NL Central Farm System Report

A breakdown of the five farm systems in the NL Central.

The divisional reports are a new series put out by the PitcherList dynasty team. These reports provide a list of the top ten prospects on each team in the division and highlight two players from each organization. Each division will be updated once per month by our divisional experts. Make sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page to check out the other divisions already released.


NL Central


Chicago Cubs


Top 10 Prospects


Prospects I Am Most Excited About:

  • Owen Caissie: The 6’3″ power-hitting outfielder of the future is coming to Wrigley Field in a hurry. At just 21 years old, Owen Caissie has rocketed up the organizational ladder since being selected in the second round of the 2020 MLB draft. With 80 grade raw power, Caissie put up big numbers in 120 games played at Double-A Tennessee. Caissie slashed .289/.398/.519 with 22 home runs in 528 plate appearances walking at a 14.4% rate. The Achilles heel for Caissie is the strikeout rate, as it has been north of 30% in two separate stops. In the small sample size this season, Caissie is hitting the ball with authority and could get his opportunity to debut early this summer.


  • James Triantos: Selected in the second round of the 2021 MLB draft out of High School, James Triantos has been steadily rising up the prospects rankings. The 21-year-old Triantos has shown excellent plate discipline in the minor leagues, walking 7.8% while striking out just 14.65% across 976 plate appearances. What has been missing to this point has been the power, but that might be changing this year. While in the Arizona Fall League, Triantos started working on lifting the ball to tap into his raw power. The results were encouraging as he slashed .417/.495/.679 with three home runs, 18 runs scored, 15 RBIs, and stole nine bases in 22 games played. Of his 35 hits, 11 were for extra bases. Triantos will start the year at Double-A Tennessee and could see Triple-A Iowa by the season’s end.


A Few Other Names To Know:

  • Haydn McGeary: The former catcher turned first base prospect really brought the thump in 2023. Haydn McGeary was drafted in the 15th round of the 2022 MLB draft out of Colorado Mesa University and has strung together two impressive seasons. Last year, McGeary started out in High-A South Bend and proceeded to slash .368/.467/.592 with a 14.4% walk percentage and a 17.8% strikeout rate in 90 plate appearances. Once promoted to Double-A Tennessee, McGeary found his power stroke. In 104 games played McGeary slashed .255/.382/.435 with 16 home runs,  and 75 RBIs, and of his 92 total hits 32 were for extra bases.  If Matt Mervis continues to struggle, look for Haydn McGeary to lock down the future first base job in Chicago.


  • Porter Hodge: A pitching prospect not talked about enough in the Cubs organization is Porter Hodge. Drafted in the 13th round of the 2019 draft out of Cottonwood High School, it’s been a slow rise through the Minor Leagues. Hodge features a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s and reaches 98 with a rise up in the zone. The 85 mph sweeping slider might be the best offering, forcing right-handed batters to swing far outside the box. Hodge’s third offering is an 88 mph changeup that isn’t thrown as much since moving to the bullpen in 2023. Across 35 appearances (12 starts) Hodge struck out 103 batters over 80.2 innings pitched, good for an 11.49 K/9, and finished the year with a 5.13 ERA (3.67 FIP) in Double-A. Now in the bullpen, Hodge could be fast-tracked to the Major Leagues in 2024.


St. Louis Cardinals


Top 10 Prospects


Prospects I Am Excited About:

  • Zack Showalter: Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in the Jack Flaherty deal, Zach Showalter displayed a lot of promise in nine appearances between Complex League and Low-A Delmarva. While in the Complex League, Showalter started three games striking out 16 batters over 10 innings pitched, good for a 14.40 K/9 with a .194 average against and finished with a 0.90 ERA. Once promoted to Low-A Delmarva, Showalter had an 11.07 K/9 across 20.1 innings pitched with a 3.10 ERA before the trade to St Louis. Showalter made just one appearance in Low-A Palm Beach before being shut down with an undisclosed injury. With a deceptive four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s, Showalter hides the ball and uses his quick arm speed to throw off the batter’s timing. The sweeping slider has the potential to be an above-average offering due to the high spin rates. As is the case with most high school arms, Showalter’s changeup is a distant third offering but has solid tumble and fade.


  • Tekoah Roby: Another acquisition at the trade deadline for the Cardinals from Texas, Tekoah Roby has shown solid improvements since being drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2020 MLB Draft. He features a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s and has touched 99 mph in short bursts. The curveball has an excellent downward break, coming in at 78 mph with plus spin rates. Roby also throws a mid-80s slider and changeup that continues to improve. After the trade to St. Louis, Roby hit his stride making four starts in Double-A Springfield striking out 19 batters over 12 innings pitched (14.25 K/9) with a .146 average against and finished with a 3.00 ERA. The Cardinals will start Roby back at Double-A Springfield to start the year but could move quickly up to the Majors if the aging rotation falters.


