Chicago Cubs Minors: Trio of prospects make Arizona League Top 10
The 2021 Major League Baseball regular season wrapped up on Sunday, as the Chicago Cubs ended an otherwise disappointing season on a high note with a 3-2 victory over the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. It was a strong finish, too, to note, as the Cubs won four of their final five games.
Looking ahead to next season, there is no telling what the 2022 Opening Day roster will look like, nor who, if any veterans, will open the season on the Northside. In addition, the usual trade speculations will no doubt ramp up in the coming months, and so, it is anyone’s best guess as to the final product.
Instead of focusing on what could have been or should have been, the best thing to do is look forward. In doing so, fans can get excited at the prospects of this team as we’ve hammered all season long and, in this case, will do once more. Baseball America recently released their ‘Top 10’ by the league (subscription required), and in the Arizona Complex League, there are three baby Cubs who earned their place.
Chicago Cubs Minors: A bright road ahead for the youngsters
As we all know, it takes a long time to flush prospects out, especially the three here in a trio of teenagers who produced at a high level throughout and will aim to bring winning baseball back to Wrigleyville.
Coming in at number three is outfielder Owen Caissie. A second-round pick in the 2020 first-year player draft, Caissie came over as part of the return for starting pitcher Yu Darvish. The 19-year-old outfielder has been lauded for his power and, to an extent, his glovework.
Caissie’s first exposure came first in the Arizona Complex League before transitioning to Low-A and finishing his first professional season in Myrtle Beach with the Pelicans. In Arizona, Caissie notched 100 at-bats and 126 total plate appearances. In that span, Caissie walloped the ball to the tune of a .350/.484/.620 slash and six home runs to go along with his 20 RBI.
Once Caissie moved to Low-A with the Pelicans, he struggled; however, playing three years to his senior in the league did him no favors. His .233 average was, of course, indicative of the improved quality of the competition, yet Caissie did show resilience and perseverance in his at-bats. His opposite-field power has also been heralded as excellent, which the Cubs will need in their future. Unfortunately, Caissie will not be a name up in 2022. However, it is a great starting point for their rebuild.
Slotting in right behind Caissie on the list is another 19-year-old outfielder in Kevin Alcantara. Alcantara has been exceptional as part of the Anthony Rizzo trade and formerly with the New York Yankees. He hit .370 in the Florida Complex League before the transaction and, in 25 games with the Cubs following the trade, hit .337 with more triples (5) than home runs (4). He also managed a 1.024 OPS.
His ceiling has already been described as a future all-star and someone who has the necessary tools to be stinking good in the outfield, specifically center field. As if his size wasn’t already a factor at 6’6″, once Alcantara puts on more muscle, he has the potential to flourish. The defense is another aspect that has been talked up, and if it translates to the upper levels and beyond, the Cubs will have landed themselves yet another slam-dunk prospect.
The last of the three newest faces in the organization is infielder James Triantos. Moving into an over slot price for Triantos in the second round last year, the 18-year-old finished off a 25-game sample size by slashing .327/.376/.594 with six home runs and 19 RBI.
After beginning 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his first two games, the right-hander hit .341 with a .400 OBP in his next ten games and showed off why the Cubs went above to land him. Throughout his final five games, Triantos hit a whopping .600 with a 1.886 OPS, three home runs, and nine RBI.
As an above-average “tools” guy, it remains to be seen where he will fit it, but if he can handle third base, the Cubs may have found their next great future third baseman, and, boy, wouldn’t that be a sweet thing.