5 underrated prospects - Manuel Espinoza
Also in High-A and enjoying a breakout season so far is 22-year-old Manuel Espinoza. He has pitched 33 innings this season, started seven games, appeared in nine, and has an ERA of 2.18. From a season ago, he has lowered his BB/9 from 4.19 to 2.18 while increasing his groundball percentage from 35.2% to 40.0% and lowering his FIP from 5.07 to 2.58. With 36 strikeouts in his 33 innings pitched, his K/9 of 9.82 is slightly higher than last year's 9.18.
Before long, you question how soon a call to Tennessee is coming for Espinoza. Like Noland before him, he has essentially remained out of the spotlight due to the rapid rise of Horton, who rightfully has all eyes on him. Nevertheless, with the Cubs eyeing a competitive window opening and being backed by a robust farm system to keep the window open, prospects that perform well need to be recognized and ascend the ranks, so long as they're not being pushed too fast. Espinoza has shown much promise this season, and it's time to keep a better eye on him moving forward.