Where Will All the Cubs Shortstop Prospects Go?

Andy Weber by Rikk Carlson

Author’s note: Please enjoy this link to an article posted on Prospects1500 regarding multitude of Cubs middle infield prospects. It is a fun look at the possibility on how these players can be utilized, should they all remain with the franchise and develop.

Anyone who has followed the Chicago Cubs, especially during the Epstein/Hoyer era, know of their affinity for shortstops. The thought process is that the shortstop position requires a unique set of physical attributes. If the prospect develops to the point where he no longer can project defensively at shortstop, then he may be able to fit at other positions.

The current Cubs Top 50 prospect list has 11 players listed as middle infielders. Almost all of them are shortstops. Nine of the eleven range in age from 17 to 20 years old.

So, it is completely possible that the bulk of these prospects can be ready for the majors at nearly the same time. It is acknowledged that not all prospects will develop as expected, and some may be used in trades. But, this is a fun look at that outside possibility that they are all there, all develop, and all are ready within a relative short span of each other. Which of these prospects will actually end up at the shortstop position?

Please click on the link to view the remainder of the article.

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  • Good article. I'm actually interested where the prospects will be assigned in the minor leagues this year. I'm also interested in the Cubs immediate (2022) shortstop plans. The team should be flush with cash next offseason and could look to spend big and upgrade with either Lindor or Seager. Or, since they could go that route, it could give them a lot of leverage with Baez to take a more team-friendly deal and have more money to spend elsewhere.

  • I'm interested in seeing what the front office does from here. Does anyone know when minor league season starts this year?

    LF the Schwarber for Pederson swap is that future blueprint for Cubs? Hopefully Cubs will be able to trade players like Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, &/or whoever. Then replace some of them with free agents. Cubs ownership seems to prefers shorter contracts. Cubs absolutely appear to want value in long term deals-kinda like Darvish signing. I think that is a big reason why not a single player from the core has yet to be be extended. Cubs made offers to all of the core per the media, and none of the core was able to negotiate a deal they wanted to sign. I know it sounds odd to say, but I see the Cubs having a large payroll, but still not throwing money around on long-term high priced contracts that only super-super stars seem to get today.

    SS can you really go wrong if you get one of big names available next off-season Baez, Correa, Lindor, Seager, Semein, & Story? I have an odd feeling Hoerner will be the Cubs opening day SS in 2022!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    With so many of the Cubs top prospects (7) playing ss and so many top free agents, plus Hoerner, it is risky to hand out a long expensive contract at short.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Think minors now scheduled to start first part of May.

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    A very good article. The only prospect not mentioned is Hernandez and just from what I've read it could be either Hernandez or Howard that will eventually be the starting SS. It's a wonderful problem to have and I really see the next wave coming in a year or two. Hang in there and we will be rewarded.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He does mention Hernandez. He has Hernandez and Howard eventually going to RF and 3B.

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    In reply to John57:

    thanks John. I must learn how to read before I comment.

  • Baez stated yesterday that he is willing to extend negotiations on an extention, so they could be close. I think that Jed has quite a lot of leverage for a hometown discount with these still uncertain times and the generous numbers of talented free agent shortstops. Javy's agent needs to be cautious about turning down more than he can get in free agency.

  • Just a note. Darvish & Davies have almost the same career ERA. The good news is Davies is starting to come into his own.

  • Really fun game to watch last night. Happ on base every at bat and scored from third on a pitch just a few feet from the catcher. Contreras was a stud at the plate and throwing out Profar with really quick and strong release right on the money. Fun double play with Javy and Nico. That's a talented middle infield pair. Finally a nice job hitting and running the bases by Hendricks. Sorry DH fans, but athletes play both sides of the ball, including pitchers.

  • And another thing, the Cubs are going to miss Victor Caratini. Especially, if Romine's knee is chronic. Willson plays so hard and with intensity so that he wears down late in the year. Catchers knee rest days or injuries and fatigue happen. It's essential and Caratini provided that without losing too much in the lineup or behind the plate. It's easier to prevent fatigue than it is to recover from it.

