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 we’ll look at in today’s post are the 20th-11th best prospects in the system and just about every player on this list has legitimate difference-making ability. There are a myriad of teenaged middle-infielders that should fight it out to be top-100 prospects in baseball by the end of the year, a couple of players that could (and should) start the year on the North Side, and a player that was in our top-five in the middle of the season last year.
Let’s dive into the list.
Derniche Valdez SS
2023 Level(s): Rookie Ball
Joined the organization via: IFA Signing in 2023
2023 Stats: 125 PA .234/.328/.477 6 HR, 12 XBH, 4/8 SB, 20 RBI, 17 R
Derniche Valdez is a player we’ve talked about a fair amount here between the mid-season top 30 prospects list and the piece we wrote about him being named the Cubs best prospect in Rookie Ball last season. The most pertinent information from that piece can be summarized here:
"The scouting report on Valdez is that he’s a five-tool player (who isn’t at this age?) and that he should be able to stick at shortstop. The idea of a player that combines Starlin Castro and Hanley Ramirez’s production should be enough to get any fan salivating but the production on the field has been at least as impressive as that scouting report would have led you to hope. "- Cubbies Crib
Valdez is still just 17 years old and may get a shot to be the Jefferson Rojas of the system this year, but if he continues to hit with the power he did last season he’ll likely be much higher on this list at the mid-season mark.