Chicago Cubs: Jhonny Pereda, C
The first guy on this list is someone I covered this past spring. You can read about his future potential here. While the Cubs are seemingly set at catcher for the next several years, Jhonny Pereda remains as one prospect who the team should make sure to keep at all costs.
Pereda is still only 23 years old and has found success over the past two seasons in the organization. As a late addition in the 2012-13 international draft class, Pereda has worked studiously from rookie ball to Double-A over the past seven seasons.
His 2018 campaign was the best of Pereda’s professional career thus far. Last season, he slashed a strong .272/.347/.363 with eight home runs and 57 RBI. His wOBA and wRC+ saw an exponential rise to .333 and 104 respectively, and Pereda continued his management of the strike zone quite well.
This season has been a bit down, however still decent enough. In 96 games for Tennessee, Pereda carries a .243/.338/.306 slash line with a .304 wOBA and barely below-average 92 wRC+. Positives of his game have included his ability to work more walks, seeing his walk rate rise from 10.3 percent last season to 12.3 percent in 2019. Also, Pereda is still managing to keep his strikeouts down, sitting at a respectable 14.1percent K-rate.
In terms of his fielding, that has also gotten stronger. In 734 2/3 innings behind the dish, Pereda has made just three errors and has managed to throw out 48.8 percent of would-be baserunners on steal attempts.
The 23-year-old has seen time at first base, managing it well, having committed one error in 46 innings. It is apparent Pereda still needs more time to progress, but the Cubs would be smart to keep him in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.