  • Crunch time is coming for the 40man and 26 players selected to play in Wrigley. I hope that there is spot for Maples. He has been throwing strikes and no pitcher that filthy would survive being DFA.

  • Goodbye, Jesus Camargo.

  • Like many (I'm rationalizing as opposed to taking responsibility) the return for Darvish left me disappointed and dealing with anger management issues. Yes it's March. But.....

    Day after day the pitchers you expect to see in April and over the course of the year continue to look good. With several "return to form" candidates showing they intend to do exactly that.....I find Miller particularly intriguing. Kimbrel is an obvious concern until he proves different.

    The OF has been noticeably upgraded. Every indication this will be the best group we've seen out there in years. As for the INF figure out 2B coupled with bounce back seasons from the big 3 and the sky's the limit......Then there's Contreras.

    To make a Trevor Story long this season could be a lot more entertaining than many of us expected. A lot of guys playing for payday's. Just human nature. The Hoyer regime may be anything but a continuation of recent years.....The Darvish trade is probably only the opening salvo. For financial reasons alone change is coming.

    Fans should give Jed a fair shake and time to do what he has to do.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Looks like we traded Schwarber and Almora for Pederson and Marisnick. Clear win for the Cubs defensively and offensively. As for pitching we traded Darvish, Lester, Quintana and Chatwood for Davies, Arrieta, Williams and Shelby Miller. You know what I think we won that too. Plus with the Darvish trade we got four high ceiling prospects who are young and won't be here for a while but could be very good players. So far I am not complaining abut Hoyer.

  • In reply to John57:

    Good points John.

    IF that group of Davies, Arrieta, Williams & Miller can stay generally healthy (especially so for the later 3 of them) and give regular quality starts, and Hendricks can be his usual dependable self - that's a solid, if not sizzling core of SPs. Layer it a few of the 'kids' who might start the season either as swing-men or shuttling between Iowa and the bigs (including Mills?) and that's not bad at all.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Kneejerk "conventional wisdom" gave that trade to SD, but if it was December, 2017 and you could trade the 2018-2020 seasons of Jon Lester, freeing up over $60M, and get Davies and four 45+ rated prospects, would you do it? In a heartbeat. If one of the kids makes the Show, it was a good trade, two or more and Jed is a hero.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    Just my gut feeling but I think it is going to be two or more of those 4 prospects making the Show eventually.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    And add to that - Davies - while not as much fun to watch striking out guys than Darvish - appears to be a generally solid MLB pitcher and is a few years younger than, and a few million per year less expensive than, Darvish.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    It's hard to believe that after a good 1/3 of a season Darvish is suddenly Sandy Koufax. Do people not remember his 2018-19 seasons? And he's another year older. I think the Cubs sold high and it'll be interesting to see how his 2021 season winds up. I predict regression to the mean.

  • In reply to Lildude:

    Yeah - I don't think he's going to be as consistently good this year as he was last partial season. And agreed - if the Cubs were going to 'sell' on him this year, they did get a good return with a lot of immediate utility (Davies), and some great potential 3-5 years down the road.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    We'll see. I personally put close to zero weight to anything that happens in Spring Training, good or bad. I stopped paying attention years ago. I personally liked the Darvish trade because it felt like it signaled a rebuild. I still think this is a low 80s win team, that will be selling at the deadline.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I find it funny that they essentially swapped Schwarber for Pederson, but platoon players, and everyone thinks this offense is going to be on fire! Because Horner and Pederson have done so well in Arizona, I guess, and maybe because it's a walk year. We'll see. I see a ton of strikeouts, some games where they score a ton, and a lot of games where they disappear. I see two legit starters (Hendricks and Davies) and a lot of question marks. An average bullpen, little depth. Call me Mr. Doom and Gloom.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I'm not going to say that you are wrong Mr. Doom and Gloom, but I prefer to to ride with the positive like John57. Pederson lost a lot of playing time in L. A. and watching him read fly balls and hit with authority, or watching Marisnick do the same, and Hoerner too, can make fan optimistic. It's like my daily horoscope, if it's good I'll l buy it. If not I discard it. Spring Training and Jed' s work has been uplifting. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Marisnik: now you're getting silly. I remember Greg Maddox used to intentionally try to fail in Spring Training to plant a seed inside the hitter's mind. We'll see.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Cubs should be major sellers during the 2021 season?
    Cubs had issues the last three seasons, & the 2021 team has gotten worse on paper.