A Few Other Names To Know:

  • César Prieto: One prospect to watch this spring is César Prieto, who came over with Zach Showalter in the Jack Flaherty deal in 2023. Once Preito got to the Cardinals organization, he continued to hit slashing .270/.314/.387 with four home runs, 24 runs scored, 20 RBIs, and two stolen bases in 38 games played. Prieto shows a good eye at the plate, striking out in just 14.2% of his 176 plate appearances with the Memphis Redbirds in 2023.  In the early goings, Prieto has picked up where he left off making it seem inevitable he will get an opportunity to stick with the Cardinals in a utility role this summer.


  • Jimmy Crooks III: Breaking out in a big way was Jimmy Crooks III in High-A in 2023. The 21-year-old catching prospect slashed .271/.358/.433 with 12 home runs, 71 runs scored, 73 RBIs, and two stolen bases in 114 games played. Crooks’ eye at the plate stands out, as he walked 10.9% while striking out in just 21.2% of his 477 plate appearances at High-A. The Cardinals promoted Crooks to Triple-A for one game to finish the season, but he did not record a hit. This could be a deep league prospect to stash going into the 2024 season as Crooks should start the season in Double-A Springfield.


Cincinnati Reds


Top 10 Prospects


Prospects I Am Excited About:

  • Sal Stewart: One of the prospects that got the largest bump in the rankings has to be Sal Stewart. At just 19 years old, the 6’3″ and 215-pound Stewart played at both Low-A Daytona and High-A Dayton and made it look easy. In 117 combined games, Stewart slashed .275/.396/.415 with 12 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases. What stood out to me was the advanced approach with Stewart, as he walked 15.4% while striking out just 14.4% in 518 plate appearances. The Reds plan to start Stewart back in High-A but it shouldn’t be long until he breaks into Double-A Chattanooga.


  • Hector Rodriguez: The 2023 season was a continuation of the solid “under the radar” production Hector Rodriguez has brought to the table since debuting with the Mets in 2021. In his first full season in the Reds organization, Rodriguez split time between Low-A and High-A. In 115 combined games played, Rodriguez slashed .293/.343/.495 with 16 home runs, 91 runs scored, 61 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. As a high-contact prospect, Rodriguez didn’t walk much in 2023 but averaged an 18.5% strikeout rate across 499 plate appearances. Now, 20-year-old Rodriguez will start the season back at High-A Dayton.


A Few Other Names To Know:

  • Ty Floyd: Selected 38th overall by the Reds in the 2023 MLB Draft, Ty Floyd skyrocketed up draft boards thanks to a 17-strikeout performance against Florida in the College World Series. Floyd averages mid-90s with his four-seam fastball that has plus verticle break and has topped out at 99 mph. The slider and curveball have solid break and good spin rates, potentially making them a plus future offering. When it comes to the changeup, Floyd didn’t throw it much at LSU but could revert back to it once he debuts this year.


  • Rece Hinds: If big power is what you are looking for then Rece Hinds is one to watch this season. Hinds had his best season yet in 2023, playing the entire season in Double-A Chattanooga. In 109 games played Hinds slashed .269/.330/.536 with 23 home runs, 98 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases. What has held him back has been the strikeout rate. Across 461 plate appearances, Hinds struck out at a 32.8% rate in 2023, which will need to come down in order for him to get to the major leagues. The Reds are starting Rece Hinds in Triple-A Louisville to start the 2024 campaign.


Milwaukee Brewers


Top 10 Prospects


Prospects I Am Excited About:

  • Brock Wilken: The all-time home run leader for Wake Forest is quickly making his way up the organizational ladder for Milwaukee. Since being selected 18th overall in 2023, Brock Wilken climbed three levels finishing the season in Double-A Biloxi. In 47 combined games, Wilken slashed .285/.414/.473 with five home runs, 27 runs scored, 29 RBIs, and four stolen bases. There is legitimate 30-to-40 home run pop, and Wilken has shown at every level that he can hit advanced pitching. The Brewers will start Wilken back at Double-A Biloxi, but don’t be surprised if he debuts in Milwaukee by the season’s end.


  • Wes Clarke: What a quiet season Wes Clarke had in 2023 playing 118 games in Double-A Biloxi. The 24-year-old catcher and first-base prospect crushed 26 home runs while driving in 80 RBIs for the Shuckers. In Clarke’s 503 plate appearances, he walked 17.7% while striking out 29.2% of the time. The strong performance encouraged the Brewers to send Clarke out to the Arizona Fall League to get a few more reps in after the season was over. In 21 games played, Clarke slashed .297/.435/.568 with five home runs, 17 runs scored, and 20 RBIs. The Brewers have Clarke to start the season back in Biloxi, but his stay could be brief as he could be poised to make his major league debut sometime this summer.

