Cubs farm system is on the rise, according to new rankings

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

It’s been some time since the focus of Chicago Cubs fans has been on prospects rankings – but after last season’s sell-off in July, that’s where we’re at now. Throw in the fact we have no idea when or if the MLB season will be played and that’s only going to increase the number of eyes and ears turning toward Minor League Baseball and up-and-coming talents.

That unforgettable ride we all went on back in 2016 was driven by a core of largely homegrown position player prospects. Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant all played key roles. And while they weren’t drafted by Chicago, the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell were major contributors, as well.

Since then, due to trades and graduations, the Cubs farm system has fallen by the wayside. But under Jed Hoyer, it’s on the up-and-up, something Keith Law over at The Athletic (subscription required) noted in his recent 2022 MLB farm system rankings, placing Chicago 16th – up from 26 just one year ago.

As has been the case in several of these preseason rankings, the big fish in the pool is outfield prospect Brennen Davis who is, at this point, a universal top 100 guy in the game. Barring any major setback, he’ll spend a major chunk of time with the big league team this year, likely opening the season with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

Chicago Cubs have a ton of ‘just missed the cut’ prospects on the rise

From there, as Law noted – none of the team’s remaining prospects made The Athletic‘s top 100 list – but a great many of them are right on the cusp and, with strong showings this year, could start rocketing up rankings boards.

Some of the top names to keep an eye on include Owen Caissie, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Jordan Wicks and Cristian Hernandez. You can check out Law’s full top 20 Cubs prospects rankings here.

As Hoyer attempts to balance reloading and restocking the farm system while remaining somewhat competitive, hitting on several of these guys is going to be key. The Cubs can’t afford too many setbacks like what we’ve seen from Miguel Amaya, who, heading into next season, won’t have played significant time since 2018.

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Law also noted the team seemed to take a different draft strategy under the new front office regime last year, calling it, “their most productive since they were drafting in the single digits.” That could be something to keep an eye on this summer, when the Cubs have the seventh overall pick, their highest since they selected Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick back in 2014.