Chicago Cubs boast one of most improved farm systems in 2022

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One of the biggest reasons why there has been an uptick in the Chicago Cubs' urgency to return to contention is because of the boom that the team's farm system saw during the 2022 season. Center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong had a breakout season within the Cubs' minor league system and that would be the reason why he has supplanted Brennen Davis as the organization's top prospect. Sam Dykstra of MLB dot com took a look at the most improved farm systems across Major League Baseball in 2022 and the Cubs were a part of the conversation.

"4. Cubs Preseason rank: 18 Re-rank: 10 It’s difficult to think of now, but Pete Crow-Armstrong began the season with only six Minor League games on his résumé due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Fully healthy in 2022, he blossomed into a promising hitter who is capable of being an elite defender in center field, thus making him MLB Pipeline’s No. 30 overall prospect. He’s one of three Top 100 prospects for the Cubs now, all of which are outfielders, alongside Brennen Davis (No. 48) and breakout performer Kevin Alcantara (No. 86), who like Crow-Armstrong, was acquired in a '21 trade. The selection of College World Series star Cade Horton at No. 7 in the 2022 Draft was a big swing that could pay off if the former Sooners right-hander’s plus fastball and 65-grade slider translate well to the pros. Somehow, we’ve gotten this far without mentioning 36-homer man Matt Mervis, who went from obscurity to being potentially the Cubs’ Opening Day first baseman -- essentially the poster boy for the system’s improvements since the spring. "

Sam Dykstra, MLB dot com

As Dykstra points out, the Cubs boast three prospects in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list with Crow-Armstrong, Davis, and Kevin Alcantara. This could have an impact on the Cubs' negotiations with current left fielder Ian Happ regarding a potential contract extension. While Happ certainly should factor into the Cubs' long-term plans, the idea of Crow-Armstorng, Davis, and Alcantara being Major League-ready over the next two seasons would at least ease the blow if the Cubs' All-Star outfielder leaves the organization after this season.

Not mentioned in this discussion is Alexander Canario. Canario clubbed 37 home runs across three affiliates for the Cubs last season but suffered a freak ankle and shoulder injury in a Winter League game this fall.

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It is interesting that Matt Mervis gets a mention in passing. There is no question that Mervis has the profile of the left-handed power hitter that the Cubs have missed in their lineup since trading Anthony Rizzo in 2021. Mervis certainly will receive consideration for being the Cubs' opening-day first baseman but it is also important to remember that he is entering only his third season of professional baseball and there is no guarantee that he hits immediately at the Major League level.