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TRACK RECORD: When the Cubs gave Marquez $600,000 in 2015, they did so with the idea that his fastball, which sat in the low 90s, had the potential to give hitters nightmares. They were right. Marquez hinted at his potential in an excellent 2018 season that ended with him ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Northwest League. He showed up even stronger in 2019, which ended in his first appearance on the Top 100 Prospects. SCOUTING REPORT: Marquez's signature pitch is his fastball, which sits in the upper 90s and regularly reaches triple digits. He peaked at 102 mph, which he reached 24 times in 2019. Marquez pairs the fastball with a spike slider in the low 80s that, at its best, tunnels with his fastball and features short, late snap. He also throws a changeup in the 89-91 mph range that he can use to get swings and misses. The pitch needs more consistency to reach its projection as an average major league offering. The Cubs point to a two-year process Marquez went through to get his arms and legs to sync up during his delivery as one of the main drivers of his improved ability to throw quality strikes. They also worked to get his arm stroke back to the longer, smoother version he showed as an amateur instead of the shorter, choppier one it had morphed into. Once those elements were in place, he needed to learn how to sequence. Instead of using his velocity to blow fastballs by hitters, he needed to have the intuition and confidence to throw his offspeed pitches in appropriate counts. That process was part of the reason the Cubs kept Marquez at low Class A South Bend until Aug. 6. Even with his raised profile, there are still plenty of ways Marquez can continue to improve. Maintaining command will be a continual process, especially given his size and long levers. He needs to continue to refine his changeup, especially considering that it is thrown with similar velocity as his breaking ball. THE FUTURE: For an organization that has struggled mightily to develop pitchers, Marquez represents hope. If he can maintain his delivery and bring his offspeed pitches forward, he could fit as a franchise starter at the front of a rotation. If not, his elite velocity from the left side could lead him into a closer's role. Either role would be an outcome befitting the organization's No. 1 prospect.
TRACK RECORD: During his career at Stanford and his summers in the Northwoods and Cape Cod leagues, Hoerner exhibited all the traits of a professional hitter. The Cubs were confident enough in Hoerner's hitting track record that they drafted him 24th overall in 2018, then watched as he made it to low Class A after just 10 games. An elbow strain ended his regular season, but Hoerner sidelined him until the Arizona Fall League, where he shined. Hoerner spent his first full year at Double-A. He missed the bulk of the regular season with a broken hand, but once again shined later in the season, this time as a September callup. SCOUTING REPORT: Hoerner entered pro ball as an accomplished hitter, but he still had polish to add. The Cubs focused early in the season on adjusting Hoerner's stance and approach to allow him to work the ball to the left-center field gap more often. The adjustments also allowed Hoerner to pull breaking balls in the air with more regularity. Those changes quickly took hold and made Hoerner into a more complete hitter and allowed him to put his best swing on more pitches. Defensively, he still has a chance to play shortstop, but he's more likely to slide over to second base as his career moves along—especially considering Javier Baez has shortstop well in hand. He's an average runner but his instincts amplify his pure speed. THE FUTURE: Hoerner fared well in his big league debut and could compete for a return engagement out of spring training. Hoerner should settle in as an offensive-minded infielder.