A Few Other Names To Know:

  • Luke Adams: A young power bat in the Brewers organization to watch in 2024 is Luke Adams. The 6’4″ 210-pound Adams has plus raw power and already seems like a steal for the Brewers who selected him in the 12th round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of high school. The 19-year-old Adams played the entire season in Low-A Carolina where he slashed .233/.400/.401 with 11 home runs, 74 runs scored, and 54 RBIs and stole 30 bases in 99 games played. Don’t let the low batting average discourage you, as Adams showed an excellent eye at the plate walking 17.3% and striking out just 22.5% of his 440 plate appearances. The low .292 BABIP could mean there are better days to come for Adams, who will start the 2024 season in High-A Wisconsin.


  • Logan Henderson: Milwaukee has a way of finding pitchers who have untapped upside and getting the most out of their secondary offerings. Logan Henderson had a solid season making 18 starts for Low-A Carolina. The 21-year-old righty struck out 106 batters over 78.2 innings pitched, good for a 12.13 K/9 with a .183 average against, and finished the year with a 2.75 ERA. Henderson’s 80 mph changeup is far and away his best offering. It mirrors the low-90s fastball but fades late causing weak contact or swing-and-miss. With the four-seam fastball, Henderson locates it well and finds success despite the low velocity by imparting high spin to create ride up in the zone and via pinpoint control. Look for Logan Henderson to be a big riser this season.


Pittsburgh Pirates


Top 10 Prospects


Prospects I Am Excited About:

  • Thomas Harrington: One of the “pride” of Campbell University, Thomas Harrington took a major step forward in 2023 and could be poised to move quickly this season. Known for his pinpoint control, Harrington finds success dotting his mid-90s fastball on the corners while working in off-speed pitches such as his changeup to throw off batters’ timing. His best secondary offering is an 85 mph sweeping slider that has plus spin rates. Last season, Harrington introduced a sharp cutter that comes in the low 90s. While in High-A Greensboro, Harrington made 18 starts striking out 106 batters over 88.1 innings pitched, good for a 10.80 K/9 with a solid .251 average against and a 3.87 ERA. Back in High-A Greensboro to start the 2024 season, Harrington might be one of the most underrated pitching prospects in Pittsburgh’s system.


  • Braxton Ashcraft: It’s been a long road for Braxton Ashcraft after being selected in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school. Injuries and the pandemic plagued Ashcraft as he put together his first healthy season in 2023. Making up for lost time, Ashcraft pitched at Low-A and High-A and finished the year in Double-A Altoona. In 19 combined starts, Ashcraft struck out 63 batters over 52.2 innings pitched with a .231 average against and a 2.39 ERA. The velocity was up from Ashcraft, as he topped out at 98 mph and sat in the mid-90s with high spin rates. The almost cutter-esque slider comes in sharp and hard around 89 mph, but it’s the slow, knee-buckling curveball coming in around 82 mph that offsets batter timing. Look for Braxton Ashcraft to get a healthy season without restrictions and push for an opportunity to lock down a back-of-the-rotation spot with the Pirates.


Notable Performances

  • Hunter Barco: One pitcher to watch closely in the Pirates organization in 2024 is Hunter Barco. The former Florida Gator was limited in innings pitched in 2023 but should pitch freely in High-A Greensboro. Barco features an 83 mph sweeping slider with high spin rates that plays off his mid-90s sinking fastball. The changeup has flashes of a plus offering as it fades late, resulting in swing-and-miss potential. In six starts for Low-A Bradenton, Barco struck out 19 batters in 10.2 innings pitched, good for a 16.03 K/9, and finished with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.37 FIP. Watch for the fastball velocity to tick up two years removed from Tommy John.


  •  Jack Brannigan: The former two-way star from Notre Dame broke out in a big way in 2023. Sticking to just playing third base, Jack Brannigan flashed plus power while adjusting to advanced pitching in High-A Greensboro. In 38 games played with the Grasshoppers, Brannigan slashed .299/.382/.605 with 12 home runs, 26 runs scored, 37 RBIs, and seven stolen bases. At each stop in the minor leagues Brannigan showed a propensity to get on base, and in 173 plate appearances in Greensboro he walked at a 12.1% rate. The only downside to Brannigan’s game, once he was promoted, was the spike in his strikeout rate — jumping from 26.9% in Low-A Bradenton to 33.5% in High-A Greensboro. This is a prime time to buy into a prospect that will continue to garner attention from dynasty baseball analysts, so take this opportunity before it’s too late.

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