In a new set of MLB Pipeline predictions from Jim Callis to close out 2023, the Chicago Cubs were picked to have the #1 farm system in baseball by the end of 2024. Not only does he say the Cubs will have the best farm system - they'll do it without Cade Horton and Pete Crow-Armstrong, both of whom, he says, will graduate to the big league team next season.
It's no surprise the Cubs system is high on many MLB experts' lists, given the meteoric rise in top prospects in the past two seasons. After Crow-Armstrong and Horton graduate, they still have four locked into the top 100, with Ben Brown, Matt Shaw, Owen Caissie and Kevin Alcantara all looking to climb higher up the ladder in 2024. But they aren't the only ones in the Cubs' system that could be on gaining national recognition.
Cubs have a ton of depth, especially at the top end of the system
Moises Ballesteros and Jackson Ferris sit at #7 and #8, respectively, in the team's top 30. Ballesteros got up to a .300 batting average in High-A before spending five games in Tennessee at the end of the year. He hit 14 home runs and drove in 64, with a .285/.374/.449 line across three levels in 2023.
Ferris pitched 56 innings, recording 77 strikeouts over 18 starts at Myrtle Beach with a 3.38 ERA, holding opponents to a .179 batting average. He will look to build upon a solid start to his professional career, presumably with High-A South Bend in 2024.
Once the 2024 MLB draft comes around, the Cubs will have another chance to land a top 100 guy, as they pick 14th in the first round. This season, they picked 13th overall and took Matt Shaw, who already slots in at #96, and figures to make major jumps up the top 100 if he continues his torrid pace.
The farm system is in a place to start supplementing the big league talent with wave after wave of prospects to help balance payroll and overall production at the major league level. The time is now for Jed Hoyer to strike and build a competitive Cubs team. They have the financial means and prospect depth to keep a competitive window open long-term, which has always been the stated goal.