TRACK RECORD: Davis came to the Cubs a bit raw in terms of his baseball skills after splitting his high school career between the diamond and the basketball court. The athleticism that allowed him to excel on the hardwood also provided Davis with considerable baseball upside. The Cubs spent a secondround pick on him and used a $1.1 million bonus to sign him. SCOUTING REPORT: Davis was originally slated to start in extended spring training before moving to short-season for the summer. He outplayed expectations, however, and forced the Cubs to push him to low Class A South Bend. Davis performed well in the Midwest League, but his season was disjointed because of a pair of pitches that hit him in nearly the same spot on his right index finger. The second pitch broke the finger and ended his season. Before the injury, the Cubs moved Davis off the plate a bit to allow his long levers a better chance to get extended and create torque against more pitches. He took to the changes quickly, and the result was an excellent first exposure to pitchers outside Rookie-level ball. The Cubs expect Davis to add considerably more strength to his lithe frame, which should add more power. THE FUTURE: After a tantalizing glimpse of his tools becoming skills in 2019, Davis should get a chance to build on his success in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: The Cubs thought enough of Amaya's combination of defensive and offensive skills to give him a $1 million signing bonus out of Panama. He's moved a level per year since signing, with full seasons at low Class A South Bend and high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Amaya has represented the Cubs at the Futures Game in each of the past two seasons as well. SCOUTING REPORT: Slowly but surely, Amaya is developing into the player the Cubs envisioned. He spent 2019 adjusting his approach to hit the ball in the air more often. The concept is a tough sell at Myrtle Beach, where flyballs don't get rewarded as often as at other parks. Amaya's 11 home runs fell one short of the career high he set in 2018, but he did so in 73 fewer at-bats. Notably, Amaya opened the season as the youngest position player in the Carolina League. He can get overaggressive and get himself out early in counts, which is another area he'll work to improve. Amaya has work to do behind the plate, where he's still a bit of crude receiver. He has the arm strength to produce pop times of just more than 2.0 seconds and caught 35 percent of attempted basestealers. THE FUTURE: After a full year at high Class A plus time in the Arizona Fall League, Amaya should move to Double-A Tennessee in 2020. He projects as a solid but not spectacular everyday catcher.
TRACK RECORD: Strumpf put together a stellar career at California's prestigious JSerra HS, where he was teammates with 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. His five home runs led the 2013 15U National Team, which had a roster with 2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak, 2019 No. 3 overall pick Andrew Vaughn and 2017 first-rounder Nick Pratto. After high school, Strumpf put together three excellent seasons at UCLA, including an outstanding sophomore season in which he hit .363/.475/.633 with 12 home runs. His numbers were down a bit in 2019, but the Cubs were convicted enough by his bat to draft him in the second round. He ranked No. 6 among the shortseason Northwest League's Top 20 prospects. SCOUTING REPORT: After scoring big in 2018 with Nico Hoerner, a bat-first middle infielder from the Pac-12 Conference, the Cubs went back to that well again in 2019. In Strumpf, Cubs scouts saw a polished hitter with a solid approach and a grinder's mentality both at the plate and in the field. He's shown mostly doubles power as a pro, but the Cubs believe a few tweaks can help him start putting more balls over the fence. Specifically, they want him to back off the plate a little bit more and use his long arms to generate the torque his frame and strength will allow. They'd also like to see him be a little more aggressive later in counts, especially on pitches he can impact. Strumpf is a serviceable second baseman with strong hands and feet who can make routine plays but is not likely to wow anyone his glove. He has fringe-average arm strength. THE FUTURE: Given his pedigree, Strumpf should move to high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2020. He projects as a bat-first middle infielder.
TRACK RECORD: Improved strength and power in his draft season led Roederer to make a quick move up draft boards. Even after he separated his shoulder and pulled his hamstring, the Cubs were sold enough to draft Roederer in the second supplemental round and sign him for $1.2 million. He put together a solid pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he ranked as the league's No. 7 prospect. SCOUTING REPORT: Roederer's value is tied mostly to his bat, which showed in 2019 that it will need a bit more polish. Specifically, Roederer tried too hard to pull the ball with power rather than shooting line drives to all fields. In turn, his numbers suffered. Still, evaluators both inside and outside the system see the potential for a solid hitter. He has a quick, direct swing and a still head which should allow him to make plenty of solid contact if he can adjust his approach. Pitchers in the MWL learned to set up Roederer with high fastballs followed by offspeed pitches low in the zone. Now it's on him to adjust. He's a solid defender whose above-average speed and fringe-average arm should fit well in left field. THE FUTURE: Roederer projects as a solid regular in the outfield. He should see high Class A Myrtle Beach in 2020 but might start back in the Midwest League.
