Chicago Cubs rank near the top of baseball in organizational pitching velocity

While the major league staff still lacks in velocity, the Chicago Cubs organization has been successful in its efforts to infuse power pitching talent from top to bottom.

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs are officially becoming a high-velocity organization. Since Spring Training this year, their focus on bringing in and cultivating firepower has been evident, even if it has yet to translate to the big league rotation. They are a far cry from the days of Brailyn Marquez being their only big-time pitching prospect.

Now, we have data that gives perhaps the best look yet at how velocity is rising across the board in the Cubs' system. Marquee Sports Network player development analyst Lance Brozdowski took to Twitter with a dive into minor league organizational data regarding average four-seam fastball velocity for all 30 teams. Among them, the Cubs rank second with a 92.9 mph average, just behind the Dodgers at 93.1 mph.

Granted, velocity isn't everything. For years, the Cubs have been fairly successful when constructing pitching staffs without a flamethrower. Just this year, their rotation has been buoyed by Justin Steele and Marcus Stroman (at least until the latter's struggles) whose average fastball velocities both sit at or near 92 mph. For years, though, we've seen teams like the Dodgers and Rays churn out power arms to great effect, and it's hard to deny the floor for success a few extra ticks on the fastball creates.

We're starting to see how valuable power can be in the bullpen. Daniel Palencia, who was converted to a reliever earlier this year, has shown flashes of brilliance so far in the majors with a devastating fastball albeit with some control issues. Although not a Cubs prospect, Julian Merryweather has been a crucial pickup in the offseason with a 3.60 ERA as Adbert Alzolay's setup man. Then there's Alzolay himself who has blossomed into a homegrown closer with the Cubs with a 2.54 ERA.

Top Cubs prospects are lighting up the radar gun

It's exciting to see the Cubs not just catching up, but even leading much of the league in terms of velocity as an organization considering how far behind they've been at the major league level for so long. There's hope that, with higher velocities across the board, the Cubs can start producing the kind of front-of-the-rotation talent that they've mostly had to find on the free-agent market. The bullpen, too, can benefit from this with players like Luke Little, Riley Thompson, and Cam Sanders all on the radar as potential future relievers.

Some of their hardest throwers also rank among their best prospects. Once back from injury, Ben Brown, who sports a fastball capable of hitting triple digits, will surely be eyed again to join the bullpen once rosters expand. The organization's top pitching prospect, Cade Horton, has been flying through the minors with a wipeout slider and a mid to upper-90s fastball of his own. It's hard not to consider him one of the best pitching prospects the Cubs have had in years with his combination of skills.

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If anything, the Cubs have put themselves more in line with some of the best organizations in baseball by targeting and developing arms with more power. They're now flush with the kind of prospects we could only dream of in years past and are lined up for a bright future where more of that power should start translating to the majors.