The Cubs farm system is drawing all kinds of acclaim throughout baseball world
January is a popular time for prospecting around baseball circles and this has been a particularly good month for the Cubs farm system.
When Jed Hoyer had to make the difficult decision in the summer of 2021 to sell off the World Series-winning core, he did so with the understanding that the Cubs farm system needed a reboot.
Two-and-a-half years later, the Cubs have arguably the best group of prospects in the game no matter what outlet you turn to.
Over the last couple of weeks, four of the main prospect outlets — MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN — released their overall Top 100 (or Top 101 in BP’s case) and the Cubs were very well represented.
On MLB Pipeline’s list released last Friday, the Cubs led baseball with 7 players. Here’s where all 7 players ranked:
16. Pete Crow-Armstrong – OF
26. Cade Horton – RHP
47. Owen Caissie – OF
51. Michael Busch – INF
54. Matt Shaw – INF
65. Kevin Alcántara – OF
73. James Triantos – INF
On the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 list released earlier this month, the Cubs fared even better with 9 selections.
Catcher Moises Ballesteros (84th) and pitcher Jordan Wicks (94th) were the two new names while the aforementioned 7 players also found their way into the rankings again. Crow-Armstrong (20th), Shaw (21st) and Horton (27th) led the group.
Baseball America unveiled their Top 100 rankings earlier this month as well and while the Cubs’ showing wasn’t quite as bountiful, they still netted 5 prospects — Crow-Armstrong, Horton, Shaw, Busch and Caissie all made the Top 50.
Kiley McDaniel’s Top 100 prospects for ESPN came out Wednesday and the Cubs had 5 players — all in the Top 50:
18. Pete Crow-Armstrong
30. Cade Horton
37. Matt Shaw
41. Jordan Wicks
43. Owen Caissie
Crow-Armstrong and Wicks made their MLB debuts late in the 2023 season and both players could find their way onto the Opening Day roster. Even if they start the season in Triple-A, the expectation is they will both impact the big-league roster for much of 2024.
Busch was acquired by the Dodgers just before Cubs Convention and provides a left-handed bat and defensive versatility to this team. Hoyer and Carter Hawkins acknowledged at Cubs Convention that they expect Busch to be the team’s primary first baseman to open the season.
Horton (2022) and Shaw (2023) were the team’s 1st-round picks from the last two MLB Drafts and have enjoyed meteoric rises throughout the farm system. Both 22-year-olds finished the 2023 campaign in Double-A and with continued success, they could be knocking at the door in Chicago at some point in the next year.
Caissie, 21, spent all of last year with Double-A Tennessee and the left-handed slugger could also be on the cusp of making his big-league debut as well.
There’s no guarantee how these players will fare during extended time in the big leagues, but the Cubs certainly feel good about the next wave of young talent coming up through the system.