TRACK RECORD: Jensen moved from the bullpen at Fresno State into the rotation in the middle of his sophomore year and saw mixed results. His stuff was plenty strong to thrive, but his scattershot command and control often counteracted his powerful pitch mix. Still, the Cubs were intrigued by Jensen's raw tools and what they could become when paired with pro coaching. They were so strongly convinced, in fact, that they used their first-round pick in 2019 on Jensen and signed him to a $2 million bonus. He made six starts in the short-season Northwest League before shutting it down after throwing a career-high 100 innings at Fresno State. SCOUTING REPORT: The intrigue surrounding Jensen comes from his twoseam and four-seam fastballs. While plenty of pitchers have both of them in their repertoire, Jensen throws both pitches at the same velocity while keeping them as two distinct pitches. Both pitches average 96 mph, but the four-seamer features carrying life through the zone while the two-seamer shows power sink and armside run. He backs up the fastballs with a mid-80s slider with power break. His changeup is a distant fourth pitch and was seldom needed in college. The key will be honing Jensen's mechanics to make them more repeatable and helping him control the length of the movement on his pitches. He showed fatigue toward the end of the season, but area scout Gabe Zappin and West Coast crosschecker Shane Farrell noted that Jensen held his stuff throughout his outings despite a smaller than normal frame from a power pitcher. THE FUTURE: After an offseason to recover, Jensen will likely move to one of the Cubs' Class A levels to begin 2020. His upside is as a high-end power arm in the rotation but he could be a power reliever as well and use his fastballs and slider to wipe out hitters.
TRACK RECORD: After plumbing the college ranks in the first five rounds, the Cubs made Hearn—a sturdily built catcher from Alabama—their first prep pick in 2019. He was a preseason first-team All-American entering the year, and then hit .482 with 11 doubles and 11 home runs in his draft year. He was the first high school catcher selected. The Cubs signed him for $950,000, the highest bonus for a sixth-rounder in the past two drafts, and assigned him to the Rookie-level Arizona League. SCOUTING REPORT: Hearn looks like a player built to mash, and that's exactly what he does. He pairs a quick bat with strong hands, legs and forearms to generate above-average raw power from the left side. He has a power-over-hit profile and lived up to that rep by striking out at a 36.7-percent clip in his pro debut. The Cubs are working with Hearn to build more lift into his swing and prioritize hitting the ball deeper in the strike zone. Beyond his offensive skills, Hearn has the tools necessary to stay behind the plate. Baseball America ranked him as the second-best defensive catcher available in the high school ranks, and the Cubs see short-area quickness combined with plus arm strength that has allowed him to flash 1.9-second pop times. THE FUTURE: Hearn projects as a catcher with a blend of offensive and defensive gifts. He should begin his first full season as a pro in extended spring training before moving to short-season Eugene.
TRACK RECORD: Thompson transitioned into the starting rotation in the middle of his sophomore year at Louisville after being used exclusively as a reliever in 2017 both in college and in a five-game stint in the Cape Cod League. He was a draft-eligible sophomore, and the Cubs selected him in the 11th round. He had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and was a 37th-round pick of the Reds out of high school and a 27th-round pick of the Yankees as a redshirt freshman. He had a successful first half-season as a pro with short-season Eugene, which included a run to the Northwest League Championship Series. SCOUTING REPORT: As a starter, Thompson has begun showing the makings of a true four-pitch mix. He starts with a fastball that averages 93 mph and touches around 96 mph while spinning at an above-average rate of 2,300 rpms. He pairs the fastball with a downer curveball that spins at better than 3,000 rpms and is thrown in the mid-80s. He's made great strides with his changeup, which the Cubs rebuilt during their instructional league in January 2019. After running through a variety of grips, Thompson and the Cubs settled on a split-fingered, “Vulcan” grip. The new version of the pitch tunnels well off of his fastball and is easiest for him to command. He's also shown the makings of a potentially average slider. Thompson finished his season in style with five perfect innings with 10 strikeouts in the decisive third game of South Bend's Midwest League Championship Series win over Clinton. THE FUTURE: Thompson threw a career-high 94 innings in 2019 and will need to continue being built up to handle a starter's workload. The next step is high Class A Myrtle Beach.
TRACK RECORD: Abbott's draft stock took off after he watched a video of Mets ace Noah Syndergaard throwing his slider and began replicating the pitch. He threw a perfect game in 2017 at Loyola Marymount, then was selected by the Cubs in the second round. He mastered both Class A levels in his first full season as a pro, then rung up 166 strikeouts at Double-A in 2019. That figure ranked 11th in the minor leagues and tops among Cubs farmhands. SCOUTING REPORT: Abbott starts his arsenal with a fastball in the 89-93 mph range that can touch a few ticks higher when needed. The pitch is commanded well and has the characteristics to get swings and misses up in the zone. He backs it up with a hard curveball with 12-to-6 break that he uses to tunnel off of his fastball. He still uses the slider, which has the potential to be an above-average pitch with cutterish break, as a way to give hitters a look at something that breaks from east to west. His changeup is present but is a clear fourth pitch that needs further polish before it can project even as average. He's made considerable improvements to his body, especially his lower half, and the Cubs are fans of the cerebral, competitive mentality he brings to the mound. THE FUTURE: After finding success in the Southern League, Abbott will move to the hitter's Hades of the Pacific Coast League in 2020. He has the upside of a back-end starter.
