The Chicago Cubs converted baseball’s best farm system to a World Series win. Many of those pieces are either in the lineup helping continue their run, or have been traded for the missing pieces they needed.
The Cubs still have some depth, however. Let’s take a look at three prospects you should know.
Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
The righty made a start with Chicago, so people likely know his name. But his big 2017 season can’t be overlooked.
Tseng wowed scouts at a young age, but his stuff wasn’t the same when he was on the big stage at the World Baseball Classic. Still, the Cubs took a chance on him, signing him for $1.6-million. Tseng rewarded them with a solid pro debut, before nearly falling off the prospect radar in the ensuing seasons.
He entered this season with reports of diminished velocity, and while his fastball may not be what the Cubs envisioned, he pitched well at two levels. Tseng went 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA and an 83-to-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Southern League before dominating the Pacific Coast League in nine starts. He went 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA, striking out 39 and walking 14 in 55 innings.
Tseng is 22, so he is still relatively young. There isn’t much reason to expect his fastball to gain more velocity or life at this point, but he can throw it well for strikes. His curveball may actually be a better pitch and he also mixes in a change. Tseng pitched to a 53 percent ground ball rate once in the PCL, something a bit uncharacteristic of his usual fly ball issues. But if that is something he figured out, he could legitimately become a back-end starter as soon as next year.
Wladimir Galindo, IF
Galindo dropped on most Cubs prospect lists, but it wasn’t much fault of his own. He hardly played in 2017, with nearly a month long hiatus in May before breaking his leg in June, effectively ending his season.
John Sickels had him at 13 entering the season, and he will no doubt be 20 or lower entering 2018. But there’s reason to remain excited. Per John:
Age 20, signed out of Venezuela in 2013, hit .243/.337/.462 with nine homers, 33 walks, 81 strikeouts in 247 at-bats in pitching-oriented Northwest League, good production for park/league environment; above-average power and throwing arm but glove needs more work, though he did make progress cutting down on errors; high upside/high risk sleeper bat. ETA: 2021.
Still just 20, and with only 44 games of full-season ball under his belt, Galindo is a wild card. He slashed .290/.350/.432 in his limited trial with South Bend, belting 11 doubles and four home runs. He struck out 40 times and walked 14 in 177 plate appearances. Not the most exciting strikeout rate, but with adjustments, a 22 percent swing-and-miss rate isn’t terrifying in one’s first run at the full-season level, especially in an injury-plagued season.
The righty is big (6-foot-3, 230) and not light on his feet. His asset will be his bat, and it seems like it could be a nice one. Two of his home runs went to left and two went to right, so he can distribute his power to all fields. He seems to be an extreme ground ball hitter thus far (50 percent before his injuries), so getting some more loft in his swing will help his pop.
Galindo is a long way from the bigs. But this should be considered his full-season debut, making him one to watch.
D.J. Wilson, OF
One key point of John Sickels preseason analysis stands out with Wilson:
Age 20, fourth round pick in 2015 from high school in Ohio, hit .257/.320/.371 in Northwest League with 20 walks, 56 strikeouts, 21 steals in 245 at-bats; no power yet but may develop some along Adam Eaton lines despite 5-8 height; excellent running speed (65 or 70) and uses it well, already a good fielder; needs to improve OBP abilities. ETA: 2021.
Wilson has nice upside. It’s encouraging when a prospect seems to tap into their power in their full-season debut, which Wilson did. He hit 16 doubles and nine home runs in his 310 at bat with South Bend. That top-notch speed helped him leg out eight triples and swipe 15 stolen bases.
But the on base percentage still needs work. He actually posted a career-low .309 OBP. The positive takeaway is that he increased his walk percentage to a career-best 9.5 percent, but posted a career-low .229 batting average. Wilson was definitely plagued by bad luck, posting a .292 BABIP, but you would like someone with his speed to figure out more ways to get on base.
Wilson was much better in July and August, which is also encouraging. He posted a a .349 OBP in July and .333 OBP in August, striking out 39 times and walking 20. If those are the numbers he can carry forward in 2018, the pieces to the puzzle will fall into place.
The lefty, probably not surprisingly, may be looking at a platoon role with the way he hits lefties. This season he slashed .205/.263/.307 with a 20-to-6 strikeout-to-walk rate, hitting just one of his home runs. Should he start to figure that out, Wilson is an exciting prospect.