Why Cubs fans should follow Myrtle Beach closely in 2022

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the low-A affiliate of our Cubs, will begin their regular season on April 8 with or without a new CBA at the big league level. Of all the teams in Chicago’s farm system, the Pelicans are probably the most intriguing. Their roster currently holds eight of the Cubs’ top-30 prospects, with several other notable talents likely to make their way to Myrtle Beach soon. Obviously, the roster will fluctuate as prospects move around in the system, but the Pelicans will house a lot of the Cubs future throughout the year.

Key Cubs prospects on the roster, and ones who will soon appear

Those eight prospects on the current roster mentioned earlier include IF Ed Howard, OF Owen Caissie, OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, IF Kevin Made, RHP Kohl Franklin, OF Christian Franklin, RHP Riley Thompson and OF Jordan Nwogu.

A number of these guys will be moving on up while others will be staying as the season starts. Howard worked on getting back into the swing of things last year in Myrtle Beach after the COVID-19 pandemic washed out his final high school playing days just before he was drafted in 2020. He looks to continue to build on what he did last year. Crow-Armstrong, who came over in the Javier Baez trade, will be making his Cubs organization debut this year after recovering from an injury he suffered while with the Mets organization. Caissie got his first taste of A-ball towards the end of last year, posting a .367 OBP in 22 games. It would make sense for these three guys to start the regular season in Myrtle Beach.

Others have the potential to be moving up. Nwogu is an interesting prospect that tends to fly under the radar. The former Michigan Wolverine made his professional debut in 2021, playing 94 games in Myrtle Beach. After a slow start to the season, he slashed .285/.376/.451 with eight homers, 36 RBI and .828 OPS from July through September.  High-A South Bend could be calling his name, among others. Time will tell.

Then there are the prospects who will be moving from Rookie ball to A-ball. Reggie Preciado spent all of 2021 in rookie ball and slashed .333/.383/.511 in 34 games. Kevin Alcántara, who came over in the Anthony Rizzo deal, also has only played in rookie ball so far. Those guys have a solid sample size in the developmental leagues and look ready to be moving up. Both of them very well could be with Myrtle Beach on Opening Night. Also, keep an eye on 2021 second-rounder James Triantos, and international phenom Cristian Hernández as they will be looking to make their A-ball debuts soon.

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Minor League camp is underway and roster decisions will be made over the next month. Mentioning all of these prospects either moving from rookie ball to low-A Myrtle Beach, staying in Myrtle Beach or possibly going to high-A South Bend shows how deep and raw this farm system is.