Vitters Tops Baseball Prospectus’ Cubs Prospect List

Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein released his list of the top 11 prospects in the Cubs’ system. For the first time in several years the best of Cubs system did not receive a ranking below a three-star prospect.

Goldstein pointed out that despite a disappointing 2009 at the big league level, the Cubs farm system had unmitigated success last year. The Cubs organization is looking up and will be ranked higher in Baseball Prospectus’ organizational rankings.

Josh Vitters and Starlin Castro topped Goldstein’s list as the two five-star prospects in the system. Of the 11 top prospects, six are position players …

Cubs Top 11 Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Josh Vitters – 3B (1)
2. Starlin Castro – SS (NR)
Four-Star Prospects
3. Hak-Ju Lee – SS (4)
4. Brett Jackson - OF (Drafted in 2009)
Three-Star Prospects
5. Andrew Cashner – RHP (5)
6. Jay Jackson – RHP (NR)
7. Chris Carpenter – RHP (NR)
8. Chris Archer – RHP (NR)
9. Kyler Burke – OF (NR)
10. Ryan Flaherty – INF (8)
11. John Gaub – LHP (NR)

Four More
12. Chris Huseby – RHP
13. Logan Watkins – INF
14. Dae-Eun Rhee – LHP
15. Darwin Barney – SS

The Sleeper
Rafael Dolis

Note – Last Year’s Ranking by Baseball Prospectus in Parenthesis – NR = Not Ranked

Due to the restrictions of publishing subscription only content, here are a few notes from Kevin Goldstein on the Cubs top prospects.

Josh Vitters – One of the sweetest swings in the minors. Was having a breakout year in 2009 before an injured hand slowed his progress. Perfect World Projection: a bigger, stronger version of Howie Kendrick. Could begin 2010 in Double-A.

Starlin Castro – Castro can hit, contact hitter. Rocket balls from line to line. Defense fundamentals are outstanding for his level and age … good range and plus arm. Scouts think he could move to second base down the road. Perfect World Projection: An above average shortstop that can hit second in a lineup. Likely to start the year in Double-A, the Cubs are trying not to rush him.

Hak-Ju Lee – Lee’s pure upside is higher than any infielder in the system, including Starlin Castro. Line-drive bat with gap power could hit double-digit homers on an annual basis. Plus defender with an above average arm and a flair for dramatic plays. Perfect World Projection: An occasional All-Star shortstop that can hit leadoff. The Cubs organization is envisioning a middle infield of Lee at short and Castro at second with the duo at the top of the lineup. Likely to start the year in Peoria.

Darwin Barney – One of the best defenders in the minors. Has enough offense to be a nice utility player.

Top 10 Cubs Prospects 25 and Under

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Starlin Castro
  3. Hak-Ju Lee
  4. Brett Jackson
  5. Andrew Cashner
  6. Jay Jackson
  7. Jeff Samardzija
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Kyler Burke
  10. Ryan Flaherty

Cubs Top 11 Prospects – Future Shock

For comparison, here are the rankings of the Cubs’ top prospects from John Sickels of Minor League Ball.com, Fangraphs and Baseball America.

Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
(Grades are preliminary and subject to change)

  1. Starlin Castro – SS (B+)
  2. Josh Vitters – 3B (B+)
  3. Brett Jackson – OF (B)
  4. Jay Jackson – RHP (B)
  5. Andrew Cashner – RHP (B)
  6. Hak-Ju Lee – SS (B)
  7. Chris Carpenter – RHP (B-)
  8. Kyler Burke – OF (B-)
  9. Ryan Flaherty – INF (B-)
  10. D.J. LaMahieu – INF (C+)
  11. Brooks Raley – LHP (C+)
  12. Logan Watkins – 2B (C+)
  13. Esmailin Caridad – RHP (C+)
  14. Blake Parker – RHP (C+)
  15. John Gaub – LHP (C+)
  16. Matt Spencer – OF-1B (C+)
  17. Dae-Eun Rhee – RHP (C+)
  18. Casey Coleman – RHP (C+)
  19. Tyler Colvin – OF (C)
  20. Jeff Beliveau – LHP (C)

Honorable Mentions – Each with a C Grade

  • James Adduci – OF
  • Jeff Antigua – LHP
  • Chris Archer – RHP
  • Darwin Barney – SS
  • Justin Bristow – RHP
  • David Cales – RHP
  • Welington Castillo – C
  • Rafael Dolis – RHP
  • Brandon Guyer – OF
  • Chris Huseby – RHP
  • Austin Kirk – LHP
  • Junior Lake – SS
  • Trey McNutt – RHP
  • Mike Parisi – RHP
  • Chris Rusin – LHP
  • James Russell – LHP
  • Ryan Searle – RHP
  • Tony Thomas – 2B

Click here to read John Sickels full report on the Cubs’ farm system.

Fangraphs Top 10 Cubs Prospects of 2010

  1. Andrew Cashner – RHP
  2. Starlin Castro – SS
  3. Josh Vitters – 3B
  4. Hak-Ju Lee – SS
  5. Jay Jackson – RHP
  6. Chris Carpenter – RHP
  7. Ryan Flaherty – INF
  8. Dae-Eun Rhee – RHP
  9. Logan Watkins – 2B
  10. John Gaub – LHP

Click here for the full Fangraphs article on the Cubs Top Prospects … with reports on each of the players.

Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs Prospects of 2010

  1. Starlin Castro – SS
  2. Brett Jackson – OF
  3. Josh Vitters – 3B
  4. Andrew Cashner – RHP
  5. Jay Jackson – RHP
  6. Hak-Ju Lee – SS
  7. Logan Watkins – 2B
  8. Chris Carpenter – RHP
  9. Ryan Flaherty – IF
  10. D.J. LeMahieu – SS-2B

Click here for more from Baseball America on the Cubs’ top prospects.

Here is in depth look at The Best in Cubs System from the VineLine.

Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook should hit the stands soon. The CCO will post their list of the top 30 prospects in the Cubs’ system.

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