Prospect experts have a surprise prospect as the Cubs' best farmhand

Fangraphs doesn't hate Pete Crow-Armstrong, he's still highly-rated, but they love Cade Horton.

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Every year, outlets put out their Top Prospects lists, and fans eat them up with a spoon because fans want to believe in their teams. Sometimes, it’s easier to believe in the team your team is going to be eventually because even though we haven’t played even one of the 162 games on the schedule yet, there are some teams (looking at you, Oakland) who have almost nothing to look forward to this season. 

That being said, the Chicago Cubs are in that sweet spot of having a team set up to contend in 2024, but they’re also loaded up with talent at every position and every level throughout the minor leagues.

Earlier this offseason we gave our thoughts on the Top 30 Prospects in the system, which you can see below, and most outlets agreed with our rankings of the top five. However, this week, Fangraphs posted their total prospects list, and Pete Crow-Armstrong is not the player they have number one; instead, it’s Cade Horton.





Why He's Number One

We dove deep into Horton when we listed him as the second-best player in the system. Still, Fangraphs went even more profound when they ranked him as the Cubs' top prospect and the third-best pitching prospect in baseball behind only Pittsburgh’s Paul Skenes and Philadelphia's Andrew Painter. 

They point out that his top two offerings are a fastball and a slider. Still, the two significant changes that had him go from “two-way TJ rehabber to four-pitch dynamo very quickly” were his ability to get left-handed hitters out consistently and his introduction to a viable changeup. 

They also go on to say that Horton looks like a potential mid-rotation arm that could be in the majors this season. That being said, I look for more from him than that. 

Cade Horton Has Star Potential

The scouts at Fangraphs had Horton with four pitches that have current 50+ grades and two at 60. He really hasn’t had an opportunity to get comfortable in his time going from playing football and baseball at Oklahoma to having TJ, to dominating the College World Series, to playing at three different levels in 2023.

When I look at Horton’s pitch mix, his ability to limit walks while still missing bats, and his incredible level of athleticism, I see a future front of the rotation arm. 

Considering the cost that we just saw front of the rotation arms go for with the Phillies locking up Zach Wheeler, I think we can all agree that having one under team control for the next six years wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

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