Before we, Cubs Prospect Watch, release our Chicago Cubs top 30 prospect list for 2016 we want to mention some names that we think you should watch out for next season. While none of the players listed below were in consideration for our list, we think there is the potential for them to end up making a list at some point in the near future, especially if one of them breaks out. Sleepers are players that have the potential to breakout and become useful pieces, but often are further away or haven't quite put it all together yet. We kept our selection to two hitters and two pitchers, but there are many players in the Cubs system that currently fit the definition of a sleeper. Here are our sleeper picks for 2016:
Tyler Alamo – Drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 draft, Tyler Alamo chose to start his professional career with the Chicago Cubs instead of heading to college. Alamo is not your prototypical catcher, standing 6’4”, but his height does not seem to hinder his movement and actions behind the plate. His bat has started to come around, but it has been a slow process. He never really strung it together in the Arizona league. However, things started looking up with the Eugene Emeralds in 2015. Alamo slashed .259/.335/.266 in 41 games. He posted a strong 16:25 BB:K, but really fell short in the power department. Of his 36 hits, his only extra base hit was a double. Even a small increase in his power output would be a very welcoming sight.
He’ll need to continue to progress defensively behind the plate and we need to see more in the way of power out of his bat if he wants to make the jump into our honorable mentions or even the ranked portion of our list. The potential is there, whether it all comes together is another thing. - Cameron
Andruw Monasterio – Hidden behind Gleyber Torres, Andruw Monasterio is another young Venezuelan shortstop with solid talent in the Chicago Cubs farm system. He impressed with his bat in his first professional season in the Venezuelan Summer League hitting .292 with a .711 OPS. In 2015, the 18 year-old Venezuelan made his state side debut with the Arizona Rookie League Cubs. In 42 games and 158 PA's, Monasterio slashed a respectable .252/.346/.348 with a 16:20 BB:K. Something to really take away from his 2015 season was how he worked through his struggles at the plate. After only hitting .222 with a .333 OBP through August 10th, he went on to hit well over .300 while raising his OBP his last 10 games. In the field, Monasterio shows great athleticism with a smooth glove and shows real confidence at shortstop. In 2016, he will continue to hone his game at Eugene and hopefully continue his upward trajectory for the Cubs.
It is always hard to project a young prospect like Monasterio, especially when the Cubs have an abundance of young infield talent in the majors and minors. What is exciting to take away is that we can comfortably rank a guy like this as a "sleeper." Definitely keep an eye on this guy, it wouldn't surprise me to see a name like his post great numbers in 2016. - Josh
Scott Effross – The Cubs saw a lot of Scott Effross while they were scouting Kyle Schwarber. The Cubs selected Effross in the 15th round of the 2015 draft out of Indiana University. The right-hander stands in at 6’1” and 195 pounds. He features a low-to-mid 90’s fastball with solid arm side run, and a sweeping curveball that looks more like a slurve, which hovers in the low-to-mid 70’s. In 2015, he split time between the Arizona League Cubs and the Eugene Emeralds. All together he tossed 21 innings, giving up 16 hits, and surrendering 5 earned runs. He struck out 17 and walked 5. His K% was 20.7% and his BB% was 6.1%.
Ultimately, Effross is nothing more than a reliever, but he has the potential to be a pretty good one. Keep an eye out on him because he’s someone that could move quickly through the system. – Cameron
James Norwood – He may or may not have been one of my sleeper picks last year, but Norwood had a slow start to the season and only accumulated 50 innings by the end of the year. The former Billiken has the body to start, as he is 6'2" and weighs 205 pounds, but suffered from elbow problems this season. When healthy, Norwood shows off a fastball that can reach the mid-90's and be a plus pitch as well as a solid slider. The changeup is still developing as he didn't throw it a ton in college, and his control is also in its early stages. If he's able to pitch a whole season, it will allow him to spend time working on his deficiencies. He may not post the best numbers next season, but if he's able to log enough innings watch out in the future. He'll likely return to South Bend as he only got 40 innings there last season, with a promotion to Myrtle Beach very likely. - Ted
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