Chicago Cubs: Latest Baseball America prospect ranks should excite fans

Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs: SP Brailyn Marquez, Class-A Advanced, No.37 overall

Making his way as the “top” Cubs prospect on the top 100 list is a 20-year-old fireballer, Brailyn Marquez. Nothing more can be discussed about this kid other than the strong likelihood of his status as the future ace of the starting rotation on the north side.

Marquez signed with the Cubs way back in 2015, for a mere $600,000. At the time, the team saw a kid with a tantalizing fastball and developed a hope that one day he could be a star. So far, so good. Marquez made his debut on BA’s Top 100 last season and has reached it again due to his continued dominance on the mound.

After signing, Marquez spent 2016 and 2017, respectively, at rookie ball. He dominated in his first year, posting a 1.48 ERA with a 3.19 FIP in 54 2/3 innings. The following season was not great, as Marquez struggled to a 5.52 ERA. He did, however, find his strikeout groove, posting a 26.1 percent strikeout rate.

In 2018, Marquez seemed to figure things out completely. Across Low-A Eugene and Class-A South Bend, Marquez posted a collective 3.18 ERA in 54 2/3 innings, finishing with a 2.77 FIP at Class-A. Last season things got going. He was named the 2019 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Marquez also posted a 1.17 ERA during a seven-game stretch between South Bend and Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach.

According to the Baseball America (subscription required) scouting report, Marquez’s fastball reached 102 mph 24 times last season. He brings a nasty slider to his mix and is continuing to develop his change-up, which could end up as a nice out pitch down the line. Still a season away, Marquez’s ETA is 2021. While fans want to see what the kid can do with major league hitting, the Cubs have taken the correct approach in his development, and that means Marquez has the exact makings of a star.