How new prospects fit into Cubs farm system
Jed Hoyer made a difficult decision this week to trade away Cubs co-ace Yu Darvish and popular backup catcher Victor Caratini. But he and the Cubs feel like they set themselves up for a brighter future with the move, acquiring pitcher Zach Davies and four prospects in return.
MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis is intrigued by the potential of the Cubs’ return, joining Marquee Sports Network’s Cole Wright to provide a scouting report on the prospects.
Reginald Preciado is the most high-profile member of the prospect quartet as a switch-hitting 17-year-old shortstop. Callis believes that Preciado may eventually move to third base and if so, that would make him the best third base prospect in the Cubs system.
“Really interesting guy — very highly regarded [at the 2019 international signing period],” Callis said.
Outfielder Owen Caissie was the Padres’ 2nd-round pick this past summer and thanks to his Canadian background, has drawn comparisons to a Hall of Fame outfielder who also hails from north of the border.
“I really liked Owen Caissie,” Callis said. “That Larry Walker comparison kind of comes because they’re both Canadian, but you can see it. He’s big, he’s physical, he runs really well for his size. He’s got big, left-handed power potential. He’s got the classic right-field arm. I’m not ready to put him in the Hall of Fame yet, but I could see with the tools and the Canadian background, you could draw that Larry Walker parallel.
“He’s really, really interesting. You could make the case that in a year or so, he might be the best outfield prospect in the Cubs system. He’s got a lot of upside.”
As for outfielder Ismael Mena, Callis believes he becomes the best center field prospect in the Cubs system as a young player with the potential to hit for both average and power from the left side of the plate.
Shortstop Yeison Santana was the fourth prospect the Cubs received in the deal and the only one who has played professionally to date. He’s still young (20) and due to his profile as an athletic infielder with the ability to hit for average with some speed and power, Callis sees a similarity between Santana and Ed Howard, the Cubs’ 1st-round pick in June.
Callis is also intrigued by the Cubs’ work in the international market with the upcoming signing period (Jan. 15) that links the team with one of the top infielders in Cristian Hernandez, who has drawn comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez or Manny Machado.
“A physical, solid runner,” Callis said. “Speed, arm, defense — he’s got a chance to be a pretty interesting guy. So there will be another impact shortstop they add to the organization when you can officially sign those guys starting on Jan. 15. He’ll be a nice addition.”