The return in the Yu Darvish trade failed to turn many heads in Chicago when the details of that move were made public last month. But now, we’re comparing one of the prospects coming back in the deal to a former National League MVP.
Reginald Preciado is, by most accounts, the highest-ceiling talent that came over from San Diego in the trade. At just 17 years old, he’s raw – but the Cubs love what they’ve seen from him: a high baseball IQ and incredible versatility. So much so that vice president of player development Matt Dorey compared him to Kris Bryant.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
"“He reminds us a lot of Kris Bryant in high school — a guy that was really tall, lanky, athletic, played shortstop, has raw power and the game is really easy to him at a young age. We’re really excited about getting him stronger and getting him acclimated to the Cubs system.”"
Ah, if only the Cubs had a Kris Bryant-esque player on the big league roster… Wait. Never mind.
In MLB Pipeline’s updated prospect rankings, Preciado checks in at number 10. A few years down the road, we could see the switch-hitting infielder team up with last year’s first-round pick, Ed Howard, up the middle at Wrigley Field. Neither guy is expected to reach the big leagues until at least 2024.
When we were all pondering what type of return the trade of a Cy Young finalist might net, we had visions of a Ryan Weathers or CJ Abrams dancing in our heads. That was never going to happen. Padres GM AJ Preller wasn’t going to suddenly part ways with his blue chip talent and Cubs president of baseball operations didn’t want to put all his eggs in one basket.
Instead, San Diego sent a package of prospects and one year of right-hander Zach Davies to Chicago in exchange for Darvish. The thinking from the Cubs’ side of the equation was more pieces gives them more chances to wind up extracting long-term value from the trade, rather than betting on one guy to pan out.
Preciado certainly has the tools to be a solid piece for Chicago. It’s hard to dive into him all that much because he’s yet to play a single professional game. The Padres signed him two years ago as an international free agent – and with the 2020 minor league season wiped out by COVID-19, we still haven’t gotten our first glimpse of the Panamanian standout.
With Preciado drawing comps to Bryant and Cristian Hernandez, the Cubs’ top international signing of 2021 dubbed ‘Baby A-Rod’ – the future is certainly ripe with possibilities. Now, it’s a matter of patience as this next generation develops together in the years to come.