The Cubs farm system is getting some love before Spring Training kicks off next month. Keith Law released his annual list of the top prospects in baseball on Monday, and three players in the Cubs organization made the cut.
First was Pete Crow-Armstrong at No. 26. Crow-Armstrong came to Chicago in the deal that sent Javier Baez to the Mets in 2021.
“Coming out of high school, (Crow-Armstrong) was a premium defensive center fielder with good feel to hit but not much potential for power, but he’s adjusted his swing and transformed his body so that he’s a double-digit homer guy who will put enough balls in the gaps to make him a potential star,” Law wrote. “He’s still a plus-plus defender in center and shows exceptional bat-to-ball skills, with just an 18 percent strikeout rate in Low A to start last year, and projects as a throwback sort of hitter who doesn’t walk or strike out a ton.”
Last year Crow-Armstrong played in 101 games between Low A and High A ball, in his return from shoulder surgery in 2021. He hit .312/.376/.520 with 16 home runs, 61 RBI and 32 stolen bases.
Not far behind on the list is outfielder Kevin Alcántara at No. 29. The Cubs acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Anthony Rizzo in 2021, and he is just entering his age 20 season this year.
“Alcántara has loose hands and a great swing with a strong first move toward the ball, after which he lets his legs do some of the work,” wrote Law. “He already recognizes spin well for his age and drives the ball to the opposite field, while he’s a plus runner who could stay in center even though he’s likely to add another 20-25 pounds of muscle. He carries some risk, as he’s 6-6 and has long levers, striking out 24.8 percent of the time last year. If he can hold that down, though, he could be a top-5 prospect in baseball in a year or two, a potential superstar with plus-plus power and speed in a solid or better center fielder.”
Alcántara split his time between center field, right field and DH at Single-A last season. He slashed .273/.360/.451 with 15 homers, 85 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 112 games.
Finally, Brennen Davis rounds out the top half of Law’s list at No. 50. The Cubs selected Davis in the second round of the 2018 draft, which was the same year they picked Nico Hoerner. While both Crow-Armstrong and Alcántara were risers in Law’s rankings, Davis was a faller this year. Law had Davis ranked No. 28 in 2022.
“Davis’ year was a washout, as he had a stress reaction in his back, underwent surgery early in the year, and wasn’t quite the same when he returned ahead of schedule; he had to leave a scheduled stint in the AFL earlier than planned,” wrote Law. “When on the field, Davis hit .192/.322/.319 in 43 games in Triple A, although he did swing it better in the fall league, going 5-for-18 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout. He’s an excellent athlete who starred in basketball in high school, and while he’d always shown a solid eye at the plate, his power projection started to come through in 2021, with a good, balanced swing that lets him drive the ball to all fields. He’s played center but has lost some speed as he’s filled out, and might end up in right instead. It all depends on the health of his back, though, as stress reactions can be a harbinger of more chronic problems.”