It was a big year for the Chicago Cubs organization in terms of developing key prospects. MLB Pipeline currently has the Cubs farm system ranked 10th overall, noting the depth of talent at virtually every level. FanGraphs is even higher on their system, currently ranking them fourth overall. Even if just a few of these key farmhands hit, the Cubs will be set up for success for years to come.
Some top prospects are still two or three years away, but there are those we hope to see at Wrigley Field next season. While things can change for better or worse for individual players, here are some top prospects we could see in 2023. This does not count guys who have already made their debut, i.e. Caleb Kilian.
Some key Cubs prospects on the cusp of making their big league debuts
Brennen Davis (#2)
The “main guy” for the past several years, the big concern with him right now is health. He was on a great track in 2021, earning Futures Game MVP honors and slashing .268/.397/.536 with four home runs in his late-season stint with Iowa. Unfortunately, he missed much of 2022 due to a back injury. However, he returned to play in August, spending time in South Bend and Iowa. He is also expected to play in the Arizona Fall League. If Davis is in good health and he gets fully back into the groove, we could see that long-awaited debut sometime in 2023.
Jordan Wicks (#5)
The lefty out of Kansas State was the team’s first round pick in 2020. Some experts thought his path to Wrigley Field would not be a long one. He pitched between South Bend and Tennessee in 2022, posting a 3.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings. The hope for him is to be part of the future starting rotation, and he has shown a lot of promise with his filthy changeup.
Alexander Canario (#9)
Already on the 40-man roster, Canario had a monster season between South Bend, Tennessee and Iowa. He hit 37 home runs, 26 doubles and slashed .252/.343/.556 in 125 games. In his 20 games in Iowa he posted a .386 OBP and 143 wRC+. Unless he is involved in a trade this offseason, he should get playing time in a Cubs uniform next year. He does have some holes in the swing, but he upped his walk rate as the season went on. Plus the raw power he has is something to marvel at.
Matt Mervis (#21)
He went from being an unknown to a household name among Cubs fans. The 24-year-old first baseman might be the answer to a position that has been a black hole since Anthony Rizzo left.
Between South Bend, Tennessee and Iowa, Mervis slugged 36 home runs and slashed .309/.379/.605 with a .984 OPS and MiLB-leading 119 RBI in 137 games. He played 57 of those games in Iowa, hitting 15 home runs with a .977 OPS. There were calls from the faithful for him to be brought up in 2022, but Rule 5 status and not being on the 40-man likely played a role in that. Next year looks to be the year. If he is the real deal, this makes a huge impact on the short-term outlook of the team.
Time will tell when exactly these guys get to the big leagues. There will be other farmhands who are not necessarily ranked to get playing time next year, which is typical for any baseball season. Who knows, there could be a top prospects with an ETA of 2024 or later who could surprise and see some playing time at the corner of Clark and Addison in 2023.