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 5 Draft in June.
The players we’ll look at in today’s post are the 30th-21st best prospects in the system and there may be some names you know and some names you’ll get to know. There’s a distinct difference between being the 21st-best prospect in this system and being the 21st-best prospect in the system a couple of years ago. The guys we’ll be talking about in this piece cover a wide range of potential outcomes, with some projecting to be back of the rotation/sixth starter types that are relatively close to the Majors and others that are teenagers with a lot of promise but they’re a long way off.
Let’s dive into the list.
Pablo Aliendo C
Age: 22 Years Old
2023 Level(s): AA Tennessee
Joined the organization via: IFA Signing in 2018
2023 Stats: 375 PA .231/.332/.458 16 HR, 40 XBH, 5/5 SB, 61 RBI 49 R
What we said midway through the season in 2023 still rings pretty true:
"Aliendo is not the prospect that Miguel Amaya was. He may not end up being more than a second catcher on a division-winning team. That being said, what he’s shown this year at AA is a propensity to hit for significant power."- Cubbies Crib
Last year Aliendo had a .227 ISO and had 40 extra-base hits in just 375 plate appearances. There’s a little bit of William Contreras here but with more power at this age than Contreras had shown. It’s hard to imagine that Contreras never hit more than 11 homers in the minor leagues before hitting 20 and 17 respectively in his first two big league seasons. It would be nice to see him tone down the strikeouts a bit and continue to improve on the defensive side, but he still looks like a legitimate option to share catching duties with Amaya or Moises Ballesteros in the years to come.