The 2022 North Side Limited Position Ranking Series begins behind the plate
Welcome to the 2022 Position Ranking Series!
It will take 10 articles to delve into the depth the Cubs have achieved at each position in the organization. In the past, I’ve done it by affiliate, ranked them by player, and sometimes just talked about who I think is the top five. But it never ends up being just five because it’s almost impossible for anyone on North Side Bound to talk about just five prospects.
When posting this series, I usually do so based on how I’ve categorized them into groups which I did in August. But this year, I just decided to start by taking a spin around the infield. That means this year’s series starts with the receivers.
Over the years, receiver rankings tend to fluctuate a lot. Player performance goes up and down, some guys just stop and attrition takes its toll as some players just don’t cope.
This year, it’s really exciting to see the catching corps and see some possibilities. A year from now, things could turn around in the rankings if one or two guys catch fire. Right now, I tend to favor the bat over defensive skills where I rank guys.
1. Moises Ballesteros – His swing looks so simple. He generates a lot of power and his defensive skills seem to have improved quite a bit in the second half of 2022. He will be 19 next year and in Myrtle Beach to start the year. The big concern is what a 132-game season will have under his belt. There are those who would put him at first base, but for now he stays behind the plate. He will catch every other day, but his bat will be in the lineup almost every day as he spends a lot of time at DH.
2. Miguel Amaya – The bat took a huge leap forward last year when he returned from Tommy John surgery. I don’t remember him hitting as well as he did in 2022 for an extended period in his Cub career. The problem was, he didn’t throw a baseball all year. He has played some first base in the past and I wonder how much the Cubs are letting him take to start the year? Will it be every two days or every three days? And we’ll see if his glove and arm can pick up his bat again for the first time.
3. Ethan Hearn – In the second half of 2022, his bat finally started producing for both power and average. He was one of my favorite players to watch in August and September. I’m excited to see him play opening weekend in the Quad Cities in April. And a year from now, if his bat produces 15-20 homers, he could be the number one prospect in the system, the way he’s playing defense right now. Yes, it could be a very exciting 2023 for Ethan Hearn.
4. Adam Sanchez – This is the guy who could change everything next year. He’ll only be 18 years old, he’ll be in Arizona, and his good bat performance will be one of the most interesting tracks of the year. Last year in the Dominican, it seemed like he just hit 1-3 every day. He was very consistent at the plate and if he has any kind of power, it becomes hard to imagine what his ceiling will be.
5. Pablo Allende – It is one of the class acts of the system. He likes his teammates very much, he loves to win and he is bilingual. She’s not afraid to meet guys in either language and still really likes it. The concern is how much the bat will play in Tennessee. He struggled mightily in the early part of 2022 before things picked up when he got hotter. Hopefully that won’t be a problem this year as he faces his toughest challenge yet. His arm might be the most accurate in the system.
6. Haydn McGeary – This position is just loaded with guys to see development in 2023. McGeary just looks the part of a major league hitter. He played some in Myrtle Beach late in the year and it’s still up in the air exactly where he might start next season. But if his bat plays, I wonder how much longer he will stay at catcher. He has some experience at first base. And he’s also spent some time on the field in college. With an offseason of pro instruction that a D2 school wouldn’t get, I just wonder how good it will be.
7. Bryce Windham – After the recent house cleaning in Iowa, Bryce will be one step away from the majors. I’d like to see the Cubs move him back to more of a utility role like he did in South Bend, where he played a lot of second and some third in addition to catching. I expect him to start the year in Triple-A, but he did have an up and down year at the plate in Tennessee.
8. Casey Opitz – After missing most of the first half of 2022, Opitz arrived in South Bend and quickly showed he could be a force behind the plate. The problem was his bat. I’m starting to wonder how much the Cubs want his bat to produce and at what level. He has great defensive ability. He has an excellent arm and understands the game very well. I thought he would move faster, but injuries slowed him down. If healthy to start 2023, he should be in Double A with Aliendo.
The only affiliate I’m not sure about who is capturing the body is Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach could be a free-for-all as to who ends up there.
Unlike most positions, I don’t have a receiver on the horizon. I’d like to see Ronnier Quintero pop, as we probably all do. Heading into 2023, there are just a ton of unproven backs in contention for a spot beyond Mesa.
The first base will be up and running next week!
Position ranking series
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