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MLB Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs’ Top 5 Pitching Prospects Stock Watch

Stock Watch: Chicago Cubs' Top 5 Pitching Prospects

Wrigley Field 100th anniversary
Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs have many interesting pitching prospects, but pitching is the clear weakness of the Cubs’ system. With that said, the Cubs made some acquisitions last year that may turn into top-of-the-rotation pitchers in C.J. Edwards and Jen-Ho Tseng. These two pitchers offer the most impact of anyone currently in the system, but many others can contribute at the Big League level over the next few years.

5. Pierce Johnson, RHP: Stock Down

Pierce Johnson Chicago Cubs
Official Facebook Page of the Kane County Cougars

5. Pierce Johnson, RHP: Stock Down

Pierce Johnson
Official Facebook Page of the Kane County Cougars

Pierce Johnson was hands-down a top ten prospect in the Cubs’ system entering 2014, but he has severely disappointed at Tennessee this year with 24 walks in 26.2 innings pitched, giving him a 4.39 ERA. Injuries are likely part of the problem, as a hamstring injury delayed the start to his season, but if he’s healthy enough to take the mound the results should be a lot better than this.

4. Paul Blackburn, RHP: Stock Up

Paul Blackburn Chicago Cubs
Official Twitter of Paul Blackburn (@PaulyB_34)

4. Paul Blackburn, RHP: Stock Up

Paul Blackburn Chicago Cubs
Official Twitter of Paul Blackburn (@PaulyB_34)

Paul Blackburn was a fringe top ten prospect in the Cubs’ system heading into the year, but he has always had the potential to pitch near the top of the rotation. Blackburn was drafted out of high school in 2012 with a sandwich pick and has excelled this year after a solid season in 2013. This season Blackburn has 43 strikeouts to just 10 walks and a 2.33 ERA in 54 innings pitched at Kane County.

3. Kyle Hendricks, RHP: Stock Up

kyle hendricks chicago cubs
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

3. Kyle Hendricks, RHP: Stock Up

Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs knew Kyle Hendricks could pitch, but no one expected him to pitch this well. Hendricks has increased his strikeout rate from 6.08 K/9 last year up to 9.00 K/9 this season and continues to limit his walks with a rate of 2.25 BB/9. Hendricks has already thrown 56 innings with a 3.21 ERA and should be in line for a spot start in Chicago at some point this season.

2. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP: Stock Up

Jen-Ho Tseng
Getty Images

2. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP: Stock Up

Jen-Ho Tseng
Getty Images

Jen-Ho Tseng has done nothing but dominate ever since putting on a Kane County Cougars uniform, as the 19-year-old Taiwanese prospect has 32 strikeouts against just five walks and a 2.81 ERA in 32 innings pitched. Tseng has also allowed just one home run, and his combination of a lively fastball at 94 and sharp-breaking curve should allow him to move up the system to Daytona at some point this summer.

1. C.J. Edwards, RHP: Stock Neutral

C.J. Edwards Chicago Cubs
Getty Images

1. C.J. Edwards, RHP: Stock Neutral

C.J. Edwards Chicago Cubs
Getty Images

C.J. Edwards was the crown jewel of the Matt Garza trade and has clear top-of-the-rotation potential despite his slight frame. At 6-foot-2 and just 155 pounds, though, his size may be part of the reason why he suffered a minor shoulder strain at the end of April. This is Edwards' first arm injury, so the Cubs have been cautious in bringing him back. When healthy Edwards pitched as expected with a 2.61 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.2 IP.