When it comes to the future of a baseball team, everyone looks at top prospects. But sometimes, the top prospect list doesn't show the full picture of what a system has to offer. Sometimes, it's the mid-level guys who end up making their mark at the big league level rather than top-shelf talent. For example, at the end of the 2021 season, Christopher Morel was only the 20th-ranked Cubs prospect, and Brandon Hughes wasn’t even in the top 30. Both played big roles for Chicago during the 2022 season. But the most underrated prospect, who I hope is ranked for the start of next season, is first baseman BJ Murray Jr.
For the 2022 season, Murray played with the South Bend A+ Cubs and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A). In 56 games in South Bend, Murray hit for a .273 average, .388 OBP and 28 RBI. In his 39 games in Single-A, Murray hit .305 average with 25 RBI and .441 OBP. Regardless of what level you're talking about, those are impressive numbers.
Matt Mervis, the Cubs' top first baseman prospect, is currently the #21 overall prospect for the team. Mervis is projected to be on the major league club next season, and given his numbers in the minors this past season, it makes sense. Mervis hit for a .297 average with 36 home runs and and 119 RBI
Given Mervis is the only first baseman on the Cubs' top 30 prospect list. What if he doesn’t work out? Murray could wind up being the next man up on the depth chart, organizationally speaking. Maybe I am biased, as I went to the same school as Murray. But the 2021 All-C-USA Second Team honoree deserves some attention. Hopefully Mervis will prove to be the next Anthony Rizzo at first, and with the universal DH, who knows, maybe both guys will be on the big league roster together at some point.