We are back with our next portion of our 2016 Chicago Cubs top prospect list. This time, we are introducing you to our honorable mentions. These are players that have either fallen in our rankings and are now borderline, or are new additions that just missed the cut to the ranked portion of the list. Players in this portion of the list are a bit more predictable compared to the sleepers portion, which you can read HERE. Here are our honorable mentions for 2016:
David Berg – The NCAA single-season record holder for saves, Berg performed well for the Emeralds and Pelicans after he was drafted, posting a 1.69 ERA in 19.1 innings. The righty reliever isn't going to blow anyone away with his mid-80's fastball, but his quick sidearm delivery (which at times drops down into a submarine-like motion) creates a lot of deception. His slider has great horizontal movement and can be particularly effective with smart pitch sequencing. Berg ended the year closing games at High-A Myrtle Beach, and could start in the Tennessee bullpen next season. - Joe
Video Credit: Moore Baseball
Corey Black – It seems ever since the Cubs acquired Corey Black in the Alfonso Soriano trade, he has made an appearance on the Cubs top prospects list. With names like Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson continuously moving up the rankings, it can be easy to over look Black. Standing at only 5'11", most would tend to think that he doesn't have the stature to stay a starting pitcher. However, he performed better as a starter compared to a reliever, the role he was transitioned to mid-way through last season. He has an electric fastball that accompanies a high K rate and his BB rate was trending downwards until he reached the bullpen, where they spiked. In 210 innings AA innings, Black has posted an ERA over 4.00 and a WHIP of 1.39. He did strikeout 220 batters, but if you have followed his career that number doesn't surprise you.
You could say that if Black performed better in 2014 he could've started in Iowa, but he found himself back in Tennessee in 2015. He was chosen by the Cubs to partake in the AFL, and in eight relief innings he had an ERA of 11.42 with more walks than strikeouts. I still would play close attention to him as he has the pitches and work ethic to make it to the majors, it's just a matter of whether he can hone his command coming out of the pen. You can read our interview with him HERE - Josh
Charcer Burks – The 6’0” Texan had a solid year with the South Bend Cubs, hitting .257/.339/.347 over 498 plate appearances. He showed off an impressive feel for the strike zone (10.2% BB%), and was a menace when on the bases (28 steals). The one knock on him at the plate was he only hit 3 home runs, but he also played the whole year as a 20 year-old. Physically his body looks maxed out, and his contact oriented approach doesn’t help his power output. He has impressive bat-to-ball skills, and had a solid showing in his first year in full-season ball. Due to his excellent defense in the outfield, if Burks can muster 7-12 home runs per year, he could be a valuable 4th outfield type. Look for him to continue his progression with the Pelicans next season. You can read our interview with him HERE - Ted
Video Credit: TimberRattlersTV
David Garner – The Michigan State alum was drafted in the 7th round in 2013, and has slowly progressed through the minors since. However, next season he could be a quick riser thanks to his great end of the year performance with the Pelicans and Solar Sox (AFL). He ended his time in Myrtle Beach with a 2.37 ERA and 36 K's in 30.1 innings. Garner has a clean and fluid delivery and plus arm speed. This allows him to pump out easy gas in the mid-90's that makes it hard for opposing hitters to square up. He should start the year with the Smokies, and if he continues to be lights out in the pen he should be in contention for a spot on the 2017 Cubs roster. - Ted
Bryan Hudson – At 6’8” 220 pounds, Bryan Hudson clearly stands out when he takes the mound. The 18 year-old left-hander, was drafted by the Cubs in the 3rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft. The Illinois native features a mid 70’s curveball that has the makings of a plus pitch. Despite his size, Hudson does not actually throw all that hard. During his high school days Hudson’s fastball sat anywhere from 86-90 mhp, however, more recent reports have him in the low 90’s. Hudson will likely rank higher on other lists, but right now, we see him as someone that needs quite a bit of work for us to place him higher. There is a lot to like about Hudson and he is projectable. If he can add velocity and continue to refine his pitches and mechanics, he could become a very good pitcher. - Cameron
Erling Moreno – Born in 1997, Erling Moreno would have been a high school senior if he was raised in the U.S. However, he was born in Colombia and signed by the Cubs as a 16-year-old. Moreno has been pitching well throughout his short professional career. Although he has yet to pitch in affiliated-ball, Moreno impressed both as a starter and a reliever in the Dominican Summer league and in the Arizona league this season. Often described as a future power-pitcher, possibly out the ‘pen, Moreno already has an above-average changeup and curveball, as well as a fastball that hit 90 mph when he was just 16-years-old. He'll be 19 years-old entering next season, and is still a log ways off from the majors. However, if he continues to impress upon his entrance to A-ball he could crack some top 30's come next offseason. - Dan
Video Credit: Eric Longenhagen
Footnote: These players are not ranked in any order other than alphabetically.
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