Cayne Ueckert Leads New Names to Track in June Prospect Stock Watch

Those of you who’ve been following us for tips on which Cubs prospects to follow probably recognize some of the following names: Brandon Hughes, Ben Leeper, Pablo Aliendo Cam Sanders, DJ Herz, Manuel Espinoza, Chris Clarke, Chris Morel, Kohl Franklin, Riley Thompson, Yohendrick Pinango, and Sam Thoresen. A few of those — Hughes, Leeper, and Aliendo — made our preseason Stock Watch column look pretty smart by putting up outstanding months in May.

The one player we did not see coming at all in terms of breaking out in May, at least not in the way that he did, was Cayne Ueckert (eck-ert). While I did profile him in a post last year, I did not see him breaking out in 2021. But in 11.2 May innings, Ueckert put up a 0.00 ERA to go along with 18 strikeouts and three saves between High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee.

After being drafted out of McNeese State in the summer of 2019, Ueckert only pitched in the Arizona Rookie. Most college pitchers at that time headed to short-season Eugene, where prospect hounds like myself can watch their games on Since Uekert never got there, we couldn’t see exactly what he’s working with.

Now, however, we see he has an electric fastball that gets some ugly swings. The heater sits around 95 mph, which may not seem too special given the velo numbers we see these days, but it’s clearly got late life because hitters are having all kinds of trouble with it. Check out the clip below and pay attention to how late and awkward the swing is.

If I were you, I would buy in pretty quickly on Ueckert before he begins to develop his secondaries to match his fastball. When he does that, it could be just a matter of weeks before he’s in Chicago.

Delvin Zinn also looks to be breaking out at South Bend, where he is finally tapping into his outstanding athletic abilities on both offense and defense. He is currently hitting .266 and leads the High-A Central with 17 stolen bases. He is also flashing some great skills at shortstop this spring. His emergence may be coming a little late, but he is sure fun to watch.

June is a weird time in the world of prospects, sort of a no-man’s land. The rookie leagues are getting set to open up fairly soon and some players are waiting for promotions. As a result, it’s a bit hard to pick players to invest in at this point in the season. But injuries have ravaged most of the system and we’re starting to see a few players come up early just fill in for a week or two. 

One of those players who snuck up to debut last week was shortstop Kevin Made (Mah-day). At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, he is still developing physically, but I was really impressed with his offense and his defense. Just take a look at this beautiful swing he has at 18 years old.

Now get a load of what he can do with the glove.

Just turn your wallet upside down right now and invest in this kid.

When it comes to longer-term investments, the Cubs are going to be in on some high-profile prospects this winter of the international variety. The Cubs surprisingly signed 18-year-old pitcher of Carlos Garcia out of Cuba last month. He should be assigned to the Arizona Rookie League this summer and it is said he can throw his fastball in the low to mid 90s.

As for next year’s international prospects that can sign on January 15, 2022, Baseball America originally had none linked to the Cubs. Since then, BA updated their top IFA rankings ($) and the Cubs are now tied to Panamanian C/3B Adan Sanchez, SS Alexis Hernandez, the younger brother of Cristian Hernandez, and SS Jefferson Rojas from the Dominican. Sanchez was the highest-ranked of the group at 22 and Hernandez followed at 28 while Rojas snuck in at 35. 

All three are 16 years old and would be cheap to invest in, but all three could be lottery tickets as well.

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