Cubs prospect notes: Brailyn Marquez, Brennen Davis, Miguel Amaya, Alexander Canario and more
The tough road continues for Cubs’ prospect Brailyn Marquez. The lefty pitcher, one of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system as recent as last year, underwent surgical debridement of his left shoulder on June 17 and will miss the rest of the season. The procedure is usually performed to remove damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound.
“We’re expecting him to make a full recovery,” Cubs’ vice president of player development Jared Banner said. “I don’t wanna go into too much details on the medical stuff because I’m not a doctor; that’s not my expertise. He did have shoulder surgery and he’ll be out for the season.”
It’s been a tough road for Marquez, who missed the 2021 season due to a bout with COVID-19 that delayed his start of the year and then a left shoulder injury. He pitched at the Cubs’ alternate site in 2020 during the pandemic-shortened season and made his major league debut against the White Sox at the end of the season.
But he has yet to pitch in a competitive game since then and hasn’t pitched in the minors since 2019 when he was at then-High-A Myrtle Beach.
Marquez wasn’t the only prospect that Banner provided an update on. Here’s some updates on other players in the Cubs’ system:
The Cubs’ top prospect underwent surgery in early June after the discovery of a vascular malformation that pushed against a nerve in his back. There was no structural damage and Cubs’ president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said was “an absolute best-case scenario” in June.
Davis is in Arizona now continuing his rehab and is expected to return to game action in the Arizona Complex League (ACL) “within the next 2 to 3 weeks.”
“It kinda fits the timeline of what we’re expecting,” Banner said. “You never know what’s gonna happen on the nerve side. We were hopeful the whole time that he would be back this year and it looks like he should be.”
The Cubs’ top catching prospect returned to game action in the Arizona Complex League on July 1 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He returned to Double-A Tennessee last week and has raked — he’s 5-for-11 with a home run and 4 RBI. In 48 AB across Double-A and the ACL, he has 3 home runs with an .864 OPS.
Amaya is strictly playing in the DH spot for the time being.
“He obviously hasn’t gotten behind the plate in a while and he won’t be behind the plate for a little while longer,” Banner said. “But at least to get him back swinging the bat — you don’t wanna miss too much time with a young player so to get him back out there, he hit the ground running this weekend, so we’re excited to see that.
“It’s great for us. He’s a real major prospect for us in an important position. Quality catching’s hard to find throughout the game. Anytime there’s a catching prospect, it’s always great.”
The outfield prospect acquired in the Kris Bryant deal with the Giants last season, Canario has crushed pitching at both High-A and Double-A this season. He’s hit a whopping 24 home runs across the two levels — a career-high for him in the minors — and boasts a .905 OPS with South Bend and Tennessee.
What’s even more impressive about Canario is his plate discipline has improved over the last month. He has posted a 29% walk-rate so far in July — at High-A his walk-rate was 10% and over the season at Double-A, it’s 11%.
“He’s just making really good swing decisions,” Banner said. “Whenever he makes contact, he does a ton of damage. He’s really strong and creates a ton of exit velo. He’s just doing a great job. He’s hot as can be right now and he’s trending up. It’s not just a hot streak. He’s doing everything better and better each month and we’re really excited to see that. This is the player we envisioned when we traded for him.”
The Cubs’ top-pitching prospect struggled in his 2 starts after his debut, allowing 10 runs on 8 hits in 6.1 innings of work. It’s not the performance the Cubs believe he’s capable of — after all, he has thrown to a 2.62 ERA in his minor league career. Part of the issues for him at the big-league level stemmed from command issues.
“I think the thing that jumps out about Caleb is he’s always been a really, really good strike thrower throughout his career and then he ran into some issues in a couple of starts here,” Banner said. “So, just going back to the basics, the fundamentals with him.
“Development is not always linear as much as we like it to be so. We expect to have him back at some point in the future and I’m sure he’ll take advantage of that opportunity.”
The Cubs first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Howard suffered a season-ending hip injury at High-A South Bend in May.
“He’s heading to Arizona next week,” Banner said. “He’s walking now and he’ll start his rehab process a little more formally with us at our complex.”