Evaluating New Cubs Prospects
After a very painful trade deadline, it's time to see who is coming to the Cubs. Jed Hoyer may have dismantled the core that won the 2016 World Series, but did he get anything of value in doing so? It's a very valid question, as this deadline should hopefully shape the team for the better for many years to come. We shall see. Today we have a deal by deal look at the overhaul of the Chicago Cubs at the 2021 trade deadline.
• 1B Greg Deichmann
AAA Iowa: He's a career .776 OPS at the minor league level, and is now 26. With a .247 /.347 /.430 slash line, he's got some walk and power capability. After spending all of 2021 in AAA, he figures to debut soon enough (EDIT: he debuted on August 6th in RF vs. the White Sox and collected his first hit.) He spent most of his time in RF and becomes the 20th ranked prospect in the Cubs system, according to MLB.com, after being Oakland's 9th.
• RHP Daniel Palencia
A Myrtle Beach: He's only 21 and his stats so far are not great. He's in his first pro season, and has an upper 90s fastball.
It's a good deal for both sides. Oakland gets a solid piece for the bullpen. The Cubs get a MLB ready guy, as well as a project pitcher. Not bad for a rental.
• RHP Alexander Vizcaino
A+ South Bend: Vizcaino is 24, a little bit older for a Class A player. So far, he's got a 4.95 minor league ERA. He becomes the 8th ranked prospect in the system according to MLB.com. He was the Yankee's 6th top prospect.
• OF Kevin Alcantara
Arizona Complex League: Age 18. Alcantara has played just 50 games of pro ball and has a .709 OPS in rookie league action. He's very young. He becomes the 11th ranked prospect according to MLB.com, after being 9th for the Yankees. Fangraphs gives him a future value of 50, which puts him second in the Cubs organization, and 120 overall.
I consider this a win for the Cubs. Two top 10 prospects from a Yankees farm that was recently ranked 13th after the draft is a nice package for Rizzo, who slumped a good chunk of the year. Two Top 10 guys for a rental is always going to be a good deal. Some of these guys might be raw and have a long ways to go, but have solid tools.
• LHP Bailey Horn
A- Myrtle Beach: Horn is 21. He had two seasons of college ball before pitching for the Sox. 2021 is his first pro year, and so far he has a 5.63 ERA, however, he has been striking out 10.6 per 9. He may wind up as just a reliever, but has some nice raw pitches going for him.
The Sox get 8 weeks of a solid RP, while the Cubs get a project lefty. He may accelerate quickly if he can keep his walks down. As of right now he's a starting pitching. I'll call this one win-win for both sides.
• 1B Bryce Ball
A+ South Bend: age 22. After 1 year of college ball, he went pro. So far professionally, he's got a nice .267 /.369 /.501 line in the low minors. Despite being a few years away from the show, he's got solid power upside. He was Atlanta's 12th ranked prospect.
Overall, I call this trade a win. Pederson struggled at times throughout the year. Ball has some potential, but is rough around the edges. It's a dice roll prospect for someone who might be a dice roll to help make the playoffs.
• OF Alexander Canario
A+ South Bend: 21 years old. He's got a nice .849 professional OPS, while playing all 3 outfield spots. He becomes the Cubs 7th ranked prospect according to mlb.com. He was ranked 9th for the Giants. He's cracked a few dingers for South Bend already.
• RHP Caleb Kilian
AA Tennessee: Age 21: He's a nice college pitcher who's got a fancy 1.79 in 22 minor league games (21 starts). Despite missing 2020, he could be up for the Cubs as early as next year with his college experience and fantastic results thus far. He becomes the 16th best prospect in the system now. He was ranked 30th in the Giants organization.
This one feels a little light for the Cubs. I would have hoped to have gotten a Top 5 prospect for KB. The Giants were ranked 11th overall before this year started, so they did have a solid system. The return seems to be about on par for the other trades, but consider that Bryant is much better than Rizzo or Baez, I think that's where the feeling comes from.
Baez and Williams:
• OF Pete Crow-Armstrong
A Myrtle Beach: 19 years old. He was the Mets top draft pick in 2020, 19th overall. In 32 PAs this year, he had a fantastic 1.063 OPS. He played CF, before needing surgery for a Glenoid Labral Articular disruption. Assuming he comes back well, that's a fantastic prospect to have in the system. He's now the 6th ranked prospect in the Cubs system according to MLB.com.
I'd call this deal a win-win for both sides. The Mets fortify themselves for the rest of the year. The Cubs pick up a cornerstone prospect. Pete needs to rebound from his injury, but he's got solid upside when he does.
• 2B Nick Madrigal
Once the Sox 2B of the future, he got hurt this year after playing 54 games for the Sox. He hasn't been in the minors since 2019. He now has 83 games of MLB experience, and has a juicy .317 / .358 / .406 line. Next year he will be 25, and figures to be the starting second basemen. At this rate, he's not exactly a prospect, he's an MLB ready player. He was ranked 40th overall in March though.
• RHP Codi Heuer
He's another MLB ready player, who has already debuted for the Cubs. He's got 62 games of MLB experience, all out of the bullpen. He's got a nice 3.69 ERA, with solid peripherals. After pitching in college, he needed just 2 years of minor league ball to make his debut for the Sox in 2020.
Overall, this trade is a haul for Jed. I'd call it win-win for both sides. The Sox gave up a huge piece of their future. but got a hired gun for the next season and a half (most likely) to cement their pen while they are one of the best teams in the league. It's not unlike the Cubs trading for Chapman. This is a good deal for both sides.
To summarize this whole trade deadline, here's a look at Fangraphs ranking of the new Cubs organization:
The Cubs essentially added two top 10 prospects, two 11-15 guys, and three 20-30 guys. And this doesn't count Madrigal and Heuer, who are no longer top 100 prospects because they are MLB ready. As painful as it was seeing some big faces go out of town, Hoyer reloaded the farm system very efficiently. Going into this year, the Cubs had a farm system ranked between 20-25 depending on who you asked. Fangraphs now ranks the Cubs at 9th overall. That's a huge swing. The Cubs now have a few prospects ready to impact 2022, then a steady stream for 2023 on appears to be formulating. As a bit of a prospect junkie, I am now foaming at the mouth. Jed did well.