The OOTP Scouting Association recently released an update to their Top Minor League Systems list, and there’s a new team at #1: the Chicago Cubs.
The ranking (found in-game under MLB –> Reports & Info –> Minor League System Rankings) features Chicago at the top with 210 points, followed by the Texas Rangers (175), Cincinnati Reds (153), and Kansas City Royals (150). Points are based on OSA’s Top 100 Prospects list, and the quantity and quality of these prospects found in each organization. The Cubs have 15 of the top 100 prospects in MLB Pro, according to OSA.
It’s no secret the Cubs have been busy tearing down their Major League roster in favor of the future. Indeed, 9 of the Cubs’ top 100 names were acquired in trades this season:
#5 C Brock Bowers from KC in Ryan Copeland trade
#40 SP Bryce McEwen from NYM in Gavin Lux trade
#43 CF Druw Jones from PIT in Yordan Alvarez trade
#65 SP Deuce Hogan from ARZ in Orlando Garcia trade
#74 SP Pete Williams from KC in Ryan Copeland trade
#77 SP Nick Bitsko from SF in Julio Urias trade
#78 SP Carson Beck from ARZ in Orlando Garcia trade
#96 RF Carlos García from DET in Eloy Jimenez trade
#99 SS Noelvi Marte from PIT in Yordan Alvarez trade
The rest were either picked up in the Rule 5 Draft (#47 SP D.J. Uiagalelei from PIT) or drafted by the Cubs as amateurs: #15 SP JJ Goss, #27 RF Dylan Crews, #58 SP Markevian Hence, #64 SP Spencer Jones, and #76 SP Brock Porter.
The only one guaranteed to see big league time in ’24 is Uiagalelei thanks to his Rule 5 status. Spencer Jones made one start during Game 162 last season, but will likely open the upoming season at AAA. Joining him at AAA and waiting for the call are Pete Williams, Noelvi Marte, and possibly others on their way up the line.
New Year’s Eve marks a bit of a changing in tactics for GM Jabs and the Cubs front office. Although names like Cameron Cannon, Raúl Domínguez, Eduardo Vallés and others could still be moved via trade, the highest priority pieces have already been dealt and this is the roster that will likely break camp come Spring. 2024 will be another transition year before these top prospects start knocking on the door in 2025.
Have the Cubs been actively acquiring players from OSA’s top 100? Not particularly – they’ve been picking up Scouting Director Wade Davis’ favorites along the way, and OSA’s labels have been a nice tiebreaker if needed. Is the OOTP Scouting Association the best evaluator of talent? Many would argue not in the slightest.
But no matter how many “top” names get added to their organization, it will mean absolutely nothing if the Cubs can’t develop these prospects and promote them accordingly. These youngsters will be challenged, they will succeed, and they will be promoted, and in the end the Chicago Cubs hope a handful of them become household names who one day end the Curse of the Billy Goat.