MLB.com updated its ranking of the prospects in the Cubs system after the trade with the Diamondbacks that sent RHP Jefferson Mejia and RHP Zack Godley to Arizona for Miguel Montero. And one of the better young arms in the system replaced Mejia on the top 20 list.
RHP Duane Underwood cracked the top 20, entering at No. 19, just behind LHP Carson Sands and ahead of OF Bijan Rademacher. Underwood had a very good season with Low-A Kane County. The 20-year old was 6-4 in 22 games, 21 starts, with a 2.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Underwood struck out 84 batters in 100 2/3 innings with 36 walks and his command improved as the year progressed. Underwood was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week in early July.
Jason McLeod spoke highly of Underwood during the season. “Duane Underwood, not a lot of people are talking about Duane, he might have the most upside in our organization in the minor leagues as far as starting pitching. He’s a mid-90s guy with a power curveball.”
Duane Underwood’s fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range and his power curveball has shown promise. Underwood also throws a changeup which has been described as a work in progress. Underwood projects as a middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues. But his power arm would fit nicely in the backend of a bullpen if he’s not able to develop secondary pitches necessary for success as a starter at the highest level.
The top of the Cubs list remained the same with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and C.J. Edwards occupying the first five spots.
MLB.com has updated its prospect lists throughout the year and will release a new Cubs top 20 list prior to the 2015 season. The new ranking should include several of the young arms in the system, like Duane Underwood, that did not receive the attention during the year due to the impact bats and position players in the organization.
MLB.com’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Albert Almora, OF
- Jorge Soler, OF
- C.J. Edwards, RHP
- Kyle Schwarber, C/OF
- Billy McKinney, OF
- Pierce Johnson, RHP
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Eloy Jimenez, OF
- Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
- Gleyber Torres, SS
- Paul Blackburn, RHP
- Corey Black, RHP
- Christian Villanueva, 3B
- Carson Sands, LHP
- Duane Underwood, RHP
- Bijan Rademacher, OF
The ranking of the top prospects in the system has changed throughout the year for obvious reasons due to additions, subtractions and promotions. Looking back at the MLB.com’s first top 20 of the year is rather interesting and it also shows how much talent has been added to baseball’s best system in less than a calendar year.
MLB Pipeline 2014 Rankings of Cubs Prospects
- MLB.com’s Pre-Season Top 25 Cubs Prospects
- MLB.com’s Ranking of the Cubs Top Prospects – April 2014
- MLB Pipeline Updated Cubs Top 20 Prospect List – June 2014
- Baez, Bryant and Russell Top MLB Pipeline’s Updated Cubs Prospect List – July 2014
- MLB Pipeline Updated Cubs Top 20 Prospect List – July 2014
- Victor Caratini Added to MLB Pipeline’s Cubs Top 20 Prospect List – Aug. 2014
- MLB Pipeline’s Updated Cubs Top 20 Prospect List – Aug. 2014
- MLB Pipeline’s Updated Cubs Prospect List – Aug. 2014
- LHP Carson Sands Added to MLB Pipeline’s Cubs Top 20 Prospect List – Sept. 2014
- Bijan Rademacher Added to MLB Pipeline’s Top 20 Cubs Prospect List – Nov. 2014