4 Chicago Cubs minor league players to watch as organization nears 40-man roster decisions

The Chicago Cubs want to build a perennial World Series contender.

The organization is rebuilding due to a failure to develop enough talent to replenish and improve the major league roster. Top talent and the depth of the farming system have improved over the past two years. For the first time since midseason 2015, MLB.com’s pipeline rankings put the Cubs’ minor league system in the top 10.

While the Low-A, High-A, and Double-A seasons end in mid-September, Triple A lasts until September 28. The final weeks serve as important assessment tools, especially for players the organization must decide whether or not to protect from the rule. 5 repechage in December.

As the minor league season draws to a close, here are four players to watch.

RHP Hayden Wesneski

Consecutive good starts have the right-hander tending towards the majors.

Wesneski, 24, acquired from the New York Yankees in a trade on August 1 for a reliever Scott Effross has allowed a run in his last two games (10 innings) for Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs, like Wesneski, are a neutral starter in the field with a cutter — a useful weapon against left-handed hitters.

“He’s always an attacking pitcher who’s gotten into stuff, which fits some of those are the molds of the guys who’ve been successful here,” the assistant general manager and vice president of pitching said recently. Craig Breslow. “He’s also close to being ready for the major league. There aren’t a ton of development opportunities that smack him in the face, what brings him credit and where he comes from.

Wesneski is expected to be in play for a September call-up. The Cubs need to add him to the 40-man roster by early November to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. With injuries and workload management on the line for starters Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson, Wesneski can gain major league experience over time.

RHP Jeremiah Estrada

The 23-year-old right-hander is posting some silly numbers this season, throwing out 40.4 percent of batters while boasting a 1.30 ERA between High-A South Bend and Iowa. In six Triple A appearances, Estrada struck out 12 and walked one in six innings.

Hard throwing Estrada, a 2017 sixth-round pick, relies on a nasty fastball-slider combination. He is one of a large group of Rule 5-eligible players whom the Cubs must decide whether or not to protect on the 40-man roster. Estrada is an obvious choice given his work and production. He deserves a look at major league level in September as the Cubs plot bullpen options for 2023.

By Alexander Canario

An unconventional start to the season didn’t seem to bother Canario.

Because he was on the 40-player roster after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants last July for Kris Bryant, Canario was unable to participate in the organization’s offseason scouting program during the lockout. -out. Instead of receiving valuable instructions and bats, Canario was barred from reporting to the Cubs compound until the lockout ended in March.

Canario, 22, traveled to Iowa after opening the season with South Bend. He is one of only four underage players to hit at least 30 home runs this season. His 31 is third and he has 24 doubles.

With one month remaining in the Triple-A season, Canario is looking to get back on track with Iowa after being promoted last week. Cubs hitting director Justin Stone praised Canario’s proprioception — the body’s sense of movement, position and orientation, also known as kinesthesia.

“I’m talking to the 1% of 1% that if you give him information, he can make a physical change in one or two shots,” Stone told the Tribune. “So those type of players will always be able to overcome the curve and make quick adjustments. He’s just a different type of athlete.

BY Owen Caissie

This season is all about learning for the outfielder.

Caissie’s first taste with South Bend did not start as he had hoped. It posted a .139/.200/.169 slash line throughout its first month. But since hitting his first home on May 10, Caissie has produced at the level he and the Cubs expected: .285 average, .382 on-base percentage and .842 OPS with 27 extra hits in his last 75 games (317 plates appearances).

“The first month I was kind of, ‘Oh shit,’ like I was falling apart, but I never lost faith, and the Cubs never lost faith in me,” Caissie told the Stand Thursday. “I knew I was going to get through this. And nothing changed with my swing. Maybe my approach changed, just seeing more pitches. But in the end, it all clicked together.”

Caissie, the Cubs’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 10 by MLB.comsaid he learned a lot about how to conduct himself as a professional.

“I would go through some meltdowns last year and I would be really pissed off,” Cassie said. “There will always be ups and downs, it all depends on how well you can control them. It’s something that people don’t see backstage and in the locker room – how I’m doing off the baseball field.

“It’s my job here, but once I go out I don’t want to bring the negative energy with me or whether it’s good or bad. I want to have a life outside. It’s my job, but I don’t want the struggles to affect my day-to-day life.

Caissie, who turned 20 last month, has those numbers despite being one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. The Cubs have been aggressive with their placement of Caissie at High A. A solid finish will set him up well for the offseason, and he plans to spend him at the Cubs facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Aubrey L. Morgan