The amount of young talent the Cubs are likely to have in Myrtle Beach this summer borders on the obscene. James Triantos, Kevin Alcantara, Owen Caissie, Reginald Preciado, and Pete Crow-Armstrong will headline an extremely young team that could be joined by Cristian Hernandez at some point in the year.
If you have the chance, take a trip to the Grand Strand and watch what is probably going to be the best collection of pure talent in the system this season. With Myrtle Beach now at Low-A, though, some of these players might not be there for too long.
C – Ethan Hearn, Miguel Fabrizio, Ronnier Quintero
1B – Felix Stevens, B.J. Murray
2B – Juan Mora, Yeison Santana
SS – Preciado, Christian Olivo
3B – Triantos
OF – Alcantara, Caissie, Crow-Armstrong, Jacob Wetzel,
DH – Jonathan Sierra
SP – Tyler Schlaffer, Luke Little, Koen Moreno, Porter Hodge, Luis Rodriguez, Luis Devers, Josh Burgmann
RP – Frankie Scalzo, Chase Watkins, Benjamin Rodriguez, Johzan Oquendo, Elian Almanzar, Rony Baez, Joel Machado, Andricson Salvador
*Subject to change by Opening Day
This might be the best outfield the Cubs have produced at this level in the last 10 years. Expectations are understandably high, and I know what I just wrote, but it’s also important to remember that many of these players are going from rookie ball straight to full-season. There’s no more short-season Eugene to ease the pace.
Most of these hitters are going to be seeing college arms for the first time in game situations, which may take some adjustment. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if some of these young hitters struggle out of the gate as they get their bearings. That was the case for Ed Howard, who came on late after taking time to figure a few things out.
Rather than looking at individual players, let’s check on a few storylines to monitor this year:
Talent oozing everywhere
We could be here all day if I started talking about Triantos, Caissie, Alcantara, Crow-Armstrong, and Preciado’s talents. That’s five of the Cubs’ top six prospects depending on which list you consult. Seeing how these young athletes begin to separate themselves from the prospect pack is something to follow this summer and I would not be surprised to see any or all five of them on a top 100 list by the end of the season.
— Prospects Worldwide (@ProspectsWorldW) September 18, 2021
Some of these prospects were a little homer-happy last year in Mesa, but Myrtle Beach is not known as a hitters’ park. Caissie learned last September that right-center is a place where fly balls go to die as the ocean breeze keeps them in the yard. Home runs have been hit in many other places around the league, though, so this team could be better on the road.
Reggie Preciado’s first professional hit.
Reggie Preciado’s first professional home run.
(🎥: Reggie Preciado’s IG) pic.twitter.com/LSvkqkEGRO
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) June 29, 2021
Domination from the staff
It would be cool to see some of the Cubs’ young pitchers dominate from day one. Schlaffer, Hodge, and Moreno were all taken out of high school and Little was taken out of college based largely on a viral video displaying his elite velocity. Their success would help to prove the validity of the organization’s new pitching development philosophy.
It’s usually fairly easy to figure out who is going to be in the starting rotation at a low-level affiliate, but things are a little backed up in the system this year and it’s still unclear who will work in relief roles. There were a few guys from Mesa last summer that could be called upon, like Watkins, the Cubs’ ninth-round pick out of Oregon State. They could also lean on Scalzo, a 14th round pick from Grand Canyon.
The elephant in the room
Will Hernandez make it to Myrtle Beach at some point this summer? Made playing a half season in Myrtle last year at age 18 set the precedent for Hernandez to arrive at some point. He will likely go to extended spring training and he could show up in early to mid June if all goes well.
This Myrtle Beach team is going to be exciting because of its potential, though this is still a very early step in the process. Depending upon who the Cubs take in this year’s draft, we might see a few more top prospects make their way to the Beach in August. Needless to say, it’s going to be a heck of a ride this year for the Pelicans.