TRACK RECORD: Alzolay was a low-profile signing as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 but took huge strides forward at high Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee in 2017. After injuries blunted his progress in 2018, Alzolay recovered and made his big league debut on June 20, 2019. SCOUTING REPORT: Alzolay showed a three-pitch mix in 2019, fronted by a mid-90s fastball that can reach into the upper 90s as well. He backs it up with a high-70s curveball and a mid-80s changeup. He gets to his velocity from an effortful delivery, which sometimes leads to him overthrowing with command that will wander. He's got a strong makeup and the work ethic that will allow him to correct those issues and add polish as he continues to develop. The raw pieces are there—now it's a matter of learning how to best utilize what he has without trying to be something he's not. The Cubs have quickened Alzolay's delivery in the past to help him avoid overthinking on the mound. THE FUTURE: Alzolay will have a shot at a spot in the big league rotation in 2020. If he doesn't make it there, he could go back to Triple-A Iowa for more seasoning or carve out a spot in the bullpen.
TRACK RECORD: When Miller was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft he became the highest-drafted player in California Baptist's history, topping the 2014 seventh-round selection of Trevor Oaks. He put together a solid first three seasons in pro ball, including a 2018 season when he struck out 126 hitters. That total ranked third-best among Cubs minor leaguers. He continued that progress in 2019, when he blitzed the competition at Double-A Tennessee before running into trouble after a promotion to Triple-A Iowa. SCOUTING REPORT: Miller's pitch mix and approach have changed as he's moved through the system. In prior years he'd worked a sinker-slider combination, but he added or adjusted a changeup and curveball before the 2019 season and saw big results. The new repertoire allows him to work up in the zone with a low-90s fastball with riding action and follow it with a downer curveball to both sides of the plate. He still throws the slider, which functions as a short cutter and projects as a fringe-average pitch. The changeup, which he throws with a Vulcan-style grip that best fits his hands, also should be fringe-average with more development. He also needs to continue to work to keep his upper and lower halves in sync in his delivery. THE FUTURE: Miller was hit hard at Triple-A and figures to return there in 2020. He projects as a backend starter.
TRACK RECORD: Franklin is the nephew of Ryan Franklin, who pitched for 12 seasons in the big leagues. Kohl missed much of his draft year at Owasso (Okla.) HS with a broken foot, but the Cubs believed enough in his projectability to draft him in the sixth round and sign him away from his commitment to Oklahoma for $540,000. SCOUTING REPORT: The projectability the Cubs saw from Franklin started to take hold in 2019. After throwing his fastball 88-92 mph in high school, Franklin now sits in the low 90s and bumped as high as 97 in his first full season. Besides his natural growth, Franklin found the extra velocity by learning to use his legs more in his delivery. His 80-84 mph changeup projects as a solid-average offering because of its fade and the conviction with which Franklin throws the pitch. His mid-70s curveball is the key to his development. He wasn't allowed to throw the pitch until his senior year in high school, and the Cubs have toyed with the pitch to optimize it for his delivery. They settled on a spike grip and watched as the pitch gained four to five more inches of depth as a result. THE FUTURE: Franklin finished the year at low Class A South Bend and is likely to return to the level in 2020. His next step is refining his command and throwing more quality strikes. Franklin has the ceiling of a No. 4 starter.
TRACK RECORD: After beginning the year as Southern California's setup man, Clarke moved into the closer's role because of an injury to the team's regular ninth-inning option. He had Tommy John surgery in high school and scouts connected it to a drop-off in his stuff when he pitched back-to-back days. The Cubs saw starter traits in his pitch mix, took him in the fourth round and set him into the rotation at short-season Eugene for his first taste of pro ball. SCOUTING REPORT: After being primarily a fastball-curveball reliever in the second half of his college career, Clarke began throwing a five-pitch mix as a starter in pro ball. He works with two fastballs—fourseam and sinker—in the low-to-mid 90s. He pairs them with a powerful spike curveball that was among the best collegiate curveballs available in the draft class and with a hard-darting slider with cutter-type break. He also has a changeup with deep fade action as well. Clarke throws all his pitches with a smooth, repeatable delivery that belies his massive, 6-foot-7 frame. THE FUTURE: Clarke should move to low Class A South Bend in 2020 and has the makings of a back-end rotation piece with powerful stuff that could also fit well in the late innings if necessary.
TRACK RECORD: McAvene made five starts as a freshman at Louisville before having Tommy John surgery. After a shortened sophomore season spent kicking off the rust, McAvene reemerged as a force out of the Cardinals' pen in 2019 and showed enough to convince the Cubs to spend $500,000 on him in the third round. He moved back into the rotation with short-season Eugene and struck out 20 in 12.2 innings. SCOUTING REPORT: Unsurprisingly for someone with a reliever's history, McAvene has a high-effort delivery with a bit of a head whack at the end. The Cubs believe they can smooth it out, though, and that McAvene has enough athleticism to repeat his mechanics for multiple trips though a lineup. He starts his arsenal with an upper-90s fastball that draws a high percentage of in-zone swings and misses. He pairs it with a sharp, angry slider that he uses to wipe hitters out. He has a changeup as well but hasn't needed to use it much because of the success of his two best pitches. THE FUTURE: Much as they did with fellow Louisville alum Riley Thompson in 2019, the Cubs will move McAvene to low Class A South Bend in 2020 and continue developing him as a starter. Like 2019 fourthrounder Chris Clarke, the Cubs believe they can turn a college reliever into a big league rotation piece.
TRACK RECORD: The Cubs liked Martinez for his bat-to-ball skills as well as his strong baseball instincts. He put together strong performances in both complex leagues before moving to short-season Eugene in the middle of the summer. He ranked No. 18 and No. 19, respectively, among the Arizona League and Northwest League's Top 20 prospect lists. SCOUTING REPORT: Martinez is one of the more advanced in a group of young, gifted middle infielders in the Cubs' system. Scouts inside and outside the organization saw strong hittability from both sides of the plate for Martinez, who more than held his own as a teenager in the short-season Northwest League. He's not the most powerful hitter at present, but with further strength gains and continued strike zone discipline he could reach double-digit home run totals once he makes the big leagues. Martinez alternated between shortstop and second base in his first full season as a pro and scouts see a plus defender at second base as he moves up the ladder. The Cubs still believe he can stick at shortstop, though, thanks to smooth hands, footwork and an above-average arm. THE FUTURE: After ending the season in Eugene, Martinez could move up to full-season ball with low Class A South Bend to begin 2020. He has a future as a middle infielder with value on both sides of the ball.
TRACK RECORD: The Cubs bet big in 2018 that they could turn Americaan's intriguing set of tools into skills that would get him to the big leagues. Americaan spent two seasons at Chipola (Fla.) JC before the Cubs selected him in the 35th round of the 2018 draft and signed him for a round-high $208,950. He opened 2019 with low Class A South Bend and finished the year at short-season Eugene, where he showed well enough to rank No. 15 among the Northwest League's Top 20 prospects. SCOUTING REPORT: Americaan's game is based on tools and projection. He's wiry strong with aboveaverage bat speed that allows him to generate modest power to all fields. The Cubs backed him off the plate a touch before the season in an effort to get his barrel to more pitches more often while still letting his swing's natural arc put him in a position to pull breaking balls. He has a chance to stick in center field depending on the way his body develops. If he continues to be a wiry player, his plus speed and instincts will allow him to stay at the position. If not, his plus arm could help him play right field. THE FUTURE: If Americaan shows hittability going forward, he could be an everyday player. If not, he fits into a fourth outfielder's role. He'll give low Class A another try in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: After a strong showing at the 15U World Cup in Japan, Gallardo positioned himself as the second-best pitching prospect available on the 2018 international market, just behind Cuban righty Osiel Rodriguez. He put together a big showing at MLB's international showcase in 2018, then signed with the Cubs. He spent most of his first season as a pro at the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz. in extended spring training and the Rookie-level Arizona League before making two starts at short-season Eugene. SCOUTING REPORT: Evaluators inside and outside the organization have Gallardo pegged as a high-floor guy who shows a strong present feel to pitch. He starts his mix with a fastball that averaged 91 mph during the season and topped out at 94. Gallardo backed up the fastball with a downer curveball that he could spot to both sides of the plate as well as a changeup that is in the early stages of its development. To reach his ceiling, He needs to add strength. The Cubs believe he will do that because of a strong work ethic in the weight room. Beyond that, he needs to add power to his curveball and continue bringing his changeup forward. THE FUTURE: Gallardo has the makings of a back-end type of starter with a chance for a little bit more depending on the way his body develops. He will pitch all season as an 18-year-old and is likely to start his second season in extended spring training.
