The Chicago Cubs have one of the most improved minor league systems in all of Major League Baseball. That didn’t happen because they dealt Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman at the deadline for a massive haul, it happened because of solid development at the lower levels and what appears to be a great crop of rookies from the Rule 4 Draft in June.
The players in the top ten of a farm system of this caliber are all potential future all-stars. We'll see a couple of starting pitchers who could be in the rotation at Wrigley this season, an infielder who gives off Ben Zobrist vibes, the player we got in return for Kris Bryant a couple of years back and a player that has the possibility of being a top-ten prospect in all of baseball at this time next season.
Let’s dive into the list.
Ben Brown RHP
2023 Level(s): AA Tennessee, AAA Iowa
Joined the organization via: David Robertson trade with Philadelphia Phillies
2023 Stats: 92.2 IP, 4.27 ERA, 130/57 K/BB
At the midpoint last season Ben Brown was all the way up at number at number five on our list. He’s seen his stock tumble a bit because he simply wasn’t able to replicate his first month or two of the season for the entire season and then the injuries started to pop up.
The greatest ability is availability and when it comes down to it, there was a spot open in the rotation at the end of the season in Chicago and the Cubs had to pass over Brown in favor of Jordan Wicks because Brown had struggled and was returning from injury. In the grand scheme of things, that worked out well and Wicks hit the ground running at Wrigley, but there was a legitimate chance that Brown’s lack of availability could have been the difference between making the playoffs and missing it.
All that being said, it’s impossible not to look at the blistering start to 2023 that Brown had and hope that he can have some semblance of that dominance this season and beyond. Over his first four games of the season, he pitched 20 innings, allowed one earned run, and struck out 30 batters while only walking six.
He finds himself at ten on this list because he was simultaneously the most exciting prospect in the system to start the year in 2023 and the most disappointing to end the season. If he can get back to the guy he was for those first four games then the Cubs rotation will be in an extremely solid place moving forward.