Quick Thoughts on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Cubs Ranking

Brennen Davis via Clinton Cole (@cdcole55)

Note: It appears that MLB Pipeline has dropped their latest Chicago Cubs Top 30 prospect rankings. With no official announcement, it is possible that the list is in process, but as of now it appears ready to be officially released.

Publications like Baseball America have been around for decades. Others like Prospects Live are on the rise. But when it comes to prospect rankings, none are shared as widely as MLB Pipeline. As the official ranking of Major League Baseball and a free resource, Pipeline’s prospect rankings have become the de facto reference point for prospects.


Top of the List

  • Brennen Davis: The outfielder was just ranked 14th overall as a prospect by MLB continuing his ascendancy to elite prospect.
  • Brailyn Marquez: after battling COVID and then a shoulder injury that has kept him from pitching in affiliates baseball, Marquez lands at 95th overall and second in the Cubs system. It’s hard to remember that Marquez still has upper level potential
  • Cristian Hernandez: Pipeline is betting on upside with Hernandez. He has elite upside, but he won’t make his stateside debut until next year at the earliest.

Prospect Debuts

  • Jordan Wicks: The 2021 first round pick of the Cubs lands at 6th in the system. Per MLB, “His fastball has gained about 5 mph since high school and he now operates at 91-94 mph and reaches 97 with high spin rates and good carry up in the strike zone.”
  • James Triantos: Readers of this website know all about Triantos, who sported elite contact rates in the showcase circuit before he was drafted in the second round. Triantos was drafted as a third baseman and likely ends up at the hot corner. He ranks 11th in a deep Cubs system
  • Christian Franklin: A big upside selection in the 4th round, the Cubs believe Franklin is a “plus CF”. He has high strikeout rates, but offers incredible value at that stage in the draft. Jim Callis viewed him as a second round pick. He ranks 22.
  • Pablo Aliendo: a surprise selection in the Top 30, Aliendo gets rave reviews for his work with pitchers. He shows energy behind the plate and could be a solid future catcher. Aliendo slides in at 29th in the Cubs system.

Other Takeaways

  • The Cubs had five shortstops ranked in the Top 30: Hernandez, Howard, Preciado, Triantos, and Made. You can’t have too many shortstops.
  • I wouldn’t put too much stock in Pipeline ranking Howard ahead of Made, who is having more success at the same level as a younger player. Many evaluators are willing to give Howard a mulligan after not playing in almost two years and jumping straight to Myrtle Beach. Made’s improvements are impressive by themselves.
  • DJ Herz (12th) and Caleb Kilian are fascinating back-to-back ranked players. They are very different pitchers, but both having big success this season. Herz, in particular, is proof the Cubs can develop pitching. Kilian may make his MLB debut in 2022.
  • There are countless ways that evaluators can rank the players in the Cubs system, but more than anything this is a very balanced list. This is a system on the rise.

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