Apparently there is some big game on Sunday involving a team from Chicago against a team from Wisconsin … and the Cubs and Brewers are not involved.
After spending last weekend hearing and seeing numerous visual reminders, the future of the Chicago National League Ball Club continued being the hot topic during the week.
Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Starlin Castro received nods from the mainstream media. Here’s the update … Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters
Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his top 10 lists by position of the top prospects in the game. The MLB Network will unveil Mayo’s list of the top 50 prospects in the game on Tuesday night at 8:00pm C.T. Starlin Castro made the cut a year ago.
As for this year’s top 10 outfield prospects, Brett Jackson ranked sixth in all of baseball.
6. Brett Jackson, Cubs: Taken in the first round in 2009, Jackson jumped on the fast track by making it to Double-A in his first full season. While his individual tools may not grade out as plus, he can do a little bit of everything. He hit 12 homers and stole 30 bases last year, and there should be more power coming. While he strikes out a lot, he’ll also draw some walks and he’s capable of playing all over the outfield. With Brandon Guyer gone, Jackson could be the first outfielder the Cubs call up from the Minors when the need arises.
Brett Jackson should receive a non-roster invite to big league camp this spring. Jackson received a NRI last spring and turned a lot of heads in Arizona. Many feel Jackson will make his Cubs’ debut at some point in 2011.
Josh Vitters made Mayo’s list as the seventh best third base prospect in the game. The upcoming season is a big one for Vitters, as pointed out by Mayo. Vitters will be 21 on Opening Day and will not celebrate his next birthday until August 27 but with that said, it is time for the former first rounder (third overall pick in the 2007 draft) to take the next step (or steps) in his development.
The Cubs are happy with the progress Vitters made last year, before his season was cut short due to injury. Vitters has already participated in “Camp Colvin” and should receive his second straight non-roster invite to big league camp.
7. Josh Vitters, Cubs: Chicago pushed Vitters up to Double-A when it had a hole to fill, and while he didn’t put up good numbers at all, the organization was pleased with how he prepared and dealt with the adversity. He still has the great swing, bat speed and raw power that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. He hasn’t been so great at making adjustments and doesn’t draw walks at all. He’s not great defensively, but has a good arm and should be able to stay at the hot corner. The 2011 season could be a big one for Vitters.
Jayson Stark’s All-Underrated team included a familiar name … at shortstop, the Cubs’ Starlin Castro. As Stark pointed out, Castro’s debut got lost in the national media among the amazing rookie class of 2010.
Castro made history as a 20-year old. As Stark mentioned, the numbers Castro put up landed him in the company of Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only other 20-year olds in the last 50 years that put up numbers like Castro did last season. Castro hit .300 with a .347 OBP and a .408 SLG.
The question about Castro has been keeping focused on a daily basis. With that said, Stark agrees with one of his scout buddies “this kid’s going to be a star – and I don’t know how many people realize that.”
One final note … The Cubs logo was also ranked this past week and checked in at number 11. Jim Caple said, “It works well enough because it is so identifiable and enduring, but I think perhaps it is also too derivative of a bulls-eye. As in, we’re an easy target for every team to beat like a drum.” Click here for Caple’s ranking of the 30 Major League logos.
Well, there’s the update … GO BEARS!