogu’s swing is stiff and a bit funky with its lack of extension, but he’s short to the ball and makes loud contact when he connects. He is a smart, patient hitter with good strike-zone discipline. Nwogu is an above-average runner and uses his speed effectively to steal bases and cover ground in the outfield. He’s not a particularly smooth defender, but he has the athleticism to become an average left fielder with more experience. He has a below-average arm.

    The Future: Nwogu’s power gives him a carrying tool. He has a chance to be a low-average, decent power slugger if he can clean up his swing.

  24. 24. Yeison Santana | SS
    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).
    Minors: .226/.319/.287 | 1 HR | 9 SB | 164 AB

    Track Record: Santana signed with the Padres for $300,000 and finished fourth in batting average in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut. He continued to impress at instructional league in 2020 and was acquired by the Cubs as one of five players for Yu Darvish. Santana made his full-season debut at Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2021 but hit just .147 in 20 games. He was demoted to extended spring training in June and spent the rest of the season in the Arizona Complex League.

    Scouting Report: Despite his poor season, Santana still holds promise as a young player with intriguing tools. He’s an aggressive hitter who swings hard but has excellent hand-eye coordination and makes frequent contact. He primarily hits line drives, especially up the middle and the opposite way. Santana is a free swinger and will need to improve his pitch selection to only swing at pitches he can drive. His explosive hands and twitchy athleticism give him a chance to grow into double-digit home run power if he gets stronger. Santana is a high-energy defender at shortstop. He has decent range and above-average arm strength, but he often plays too fast and needs to learn to play more under control.

    The Future: Santana is raw but has ability on both sides of the ball. He’ll head back to Low-A in 2022.

  25. 25. Moises Ballesteros | C
    Moises Ballesteros
    Born: Nov 8, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: Louie Eljaua/Julio Figueroa/Hector Ortega

    Track Record: Ballesteros batted cleanup as the youngest player on Venezuela’s team at the 2015 U-12 World Cup in Taiwan and remained one of the best hitters for his age throughout his amateur career. He signed with the Cubs for $1.5 million on the first day of the 2021 international period and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. He hit .266 with 13 extra-base hits in 40 games and had more walks (31) than strikeouts (24).

    Scouting Report: Ballesteros manages at-bats well for his age with a patient approach and good bat control from the left side. He has a strong upper body and makes hard contact when he connects, usually for doubles with the occasional home run. His contact skills and plate discipline give him a foundation to be an above-average hitter and his strength gives him a chance to grow into average power. Ballesteros has a stout, blocky body and will need to stay on top of his conditioning to remain a catcher. His blocking and receiving need work, but he does have plus arm strength and a quick release.

    The Future: Ballesteros has a chance to be a bat-first, everyday catcher if he stays behind the plate. He may hit enough even if he has to move to another position.

  26. 26. Alfonso Rivas | 1B/OF
    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).
    Minors: .284/.405/.411 | 4 HR | 0 SB | 197 AB

    Track Record: Rivas hit. 326 during a decorated college career at Arizona and was drafted in the fourth round by the Athletics in 2018. He raced to Triple-A in his first full season and was acquired by the Cubs for Tony Kemp following a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Rivas wasn’t invited to the alternate training site in 2020, but that didn’t stop his progress. He hit his way out of Triple-A and made his major league debut with the Cubs in August, where he batted .318/.388/.409 in 18 games before suffering a season-ending finger injury.

    Scouting Report: Rivas has a smooth, effortless lefthanded swing that makes a lot of contact. He has a balanced setup, stays in the strike zone and wears pitchers down until he gets a pitch to hit. He drives the ball on a line to all fields and racks up doubles. Rivas has below-average power, leading to questions about whether he can be an everyday player with such little power production. He is a plus defender at first base with good hands and above-average arm strength and can fill in at both left and right field, although he is a below-average defender at both spots.

    The Future: Rivas’ hitting ability gives him a chance to contribute at least off the bench. He’s ready to fill that role in 2022.

