Two of the top prospects in the Cubs system were recently added to MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, OF Billy McKinney and RHP Duane Underwood Jr.
With so many prospects getting called up to the majors in recent weeks, MLB Pipeline reshuffled its Top 100 Prospect list.
OF Billy McKinney cracked the top 100 at No. 98 while RHP Duane Underwood Jr. slipped in at No. 100.
The Cubs currently have six prospects in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100: RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (39), C Kyle Schwarber (41), OF Albert Almora (47), SS Gleyber Torres (91), OF Billy McKinney (98) and RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (100).
When the prospect lists are updated and not just shuffled, Kyle Schwarber will be ranked as the top player in the Cubs’ minor league system. After Schwarber, OF Ian Happ will likely be ranked as the second best prospect in the system, followed by an 18-year old shortstop in Gleyber Torres and a pair of soon-to-be 21 year olds, Billy McKinney and Duane Underwood Jr.
OF Billy McKinney started the season at High-A Myrtle Beach and put up very good numbers in a short amount of time. McKinney batted .340/.432/.544 in 29 games for the Pelicans with five doubles, two triples and four home runs for a .976 OPS. The lefty hitting McKinney walked (17) more times than he struck out (13) in 103 at bats.
In 34 games with Double-A Tennessee, McKinney has hit .304/.352/.473 with 11 doubles, a triple and two home runs for a .825 OPS. McKinney has 10 walks and 16 strikeouts in 112 at bats.
Combined between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee, Billy McKinney has batted .321/.392/.507 in 63 games this season with 16 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 27 walks, 29 strikeouts and a .899 OPS.
Duane Underwood Jr.
RHP Duane Underwood Jr. has pitched his way to the top of the Cubs’ prospects lists. Underwood Jr. should be ranked as the top pitching prospect in the system due to the front office moving Carl Edwards Jr. to the bullpen, at least for this season.
Underwood Jr. has pitched extremely well this year. In 11 games, the 20-year old right hander (July 20) is 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Underwood Jr. has given up 17 runs, 13 earned, on 42 hits with 17 walks and 41 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings this season.
Underwood Jr. has allowed one run or less in eight of his 11 starts and two runs or less in 10 of his 11 starts. One poor outing on June 5 really skews his stats, and it wasn’t that bad of a start. He gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. His last time out, Duane Underwood Jr. allowed two hits over seven shutout innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
The pitcher Jason McLeod said last year possibly has the best stuff in the system has stayed on his development path this season.
The minor league players are not receiving the same amount of coverage as the prospects have in recent years. The big league team is winning games and is relevant again which has taken the focus off the farm. There is a lot of talent in the minor leagues in what is still considered a stacked system. And there is more on the way as players sign from the draft and with the International signing period beginning on July 2.