From July 11-30, the Cubs completely reshaped their system by adding 31 prospects to their system via the draft, trades, and undrafted free agency. Combined with the two previous drafts and international free agency, this organization is now a far cry from its low point in 2017. On top of that, some of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects have been injured all summer.
That means there will be a lot of fluctuation between different outlets when it comes to how those individual prospects rank and where the Cubs stand as a whold. FanGraphs has the Cubs ranked at No. 7 on their farm system rankings, but Keith Law of The Athletic says they’re probably somewhere in the middle teens. Baseball America touted all that added depth and then dropped them seven spots from 17 to 24 because they only have two top 100 guys. Go figure.
The updated player rankings vary even more wildly, as you’ll see if you toggle from Baseball America to Marquee Sports Network, then check in on FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline. I won’t be breaking each of them down here because that would take away your entertainment in perusing them yourself. Suffice to say that about the only thing those four have in common is that Brennen Davis is now the consensus top prospect in the system and is rising up the overall boards.
To give you an idea of how strange the aforementioned rankings are, let’s take a look at where they placed outfielder Owen Caissie, one of the most talked-about prospects in the Cubs’ system this summer. Acquired last winter from San Diego, Caissie has shown the ability to hit for average and power while also drawing a ton of walks with an on-base percentage at or near .500 all summer long. The only problem is the Arizona Complex League doesn’t have video, so getting a good look at Caissie has been difficult.
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) July 27, 2021
Marquee’s Lance Brozdowski has him as the Cubs’ No. 4 prospect, FanGraphs slots him in at 10, MLB Pipeline has him dropped all the way to number 15, and BA has him ranked 25th. To go from 4 to 25 is laughable, but you’ve got the newly acquired Kevin Alcantara with similarly disparate ranks of 2, 5, 16, and 19, then Reginald Preciado is anywhere from 3-10.
It might take until the middle of 2022 for things to settle down and to come to some form of consensus as all these prospects start to play full-season ball and accumulate deeper video libraries. Of course, the Cubs could use that boost in order to improve trade value, which is one reason they bought in bulk this summer. Having increased depth means being able to deal from it while still maintaining enough young players to eventually feed the big-league team, something Theo Epstein preached about during his tenure on the North Side.
Until then, the Cubs will add some more depth to their talent pool as they are slated to pick at No. 8 in the 2022 MLB draft. And who knows if they might trade more MLB talent this winter.