Cubs: 6 snubs from the latest top 30 prospect rankings list

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Earlier this month, MLB Pipeline‘s new Cubs top 30 prospect list was announced. This season, the Cubs have seen four players from their 2021 top 30 come into the majors: Alfonso Rivas (#30), Nelson Velazquez (#29), Christopher Morel (#20) and Caleb Kilian (#14). Even though just Morel and Velazquez are still in the majors, it is always exciting for the new top prospect list to come out and give us all a glimpse into the future.

For the 2022 prospect rankings, there are a lot of changes, including a new top prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and former top prospect Brennen Davis, dropping to the two seed. However, there are some surprises in the rankings. In every sport-related list, there are always snubs, people who should be on but are not.

Every ranking – whether it be sports-related or not – carries snubs. Even though the following players are not on the list this year, they most definitely should be on the list next time around. But let’s talk about these six players that hold a bright future in their career, and hopefully within the Cubs organization.

6 Cubs prospects who were snubbed in the latest Top 30 rankings

1.     BJ Murray

This season, BJ Murray started with the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, but has quietly moved his way up to Advanced A. In 46 games with South Bend, Murray is hitting .253 with 25 RBI to go along with 32 walks and 39 strikeouts. Murray, who plays first, second and third, should most definitely be on the top 30 list. I don’t know how you can make the case for someone like 18-year-old shortstop Christopher Paciolla at the #24 spot over Murray when he’s hitting just .143 this year. As Murray is not on the top prospect list this year, watch for his name to come into the picture soon.

2.     Luis Verdugo

Like Murray, Verdugo is someone who has been dominating in South Bend. Hitting .276 in 98 games, with 36 RBI and a whopping 26 doubles. The do-it-all infielder has finally found his swing, as in 2021 with Myrtle Beach, he was struggling. Maybe if Verdugo can do this again next season, then he will make his way to the top 30.

3.     Jeremiah Estrada

Drafted in the sixth round in 2017, the 24-year-old right-handed pitcher has been bouncing around in the minors. This season, he has been with the South Bend Cubs (Adv. A), the Iowa Cubs (Triple-A) and, now, with the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A). This season with the Smokies, Estrada carries a 1.80 ERA in 13 games. Spanning 20 innings, he has a fantastic strikeout-to-walk line, of 9:27. The Cubs have struggled with limiting the number of walks pitched and seeing a pitcher who does not walk a lot and maintains a low ERA, is something of a shock to not see him in the top 30. Next year, Estrada should most definitely be on the top 30 list and may even make an appearance next September if he keeps this up.

4.     Bryan Hudson

The massive 6’8” 25-year-old left-handed pitcher has finally started to figure it out in Tennessee. This season, Hudson started in Triple-A, pitching a 4.37 in 24 games, and was sent back down to Double-A to figure some things out. However, since then, Hudson has a 2.08 ERA in eight games, pitching 13 innings with five walks and 18 strikeouts. We won’t see Hudson in the majors for a year or two, until he can prove that he can pitch effectively in Triple-A. But the fact that the current top 30 list has Drew Gray, a 19-year-old left-handed pitcher in Single A, and has only appeared in two games, makes you question why Hudson isn’t even considered to be on the top prospect list.

5.     Bryce Ball

Bryce Ball came to Chicago from the Braves in 2021 via the Joc Pederson trade. The 24-year-old 6’6” first baseman, does have his flaws at the plate, but is still hitting a solid .273 in 116 games, with 68 RBI. With 62 walks and 110 strikeouts, his discipline at the plate is a major red flag. But, with those numbers, it is a shock that he isn’t even considered a top 30 prospect in the Cubs organization. The Cubs have just one first baseman on the top 30, Matt Mervis, and even though he has a lot of potential, it is a shock to have players who have rarely played any professional games and still be on the top 30 list. If Ball can figure out how to have more discipline at the plate, he should be a top prospect, however as his strikeouts remain high, he could just be another Patrick Wisdom, someone who hits the ball hard, but strikes out often.

6.     Nelson Maldonado

The 26-year-old utility fielder, Nelson Maldonado is probably one of the biggest snubs on the top 30 list. Maldonado plays first, third and can handle the outfield, and is hitting .279 in Triple-A, with 34 RBI, 16 walks and 50 strikeouts. Like Ball, his strikeout numbers are high, which would likely be even higher against major league pitching, but it is time to consider calling up the 26-year-old utilityman. As he is one of the older players on this snub list, it is still a surprise that he is not even a bottom-30 prospect.

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As the September call-ups are right around the corner, it will be interesting to see who the Cubs call up. Will Maldonado be called up? This may be his last chance to prove that he can do something in the majors. However, this team has a bright future. The fact that there are snubs for a top-30 prospect list just shows that this organization has a lot of depth right now. And it sure looks to be a bright future.