Chicago Cubs: Checking in on the Cubs top five pitching prospects

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs figure to have several pitching prospects on their way to the big leagues within the next couple years.

Remember just a few years ago when the Chicago Cubs farm system consisted of only big bats like Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber? Flash forward to 2019 and the Cubs farm system is now loaded with pitching prospects. It was a methodology that Theo Epstein and the front office were willing to sacrifice.

The team’s plan was to load up with as many hitting prospects and pitching would be addressed via free agency and/or trades. It worked for the team to win it’s first World Series since 1908, but it was not a sustainable method. The Cubs have already started to pay dearly for a lack of pitching prospects as bad contracts have been given out to guys like Tyler Chatwood and Yu Darvish.

That being said, it is extremely important that the Cubs start stockpiling pitching prospects as Jon Lester and Cole Hamels figure to be in the twilight of their careers. The team will be relying on the next wave of prospects to be key pieces of the rotation. In the 2016 draft, the Cubs selected 16 pitchers with their first 17 picks and 10 with their first 13 in 2017.

The Cubs have also been extremely active in the international amateur market to fill out their pitching prospect needs. Since 2015, the Cubs have signed 42 international pitching prospects coming from the Dominican Republic, South America, China, and Japan.

Major League Baseball released their 2019 prospect watch list, which ranks the Cubs top 30 prospects. Of these, 17 are pitchers with several that have been on this list for a couple of seasons and some are brand new. The Cubs farm system was at one time ranked in the top three of baseball. Due to players either being called up or traded away for pitching talent, the team’s farm system was ranked second-worst in baseball at the start of the 2019 season (via Bleacher Report).

So who are the top five pitching prospects in the Cubs farm system and how have they been performing? Let’s dive in.