Farm Futures: 129 NL Central Prospects You Need To Know

Farm Futures: 129 NL Central Prospects You Need To Know

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

Usually I use these divisional articles to write up every fantasy-relevant prospect in each team's farm system, but given the lack of a minor-league season in 2020, there's just not much new to say about a large percentage of the prospect universe. I am still going to rank the fantasy-relevant prospects in all 30 systems, and I've already written outlooks on the site for the majority of the top-250 prospects on my top 400. I'm also providing a list of prospects in each organization that could contribute in 2021 along with an overview of each system. 

Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments or on Twitter.

CUBS

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Brennen DavisOF11/2/19992018 Draft
2Cristian HernandezSS/3B12/13/20032020 J-2
3Ed HowardSS8/6/20012020 Draft
4Brailyn MarquezLHP1/30/19992015 J-2
5Reginald Preciado3B/SS5/16/20032019 J-2
6Jordan NwoguOF3/10/19992020 Draft
7Yeison SantanaSS12/7/20002017 J-2
8Rafael MorelSS11/22/20012018 J-2
9Ismael MenaOF11/30/20022019 J-2
10Ronnier QuinteroC11/13/20022019 J-2
11Miguel AmayaC3/9/19992015 J-2
12Adbert AlzolayRHP3/1/19952013 IFA
13Chase Strumpf2B3/8/19982019 Draft
14Daniel FerreiraOF 2020 J-2
15Kohl FranklinRHP9/9/19992018 Draft
16Yohendrick PinangoOF5/7/20022018 J-2
17Cory AbbottRHP9/20/19952017 Draft
18Riley ThompsonRHP7/9/19962018 Draft
19Christopher Morel3B6/24/19992015

Usually I use these divisional articles to write up every fantasy-relevant prospect in each team's farm system, but given the lack of a minor-league season in 2020, there's just not much new to say about a large percentage of the prospect universe. I am still going to rank the fantasy-relevant prospects in all 30 systems, and I've already written outlooks on the site for the majority of the top-250 prospects on my top 400. I'm also providing a list of prospects in each organization that could contribute in 2021 along with an overview of each system. 

Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments or on Twitter.

CUBS

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Brennen DavisOF11/2/19992018 Draft
2Cristian HernandezSS/3B12/13/20032020 J-2
3Ed HowardSS8/6/20012020 Draft
4Brailyn MarquezLHP1/30/19992015 J-2
5Reginald Preciado3B/SS5/16/20032019 J-2
6Jordan NwoguOF3/10/19992020 Draft
7Yeison SantanaSS12/7/20002017 J-2
8Rafael MorelSS11/22/20012018 J-2
9Ismael MenaOF11/30/20022019 J-2
10Ronnier QuinteroC11/13/20022019 J-2
11Miguel AmayaC3/9/19992015 J-2
12Adbert AlzolayRHP3/1/19952013 IFA
13Chase Strumpf2B3/8/19982019 Draft
14Daniel FerreiraOF 2020 J-2
15Kohl FranklinRHP9/9/19992018 Draft
16Yohendrick PinangoOF5/7/20022018 J-2
17Cory AbbottRHP9/20/19952017 Draft
18Riley ThompsonRHP7/9/19962018 Draft
19Christopher Morel3B6/24/19992015 J-2
20Michael McAveneRHP8/24/19972019 Draft
21Ryan JensenRHP11/23/19972019 Draft
22Alfonso Rivas1B9/13/19962018 Draft
23Luis VerdugoSS10/12/20002017 J-2
24Owen CaissieOF7/8/20022020 Draft
25Burl CarrawayLHP5/27/19992020 Draft
26Kevin MadeSS9/10/20022019 J-2
27Chris ClarkeRHP5/13/19992019 Draft
28Koen MorenoRHP8/1/20012020 Draft
29Cole RoedererOF9/24/19992018 Draft
30Josh BurgmannRHP1/27/19982019 Draft

Players We Could See In 2021: Brailyn Marquez, Miguel Amaya, Adbert Alzolay, Cory Abbott, Christopher Morel, Alfonso Rivas

Dynasty Overview: The Cubs have the makings of a near-perfect rebuild, and they didn't have to deal Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo or Kyle Hendricks to get to this point. They are loaded with high-upside, up-the-middle position player prospects — Brennen Davis, Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard, Reginald Preciado and Ronnier Quintero could be the nucleus of the next great Cubs team. Additionally, after seemingly going a decade without drafting and developing a quality big-league starter (remember, Hendricks came from the Rangers), they now have 9-10 starting pitchers on the farm who have a legitimate chance to make it. They could trade from their nucleus this year to further bolster the farm, but even if they don't, I expect this system to rank in the top five in baseball a year from now.

