2017 Chicago Cubs


Top Lineup/Levels 
C – Michael Cruz – L/R – AA Eugene/LoA South Bend
1B – Austin Upshaw – L/R – AZL/LoA South Bend
2B – Luis Diaz – R/R – DSL
3B – Jesse Hodges – R/R – HiA Myrtle Beach
SS – Zack Short – R/R – LoA South Bend/HiA Myrtle Beach
LF – Nelson Velazquez – R/R – AZL
CF – Fernando Kelli – S/R – DSL
RF – Luis Ayala – L/R – LoA South Bend
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Factor Score) / Highest Level Attained
 1. RHP Duncan Robinson – (18) / HiA Myrtle Beach 
2. LHP Justin Steele – (13) /  HiA Myrtle Beach
3. LHP Tom Hatch – (13) / HiA Myrtle Beach     “Take a Flyer”
**Hatch was taken in the 3rd round in 2016, but was the Cubs first pick in that draft. He didn’t pitch a minor league game in 2016 after a huge workload pitching for Oklahoma State. Prior to that, Hatch suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament that didn’t require surgery, but kept him from contributing for the Cowboys in 2015. Based on his debut season and assignment to HiA Myrtle Beach, I recommend taking a flyer on the 22-year old. He should move quickly through the system with the lack of top prospects in the Cubs upper levels. What a steal for the Cubbies getting this type of arm in the 3rd round.
4. LHP Bryan Hudson – (12) / LoA South Bend
5. RHP Adbert Alzolay – (12) / AA Tennessee    “Solid Stash”  
**Alzolay no doubt would have been ranked #1, sans his early July promotion to Double-A. He earns a “Solid Stash” tag due to his proxmity to the majors. I would forecast a possible mid-season call-up if the rotation has a dire need, but definitely a September call-up to set the stage for 2019. The only hold-back would be the progression of his secondary pitches, especially his breaking ball.
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Factor Score) / Highest Level Attained
1. RHP Dakota Mekkes – (16) / HiA Myrtle Beach
**When I name my “Ones To Watch” prior to the start of the season, I try to focus on starting pitchers. Sometimes, those named, are moved from the rotation to the bullpen, at either the start of  or at some during the season. I took a leap in selecting Mekkes to begin the 2017 season. His toolbox definitively screams relief pitcher, standing at 6’7″ 252 lbs., a unique delivery with added deception. Mekkes only made 11 appearances between the AZL Cubs and S-S Eugene, but my system sniffed out and he proved it correct with his 2017 performance at Myrtle Beach. He could be another fast mover to Chicago, with the current state of the Cubs bullpen.
2. RHP James Norwood – (9) / AA Tennessee
3. RHP Michael Rucker –  (9) / HiA Myrtle Beach