    Cubs have 14 potential free agents-
    Bryant, Rizzo, Kimbrel, Baez, Davies, Pederson, Arrieta, Williams, Chafin, Romine, Marisnick, Workman, Winkler, & Tepera.

    I believe the Darvish trade was the start of a big sell-off.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    In counterpoint to your thinking,... I don't think we see a big selloff this season unless they are out of contention before the trade deadline. It also depends on whether they can get reasonable extensions in place for one, or more, of Bryant, Baez and Rizzo, maybe Contreras.

    This 2021 Cubs team could be surprisingly good - as long as they can get dependable SP and make better contact than most of last season.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    You could be right about the Cubs being good, and not dealing away players. The NL central appears to be a weaker division.

    Cubs ownership group got behind building through the minors, waves & waves. If the Cubs ownership really wants to build through the minors? Part of that strategy at least for small & medium size markets, & 2016 Yankees is teams trade away veterans for prospects.

    MLB media sure has made it sound like Cubs have had lots of trade talks the last two off-seasons. The front office, & we can all see the benefits of trading away some core, & really any pending free agents, and get something for them instead of letting them walk at the end of the season.

    Extensions? Sounds like the Cubs spoke with Rizzo, Baez, & maybe others again this spring- nothing signed so far.

  • Just a quick word about Marquee Sports Networks broadcasts. Of coarse, the network inherited two treasures in analyst Jim Deshaise and radio play by play sportscaster Pat Hughes. They are really good at what they do. Give credit as well for new hires Boog Sciambi and Beth Mowins. Now I read Ryno will be joining in on occasion. It's presents baseball at its best so far.

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    Who knows what will happen after the season begins? I love that Maddox would "fail" in ST; he is so cerebral and is thinking not just one or two batters or innings ahead but months ahead. To listen to him talk about pitching is like listening to Ted Williams talk about hitting.
    I loved our 2015 and 2016 Cubs but can't figure out why nearly all of them (Javy was 2nd in the MVP in 2018) peaked in 2016. I think that's why the FO didn't trade any, they were approaching their peak seasons and just figured that they would get better but they either plateaued or regressed. Now Jed is trying to retool on the fly and not with quick fixes but with a view to the long term. This is still a talented team and I won't be surprised if we do well or if we sell at the trade deadline.
    Looking forward to April 1. Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maddox was great. If I remember correctly, he used to intentionally pitch in a way during Spring Training that would lead to the success of the hitter so when he saw the hitter again during the regular season the hitter would expect that pattern of pitches and he’d get the opposite. Watching Trevor Bauer get lit up (and pitch with one eye closed) makes one wonder if he’s doing something similar. I wonder if hitters play the same cat and mouse game?

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Now you're just getting silly.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Ha! I hurt your feelings. Sorry! Can’t wait to see Marisnick build on his strong spring and kill it this season. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Ha! Did you hear Scott Servais' comments on Trevor Bauer getting lit up and pitching with one eye closed? Now that was funny!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I did. That was pretty funny. And good for Servais for backing his team. Bauer is a loud mouth. And no doubt he was going balls out to win that Spring Training game...

  • How good has Zack Davies looked?
    I am starting to have some comfort in our starting rotation. Last year I believe our starters ranked 5th in the NL (hendricks,,darvish, quintana, lester, mills and chatwood). I really feel this year the cubs will be even better. The top 4 have looked really good and have had success before and our options at 5th starter (alzolay,mills,miller,steele and many more).

