Here's a look at the Cubs' new prospects

July 31st, 2021

CHICAGO -- As Jed Hoyer weighed the Cubs' future, the team's president of baseball operations wanted to do everything in his power to avoid approaching the kind of competitive cliff that can precede a lengthy rebuilding process.

So, with no extensions coming to fruition with core stars Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, Hoyer felt the best path forward was to collect as much prospect talent as possible now. That was the foundation for a furious Friday full of stunning Deadline trades.

"We could either hold these players for two months," Hoyer said, "and have them compete for a fourth-place team. Or, we could do everything we could in our power to reset our farm system, to reset our organization. And I think we accelerated that incredibly."

All told, Chicago reeled in a dozen players (nine featured on their former team's respective Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline) in exchange for nine players from the Cubs' roster since the All-Star break. That included parting with Báez (Mets), Bryant (Giants), Rizzo (Yankees) and Craig Kimbrel (White Sox).

Here is a quick look at the players acquired by the North Siders in the 24 hours leading up to Friday's Trade Deadline:

To White Sox: RHP Kimbrel, RHP Ryan Tepera
Acquired: 2B Nick Madrigal, RHP Codi Heuer, LHP Bailey Horn

One day after the Cubs sent their setup man (Tepera) to the South Siders for Horn, the crosstown rivals partnered for a blockbuster deal that further bolstered the Sox bullpen with Kimbrel and helped the North Siders address a couple needs.

The 24-year-old Madrigal -- the fourth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft -- will give the Cubs the kind of elite contact-based bat sorely needed in the lineup. Of course, that will have to start in 2022, as the infielder is recovering from season-ending surgery to repair a proximal tear of his right hamstring.

Madrigal hit at a .305 clip through 54 games this season and still ranks first in MLB in contact rate (91.8 percent), contact rate in the zone (98.6 percent) and swinging-strike rate (3.7 percent), among batters with at least 200 plate appearances.

The Cubs entered Friday ranked 15th, 12th and 14th, respectively, in those categories as a team in the National League.

"We've struggled as a group with contact," Hoyer said. "To get a player like Nick Madrigal, he just really fits what we're trying to do going forward really well. I just love how he plays the game. I've loved how he played the game since college."

In Heuer, the Cubs are adding more controllable bullpen depth. The 25-year-old righty's fastball had an average velocity of 96.5 mph this year, per Statcast, and he balances that with a slider and changeup. In 40 games this year with the South Siders, Heuer has a 5.12 ERA with 39 strikeouts vs. 10 walks in 38 2/3 innings.

The 23-year-old Horn ranked No. 23 on the White Sox Top 30 list prior to the trade to the Cubs. This season between Low-A and High-A, the lefty has 45 strikeouts against 18 walks with a 5.63 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.

To Giants: 3B/OF Bryant
Acquired: OF Alexander Canario, RHP Caleb Kilian

Canario (No. 9) and Kilian (No. 30) were both on the Giants' Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline, prior to the deal with Chicago. They now rank No. 7 and No. 16, respectively, on the Cubs' Top 30.

Kilian, 24, has enjoyed a breakout season in San Francisco's system, posting a 2.13 ERA with 96 strikeouts and nine walks in 84 2/3 innings. That includes a 2.43 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A. The 21-year-old Canario, who plays all three outfield spots, has hit .276/.363/.486 in four pro seasons (Low-A this year).

"The two guys that are going to Chicago are guys we think really highly of," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters. "Caleb Kilian has been one of the top-performing starting pitchers in the Minors. A strike-thrower, everything we look for. It's difficult to trade a kind of pipeline starting pitcher like that, but we kind of did what we had to do to make the deal.

"Canario is a really good young outfield prospect who we like a lot, but that’s also a position of depth for us. You’re going to have to give up value to get a guy like Kris Bryant."

To Mets: INF Javier Báez, RHP Trevor Williams
Acquired: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

Ranked No. 5 on the Mets' Pipeline list prior to the trade, Crow-Armstrong (now ranked No. 6 in the Cubs' system) is a highly-touted center fielder who was picked in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Considered one of the Draft class's top defenders, he is currently out following surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder. He was off to a .417 (10-for-24) start for Low-A St. Lucie before the injury.

"This is a guy that can hit for average,"'s Jim Callis said on MLB Network. "He's a plus runner. He's a well-above-average center fielder. This is an upside play. Pretty nice adding a first-round pick from last year."

To Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo
Acquired: OF Kevin Alcántara, RHP Alexander Vizcaíno

Vizcaíno, 24, and Alcántara, 19, ranked as the Yankees' No. 9 and No. 12 prospects, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. They now rank No. 8 and No. 11, respectively, in the Cubs' Top 30. Vizcaíno had tossed just six innings in 2021 between the Rookie-level FCL Yankees and High-A Hudson Valley, recording a 7.50 ERA. Alcántara has played eight games in the FCL, hitting .360 with a home run and a double during that span.

To Padres: OF Jake Marisnick
Acquired: RHP Anderson Espinoza

Once considered one of baseball's top pitching prospects, the 23-year-old Espinoza is now re-establishing himself following two Tommy John surgeries. This season, which is his first since 2016, the righty has 37 strikeouts vs. 13 walks with a 5.02 ERA in 28 2/3 innings with High-A Fort Wayne.

"We really liked the players we got," Hoyer said. "Maybe one or two of these guys can be the next [Jake] Arrieta, the next [Kyle] Hendricks, the next [Pedro] Strop, whoever that might be.

"There's a lot of prospects we acquired last time [we rebuilt the farm system] that no one's talking about. We nailed a few of those, and that had a massive impact on our championship."