Chicago Cubs: Alex Lange is a potential future ace

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The new and improved pipeline

Most of the Cubs’ top prospects now are pitchers. In fact, seven out of Baseball America’s top-10 prospect rankings are pitchers – Adbert Alzolay (2nd), Jose Albertos (3rd), Alex Lange (5th), Oscar De La Cruz (6th), Brendon Little (7th), Thomas Hatch (8th) and Jen-Ho Tseng (9th).

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that the pitching pool would be this rich with talent.I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but looking at those seven names make me pretty excited. There is a ton of upside among those seven names. The first three names on the list (Alzolay, Albertos and Lange) have the raw talent required to blossom into stars. Now it’s up to the Cubs’ developmental and coaching staff to play into each pitcher’s strengths and get them to reach their full potential.

A weakness coming in

It should be pointed out that this has been an area of weakness for the Cubs in the very recent past. Even if two out of the seven reach the big leagues and are effective, it’ll be an improvement. Rather than looking at that as a negative, I force myself to see it in a way that doesn’t sound so bad. The fact that the Cubs have three straight NLCS appearances and a World Series win when they had ZERO homegrown starting pitchers in that span speaks volumes.

If I had to choose one guy to hang my hat on as a future front-line starter for the Boys in Blue (and sometimes grey or white with blue pinstripes), it’d be Lange. Every day that ends with “y” and twice on Sunday. Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, would probably agree.

“[He] is a proven winner in the best conference in college baseball,” McLeod said. “He’s taken the ball every Friday night for a top-caliber team, and he is one of the best competitors in the country.”

I’m sure McLeod doesn’t play favorites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t. Lange is now on the top of my “prospects-to-watch” list.