    Yes its early and I am drinking the koolaid but?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I don't drink koolaid and I agree with you. I think hendricks, arrieta, davies, williams, mills and s. miller will make the rotation out of ST. I am guessing they send alzolay down to control the number of innings he pitches this year. They want to save his innings for later in the year when the playoffs start. Alzolay and Marquez probably come up when a SP is needed during the year. steele, stewart, abbott, thompson will join alzolay and marquez in aaa.

  • In reply to John57:

    The extra year control actually was a good deal for all concerned. Adbert still has some refining to do regarding consistency, Ross needs the roster spot for now, and one less guy will be trading uniforms. Win, win, win.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yep that was fortunate Alzolay got an extra year. Others did not. How is that decided?

  • In reply to John57:

    I don't know. The competition for the pitching staff is crowded with a handful of competitors who have pitched good. It's not my call, but I think that there will be innings for all as the year plays out. I keep those like Maples without an option,at least for April. We will see what Hottovy and Ross think. Hottovy&Ross, that sounds like wine vineyard.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not to do more than my share of commenting, but I was thinking about Maples outing. It's not good that he pitched himself into trouble. It's significant that he was able to pitch himself out of it though. Ross didn't have to go get him, no visit by Hottovy, Contreras called time giving him a breathe and Maples threw himself out of his own mess. If he can do that, he might be able to clean up for others too. In addition, he showed that he is good for more than one inning. Good job.

  • Cubs have done Maples a disservice holding onto him for so long, since 2011. Maples isn't dominating, & if Cubs carry him, they need to suck it up, and let him pitch 2 to 3 days a week for the first month not matter what the results. If Cubs don't want to give him a real chance to pitch, then cut him/trade him before the season starts.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    That sounds right.

  • I was a little surprised that Hoerner was sent to AAA. It is the smart move, I think. It is good for him and the Cubs long term.
    Dispute his productive spring, Nico has developmental work to do at the plate. Bote and Sogard are capable at holding down second base. I have not read much about it, but has anyone else noticed that Javy has kicked off 2021 right where he left 2020 at the plate? I hope that Baez gets back on tract soon.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If they were in win-now mode I suspect Nico would have been the starter. But by keeping him down for 36 days they get one more year of control.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Nico started out ST incredibly hot. He has not done too well since then. That is what the FO wants him to work on. When the pitchers make adjustments, they want Nico to make counter adjustments. Bote and Sogard are hitting better at the end of ST than Nico. Also this extra time in the minors helps the Cubs have another year of Nico before he becomes a free agent. So the Cubs get more control and Nico gets more time to develop. Both have something to gain.

  • In reply to John57:

    The pitchers weren’t making adjustments. Come on. It’s Spring Training, they’re just trying to get their bodies ready for the season. I know reporters have to cover the games, but the results are meaningless. The sample size is too small and the “competition” isn’t legit. Nico is a gold glove finalist. If I were laser focused on winning, I’d start him, like they did with Russell.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I agree. It looks to me now, that Nico was always headed to Iowa. He probably will be there for most the year. Miller, Maybin, and Strop were decisions made with an eye beyond 2021. I do think with Hoerner, that's more about development then the extra year of control. No point in making the same mistake with him that they made with Almora, Happ, Schwarber, and Russell. Maybe Javy too?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think you guys are right that development for Nico played a big role.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Trevor Wilson and Adzolay pitch,

  • In reply to cubs09:

    the whole rotation I think will be better than expected. I am curious how Jake will do with his cleaned up mechanics. And Jake seems to have taken Alzolay under his wing. Hopefully Alzolay blossoms like Hendricks did under Jake's tudoring.

  • As much as I hate to say this: Nico's problem is he doesn't strike out enough so they send him down to learn how to swing and miss.

