Chicago Cubs Minors: All eyes on Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, formerly the Cubs’ High-A squad, shuffled around and now represent Low-A, the first stop on the path after rookie ball. The Pelicans are also my favorite of the minor league squads because they have many of the premier prospects that should help the big league team out down the road.
Riley Thompson has long been one of my favorite names in the system. Outside of him, however, there are not a ton of arms that stick out. The meat and potatoes lie in the position players. Ed Howard is the first guy who comes to mind in looking at the roster. The 2020 first-round pick showed some positive steps of growth in his first professional season. For example, in his final four games, the 19-year-old hit .471 with a 1.059 OPS, so he is beginning to find his footing.
Kevin Made is another infielder on who the team has been high on and could make a future impact. He is also 19 and in his first year slashed .272/.296/.366 and from mid-August on, hit .305 with 11 extra-base hits.
Finally, Pete Crow-Armstrong, selected a pick ahead of Howard and the premier return in the Javier Báez deal with the Mets, smashed Low-A in 2021 with a 203 wRC+ and a 21.9 percent walk rate in 32 plate appearances.
The Pelicans should be the top squad to watch next season in terms of talent, and it will be fun to see the transition of how they come together after a bumpy ride in 2021. There is a chance many of these guys will graduate to High-A, which would put them one step closer in the right direction.