A couple of days after MLB Pipeline released its 2022 prospect rankings, the newly No. 3 ranked prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ system, James Triantos, made his Spring Training debut with the team. You couldn’t ask for a much better debut. Triantos cashed in with a single in each of his two at-bats, including an RBI base knock in the seventh inning.
Listed as a second baseman and shortstop on the Cubs’ top prospects list, Triantos was drafted as a third baseman in the second round of last year’s draft. However, his athleticism carries over just about anywhere. In fact, Triantos was a dominant pitcher for his high school team. Cubs’ VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz and area scout Billy Swoope witnessed his dominance and bulldog mentality firsthand.
Sealing the Deal
As Jordan Bastian of MLB.com recently outlined, Triantos’ performance in his high school team’s championship game pretty much sealed the deal for Kantrovitz and Swoope. They wanted Triantos badly. Understandably so. The right-hander pitched in the semi-finals for James Madison High School and worked into the seventh inning of the game.
Then, his team was set to play in Virginia’s 6A Championship game only four days later. Head coach Mark Gjormand planned to use Triantos as the team’s closer, given that the game was such a quick turnaround after his lengthy outing. “This was Michael Jordan-type stuff,” Gjormand said. Triantos wasn’t listening. It was the game he had been waiting for his whole life. He was starting that game.
Not only did Triantos put away 18 consecutive batters with 10 strikeouts, but he led off the game with a single and also hit a two-run homer a couple of innings later to give James Madison a 2-0 lead. He was three outs away from a perfect game before allowing a home run.
The second-round pick set a single-season school record with 11 home runs and a batting average over .700 while striking out only two times. Since he’s a former pitcher, his arm strength will translate to any position on the infield, and he often draws comparisons to Alex Bregman.
Triantos got his first taste of pro ball near the end of last year when he hit .327 with six bombs and a .970 OPS at the Arizona Complex League.
These stories and stats help fans understand why decisions are made. This is why the Chicago Cubs drafted him out of high school and paid him well above slot value. As the 56th overall selection in last year’s draft, Triantos had a $1,276,400 value for that spot. However, the Cubs made sure not to let him get away and paid him $2.1 million to keep him from going to North Carolina.
What we saw from him in his first spring action is not a fluke. James Triantos is a name to keep a close eye on much in the coming months and years. It comes as no surprise that he’s the new No. 3 ranked prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ system, given his quality of contact skills and athleticism.
Frankly, I’m only surprised that they got the ranking correct. I watched a video of this kid throwing a basketball off the backboard and dunking it with one hand. Let’s be honest. That doesn’t translate directly to baseball, but it speaks to his incredible athleticism. He has quick hands, a quick bat, and insane plate coverage and control. Don’t be surprised if a kid straight out of high school moves quickly through the system. If anyone’s going to do it, it’s Triantos.
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