ESPN shakes up Chicago Cubs top prospect rankings in Top 100 reveal

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Over the course of the past few weeks, several outlets have revealed their Top 100 Major League Baseball prospect rankings and the universal consensus is that the Cubs have three prospects that are worthy of being ranked on that list in outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong, Brennen Davis, and Kevin Alcantara. There has been some debate in regard to whether Alcantara should be ranked ahead of Davis but for the most part, those have been the three prospects that have gotten the praise.

ESPN revealed their list of Top 100 Major League Baseball prospects and there are three Cubs listed: Crow-Armstrong, Alcantara, and....pitcher Jordan Wicks. Davis is not ranked among the Top 100 prospects via ESPN nor is he mentioned among the honorable mentions. The Cubs did have four other prospects listed among the honorable mentions in shortstop Cristian Hernandez, third baseman James Triantos, right fielder Owen Caissie, and starting pitcher Hayden Wesneski.

There is no question that Davis' back injury last season has led to him falling down prospect rankings but it would seem rather criminal to not mention him at all heading into the 2023 season. Perhaps the thinking of Kiley McDaniel, the ESPN insider that compiled the rankings, is that Davis needs to succeed at the Triple-A level.

In 242 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, Davis has struggled with a slash line of .213/.343/.381/.724. The struggles that Davis had in 2022 could be explained away by the back injury but there is no question that this season is an important season for the Cubs' outfield prospect. Davis is fully healthy and expected to start the season at Triple-A Iowa. If Davis can find offensive success, then that will go a long way in restoring his value as one of the better prospects in Major League Baseball.

For Wicks, McDaniel's list with ESPN is the first time that has cracked a Top 100 prospect list. McDaniel had this to say regarding Wicks:

"Type: Lefty with (newly) above-average stuff and (same) feel, devastating changeup. Wicks went No. 21 overall in the 2021 draft as a high-floor lefty from Kansas State with a plus changeup and above-average command but a fastball, slider, and curveball that were all fringy. It was a different story in 2022 as his velo jumped a couple ticks to 91-94 mph with good ride and the same standout command. The added arm speed also improved both breaking balls, and the changeup is a plus to plus-plus weapon. Wicks might be big league-ready by midseason and is looking like a midrotation starter with the risk being that the velo bump regresses and he ends up more of a steady backend type. "

Kiley McDaniel via ESPN

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The idea of Wicks potentially being ready by midseason certainly would be an intriguing storyline for the Cubs. As the Cubs enter the season, there is no question that the team has a question mark at the backend of their rotation. Wesneski certainly will be given every opportunity to win a spot out of Spring Training but if health questions continue to surround veteran Kyle Hendricks, Wicks could be a compelling addition to the rotation if the Cubs are looking for a push.

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