Jared’s Jet Setters: Chicago Cubs Edition
By Jared Perkins
We are back for the second round of Jared’s Jet Setters for the offseason. We covered a couple of Brewers’ prospects on the verge of taking off in Joey Wiemer and Felix Valerio in the last edition. This week we keep our NL Central trend by looking at the Chicago Cubs. We are watching three prospects take off this week: DJ Herz, James Triantos, and Kevin Alcantara.
DJ Herz, LHP
Even though he was only there for three games, DJ Herz was one of my absolute favorite pitchers to cover in High-A Central. He was an absolute strikeout machine during his time there, striking out 26 batters in 16 innings pitched. For those who threw 80 or more innings in the minor leagues, Herz ranked 3rd in strikeout percentage (40.4%) only behind two other big-name pitching prospects: Daniel Espino of the Cleveland Guardians (40.5%) and Grayson Rodriguez of the Baltimore Orioles (40.5%). Herz had a somewhat concerning walk rate at 13.6%, but he ended the season well, only walking six batters in 16 innings pitched. He’s got a much-improved changeup to go along with his other above-average secondary in his curveball. He is still working to iron out his mechanics, but his delivery is becoming more repeatable from some of the starts I saw. He is someone I am willing to take a flier on as he has posted good numbers already in High-A at 20-years-old. He can shut down any of those reliever talks if he can hone in his command and keep improving his secondary pitches.
DJ Herz was incredible in his South Bend Cubs debut last night!
5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB’s & 8 K’s. ?
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) September 5, 2021
James Triantos, IF
It has been early, but I love what I have seen from Triantos so far. The 18-year-old third baseman out of Vienna, Virginia, hit the ground running in the Arizona Complex League. In 25 games, he hit .327 with a very nice .970 OPS with six home runs, seven doubles, seven walks, and 19 runs batted in. Those are the kind of numbers you want to see from a player that young. I watched some videos of Triantos, and I love his short, compact swing. He has a remarkable ability to get to the ball, and his ability to recognize pitches is well advanced for his age. The pop seems to be real as well, and he generates that with his excellent bat speed. At 6’1 and 195lbs, there still might be some room to grow in his frame, but I doubt it will be much. He has played at second base and shortstop during his time in the Arizona Complex League. Many assume that he eventually moves to third base, given his outstanding arm. Triantos is a name I am hawk eyeing in my first-year player drafts and one I can see rising VERY quickly in 2022. If you have a chance to snag him early in your drafts, I’d do so. You don’t want to miss out on this kid.
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Traded to the Cubs with pitcher Alexander Vizcaino for Anthony Rizzo, Alcantara has been flying up people’s prospect boards. He has one of the highest ceilings in the entire Chicago Cubs organization. Alcantara has a ton of athleticism. He made some adjustments to his wing this year and flat-out raked. He sported a 1.012 OPS while hitting four home runs, three doubles, and five triples with five stolen bases. His strikeout rate was decent, and he showed some excellent plate discipline with a 12.3% walk rate. He is still only 19 and has a great chance to grow into more power with his 6’6 frame. He also possesses some plus speed that could factor into his value if the strength develops to the ceiling we are hoping for. Alcantara is someone I want on my minor league roster, even if it might take a little longer for him to develop. As of now, he seems like he is ahead of schedule. It might be worth seeing if you can acquire him in your leagues before he takes off and becomes unobtainable. The ceiling is almost worth the risk, especially since he is ahead of schedule in terms of his development.
The Cubs picking up right where they left off last night as the Homerun party goes on for another day. This time it's Kevin Alcantara with a blast just to the left of the batters eye #CubTogether pic.twitter.com/G1oOVdKKaE
— Prospects Worldwide (@ProspectsWorldW) September 4, 2021