The Usual Prospects?

The Cubs farm system garnered a lot of attention last year and figures to have an impact once again this season. The manor in which Lou Piniella handled his young players last year had a ripple effect throughout the organization. Baseball America and are two of the most well respected publications in the business and both recently released their new prospect guides for the upcoming season.

It is always interesting to read the varying opinions….

Baseball America

Baseball America’s 2008 Prospect Handbook recently hit the bookshelves. Their annual publication has become a must read over the years. Baseball America ranked the Cubs’ farm system 20th in the league, down two spots from a year ago. Most feel the Cubs minor league system is on its way back up, despite its lowest ranking in 6 seasons. The Cubs’ front office often points to all of the contributions the farm system made to the big league club last year as a good indication they are headed in the right direction with player development.

Baseball America’s Top 30 Cubs Prospects

  1. Josh Vitters – 3B
  2. Geovany Soto – C
  3. Tyler Colvin – OF
  4. Jose Ceda – RHP
  5. Sean Gallagher – RHP
  6. Donald Veal – LHP
  7. Josh Donaldson – C
  8. Jeff Samardzija – RHP
  9. Tony Thomas – 2B
  10. Kevin Hart – RHP
  11. Billy Petrick – RHP
  12. Eric Patterson – 2B/OF
  13. Kyler Burke – OF
  14. Chris Huseby – RHP
  15. Welington Castillo – C
  16. Dae-Eun Rhee – RHP
  17. Robert Hernandez – RHP
  18. Sam Fuld – OF
  19. Jake Fox – OF/1B/C
  20. Larry Suarez – RHP
  21. Ryan Acosta – RHP
  22. James Russell – LHP
  23. Alex Maestri – RHP
  24. Darwin Barney – SS
  25. Jose Ascanio – RHP
  26. Rocky Roquet – RHP
  27. Mark Holliman – RHP
  28. Josh Lansford – 3B
  29. Steve Clevenger – C/1B
  30. Tim Lahey – RHP

16 of the Cubs’ top 30 prospects from last year have either been promoted (Felix Pie, Mike Fontenot), traded (Scott Moore, Jae-Kuk Ryu, Rocky Cherry) or have just fallen off the list….Ryan Harvey, Mark Pawelek, Juan Mateo, Brian Dopirak, Mark Reed, Drew Rundle, Dylan Johnston, Sammy Baez, Chris Robinson, Scott Taylor and Mitch Atkins.

Best Tools

  • Best Hitter for Average – Tony Thomas
  • Best Power Hitter – Josh Vitters
  • Best Strike-Zone Discipline – Sam Fuld
  • Fastest Baserunner – Leon Johnson
  • Best Athlete – Tyler Colvin
  • Best Fastball – Jose Ceda
  • Best Curveball – Casey Lambert
  • Best Slider – Alex Maestri
  • Best Changeup – James Russell
  • Best Control – Mark Holliman
  • Best Defensive Catcher – Welington Castillo
  • Best Defensive Infielder – Josh Lansford
  • Best Infield Arm – Josh Lansford
  • Best Defensive Outfielder – Sam Fuld
  • Best Outfield Arm – Kyler Burke’s second annual Major League Baseball Prospect Guide highlights the players they feel could make the biggest impact at the big league level….from potential standout stars to role players.

  • Impact Rookie – Geovany Soto
  • Sleeper – Jeff Samardzija’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects

  1. Tyler Colvin
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Geovany Soto
  4. Donald Veal
  5. Sean Gallagher
  6. Jeff Samardzija
  7. Chris Huseby
  8. Jose Ceda
  9. Kevin Hart
  10. Eric Patterson
  11. Justin Berg
  12. Josh Donaldson
  13. Tony Thomas
  14. Mark Holliman
  15. Larry Suarez
  16. Mitch Atkins
  17. James Russell
  18. Rocky Roquet
  19. Ryan Harvey
  20. Mark Pawelek

Cubs Prospects in’s Top 300

  • #31, Tyler Colvin
  • #42, Josh Vitters
  • #68, Donald Veal
  • #82, Geovany Soto
  • #94, Sean Gallagher
  • #100, Jeff Samardzija
  • #154, Eric Patterson
  • #210, Mark Holliman
  • #223, Chris Huseby
  • #232, Kevin Hart
  • #279, Mitch Atkins

There are a couple of names on both lists that could make an impact for the Cubs this season. One is Mark Holliman. The Cubs young right-hander was just a walk away from a 7-inning perfect game in Double-A last year. Holliman will not over power hitters with his mid to upper 80’s fastball (two and four-seam), can hit low 90’s when necessary, but Holliman is all about command and features a curveball, slider and changeup.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon