I figured this would be a season in which there would be a lot of movement up and down my own prospect list. MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, is pretty conservative and prospects take a lot of time to move around. Things are a little different this year, as we saw from their new top 30 list that included recent draft picks and international free agents.
Based on the performance we’re seeing from several different prospects, I thought there would be a lot of turnover throughout the list. As it turns out, I was right.
Though he had been ranked No. 10 prior to this update, everybody and their mother knew that Miguel Amaya would be leaping up several spots. He actually moved all the way up to the top position and could be the one prospect the Cubs consider untouchable in this year’s trade talks.
Here is what MLB Pipeline said about Amaya’s growth in 2018:
Amaya is starting to make the same type of impact offensively, showing feel for the barrel and the ability to make consistent contact from the right side of the plate. He’s doing a better job of waiting for pitches he can do more damage against, allowing him to tap into his power. He moves decently for a catcher but isn’t a factor on the bases.
There was a little shuffling elsewhere, but overall there isn’t a lot of separation between the prospects. That will change as the 2016-18 draft and international free agent classes continue to make their way up the organization.
But while most of the movement was pretty standard, seeing lefty pitcher Brailyn Marquez all the way up at No. 4 was quite surprising. Then again, Marquez has the type of talent that has everyone picking their jaws up off the floor. Only 19 years old, Marquez has gone from the low-to-mid 90’s to the mid to upper 90’s on his fastball this season.
Going in the opposite direction, Thomas Hatch fell all the way down to No. 20. I thought he would drop, but not all that far. The 2016 third round pick has struggled at times this year at AA and MLB Pipeline chalked his fall up to a decrease in strikeouts and a shifting outlook on his future.
“He hasn’t missed as many bats this year in Double-A, leading to some thought that he might be better suited for middle relief than the back of Chicago’s rotation.”
New to the list are Trent Giambrone, Richard Gallardo, Cole Roederer, Brennen Davis, Erling Moreno, and James Norwood.
I was glad to see Giambrone make it along with Norwood. Moreno is not technically new, but he is back on the list. Roederer, meanwhile, is off to a good start in Mesa and could rise quickly next year along with fellow draft pick Brennan Davis, both of whom could easily make their way into the top 10.
Jared Young, who dominated the Midwest League from April through June and is doing the same in July at Myrtle Beach, missed out on the top 30. He will more than likely be named the Cubs Hitter of the Year at the end of the season and should get a boost from that.
Duncan Robinson also narrowly missed out. He has put together a good year at AA Tennessee and has been a steady force for the Smokies despite a rough July.
Jen-Ho Tseng, Alec Mills, Javier Assad, Bryan Hudson, Jeremiah Estrada, and Wladimir Galindo all fell off, though I would not be surprised to see some of them back in the future. Assad, Hudson, Estrada, and/or Galindo are particularly good bets for that.
MLB Pipeline will release another list at some point in the offseason, at which point we’ll see even more movement. It might not have six players spots, but a small handful of this year’s draft picks will some more action over the next five weeks of the MiLB season and more development in fall instructs.
The Cubs system has a new breath of life and should continue to improve with the majority of elite talent under 20 years of age.
If you’re interested in seeing how things have changed, here is the list from the end of 2017.