REDS

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Rece Hinds3B/OF9/5/20002019 Draft
2Austin HendrickOF6/15/20012020 Draft
3Hunter GreeneRHP8/6/19992017 Draft
4Jose GarciaSS4/5/19982017 IFA
5Nick LodoloLHP2/5/19982019 Draft
6Jonathan India2B/3B12/15/19962018 Draft
7Tyler StephensonC8/16/19962015 Draft
8Carlos Jorge2B 2020 J-2
9Malvin ValdezOF10/14/20032020 J-2
10Ariel AlmonteOF12/1/20032020 J-2
11Jose Serrano3B 2020 J-2
12Brayan RijoOF 2020 J-2
13Jose De LeonRHP8/7/19922013 Draft
14Ivan Johnson2B/SS10/11/19982019 Draft
15Mike SianiOF7/16/19992018 Draft
16Tyler Callihan2B/OF/DH6/22/20002019 Draft
17Allan CerdaOF11/24/19992017 J-2
18Christian RoaRHP4/2/19992020 Draft
19Michel Triana1B11/23/19992019 J-2
20Mac WainwrightOF8/6/20022020 Draft
21Lyon RichardsonRHP1/18/20002018 Draft

Players We Could See In 2021: Jose Garcia, Nick Lodolo, Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Jose De Leon

Dynasty Overview: This system always seems to be really top heavy, but now there is no top, just a middle and a back. It didn't have to be this way — they did what you sometimes see in dynasty leagues where a team tries to rush a rebuild and compete a couple years ahead of schedule, trading away Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray for veterans who are long gone at this point. Downs and Gray would have made for a nice 1-2 at the top of the system. Fortunately, Rece Hinds was a revelation at instructs and could be a top-50 prospect by season's end. Austin Hendrick could climb that high as well, but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach with regards to his hit tool. India will rank higher on the the pre-Opening Day update to the top 400. The sneaky strength of this system in a couple years could be the position players from Latin America that they signed on Jan. 15. It was the best overall haul from this past J-2 signing class, as any of Carlos Jorge, Malvin Valdez, Ariel Almonte, Jose Serrano and Brayan Rijo could really pop in the next couple years. 

BREWERS

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Hedbert PerezOF4/4/20032019 J-2
2Garrett MitchellOF9/4/19982020 Draft
3Antoine KellyLHP12/5/19992019 Draft
4Brice TurangSS/2B11/21/19992018 Draft
5Eduardo GarciaSS7/10/20022018 J-2
6Aaron AshbyLHP5/24/19982018 Draft
7Freddy ZamoraSS11/1/19982020 Draft
8Ethan SmallLHP2/14/19972019 Draft
9Mario FelicianoC11/20/19982016 Draft
10Jeferson QueroC10/8/20022019 J-2
11Luis MedinaOF2/24/20032019 J-2
12Jackson ChourioOF3/11/20042020 J-2
13David Hamilton2B/SS9/29/19972019 Draft
14Zavier WarrenC1/8/19992020 Draft
15Jesus Parra3B8/30/20022018 J-2
16Hayden Cantrelle2B/SS11/25/19982020 Draft
17Alec BettingerRHP7/13/19952017 Draft
18Dylan FileRHP6/4/19962017 Draft
19Manuel VargasOF 2020 J-2
20Carlos RodriguezOF12/7/20002017 J-2
21Jheremy Vargas2B/SS5/10/20032019 J-2
22Tristen LutzOF8/22/19982017 Draft

Players We Could See In 2021: Aaron Ashby, Ethan Small, Alec Bettinger, Dylan File

Dynasty Overview: The Brewers have some nice up-the-middle pieces, but they are all unlikely to debut before 2022, and most of them are relatively unproven against advanced pitching. Their best pitching prospect, Antoine Kelly, is also over a year away. There are some No. 3-5 starter types who are nearing their big-league debuts. Unfortunately, Bettinger and File are injured, but there's a chance they could get healthy in time to help the rotation or the bullpen in the second half. After Hedbert Perez, Jeferson Quero is the best player they've signed on the international market in recent years, but he's a catcher who hasn't made his pro debut, so it's hard to get overly excited at this stage.

