Cubs Prospect Stock Watch: Getting a Head Start on Next Year’s Sleepers
As the minor-league season slowly grinds to a halt over the next two weeks, now is a good time to start thinking about adding some lesser-known Cubs prospects to your list for next year. Some have been sizzling the past month or two and we also have a couple of sleepers who may end up breaking out in 2022.
This month’s stock watch begins with a 5-foot-9, 165-pound shortstop named Pedro Ramirez who is currently destroying the Dominican Summer League. At the time this post was written, he was hitting .401 for the DSL Cubs Red team. He hit one home run and drove in 28 and was in consideration for the Cubs’ MiLB Player of the Month for August. While Cristian Hernandez, who is on the Blue team, has been getting a lot of press, it won’t be long before Ramirez starts to draw some pub of his own.
The only scouting report on Ramirez comes from a brief description in Baseball America about the Cubs’ international free-agent class from this past January. They described his speed as “plus-plus,” noting that he is a switch-hitter with a line drive approach.
Speaking of switch-hitters, Yonathan Perlaza was highly thought of when the Cubs signed him in 2015. However, he struggled early on his career and then began to get things going in 2019 at Eugene before a hiccup at South Bend that same year. He moved from the infield to the outfield during the pandemic and has really taken off in the second half.
He hit .320 with three home runs in August and is third in the entire system with 12 homers on the year to go with 54 RBI. Look for him to start ’22 at Double-A Tennessee.
Creamed, as defined by Yonathan Perlaza pic.twitter.com/La2RJHNSuk
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) August 5, 2021
Chase Watkins is a big lefty the Cubs took in the ninth round of this year‘s draft out of Oregon State. While he has yet to pitch at a full season affiliate this year, you might want to get on him early for next year, especially if he is out of the bullpen. He has a killer curve and matches it well with a low-to-mid low 90s fastball.
Anderson Surriel is an outfielder who debuted this year in the Dominican after signing in 2019. Known for his defensive prowess as an amateur, Surriel has really come on the past month for the Cubs Red team. He hit .299 with a 112 wRC+ in August and might be another year from really breaking out.
🇩🇴 Anderson SURIEL 🔥🔥🔥!!!!!
LIVE!!! 🇩🇴 Dominican Republic v USA 🇺🇸
📺 https://t.co/Irhn0vlaia #U15WorldCup @fedeobeRD pic.twitter.com/iS4bs3Syls
— WBSC ⚾🥎 (@WBSC) August 16, 2018
Outfielder Raino Coran was an eye-opening pickup this winter as he is a rather large individual. That did not translate into any kind of success in the first month of the Dominican Summer league, but things started to click in August and he hit three home runs with 12 driven in. Coran slashed .263/.451/.421 with a 155 wRC+ and it looks as though no one wants to pitch to him.
Alexis Hernandez, the younger brother of Cristian, is slated to sign with the Cubs this coming January 15 as an international free agent. He has improved over the course of this summer and made Baseball America’s IFA list in the mid-30s while MLB Pipeline moved him all the way up to number 18. He’s probably going to debut in the DSL once he is able to sign, so you might wanna get a head start on saying you were on him way back when
“Alexis has a chance to be a five-tool player and shows lots of potential, and he might be a tad more athletic,” wrote Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. “The younger Hernandez brother is going to play in the middle of the field; whether that’s at shortstop or in center field is still to be determined because he can play both.”
It’s good to know he can play center as the Cubs are a bit shortstop-heavy right now.
Our final pick for this month’s stock watch is Myrtle Beach starter Tyler Schlaffer, a 2019 draft pick from Homewood-Flossmoor High School who is really coming on strong. August was his first full month with the Pelicans and saw him post a 2.94 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. He is flashing a mid-to-upper-90s fastball with a developing curve, a slider, and a change.
First K for Tyler Schlaffer at Myrtle Beach on a Nice two seamer pic.twitter.com/IuIEKVmRDM
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) July 23, 2021
Some of my fellow prospect writers may not like what I’m about to say, but here goes: After watching Schlaffer pitch all month, I think he has a higher ceiling than DJ Herz. Even though Herz has more pitchability and Schlaffer is still kind of raw, he’s able to control what he’s throwing to the plate and still has a lot of room to improve. His development is simply about gaining experience and learning how to pitch against advanced competition. He didn’t need to work hitters in high school because he just overpowered them. I’m excited to see what he can do next year in South Bend.
Even after the season ends, we’ll still get news on various young players from the Arizona Fall League and instructs, so stick around for more.