By Todd Johnson
Today, ESPN’s Law released his top Cubs prospect list (subscription required). For once, it was in line with other lists. For a change, there were no big surprises in his top ten prospects. There, the normal Eloy at #1, Ian Happ at #2, and Dylan Cease at #3 can be found.
This year, Law threw in his patented curves in the “unofficial” second ten.
At number 11, Law ranked Carlos Sepulveda higher than in most lists that go beyond 10. In 2016, I was lucky enough to watch Sepulveda grow as a hitter at low A South Bend. After missing most of April and May, Sepulveda debuted in the Midwest League at the ripe age of 19. He got off the bus hitting in June, July, and August. He posted hitting splits for those months of .330/.337/.296. His OBP however was .370/.374/.360. He struck out only 41 times in 332 at-bats (12.3% K rate).
A second baseman, Sepulveda is not an elite defender nor does he have an elite arm. He is passable. But when you can hit and not strike out much, you get people’s attention. He did have one HR and hit 11 doubles. There is not much power in his 5’10” frame. On the other hand, he showed often in July and August that he has the propensity to pull the ball. For 2017, Sepulveda should do well at Myrtle Beach.
Law had some praise (and some complaints) for several Cubs hitters including Chesny Young, Isaac Paredes, Donnie Dewees, Mark Zagunis, and Victor Caratini.
Overall, there wasn’t much excitement or surprise in the list outside of Sepulveda. I guess that also explains why Law ranked the Cubs 18th out of 30 farms systems. This year could change that as several young International Free Agents make their stateside debuts. Plus, the Cubs have two top 30 draft picks to help re-energize the farm system after the many who graduated to Chicago the past two years. Later this year, we could see Cubs prospect lists change dramatically come June and July.