TRACK RECORD: Made was one of the Cubs' three big-time international signings during the 2019-20 period along with catchers Ronnier Quintero and Brayan Altuve. Like Quintero, Made trained in the Dominican Republic with Jaime Ramos. He signed for $1.5 million SCOUTING REPORT: Made's ceiling is based on quite a bit of remaining projection on his athletic, highwaisted frame. He's put on roughly 15 pounds since the Cubs first laid eyes on him, and the club expects further strength gains as he matures. Despite the subpar strike-zone discipline one might expect from a 16-year-old, Made already makes plenty of contact. He's used his wiry frame and sneaky strength to generate surprising power for someone his size. Unlike some of the other middle infielders the Cubs have lurking in the lower minors, Made's build looks more like the classic shortstop. He's got smooth hands, sound footwork and a strong internal clock and arm strength that allow him to make plays in the hole and on the run. He maintains his accuracy while throwing from multiple angles. THE FUTURE: The 2020 season will be Made's first official test as a pro. He'll begin the year in extended spring training before a likely move to the Rookie-level Arizona League.
TRACK RECORD: Quintero caught the Cubs' eye early because of his easy power from the left side. He was one of the team's three major signings during the 2019-20 period—along with shortstop Kevin Made and late-addition catcher Brayan Altuve. SCOUTING REPORT: Despite not playing in an official game, Quintero has already opened eyes with his new organization. He was one of the stars of the team's Dominican instructional league program, posting exit velocities that ranked among the best of the entire camp. He gets to his power through a combination of strength and a swing with natural lift. Quintero has shown an ability to drive balls the opposite way as well. He turns on high-velocity fastballs and can recognize spin as well. Quintero's got a potential plus arm behind the plate and could become an average defender with further refinement, especially when it comes to receiving pitches. THE FUTURE: Quintero's first official season as a pro will be in 2020, and he should begin in extended spring training. He projects as an offensive-minded catcher.
TRACK RECORD: The Cubs inked Morel—whose brother, Christopher, is also a Cubs farmhand—to an $850,000 deal in 2018 on the strength of a combination of athleticism and bat-to-ball skills. He showed off both traits in his stellar pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. His father was a basketball player in the Dominican Republic, which helps to explain some of Rafael's athleticism. SCOUTING REPORT: At the plate, Morel showed the expected hittability during his first taste of pro ball. He put forth a strikeout rate of just 14.2 percent while walking at a 9.7 percent clip and showing enough power that 25 of his 65 hits went for extra bases. In the field, Morel's fast-twitch ability and plus speed will allow him to play shortstop, but he might be better suited for center field in the long run. He's got a plus arm and shows solid instincts for the game. THE FUTURE: After spending all summer in the DSL, Morel's next step is the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he'll continue working toward his ceiling as a top-of-the-order hitter with more than a hint of impact power once he's done developing.
TRACK RECORD: The Cubs were drawn to Pinango because of his bat-to-ball skills and advanced knowledge of the strike zone for an amateur. Pinango trained with Jose Montero as an amateur and signed with the Cubs as part of their 2018-19 signing class. He tore up the Dominican Summer League in his professional debut and finished fourth in the league with a .358 average. SCOUTING REPORT: Pinango still shows the same hitter's tool set that earned him a shot as a pro and had more walks (27) than strikeouts (20) in his first season. Now, the Cubs would like to see him add some power to his game. His contact-oriented swing doesn't have much lift, which means the raw power he shows in batting practice doesn't translate to games. Pinango also has more of an opposite-field approach, and the Cubs would like to see him pull more balls with authority. He's a plus runner and will stay in center field for now but is likely to move to a corner as he matures. To profile there, he'll need to add the power the Cubs already want to see. THE FUTURE: After a strong turn in the DSL, Pinango should make his stateside debut in 2020 in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He has the ceiling of a corner outfielder with modest impact ability.
