Chicago Cubs: After deadline moves, prospects are again the focus

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs Prospects: Bryce Ball

After recent events of dismantling the core, it all but seems forgotten that Joc Pederson was traded in the first of many moves for prospect Bryce Ball. In one season at Dallas Baptist University after transferring from North Iowa Area Community College, Ball slashed an encouraging .325/.443/.614 before being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 24th round of the 2019 draft. In the Braves system, Ball put up an impressive .329/.395/.628 in 2019 between Rookie ball and Low-A.

Now in High-A in 2021, Ball has struggled thus far putting up .197/.342/.361 between the Rome Braves and South Bend Cubs. Looking at his numbers between college and his first year of pro ball, I wouldn’t judge him with his recent stats alone. We all know baseball is a game or readjustments and I am eager to see what the first baseman can put together here.

At 23 years old like Bailey Horn, he will have to put it together rather quickly. He will need to showcase that he can crush it in High-A because obviously, if he can’t here at 23, it will not be an optimistic situation moving forward.

Chicago Cubs Prospects: Anderson Espinoza

In the Jake Marisnick deal, the Chicago Cubs received Anderson Espinoza from the San Diego Padres organization. Espinoza was a top prospect for the San Diego Padres in 2016. Until 2021, he hadn’t pitched in a game since. What happened? Espinoza wound up having Tommy John surgery twice, in 2017 and 2019 and is thankfully ready to get back to action after a long hard road of recovery.

He is yet to return to form in 2021, posting a 5.02 ERA in 28 2/3 innings in High-A thus far. Back in 2015, Espinoza was absolutely lights out before getting traded to the Padres system from Boston. He owned a 1.23 ERA in 28 1/3 innings.

After a pair of Tommy Johns, it will be interesting to see what he can do now. At 23, his potential of the past is still there but he will need to piece it together soon. There is no doubt what he is capable of. The upside will be well worth the dealing of Marisnick should he return to form.