PIRATES

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Ke'Bryan Hayes3B1/28/19972015 Draft
2Nick Gonzales2B5/27/19992020 Draft
3Travis SwaggertyOF8/19/19972018 Draft
4Oneil CruzOF/3B10/4/19982015 J-2
5Liover PegueroSS12/31/20002017 J-2
6Quinn PriesterRHP9/15/20002019 Draft
7Jared OlivaOF11/27/19952017 Draft
8Hudson HeadOF4/8/20012019 Draft
9Canaan Smith-NjigbaOF/DH4/30/19992017 Draft
10Mason Martin1B/DH6/2/19992017 Draft
11Alexander Mojica1B/3B8/2/20022018 J-2
12Ji-Hwan Bae2B/SS/OF7/26/19992018 IFA
13Cody BoltonRHP6/19/19982017 Draft
14Tahnaj ThomasRHP6/16/19992016 IFA
15Nick GarciaRHP4/20/19992020 Draft
16Maikol EscottoSS/2B6/4/20022018 J-2
17Brennan MaloneRHP9/8/20002019 Draft
18Eddy YeanRHP6/25/20012017 J-2
19Miguel YajureRHP5/1/19982015 IFA
20Rodolfo NolascoOF9/23/20012018 J-2
21Sergio CampanaOF3/29/20022018 J-2
22Lolo SanchezOF4/23/19992015 J-2
23Jasiah DixonOF8/31/20012019 Draft
24Carmen MlodzinskiRHP2/19/19992020 Draft
25Endy RodriguezC5/26/20002018 J-2
26Ewry EspinalOF12/18/20022019 J-2
27Shalin PolancoOF2/6/20042020 J-2
28Roansy ContrerasRHP11/7/19992016 J-2
29Jack HermanOF9/30/19992018 Draft
30Jared JonesRHP8/14/20012020 Draft
31Rodolfo Castro2B5/21/19992015 IFA
32Omar CruzLHP1/26/19992017 J-2
33Jose SorianoRHP10/20/19982016 IFA
34Sammy SianiOF12/14/20002019 Draft
35Cal MitchellOF3/8/19992017 Draft
36Braxton AshcraftRHP10/5/19992018 Draft
37Luis OviedoRHP5/15/19992015 J-2

Players We Could See In 2021: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Travis Swaggerty, Jared Oliva, Cody Bolton, Miguel Yajure, Jose Soriano, Luis Oviedo

Dynasty Overview: This is the best and deepest farm system in the division, but the Cubs are closing in fast. Unlike Chicago, Pittsburgh's system is more about depth than top-flight talent, although Hayes, Nick Gonzales, Oneil Cruz and Quinn Priester could all be four-plus win players if they max out. Rodolfo Nolasco somehow flew under my radar prior to this offseason, but he'll be added to the top 400 on the next update, and Sergio Campana may join him. The Pirates' lower-level teams could be really fun this year, and I'd expect a few of those position players to really break out.

CARDINALS

 NamePositionDOBSigned
1Dylan CarlsonOF10/23/19982016 Draft
2Nolan Gorman2B/3B5/10/20002018 Draft
3Masyn WinnSS/RHP3/21/20022020 Draft
4Matthew LiberatoreLHP11/6/19992018 Draft
5Zack ThompsonLHP10/28/19972019 Draft
6Ivan HerreraC6/1/20002016 J-2
7Jordan Walker3B/1B5/22/20022020 Draft
8Jhon TorresOF3/29/20002016 J-2
9Tink HenceRHP8/6/20022020 Draft
10Edwin NunezRHP11/5/20012020 IFA
11Justin WilliamsOF/DH8/20/19952013 Draft
12Robelin LopezOF 2020 J-2
13Johan OviedoRHP3/2/19982016 J-2
14Angel RondonRHP12/1/19972016 IFA
15Tre FletcherOF4/30/20012019 Draft
16Alec BurlesonOF/1B11/25/19982020 Draft
17Albert Inoa2B12/4/20012019 IFA
18Luken BakerDH3/10/19972018 Draft
19Adari Grant2B/SS/OF1/2/20032020 J-2

Players We Could See In 2021: Dylan Carlson, Zack Thompson, Justin Williams, Johan Oviedo, Angel Rondon

Dynasty Overview: Like with the Reds and the Brewers, this system really tails off after the top half-dozen guys. I love Robelin Lopez's bat speed and all-fields approach, so he could pop this year, and Tink Hence and Edwin Nunez have pretty high ceilings but are extremely risky. Other than that, there's really not much to see here outside the top seven. Once Carlson graduates, this will be a bottom-five system and possibly a bottom-three system, depending on how Nolan Gorman is doing against upper-level pitching.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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