Cubs Leading Way in Early Positional Prospect Rankings

MLB Pipeline will be unveiling its updated top 100 prospect rankings soon, so they’re teasing that with a series of top-10 positional rankings. With five position groups released thus far, the Cubs are leading the way with six representatives. No other organization has more than four at this point, though they have yet to release third base, shortstop, and outfield.

Of course, the Cubs should see Pete Crow-Armstrong‘s name pop up and could even land more from among a group that includes Owen Caissie, Kevin Alcántara, Michael Busch, and Matt Shaw.

As for those we know about already, Cade Horton came in third among right-handed pitchers with just Paul Skenes of the Pirates and Jackson Jobe of the Tigers ahead of him. Horton has very much justified what looked like a reach when the Cubs took him seventh overall in the 2022 draft, and he could make his way to Chicago this season.

Jordan Wicks has already made his debut and figures to be part of the rotation this season, making him one of two top-10 lefties (Kyle Harrison, Giants) to have reached MLB already. That pair bookends the group, with Harrison at No. 1 and Wicks at 10, then there’s former Cubs prospect Jackson Ferris at No. 7. A 2026 ETA might help to mitigate the sting for those who felt Ferris was too steep a price to pay for Busch, who should break camp with the big club.

First base isn’t typically a super high-ceiling group, though the Cubs having two players here could explain why they’ve been so passive when it comes to addressing the position via free agency. Add in Busch, who many believe is the favorite to be the Opening Day starter there, and it’s easy to see why they might not be willing to pay much for Rhys Hoskins. Matt Mervis is ranked No. 6 — yes, even though you might be disappointed in his production over a limited sample — and the lesser-known Haydn McGeary rounds out the top 10.

Moises Ballesteros came in No. 8 among catchers after a strong showing in 2023 that saw the stout backstop rake at both A-ball levels before a late promotion to Double-A. He just turned 20 in November and still has plenty of room to grow and change, both physically and as a catcher. Though listed at 5-foot-7 and 195 pounds, he’s actually a good deal heavier and there are questions about his ability to stick behind the dish. But man, the bat plays.

The most recent entrant in the rankings is James Triantos, who surprisingly jumped to No. 3 among second basemen largely due to helium from his AFL Offensive Player of the Year performance. After working primarily at third in 2022, Triantos logged most of his innings last season at the keystone and even played there exclusively during his brief late-season promotion to Tennessee. His future there is clearly limited by Nico Hoerner, though Shaw is in a similar situation positionally and may be ahead of Triantos in terms of his timeline.

We’ll have more on this as Pipeline releases the remaining top-10 lists and their updated top 100.

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