Out with the old, in with the new. Sort of. The Cubs have started to replenish their farm system with hopes to find their next core of superstars. The Cubs farm system used to be one of the top systems in all of baseball with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras but what happened after those guys graduated to the big leagues? Who’s going to be the Cubs’ next superstar to help win a World Series title? Let’s take a look:
Ed Howard SS/2B
The Chicagoland area is full of talented athletes who have or are currently in professional sports. Ed Howard is the perfect example of this. Howard, a Chicago native, was drafted 16th in the 2020 First-year player draft out of Mount Carmel High School, is a middle infield prospect that the Cubs hope can become the hometown favorite for the foreseeable future. Playing for Myrtle Beach, the Cubs low-A affiliate, Howard has split time between shortstop (54 starts) and second base ( 19 starts) in his first professional season and was even the Pelicans designated hitter for a game this year. Howard’s bat could use some improvement as he hit .212 in 74 games but he is only 19 and will have time to adjust to professional pitching as the year goes on.
If there ever was a prospect that ALL Cubs fans should be excited about, it would be Cristian Hernandez. Hernandez is a 6 foot 2 shortstop in the Cubs organization that has the front office buzzing with excitement. Hernandez started 41 games at short this season for the Cubs in the Dominican Summer League but there is belief that he can play anywhere on the infield at a high level. Hernandez’s bat has been the talk of his career so far showing that he can hit for power (.460 slugging percentage) and average (.302 batting average) in 167 plate appearances. MLB.com has him ranked as the Cubs’ third-highest prospect at the age of 17 with plenty of time to develop into an everyday cornerstone in the Cubs lineup for years to come.
Brennen Davis OF
If you are curious who Brennen Davis is, re-watch the MLB Future All-Star game from this year. Actually, let me save you the effort; Davis homered twice in that game. Still not convinced? He was promoted to the triple-A Iowa Cubs in September and also homered twice in that game. This guy is the real deal. Davis was a 2nd round pick of the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft and has been every bit as advertised in terms of the next star for the Cubs. Davis has shown an ability to play all three outfield positions making 32 starts in centerfield, 29 starts in right field, and 8 starts in left field for double-A Tennessee in 2021. Davis has also shown he is more than capable of handling the bat hitting 13 home runs and 20 doubles in double-A ball. Expect to see Brennan Davis in the Cubs outfield in 2022 and beyond.
Brailyn Marquez P
It’s been a while since the Cubs have had a big-name pitching prospect in their farm system. Insert Brailyn Marquez. Marquez, who signed with the Cubs back in 2015, is a hard-throwing left-hander with a fastball that sits in the 96-98 mph range. He can also mix in a slider somewhere in the mid-80s and a wipeout changeup that he has worked on since joining the organization. Marquez did not play minor league baseball in 2020 but in his 2019 campaign, he finished 9-5 with a 3.13 era. Cubs fans should expect to see Marquez in the starting rotation at some point in 2022 alongside Kyle Hendricks and Adbert Alzolay.
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