    I say this because the core players held over from last year continue to strikeout at excessive rates. It seems they should be sent down for development on how to make contact with the ball. How much longer are the Cubs going to put up with these high strikeout rates?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Thought you left?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I had to laugh at your clever comment about sending Nico down because he puts the ball in play way too much for this bunch. I do think that Hoerner and the Cubs will benefit from his time in Iowa though. We will see how long the brass can keep him there. I think Nico will excel at AAA. Bote and Sogard look good this spring, but they had better hit the ground running when the season starts.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I honestly do not see what the minor leagues can do for Nico but make it worse for him. I always thought you get better by playing against better competition with help from the coaching. Besides, he will be playing in the minors in place of others that need the playing time.

    The main point I was making is that nothing much has changed with the "CORE" players. They continue to swing and miss at alarming rates but remain in the lineup in place of players that can hit. Not only that, they also remain in the "top" of the lineup. Does the management and coaches see what I see? Maybe sending them down would help them to develop more contact (ie. Ian Happ).

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Hoerner will get much reps in Iowa after being rushed to up from double AA.
    Baseball people, who know more than me, think that he will benefit. It's pretty cool for Bote and Sogard, tho they not as good as Nico defensively. As for the core, the roster does not have one less 'three outcome guy'. It's a new year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Sorry, but I disagree. You don't try to fix something that ain't broke. As far as what baseball people know, they can be wrong like anyone else.

    I know spring training games can be misleading but it is pretty telling when the new guys are making contact and hitting HRs and the old "Cubs Crew" are still striking out at an alarming rate. It seems that these baseball people may not know as much as everyone thinks.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    One for thing for sure is that they are not always right. This org has its share of misses, but they are not alone. It's the nature of the beast.

  • I was expecting Maybin to make the team. Cameron's career turned out to be more high floor than high ceiling, but he is a quality major leaguer. Hoyer was doing him a solid by releasing him so that he can catch on with another team. Cards? There centerfielder is on the dl. Anyway, he and Marisnick have a forth outfielder resume and a fifth outfielder spends a lot of time on the bench. I like that the Cubs are going with just four outfielders. It opens another roster spot.

    On another front, Javy looks lost at the plate? I think that Jed should just shut down extension talks for now.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    What makes Maybin better than Ian Miller? I would bring up Miller if I needed another outfielder.

  • In reply to John57:

    I'm not very familiar with Miller. The only time I've seen him was as a pinch runner. My comparison was with Marisnick as forth outfielders. I was thinking of Miller more as specialist at defense and a pinch runner. In that role, depending the team's needs, Ian might be a better choice if one is looking for a fifth outfielder.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I have not seen him either but you are probably right about being good at defense and fast. He has 4 SB out of 5 attempts in ST. His line is .308/.526/.834 while Maybin has .222/.263/.596 for his line. Maybe since he is LF and they have 3 OFs who can hit from the left side, they want a RH bat. But still his numbers are better. I really like the OBP of .526, can you say lead off hitter who can play CF?

  • In reply to John57:

    What does "LF" mean?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    LF means "Left Field"

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I don't think that is what he meant.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    sorry for the typo meant LH.

  • In reply to John57:

    One never knows how a season will play out. This one could go different than fans think. Extentions, trades, unexpected good or bad individual performance and injury. I figured Slelby Miller, Maybin and Hoerner were headed north. Maybe Ian gets the call at some point.

  • Maybin has been re-signed and will go the the Alt. Site.

  • Well, it sounds like Rizzo and the Cubs are stymied on an extension. It also doesn't look like the org is going to be getting any hometown discounts. At this point I'm in favor of Rizzo' s opening day deadline for all. Let's just play baseball. In Javy' s what could be an appropriate extension? He looks clueless at the plate. No one knows where the economy is going right now or the baseball fandom. It costs way too much to attend a game.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The rumored offer to Rizzo was so "low" that it doesn't seem they are really serious about signing him. Unless, like you say, he gives the team a hometown discount. I personally would approach Baez the same way. All the players are saying they want to play for the Cubs, but they really seem to be saying they play for the Cubs if they're offered the same deal they imagine would be offered if they are free agents, and it's clear with where the team is on the success cycle they aren't going to offer that.

