Cubs net 3 prospects on preseason MLB Pipeline top 100 rankings

2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

By some accounts, the Cubs improved more than any other big league club this offseason as the front office emerged from a multi-year slumber to bring in a ton of new faces via free agency in hopes of getting back to October and winning a postseason game for the first time since the 2017 NLCS.

But it's not just the Cubs' big league mix that's on the rise. The team's farm system now ranks 10th, according to MLB Pipeline, a dramatic jump from 18th in the preseason rankings. This week, the top 100 prospects list dropped - and Chicago boasts three individuals to open the 2023 season.

That group is headlined by Pete Crow-Armstrong (28) - with some lower-ranked outfielders joining him in Kevin Alcantara (87) and Brennen Davis (92). Davis saw a dramatic drop-off from his #15 ranking a year ago after injuries and lingering concerns over his back hit his stock hard.

These three could wind up making up a future outfield on the North Side - and the organization's outfield depth goes far beyond just them. Alexander Canario, Owen Caissie and Yohendrick Pinango all also found themselves in MLB Pipeline's top 20 Cubs prospects rankings in 2022.

Hot on the heels of getting an 80-grade for his defensive work in center field, Crow-Armstrong leapfrogged Davis and is now the top outfield talent in the organization. An .896 OPS last year bodes well for his long-term outlook and he looks to be a future anchor in the Cubs' outfield plans.

Davis just has to stay healthy and put his back injuries behind him in 2023. That's the only thing keeping him from getting his first taste of The Show. Even when on the field last year, he was never 100 percent healthy and his numbers bore that out, evidenced by a .597 OPS in just 53 contests.

The Cubs landed Alcantara in the Anthony Rizzo trade back in July 2021 and the 6'6" outfielder drips with promise given his size and athleticism. Still just 20 years old, the big-bodied slugger spent last year with Class A Myrtle Beach, posting an .811 OPS for the Pelicans and he'll make the jump to Double-A in 2023 with an eye on getting to Wrigley sometime in 2024.

Cubs: Prospects are fun, but don't always make the jump as expected

Looking at past top 100 lists, though, it's worth remembering that it's far from a direct path to go from highly-touted prospect to big league breakout. Looking back at some names we've seen grace the top 100 in recent years, that point is made painfully clear in Brailyn Marquez and Miguel Amaya, both of whom's future looks very different than when they ranked among the game's elite prospects.

Marquez stuck with the organization on a minor league deal after failing to find interest elsewhere - and isn't even on the 40-man at this point. One can hope he'll recapture the form that once had us all dreamking of an overpowering homegrown left-handed arm on the staff, but no one is betting on him at this point.

dark. Next. Pete Crow-Armstrong considered among top OF prospects

Amaya, frankly, hasn't been healthy in years - and has caught 100+ games in a professional season just once, back in 2018. He appeared in just 40 contests last year, and with the age of Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart, you'd have to hope he can stay healthy and perhaps force his way onto the roster either late in 2023 or in 2024.