TRACK RECORD: With fellow middle infielders Reivaj Garcia and Luis Verdugo in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Pertuz stayed back and made his debut in 2018 in the Dominican Summer League. He showed hitting and on-base skills and tied for sixth in the league with 36 stolen bases. SCOUTING REPORT: In the AZL, Pertuz's game changed a bit. He became more aggressive at the plate and started trying to tap into his raw power more often. The result was a dip in on-base percentage and a slight uptick in slugging percentage from his 2018 debut. He's got a simple, low-maintenance swing, impressive bat speed, strong hands to generate power and has shown the ability to turn on high-quality fastballs and do damage. Pertuz has average range and an above-average arm that could help him stick at shortstop, but the Cubs believe his offensive ability will allow him to move to either second or third base while still profiling at shortstop. He's a fringe-average runner. THE FUTURE: After a strong turn in the AZL, Pertuz should be ready to move to low Class A South Bend. He has the skills to profile as an offensive, middle-diamond player.
TRACK RECORD: Altuve was the third of the Cubs three premier international signings in the 2019 cycle, joining fellow catcher Ronnier Quintero and shortstop Kevin Made. Altuve, who trained in Venezuela with Carlos Azocar, was lauded for his mix of athleticism and tools. SCOUTING REPORT: Altuve's athleticism jumps off the page, and not just for a catcher. He turned in plus run times in the 60-yard dash, although he's likely to see his speed wane as he gets older and catching takes its toll. Altuve has plus bat speed and can impact the ball thanks to a combination of strength and a swing with natural lift. Like most younger players, Altuve will overswing and has a bit of a pull-heavy approach. He has a solid-average arm behind the plate, and the athletic ability to become a solid blocker and receiver. THE FUTURE: After signing late, Altuve should spend his first pro season in the Dominican Summer League. He has the ceiling of an everyday catcher.
TRACK RECORD: Steele showed steady production through his climb up the ladder until Tommy John surgery in 2017 kept him out until the middle of 2018. The injuries that plagued Steele in 2019 were less severe but limited him to just 38.2 innings at Double-A Tennessee. SCOUTING REPORT: Despite the injuries, Steele brings an intriguing mix from the left side. He starts his repertoire with a low-to-mid 90s fastball that has touched as high as 97 mph. The pitch shows riding life up in the zone. His best offering is a potentially plus curveball in the 76-80 mph range as well as a seldomused changeup. The Cubs are working to add a sinker to his arsenal, and he's shown a mid-80s slider. THE FUTURE: Steele showed premium stuff in spurts, but 2019 was a lost year. The Cubs will try to get him back on track in 2020, when he'll work toward his ceiling as a back-end rotation option.
TRACK RECORD: After signing for $2 million and skipping over the Rookie-level Arizona League, Ademan has struggled. He followed a rough 2018 at high Class A Myrtle Beach with a similarly difficult 2019 season at the same level. The only saving grace was that, despite the repeat, Ademan was the ninth-youngest player in the Carolina League on Opening Day. SCOUTING REPORT: Entering the year, Ademan needed to get stronger to withstand the grind of a full season. After the season, it's clear he still has a ways to go in that department. After a strong start to the season, he faded in the second half with a .172/.257/.289 line over 56 games. Scouts did see some bat-toball skills and a touch of pull power but for the most part were unimpressed. He's still a solid defender up the middle and is athletic. Ademan will have to work to maintain those skills, which appear at this point to be his carrying tools. He's an average runner. THE FUTURE: After two seasons at high Class A, Ademan will likely move to Double-A Tennessee. He has the ceiling of a glove-first defensive utilityman in the big leagues.
