The town of Baní is not some backwater of the Dominican Republic. If you stand in the center of Santo Domingo, you’re about halfway between Baní to the west and San Pedro de Macorís to the east. San Pedro is, by far, the more famous of the two cities. It’s slightly larger, slightly more urbane, slightly less hot, slightly less dry. Decades ago, it acquired the reputation as the single municipality that has churned out the most MLB players per capita of any on Earth, and that bit of trivia is (probably) still true.
Quietly, though, Baní might have crept past its eastern counterweight. It churns out great little players, and the second modifier there is not meant as either condescension or affection. Juan Uribe, Willy Aybar, Erick Aybar, and Cristian Guzman are from Baní. So are Wander Franco and José Ramírez. At the very least, no city churns out round-faced, short, stocky infielders like Baní. Kevin Made, newly listed at a skyscraping 5-foot-10 for 2023, is a shortstop from Baní.
He’s wildly unlikely to hit like Ramírez or Franco, although he gave glimpses of some power last year as a teenager in tough leagues for young hitters. He does make contact and work counts well, though, and he’s a smooth, athletic defender. He’ll start in South Bend, but could well be in Tennessee before his 21st birthday in September.
The Cubs certainly have a handful of very interesting pitching prospects. There are just as many hitters who will play in the big leagues as well. As another week of six-game series is set to begin on Tuesday, let's take a look back at last week to see which minor leaguers have been playing well. Use the COMMENTS to discuss players and learn together about them.
Welcome to North Side Baseball’s top 20 Cubs prospects list for 2023. We’ll count down to the top of the tops over the next week and a half, including scouting reports and stats from 2022 for all 20 guys.