Chicago Cubs prospects: Hoping for better farm health in 2023

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Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

There was a lot of positive development from the Chicago Cubs farm system in 2022. After spending several years post-2016 as one of the lower-ranked farms in baseball, it has risen in the rankings drastically over the past year or so with its collection of young talent. However, there were some notable bumps in the road last year among the top prospects, as a number of them suffered significant injuries.

Notable prospects with significant injuries included the likes of Brennen Davis, Alexander Canario, Ed Howard, and Miguel Amaya. This does not even include former top prospect Brailyn Marquez, who was just non-tendered after not pitching in professional baseball since 2020 due to shoulder issues and COVID. All of these guys were top prospects in the Cubs farm going into last season.

The timing of these injuries has been pretty brutal too. Davis entered 2022 as the team's top prospect and seemed to be closing in on his call to The Show. Back issues began to flare up in Spring Training, hurting his performance in Triple-A Iowa, before needing back surgery on June 2nd. He missed several months before returning in August. He was slated to play in the AFL this Fall, but the slugging outfielder was not feeling 100% and that was cut short.

It was so unfortunate to see Amaya work his way back from the Tommy John surgery he had in late 2021 and end up suffering a Lisfranc injury in his left foot last September. Amaya in his 2022 return was hitting .278/.379/.485 in Double-A Tennessee. It has been an overall rough go physically for the long-time ranked catching prospect, who since 2020, has only played in 63 games in the Cubs system due to various ailments. The talent is there, and the hope is for him to be part of the future Cubs catching core, he just needs to get healthy and stay healthy.

2022 was a brutal season for the Chicago Cubs in regard to injuries to top prospects.

In Canario's case, he suffered a horrific ankle and shoulder injury in a freak accident running to first in the Dominican Winter League. Canario required surgery for the fractured ankle and dislocated shoulder. In the 2022 regular MiLB season, he slugged 37 home runs with a .899 OPS. He and prospect Matt Mervis duked it out in the Cubs system at highlight reel home run slugging. His path to the MLB level seemed to be getting close, either being a guy the Cubs could give a shot to out of Spring Training or even dangle as an intriguing trade piece this Winter for an established player.

Howard, the Cubs' 2020 first-round pick, spent 2021 trying to get back into the swing of things after COVID cut his final high-school playing days short. Last year he looked like he was starting to turn a corner in High-A South Bend, but in May, he required season-ending hip surgery. It was a really tough blow to his development, but he still has a ways to go to reach the Majors regardless.

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Cubs fans need to pray and hope that there will not be as many tough injuries to their farmhands in 2023. Injuries are part of sports, obviously, but it's never something we want to see. Luckily it seems like Davis and Amaya will be good to go in Spring, per CSN Chicago's Tim Stebbins. Canario on the other hand is not going to be ready for the start of 2023 and it is not really known what his timetable is at the moment. This is also why the Cubs could be looking for a short-term veteran solution in centerfield, due to the uncertainty of Canario and even Davis.