TRACK RECORD: The older brother of fellow Cubs farmhand Rafael Morel, Christopher was signed for $800,000 but had his pro debut delayed by injury. He's struggled to put together solid numbers until this past season at low Class A South Bend. Once again, though, his progress was cut off by injuries. In this case, he hurt his knee while going for a foul ball with low Class A South Bend. He compounded the injury by trying to play through the pain and was limited to 73 games before shutting it down for the year. SCOUTING REPORT: Despite the lack of numbers, Morel's tools are still there. He's got a free-swinging approach at the plate that he'll need to temper if he's to reach his ceiling. When he does connect, however, the impact potential is obvious. He can get to plus velocity and scalds balls to all sectors with what the Cubs believe is potential double-plus power. They also believe he has a chance to be an average hitter, but there's a long way to go to get to that ceiling. Morel is a rangy, twitchy defender at third base who could play shortstop if needed. His power potential and strong arm play better at third base, though, and his range at the position would help him at shortstop as well. He's a smart, instinctive runner with above-average speed. THE FUTURE: Morel has moved slowly so far. The Cubs could choose to accelerate his timetable by sending him to high Class A Myrtle Beach and hoping the warmer early-season weather helps him get off to a quick start.
TRACK RECORD: At Sacred Heart, Short was part of a talented team that also included fireballing reliever and current Tigers prospect Jason Foley. Since being drafted in 2016, Short has shown a consistent blend of strong defensive skills and sneaky impact at the plate. He missed roughly six weeks in the early portion of 2019 with a broken hand but recovered to make it to Triple-A Iowa, where he scuffled. He also made up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League, then was added to the Cubs' 40-man roster. SCOUTING REPORT: Short's carrying skills are on defense. He's a rangy, instinctive defender with a plus arm who can make every play at shortstop. Those tools alone will likely get him to the big leagues. If he wants to stay there, he'll have to work to stay within himself and not get caught up with trying to hit for power. He has a short, quick stroke geared toward shooting line drives to all sectors with occasional home run power. Short has the strength to put the ball out of the park, but he gets in trouble when he tries to do it too often. THE FUTURE: After being added to the 40-man roster, Short should make his big league debut sometime in 2020 after returning to Triple-A Iowa. He fits well as a defense-first backup with a sprinkling of offense.
TRACK RECORD: Rivas has been one of fastest movers from the 2018 draft. A fourth-round pick by the A's out of Arizona, he stormed through high Class A Stockton and jumped straight to Triple-A Las Vegas to end his first full season. After a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, he was acquired by the Cubs for Tony Kemp in January. SCOUTING REPORT: Rivas is a pure hitter with a balanced setup, a loose, contact-oriented swing and a knack for setting pitchers up and punishing mistakes. Rivas' mature approach holds against both lefties and righties and makes him a tough out no matter who he faces. Although his swing has some natural lift, Rivas has generated mostly line-drive contact with gap power, raising questions about whether he will hit enough home runs to profile at first base. Defensively, Rivas has to tighten up his hands and footwork to be average at first base. A former college pitcher, he has above-average arm strength. THE FUTURE: Rivas had a solid fall in the AFL and will open 2020 in the upper levels in the Cubs system. His mature approach and hitting ability should get him to the majors, but he needs to improve either his power or defensive versatility to be an everyday player.
TRACK RECORD: Rodriguez was the Cubs' top international signing in 2016, when they plunked down $400,000 to sign him away from the Leones de Yucatan in the Mexican League. Strictly a reliever, Rodriguez has moved slowly and steadily through the system. He completed his lower-level tour in 2019 with a full season at high Class A Myrtle Beach and was impressive enough to warrant a spot on the 40-man roster after the season. SCOUTING REPORT: As was the case in the Mexican League, power is the key to Rodriguez's game. He brings a pair of mid-to-upper 90s fastballs from a short, stocky body and pounds the strike zone. His four-seamer is thrown at 95-98 mph, which is a touch higher than his 94-97 mph sinker. He backs up the fastballs with a powerful downer curveball that he likes to bury toward the bottom of the zone. He threw the pitch 29 percent of the time. Rodriguez has a seldom-used slider but primarily works with a mixture of fastballs and curveballs. A more consistent delivery helped Rodriguez slash his walks per nine innings from just over 8.0 in 2018 to 3.25 in 2019. THE FUTURE: With further refined command, Rodriguez has the look of a big league setup man. He'll head to Double-A Tennessee in 2020.
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