The CCO’s look at the Cubs’ farm system this off-season continues with Minor League Ball’s ranking of the top prospects in the organization.
John Sickels released his ranking of the top players in the Cubs’ system just prior to the Winter Meetings. Sickels said he was surprised how much the Cubs system had improved over the last year or two, especially in the lower levels. After he had a chance to look deeper into the Cubs’ organization, Sickels thinks Cubs’ fans have reasons to be optimistic about the future of the team.
At the top of the Cubs’ system are Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora. All three have star/superstar potential and there is quite a bit of depth beyond the top group of players.
John Sickels correctly pointed out that the players closest to the big leagues have several questions and could end up being role players, not starters. To say Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur and Junior Lake need to take the next step in their development would be an understatement. The position players in the lower levels have a lot of upside and their development will be interesting to track next season.
Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
2012 Minor League Ball’s Ranking in Parenthesis – (NA- not available, NR – not ranked)
- Javier Baez, SS – A (3)
- Albert Almora, OF – B+ (NA)
- Jorge Soler, OF – B+ (NA)
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B – B (7)
- Arodys Vizcaino, RHP – B- (NA)
- Brett Jackson, OF – B- (1)
- Dillon Maples, RHP – B- (6)
- Christian Villanueva, 3B – B- (NA)
- Matt Szczur, OF – B- (4)
- Pierce Johnson, RHP – B- (NA)
- Gioskar Amaya, 2B – B- (21)
- Duane Underwood, RHP – B- (NA)
- Josh Vitters, 3B – C+ (11)
- Junior Lake, INF/OF – C+ (8)
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B – C+ (12)
- Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP – C+ (NA)
- Paul Blackburn, RHP – C+ (NA)
- Marco Hernandez, SS – C+ (13)
- Arismendy Alcantara, SS – C+ (NR)
- Barret Loux, RHP – C+ (NA)
Other Grade C+ Prospects
- Michael Jensen, RHP
- Kyle Hendricks, RHP
- Trey McNutt, RHP
- Ryan McNeil, RHP
- Ronald Torreyes, 2B
- Logan Watkins, 2B
- Ben Wells, RHP
- Tony Zych, RHP
Others: Jose Arias, RHP; Stephen Bruno, INF; Alberto Cabrera, RHP; Marcelo Carreno, RHP; Shawon Dunston Jr., OF; Jae-Hoon Ha, OF; Trey Martin, OF; Brooks Raley, LHP; Jose Rosario, RHP; Tim Saunders, INF; Tayler Scott, RHP; Nick Struck, RHP; Robert Whitenack, RHP
The lack of quality pitching, especially starters, is a concern. There is quite a bit of depth in the lower levels but those projections are difficult to make right now due to the small sample sizes. Duane Underwood, Juan Carlos Paniagua and Pierce Johnson are three intriguing arms in the system according to Sickels and the pitching depth in the system could look a lot better if Arodys Vizcaino and Dillon Maples have a good year.
Baseball America’s ranking of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system is due to publish just after the first of the year and we will post our list of the top prospects in the organization after the convention.