    Epstein leaves a year early. The team trades its best starting pitch. They aren't signing their core stars. Half the team is on one-year deals. Nico Hoener is sent down. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to read the clues and come to a conclusion as to the team's strategy.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    Yep, Rizzo, Javy, and Bryant will be moving on. I hope that they go out with a bang, and/or are traded for someone(s) of significant upside.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I hope Rizzo, Javy and Bryant get upset and show what they are capable of and have their career years. Oh and the Cubs win a WS again. :-)

  • Large 1Bs over 220lbs who were more or less done after age 34: (might have played in a reduced fashion beyond)

    Frank Thomas
    Prince Fielder
    Cecil Fielder
    Travis Hafner
    Jason Giambi
    Orlando Cepeda
    Paul Konerko
    Todd Helton
    Ryan Howard
    Mo Vaughn
    Kent Hrbek
    Justin Mourneau
    Ryan Klesko
    Eric Karros
    Carlos Lee
    Mark Teixeira
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Derek Lee
    Edwin Encarnacion
    Carlos Pena
    Adam Dunn
    Ted Kluszewski
    Kevin Youklis
    Sean Casey
    Willie Upshaw
    Dmitri Young
    Chris Davis
    Andre Thornton
    Kendry Morales
    Tony Clark
    Mike Napoli
    Richie Sexson
    Look at how Miggy Cabrera is holding on for dear life

    You do not pay large 1Bs to age without a DH slot. So, if the Cubs extend Anthony Rizzo, they better have it on good authority that the DH is coming so he can reduce the wear and tear on his body. He already is offspeed pitch hunting and swinging at more pitches out of the zone as the years go on (O-Swing%). Hard Hit percentage has been dropping steadily but he is seeing the same types of pitches by percentage.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Good research. I say no way to Rizzo. Saw an article he wants 9 figures. He took the guaranteed money early in his career(don’t blame him) and the cubs won that contract. Great career and human being, but it’s time to move on from Rizzo.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    I say Rizzo and the Cubs both won with that first extension. Rizzo got more money than he ever dreamed of and the Cubs got great results out of Tony for 9 years so far. If things cool down a little I still hope both sides compromise and get a deal done. Hopefully Rizzo ends his playing days in Chicago.

  • In reply to John57:

    What do you think of a 5 yr deal front ended for two years @$20-25 mil per year and give him an opt out after yr 2 but give him $15m/yr for the last 3 yrs. This would total $85-95M. Is that too cheap or too expensive?

  • In reply to stix:

    I really have no idea what is fair. Hoyer and Rizzo's agent should know what is fair better than any of us. They just need to get to that number. And there is going to be some unknowns/difficulty even for them because the collective bargaining agreement may change a lot after 2021. Hoyer has always liked Rizzo and I don't think he wants to take advantage of him so there is hope he does sign with the Cubs. But if there is some GM or owner out there that wants to offer "stupid" money then Rizzo is going to leave.

  • In reply to stix:

    I'd say it's in the ballpark. I'm not sure Rizzo gets that as a free agent.

  • In reply to stix:

    I also have no idea what kind of contract Rizzo will get. The Rizzo market might look something closer to the Jose Abreu Nov-2019 deal. Isn't this the Rizzo market range?
    Jose Abreu was a 32 year old free agent year, & signed a 3- year $51 million deal.
    D. J. Lemahieu just signed 6-year $90 million at age 32 this past off-season.

    I just don't see Cubs, or really any team giving $80 to $100 million for a 32 year old 1B. If Rizzo can get that or more, well great for him.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    If I were the Cubs I would offer the Abreu deal, 3 years for 51M. Even the Lemahieu deal sounds OK. 6 years would probably be a deal he could retire on.

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