Chicago Cubs: MLB Pipeline ranks the farm system at #23

Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

MLB Pipeline has ranked the Chicago Cubs farm system at #23 of the 30 teams to start the 2020 season. It’s a sign that things may be slowly improving.

On Monday, MLB Pipeline released their organizational farm system rankings for 2020, and the Chicago Cubs came in 23rd of the 30 teams. That doesn’t sound great at first, yet when we consider the fact that they’ve been at or near the bottom of most major rankings each of the past two seasons, this may be a sign that the farm system – very slowly – is improving.

While the Cubs did not land a prospect in the top 50 rankings, they did get four in the top 100: Nico Hoerner (#51), Brailyn Marquez (#68), Brennen Davis (#78) and Miguel Amaya (#95). Marquez is the only pitcher in the group, and the article mentioned how the organization has had much more success developing position players than they have pitchers.

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Still, we have to consider it a small victory that the Cubs appear to be slowly creeping up in the rankings. After the team had a top-of-the-line farm system several years ago and graduated several key players to the majors, they’ve had trouble developing talent since and plummeted to the bottom of the league quickly.

This was due in part to the team’s top draft picks in 2016 and 2017 largely not working out, as no players from either draft are currently in the organization’s top ten rankings. However, the current top ten is littered with 2018 and 2019 picks: Hoerner (#1), Davis (#3), and Cole Roederer (#5) from 2018 and Kohl Franklin (#7), Ryan Jensen (#8), and Chase Strumpf (#9) from 2019, for example.

Of the top ten, only Hoerner and Adbert Alzolay figure to be contributors to the big league club in 2020. Therefore, if the players listed above continue to develop, the Cubs’ system should continue its climb up the rankings over the next couple of years. With Hoerner and Alzolay already getting some big league time, don’t look for the Cubs’ farm system to graduate much talent to the majors in 2020.

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Still, it has to be considered a positive sign that the farm system is turning a corner and could be in position to make some big strides over the next couple of years. Now it’s up to both the players to perform and the organization to develop the talent.