Ranking the best-hitting Cubs prospects halfway through the season

The depth of the Cubs' system is on full display in our midseason rankings
John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs have a solid system that boasts some top-end talent like Pete Crow-Armstrong, but they're also extremely deep. Only one hitter on this list ranked in MLB.com's Cubs top 10 prospects list earlier this season and that's not because the other guys have been bad. Rather, it's because these four hitters have been exceptional in their own right.

There are plenty of players that could have made this list, and there are arguments to be made that there are some more deserving players than the ones we chose. Ezequiel Pagan, Crow-Armstrong and Yonathan Perlaza all have very strong cases to have seen their names here, but at the end of the day I'm just glad the system is this healthy, strong and full of players that could make their way to Wrigley Field sooner rather than later.

Cubs Triple-A Hitter of the First Half: Jared Young 1B (28 Years Old)

.326/.426/.605 45 RBI, 40 R, 13 HR, 7 2B, 43/29 K/BB, 4-for-5 on SB attempts

Is there a way to lose an audience faster than to call a list “Hitting Prospect of the First Half” and then have the Triple-A representative be a 28-year-old that is currently in the majors? I don’t think so but, in reality, Jared Young is the right answer to this question for so many reasons. 

Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic said this earlier in July:

"In the middle of April, the Cubs looked at their Triple-A Iowa roster and realized they had a bit of a playing-time crunch. To ease those issues, they moved lefty first-baseman Jared Young to the development list. Young was pretty frustrated with the move, but he didn’t pout. ... The 27-year-old called Cubs vice president of player development, Jared Banner, to let him know that he’d take the move in stride. He promised to put his head down and continue to grind like he always did, but he was on a mission to prove to them that he was not only worthy of a roster spot with Iowa, but that he was a big leaguer.
"

Sahadev Sharma

That’s who Young is as a player and he’s been a fine contributor to the big league squad since receiving the call. At 28 years old he’s likely not the long-term answer at first base. He may not even be the short-term answer if the Cubs sell at the deadline as they might view it as more beneficial to get Matt Mervis some more major league playing time.

That being said, he’s the kind of player that great teams have available in the minor leagues. The Dodgers seem to have a guy they call up every season that comes out of nowhere and is able to be a quality contributor without a ton of prospect clout and pedigree. 

At the end of the day, the thing that will likely hold Young back more than his age or anything else, is the fact that he is too similar to the rest of the Cubs current major league roster. Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson, Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ are locked up long-term and none of them are thought of as power hitters. If Christopher Morel can’t limit the strikeouts and if the team moves Cody Bellinger then power at first base becomes more of a necessity than a luxury and Young simply doesn’t project to have the kind of 30-homer power that the team might need from the position.