Nico Hoerner Tops BP’s Cubs Prospect List, New Names Offer Hope for Improving System

This has been a pretty tame offseason in terms of prospect lists, starting with Baseball America and followed shortly thereafter by Prospects Live. Wednesday brought the updated top 10 Cub prospects list ($) from Baseball Prospectus, which tends to take more risks than those from other talent evaluators around baseball. You know, like when they had Addison Russell over Kris Bryant in 2015.

They took a more conservative approach last year with Nico Hoerner and Miguel Amaya at the top and Hoerner again took the top spot this year. He is followed in no particular order by Amaya, OF Brennen Davis, RHP Kohl Franklin, IF Pedro Martinez, RHP Adbert Alozlay, RHP Riley Thompson, RHP Ryan Jensen, 3B Chris Morel, and  LHP Brailyn Marquez.

We’re leaving the order a mystery because it’s a subscription piece, so you can rest assured that Marquez isn’t actually 10th.

It is cool to see to Morel and Franklin cracking the top 10, the latter of which should satisfy Greg Huss and Jimmy Nelligan of the Growing Cubs podcast. Martinez, who was mentioned in the organizational shortstop breakdown a few weeks ago, vaults all the way up the rankings from near the bottom. The 18-year-old switch hitter should be at South Bend next summer, where he could be in for a bit of an adjustment as he deals with cooler weather early in the season.

Noticeably missing are RHP Cory Abbott, who could possibly in Chicago within the next year, and 2B Chase Strumpf, a second round pick in 2019. Those two were mentioned in the next 10, however, along with RHP Richard Gallardo, RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and RHP Chris Clarke. The latter is my breakout pick for the coming season.

The system is starting to show a little depth if we are discussing who should and should not be in the top 10 along with who should be at No. 1. That alone will change once Hoerner gets enough plate appearances to be removed from contention as a prospect, but other players are going to move around based on their own merits. Seeing so many pitchers making names for themselves is a very good sign as well.

As for whose list is published next, Keith Law of The Athletic said he was putting out his out at the end of the month. MLB Pipeline has begun teasing their rankings with their top 10 southpaws and will soon release their top 100 list, which could feature three or four Cubs names. Pipeline’s individual team lists will be posted in late February, along with those of The Athletic‘s John Sickels. FanGraphs’ timing is something of a mystery, but we should have them before long.

Regardless of which list you put the most stock in, we’re once again at a point where seeing which prospects are coming up is a very worthwhile endeavor for Cubs fans. That was about all we had for a few years prior to 2015, and a lot of people find it more entertaining than trying to research the latest free agent signing you’ve never heard of.

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