So far it seems like MLB Pipeline really likes the farm system that the Chicago Cubs have put together. They'd had at least one player on each of their top ten by position list going into the 2024 season.
However, with Matt Shaw not appearing on the list of top shortstops today, their streak of players appearing on top ten prospect lists has come to an end. That being said, the argument could easily be made that Shaw is better (and more major league-ready) than many that appeared on this list.
Matt Shaw has been a truly impressive prospect. We had ample coverage on him before the draft and then continued to sing his praises as he made his way through three levels of the minor leagues before ending his season at AA Tennessee.
I don't want to be a hater on another prospect, but Marco Luciano, the player who was ranked as the 10th-best shortstop prospect in the game hit .223/.334/.442 in the minors last season. In 2022 he hit .269/.350/.467. His best season came pre-covid back in 2019 when he was still just a teenager in short-season and rookie ball.
We had this to say about him when we ranked him as the third best prospect in the farm system:
"There is a world where Matt Shaw ends the season as a top-five prospect in baseball and it’s not that hard to envision it. Perhaps the only thing that would prevent it is if he were to no longer be considered a prospect at the end of the season due to already being in the major leagues. "- Cubbies Crib
There’s not much to not like in Shaw’s profile. I would have expected to see him on the third base list yesterday but he was drafted as a shortstop and the lone knock against him has been his arm strength at short which would only be exacerbated at third base.
If you can overlook the potential that his arm is worse than Nick Madrigal’s (who looked more than capable at the hot corner last season), then the bat is good enough to carry him just about anywhere. Last season he hit .357/.400/.618 with 21 extra base hits in just 170 plate appearances.
As a Cubs fan it’s hard to not be excited about this farm and about how close the players near the top are to the big leagues. If Shaw continues to hit the way that he did last season he could be manning third base by the All-Star Break.