  27. 27. Manuel Rodriguez | RHP
    Manuel Rodriguez
    Born: Aug 6, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: Mexico, 2016.
    Signed By: Sergio Hernandez/Louie Eljaua.
    Minors: 1-1 | 1.31 ERA | 27 SO | 12 BB | 21 IP

    Track Record: Rodriguez won the Mexican League’s rookie of the year award as Yucatan’s closer in 2015 and signed with the Cubs a year later for $400,000. He began to trend upward before the coronavirus pandemic hit and continued that rise when the minor leagues resumed in 2021. Rodriguez earned Futures Game selection and rose from Double-A to the majors, receiving his first big league callup in July. He made 20 relief appearances for the Cubs before finishing the year on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

    Scouting Report: Rodriguez is a short, stout righthander with a big right arm. Both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs sit 97 mph and touch 99 with late life. His four-seamer cuts and rides above barrels and his heavy two-seamer drops below them. His fastball command can be scattered, which led to both of them getting hit in the majors. Rodriguez’s vertical 87-90 mph slider is a swing-and-miss pitch when he gets it below the strike zone. His fastball-slider combination shuts down righthanded batters, but he doesn’t have a changeup and struggles against lefties. He held righties to a .137 batting average and .430 OPS in the minors in 2021 compared to a .324 average and .960 OPS against lefties.

    The Future: Rodriguez is ready to take over as a situational reliever who handles righties. He’ll compete for an Opening Day roster spot.

  28. 28. Drew Gray | LHP
    Drew Gray
    Born: May 10, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Tom Clark.
    Minors: 0-1 | 0.00 ERA | 9 SO | 1 BB | 4 IP

    Track Record: Gray grew up in Illinois and became the state’s top player in his class before he transferred to IMG Academy in Florida. The move paid off when the Cubs drafted him in the third round, No. 93 overall, and signed him for an above-slot $900,000 to forgo an Arkansas commitment. Gray made his pro debut in the Arizona Complex League and struck out nine of the 16 batters he faced before continuing to impress in instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Gray is an excellent athlete who starred as both an outfielder and pitcher in high school and was set to play both ways in college. His high-spin fastball ranges from 90-94 mph and gets swings and misses at the top of the zone when he locates it. He complements his heater with a high-spin, downer curveball in the mid 70s he buries for chase swings and a sweeping, low-80s slider that has a chance to be average. His below-average changeup is a fourth pitch he rarely uses. Gray struggles to keep his delivery in sync and repeat his release point at times, leading to bouts of below-average control. His body control and velocity should both improve as he fills out his projectable 6-foot-3 frame.

    The Future: Gray requires projection but has promising ingredients. The Cubs view him as a potential breakout prospect in 2022.

  29. 29. Christopher Morel | OF/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.
    Minors: .223/.303/.427 | 18 HR | 18 SB | 403 AB

    Track Record: The Cubs signed Morel for $800,000 in 2015 as part of a strong international signing class that included Brailyn Marquez and Miguel Amaya. He moved slowly through the low minors but received a boost when the Cubs invited him to the alternate training site in 2020. Morel performed well enough to be added to the 40-man roster after the season and jumped to Double-A in 2021, where he struggled initially before finishing strong to earn a promotion to Triple-A.

    Scouting Report: Morel is one of the most versatile athletes in the Cubs system. He’s an explosive, plus runner who is an above-average defender at both shortstop and center field and can also play second base, third base, right field and left field. He has plus-plus arm strength, although his accuracy needs improvement. Morel has plenty of bat speed and borderline plus-plus raw power, but his swing gets long and he is extremely streaky with his pitch selection. He is particularly vulnerable against velocity high and inside. He hits the ball hard in the air when he connects, but he is prone to swinging and missing and needs to improve his consistency.

    The Future: Morel projects to be a utilityman who provides occasional pop off the bench. He’ll start 2022 back in Triple-A.

View Players 11-29

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account. 

Login or sign up  


Additionally, you can subscribe to Baseball America's newsletter and receive all of our rankings, analysis, prospect insight & more delivered to your inbox every day. Click here to get started. 

of Free Stories Remaining