The Chicago Cubs Arizona Complex League rookie ball team concluded their 2021 season on Saturday with a 5-4 win over the ACL Athletics. The ACL Cubs finished with a 34-26 record under manager Lance Rymel and finished with the fifth-most wins in the league.
As has been the case since 2014, they played their home games at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. This year’s squad featured some of the team’s top prospects and it was an important season for developing key pieces for the future.
Chicago Cubs: Key prospects who played with the ACL Cubs
Two of the Cubs’ top 10 prospects (per MLB.com) spent a majority of their season in the Arizona Complex League. Reggie Preciado and Owen Caissie, two of the prospects who came over in the Yu Darvish trade this winter with the San Diego Padres, played a combined 66 games with the ACL Cubs this year. Preciado spent the entire season with the team, while Caissie was eventually promoted to Myrtle Beach.
Preciado hit .333/.383/.511 with three home runs, 10 doubles and 25 RBI in 34 games. His 154 plate appearances were second-most by an ACL Cub behind Ismael Mena. Caissie hit .349/.478/.596 with six home runs and seven doubles in 32 games before his promotion to A-ball.
We have also gotten to see the first taste of professional ball from 2021 second-rounder James Triantos. The 18-year old infielder out of James Madison High School in Virginia played in 25 games with the ACL Cubs and slashed .327/.376/.594 with six home runs, seven doubles and 19 RBI. Triantos is currently ranked as the team’s 11th-best prospect by MLB.com. It was a small sample size, but an impressive start for Triantos in his Cubs career.
Another prospect that should garner more attention as we go into 2022 is Kevin Alcantara. The main piece of the Anthony Rizzo trade with the New York Yankees, Alcantara showed why he has a high upside. The scouting report on MLB.com says he is “built like a younger Dexter Fowler“.
He played in nine games in the Florida Complex League before coming over to the Cubs, where he played in 25 games in Arizona. He slashed .337/.415/.609 with four home runs, three triples, 21 RBI and a 1.024 OPS. He’s currently listed as the team’s number 16 prospect, but look for him to rise in the rankings as we head into 2022.
Other Cubs minor league seasons heading toward the finish line
Both teams in A-Ball (Myrtle Beach and South Bend), as well as the Double-A Tennessee Smokies will be concluding their seasons Sunday. Myrtle Beach features top-30 prospects Caissie, Ed Howard, Kevin Made, Christian Franklin and Jordan Nwogu. The Triple-A Iowa Cubs season will conclude September 30, where top prospect Brennen Davis is currently playing.
Come October 13, the Arizona Fall League will begin. We should see a few notable Cubs prospects play this year. Of course, AFL did not play last October due to the pandemic.
It is good to see the Cubs prospects having a lot of early success. No, the ACL pitching is not nearly like what prospects will see as they move up, but it is a good start. The toughest part of a rebuild is when the prospects are so young, but every level they develop in matters.