By Todd Johnson
The last time I redid the top 21 list was back in June, shortly after the draft. I waited to do the list again because I want to see how the regular season played out. I wanted to see the newest draft picks play over longer periods of time and I wanted to see some of the Cubs’ younger players in the lower minors get longer looks. I got everything I wanted, so there are no more excuses.
At one point in the last month, I thought about having a tie atop the list at number one. While I really like Miguel Amaya, he wound up catching about 80% of South Bend’s games and was just completely worn out in August and some warts in his game began to show.
I really like SS Nico Hoerner a lot, too. Watching him play at Eugene and seeing him play in person for South Bend, and on TV, I came away extremely impressed with his size, his physicality, his athleticism, and most importantly, his potential.
The differences between Amaya and Hoerner are not big. For a while, it was going to be a straight up tie.
And then all that changed.
When the Cubs announced that Nico was going to the Arizona Fall League, I perked up quite a bit. He originally could have be ready to play somewhere at the end of August/early September. I didn’t think there was a rush to send him to play in even more games in October and November. His assignment is a clear indication of the amount of faith and trust the Cubs have in this young guy.
Miguel Amaya will slide into number two while Adbert Alzolay drops down to number three after missing most of the 2018 season.
I thought that there would be a lot of moving and shaking this year on the list and there was. Today’s list will be completely different a year from now. This past summer’s international class will get some action. Many of this year’s draft class will get to full season ball, and a lot more action will take place.