Baseball America’s Top Cubs Prospects for 2009

Baseball America unveiled their list of the Cubs top prospects for the 2009 season along with which players possess the best tools in the organization on Monday. Only three players remain in the top ten from a year ago. Names such as Ryan Flaherty, Hak-Ju Lee and Jay Jackson have replaced the likes of Sean Gallagher, Josh Donaldson, Jose Ceda and Donald Veal.

The CCO will post Baseball America’s complete top 30 list of the best prospects in the coming days but for now the best of the best is online. Josh Vitters is once again the prize of the Cubs’ Farm System with Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner, Dae-Eun Rhee and Welington Castillo rounding out the top five.

Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs’ Prospects:

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Dae-Eun Rhee
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. Kevin Hart
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Ryan Flaherty
  9. Jay Jackson
  10. Hak-Ju Lee

Best Tools in the Cubs’ System according to Baseball America:

  • Best Hitter for Average – Josh Vitters
  • Best Power Hitter – Josh Vitters
  • Best Strike-Zone Discipline – Sam Fuld
  • Fastest Baserunner – Tony Campana
  • Best Athlete – Brandon Guyer
  • Best Fastball – Jeff Samardzija
  • Best Curveball – Casey Lambert
  • Best Slider – Andrew Cashner
  • Best Change-up – Dae-Eun Rhee
  • Best Control – Esmailin Caridad
  • Best Defensive Catcher – Luis Flores
  • Best Defensive Infielder – Darwin Barney
  • Best Infield Arm – Junior Lake
  • Best Defensive Outfielder – Sam Fuld
  • Best Outfield Arm – Kyler Burke

Darwin Barney and Brandon Guyer are scheduled to participate in the Down on the Farm seminar on Sunday morning at the Cubs’ Convention along with Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken….hosted by Dave Otto. released their annual list of the Cubs’ top prospects in two parts this winter. Prospects one through ten were unveiled before Christmas and the remainder of’s top 20 was posted last week. Top 20 Cubs’ Prospects:

  1. Josh Vitters – 3B
  2. Jeff Samardzija – RHP
  3. Andrew Cashner – RHP
  4. Welington Castillo – C
  5. Jay Jackson – RHP
  6. Ryan Flaherty – SS
  7. Mitch Atkins – RHP
  8. Tyler Colvin – OF
  9. Kevin Hart – RHP
  10. Micah Hoffpauir – 1B/OF
  11. Esmailin Caridad – RHP
  12. Brandon Guyer – OF
  13. Marcos Mateo – RHP
  14. Jovan Rosa – INF
  15. James Russell – LHP
  16. Dan McDaniel – RHP
  17. Chris Carpenter – RHP
  18. Aaron Shafer – RHP
  19. Ryan Acosta – RHP
  20. Matt Cerda – C’s report is by subscription only, so not much detail can be given., like John Sickels from Minor League was very complimentary of Jay Jackson. Sickels feels Jay Jackson “is going to surprise a lot of people.

Matt Cerda turned a lot of heads last summer with his feature on ESPN. For those unfamiliar with his story….here’s a link.

Baseball Prospectus Top 11 Cubs’ Prospects (November 12th):

Five-Star Prospects
1. Josh Vitters
Four-Star Prospects
2. Jeff Samardzija
3. Jose Ceda (traded to the Marlins on November 13th for Kevin Gregg)
Three-Star Prospects
4. Hak-Ju LeeScouting Report on Hak-Ju Lee
5. Andrew Cashner
6. Tyler Colvin
7. Dae-Eun Rhee
8. Ryan Flaherty
Two-Star Prospects
9. Welington Castillo
10. Donald Veal
Note: Donald Veal was lost in the Rule 5 Draft to the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 11th
11. Micah Hoffpauir

Report from Baseball Prospectus

Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Cubs’ Prospects:

1. Josh Vitters – Grade B+
2. Jeff Samardzija – Grade B
3. Ryan Flaherty – Grade B
4. Andrew Cashner – Grade B-
5. Hak-Ju Lee – Grade B-
6. Jay Jackson – Grade B-
7. Tyler Colvin – Grade C+
8. Welington Castillo – Grade C+
9. Dae-Eun Rhee – Grade C+
10. Aaron Shafer – Grade C+
11. Starlin Castro – Grade C+
12. Junior Lake – Grade C+
13. Dan McDaniel – Grade C+
14. Micah Hoffpauir – Grade C
15. Esmailin Caridad – Grade C
16. Donald Veal – Grade C
Note: Donald Veal was lost in the Rule 5 Draft to the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 11th
17. Josh Kroeger – Grade C
18. Tony Thomas – Grade C
19. Chris Carpenter – Grade C
20. Mitch Atkins – Grade C

Honorable Mention by

  • Darwin Barney
  • Justin Bristow
  • Mathew Cerda
  • Hung-Wen Chen
  • Dumas Garcia
  • Brandon Guyer
  • Josh Harrison
  • Dylan Johnston
  • Casey Lambert
  • Alex Maestri
  • Jovan Rosa
  • Drew Rundle
  • Marquez Smith
  • Logan Watkins
  • Ty Wright

John Sickels added the players in the honorable mention list could be ranked “anywhere from 14-20 depending on what you are looking for.

Full Report on the Cubs’ Farm System from John Sickels

The Cubs have made several changes to their minor league organization this winter. The system has produced talent for Lou Piniella (Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Samardzija) and trading chips for Jim Hendry (Sean Gallagher, Josh Donaldson, Eric Patterson) in recent years but must begin showing improvement this season.

Granted the organization is in win now mode but it is possible to develop players in the minors while winning in the majors. A minor league system that has been described as weak by many of the experts needs a successful year in 2009.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney