For the first time since their system turned the corner in 2015, the Cubs did not trade away any of their big-name prospects in deadline deals. While they did trade Alex Lange and Thomas Hatch, neither were considered top 10 prospects any longer. Because they held onto Nico Hoerner, Miguel Amaya, Brailyn Marquez, and my personal favorite, Brennen Davis, the Cubs’ overall talent level is on the rise for 2020.
With that in mind, I decided to come up with some potential headlines that I would like to see on Cubs Insider in the coming year.
Adbert Alzolay Makes 25-Man Roster as Reliever
Though he is ready to be a starter, Alzolay is a long way from having his arm ready to handle that type of workload. So when it comes to making the big club in 2020, it’ll likely be a matter of pitching as a long reliever or swingman.
Brennan Davis on His Way to Tennessee for Second Half
Remember, Davis will only be 20 years old for next year. If he’s at Double-A by early July, I don’t see why he could not be in Chicago by the middle of April in 2021. He’s about as exciting a prospect as I’ve seen since Eloy Jimenez and Davis will only be stronger next summer.
Brailyn Marquez Gets Call to Chicago
This might be my favorite headline if it actually comes to pass. How cool would it be to see Marquez come out of the bullpen throwing 102 mph in a pennant race next July or August. Do you think that would pump up the Wrigley Field faithful?
Cole Roederer Finds His Groove
We saw him put together some good spurts this past season, but nothing that he sustained for more than a month. Hopefully, he will come into 2020 stronger and more able to withstand the rigors of 140-game season. I’m hoping he has a good offseason to set himself up for success next year.
Here is why everyone is so high on Cole Roederer. It is such a beautiful swing. pic.twitter.com/Q3eYmuGUx4
— Shang-Chi? (@RealCubsAnalyst) August 2, 2019
Chris Morel Bounces Back at Myrtle Beach
The national media doesn’t really recognize how much of a beast Morel is, but he can seriously punish some baseballs. He will be 20 years old next year and if he continues to mature physically, we could see him move over 20 home runs in 2020. I would not be surprised to see him vault onto a top 100 prospect list at some point with a good April and May.
Michael McAvene Rising Fast
In terms of set 1970’s analogies, this guy is just a junkyard dawg. He was my favorite pitching draft pick to watch last year and I cannot wait to see him go at it in 2020, most likely at Myrtle Beach. It would be great if he was at South Bend, but his stuff is just way too good for the Midwest League.
Richard Gallardo Might Be Pitching Prospect Cubs Have Waited For
He will be 18 to start 2020 and probably will begin at extended spring training. I was extremely pleased with what I saw from him over two starts in Eugene, especially how he was getting the ball up there from 93-95 mph as a 17-year-old kid. It look like he had gained about 15-20 pounds since signing a contract at 16. I almost did not recognize him and I wonder how much more physical growth there will be in another year’s time.
Cubs Sign Top IFA Cristian Hernandez
Right now, the Cubs are the favorite to sign the top-ranked prospect in international free agency according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Badler said Hernandez could have been the first pick in the draft in 2019 had he been eligible. He might be that good for 2020 as well.
Cubs Select Blaze Jordan with No. 16 Pick in Draft
This kid can crank out the home runs and will be just 17 when the draft takes place next summer. The issue for him is where he is going to play defensively. Right now, he’s listed at first base.
Cubs Get Aggressive with Development Strategy
Under the previous hierarchy, the Cubs were known for holding players back because they didn’t check all the boxes at a certain level despite meeting high standards of production. That tends to mess with prospects’ heads. If a player is producing at a high level for two or more months, he’s ready to move on. I’d like to see that philosophy utilized more next year, regardless of any boxes that need to be checked. Reward production, create competition. Sounds like a motto.
Stick around and see whether any of these actually come to pass between now and the end of next season. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion at least a couple of them will.