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Cubs Minor League

2 under-the-radar Cubs prospects to keep an eye on

1 year agoTony Andracki

Over the last couple of years, many of the prospects in the Cubs farm system have become household names.

Matt Mervis. Brennen Davis. Pete Crow-Armstrong. Jordan Wicks.

But there are also more than a few prospects flying under the radar that could soon become familiar to a large majority of the fanbase.

Which lesser-known prospects could break out in 2023 and put themselves on the map?

When Cubs vice president of player development Jared Banner was asked that question at Cubs Convention earlier this month, he offered up a pair of players: Infielder B.J. Murray and right-handed pitcher Kohl Franklin.

The Cubs selected Murray in the 15th round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Florida Atlantic University. He is originally from the Bahamas and can play either corner infield position.

Murray, who just turned 23 on Jan. 5, is a switch-hitter. He played at Class-A Myrtle Beach and Advanced Class-A South Bend in 2022, notching a .286/.410/.429 slash line (.839 OPS) with 8 homers and 8 stolen bases in 95 games. That includes 62 walks compared to 77 strikeouts.

“He controls the strike zone really well,” Banner told Cole Wright and Jim Deshaies on Marquee Sports Network. “That’s what hitting’s all about — it’s knowing when to swing the bat and when not to. He does a great job of that. It tends to be predictive of future success. So I’m really excited about his season coming up.”

Franklin, meanwhile, has been in the Cubs organization for a while. He was a 6th round pick in 2018 out of Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma. The 23-year-old righty put himself on the map with a solid season in A-ball in 2019 (2.36 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 11.1 K/9 in 11 games) before missing a lot of development time in 2020 and 2021.

“Missed a couple seasons due to COVID and injuries but is back now,” Banner said of Franklin. “Had some ups and downs this past year but now that he’s fully healthy and has a season of pitching under his belt, I think it might be time that he can really take off.”

Franklin pitched for Advanced Class-A South Bend in 2022, going 3-7 with a 6.88 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 75 strikeouts in 69.1 innings.

Marquee Sports Network’s Lance Brozdowski ranked Franklin the Cubs’ No. 23 prospect during last year’s midseason update, as the young flamethrower can dial it up to the upper 90s with his fastball and also throws a curveball and changeup.

Command has been an issue but considering all the missed time, Franklin could be primed to take a leap in 2023 and cash in on his potential.

 

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