Minor League Ball’s Top Cubs Prospects for 2012

The CCO’s look at the Cubs’ farm system this off-season continues with Minor League Ball’s ranking of the Cubs’ top prospects.

Minor League Ball released their list soon after the Anthony RizzoAndrew Cashner trade was announced and also includes what the Cubs received from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal.

John Sickels pointed out that even before the Marshall and Cashner trades, the Cubs’ system had some good things happening and he thought the system as a whole was underrated. Sickels said the weakness in the system is the lack of impact players (position players and starting pitching) close to the big league level … same as Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

Brett Jackson topped Minor League Ball’s list with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Matt Szczur and Trey McNutt rounding out the top five.

There are players that could help the Cubs at the big league level in the upcoming season, outside of Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo. Some of the players that missed Sickels’ list that could contribute in the majors this year include Jeff Beliveau and Nick Struck.

The Cubs’ system is similar to the Indians according to Sickels due to the fact there is a lot of depth in the middle range prospects with upside that could develop into big league ballplayers.

Sickels completed his look at the Cubs’ system by saying, “Overall, if I was a Cubs fan, I would be pleased with the level of depth, but anxious in a good way to see how the new front office manages the draft and international scouting to bolster what is already present.

Sickels did not give out an “A” grade to any of the prospects in the system. Here’s how the Cubs’ systems lines up according to John Sickels and the preliminary grade for each prospect.

Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
2011 Minor League Ball’s Ranking in Parenthesis – (NA – not available, NR – not ranked)

1. Brett Jackson, OF – B+ (1)
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B – B+ (NA)
3. Javier Baez, SS-3B – B (NA)
4. Matt Szczur, OF – B- (NR)
5. Trey McNutt, RHP – B- (2)
6. Dillon Maples, RHP – B- (NA)
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B – B- (NA)
8. Junior Lake, SS – C+ (NR)
9. Welington Castillo, C – C+ (NR)
10. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP – C+ (NR)
11. Josh Vitters, 3B-1B – C+ (10)
12. Jeimer Candelario, 3B – C+ (NA)
13. Marco Hernandez, SS – C+ (NA)
14. Chris Carpenter, RHP – C+ (5)
15. Rafael Dolis, RHP – C+ (17)
16. Zach Cates, RHP – C+ (NA)
17. Ben Wells, RHP – C+ (NR)
18. Dave Sappelt, OF – C+ (NA)
19. Ronald Torreyes, 2B – C+ (NA)
20. Reggie Golden, OF – C+ (9)
21. Gioskar Amaya, INF – C+ (NA)
22. Tony Zych, RHP – C+ (NA)
23. Shawon Dunston, Jr., OF – C+ (NA)
24. Aaron Kurcz, RHP – C+ (NR)

Others: Jeffry Antigua, LHP; Dallas Beeler, RHP; Jeff Beliveau, LHP; Jeff Bianchi, INF; Lendy Castillo, RHP; Pin-Cheih Chen, OF; Zeke DeVoss, 2B; Jae-Hoon Ha, OF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Eric Jokisch, LHP; Austin Kirk, LHP; Luis Liria, RHP; Kevin Rhoderick, RHP, Jose Rosario, RHP, Neftali Rosario, C; Hayden Simpson, RHP; Nick Stuck, RHP, Yao-Ling Wang, RHP, Logan Watkins, 2B; Robert Whitenack, RHP

Several players took steps forward but some took a step back as well last season. The amount of players selected in last June’s Draft is both telling and a little misleading. The upcoming season will be an important one for the organization.

The CCO will release our list of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system in the coming weeks.

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