Major League Baseball’s owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the Chicago Cubs‘ farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
1. Brennen Davis, CF
Davis possesses the best chance of developing into a star of anyone on the Cubs farm. He has a dynamic collection of tools, including plus or better grades with his power and speed, and he has an established track record of performance. This past season, he batted .260/.375/.494 with 19 home runs across three levels, including a 15-game stint at Triple-A that saw him post a .933 OPS. Davis should make his big-league debut in 2022; he’s likely to at least begin his career as a center fielder, though he might have to move off the position if and as he adds muscle to his frame.
2. Brailyn Márquez, LHP
Márquez missed the entirety of the 2021 season after suffering a shoulder injury while trying to return from a bout with COVID-19. Unfortunately, that prevented him from building on his big-league debut, which he made on the final day of the 2020 season. Márquez has an upper-90s fastball and two average or better secondaries, in his slider and changeup. He’s yet to pitch in either Double- or Triple-A, so an assignment to Iowa to open the year seems likely. Provided he can stay on the mound, he should factor into the big-league rotation before the season ends.
3. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF
The Cubs acquired Crow-Armstrong, the 19th pick in the 2020 draft, from the Mets at the deadline in exchange for Javier Báez despite him having suffered a season-ending labrum injury after just six professional games. Crow-Armstrong’s selling point is his glove; he’s a defensive demon in center field with good speed, a strong arm, and all the necessary innate traits required to command the position. He should be a contributor at the plate, too, thanks to his feel for contact and the zone alike.