Chicago Cubs: A get-to-know-you of the minor league affiliates

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs Minors: Continuing the climb to the top

As much as I wanted the Pelicans to be the top of the line, it actually may be the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s High-A affiliate, who has the talent nearing the next levels and top of the food chain. This squad is chock-full of guys who more than likely will find themselves at Double-A to begin the 2022 season or at some point during the season.

Starting first with DJ Herz, who I have written about quite a lot, the talent with this kid’s arm has become something special. He is only 20 years old and should be at Double-A to start next season with a chance at moving to Triple-A by season’s end. At Low-A, he struck batters out at a 40.4 percent clip, followed by a 40.6 percent strikeout rate at High-A. The lefty also dropped his ERA below three and managed a 2.65 FIP and 3.07 xFIP, respectively.

Alexander Canario, who came over from the San Francisco Giants in the Kris Bryant trade, already proves his worth. The 21-year-old outfielder had a four-game stretch shortly after arriving in which he homered in four straight games.

He finished the year with 18 home runs and showed the power that excited scouts when he first came into the league. He will be on the radar as next season kicks off.

Bryce Ball is the other position player to watch. He was someone I have been super high on since a couple of summers ago, and all it took was Joc Pederson, who is mashing for the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS right now.

Ball is someone who realistically will be the next first baseman in Chicago long-term. He is an above-average offensive player with okay defense that can improve, but no doubt will be in consideration as the guy and someone who should also be on the radar of fans next season.