Part 2: Cubs prospects to look out for
|Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 9:09 AM- -|
Here is part II of our series of Cubs prospects to look out for now and in the future in Chicago.
Speaking of pitchers, the Cubs may have picked a pitcher in the first round who may end up making the MLB roster in Ryan Jensen. Their most recent first-round pick hit the ground running in his limited professional debut. Through six innings, Jensen had a 2.25 ERA while holding hitters to a .171 batting average.
Small sample size aside, Jensen is a high-risk, high reward prospect. His fastball was considered the best in the 2019 draft, while his secondary pitches were inconsistent at best. At Fresno State, this developed into the 5.84 ERA through his first two seasons. The upside is that with more work on secondary pitches, Jensen can look more like his 2.88 ERA form in his final college season.
Without much work, Jensen is still a toss-up between breakout candidate and bust, but his potential is enough to consider him an intriguing prospect. Even without being a starter, his amazing four-seam and two-seam fastballs, along with a reliable secondary option, could become a weapon in a reliever role.
Another pitcher with little to no long-term professional experience in the Cubs system is Riley Thompson. Thompson has only thrown 119.1 innings but has impressed with a 3.02 ERA in that span. The former Louisville Cardinal has battled injury and inconsistency throughout his career. In 2015, Thompson had Tommy John surgery two weeks before the MLB Draft and redshirted his first year at Louisville.
After struggling through his college career with a 5.92 ERA, the Cubs signed Thompson as a high upside pitcher. Now, the 23-year-old will have a chance to prove himself in what could be a big year for him. A strong showing in 2020 could lead to quick promotions either as a starter or reliever.
Best raw stuff the Cubs drafted in 2018 belongs to 11th rd’er Riley Thompson, who pitched just 48.2 IP in 2 years at Louisville.— Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) January 30, 2019
Assigned to Eugene, Thompson was nasty in last 4 GS: 15.2 IP, 11 H, 1.72 ERA, 7 BB, 21 K. FB up to 97.
Here are 10 of those K’s. pic.twitter.com/5FISwcioc9
Whatever route Thompson tries to take to the MLB, he will be a prospect worth keeping an eye on. According to MLB.com, his control has notably improved after cleaning up his lower half in his delivery. If Thompson can maintain his health and his great run in the minors, he could be a quick riser through the system.