Three Cubs Prospects Ranked Among the Top 50 in Baseball and Other News, Notes and Rumors

Three of the top players in the Cubs’ system were ranked among the top 50 prospects in the game by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. Javier Baez made quite a leap in one year and made it into the top 20. The top prospect in the Cubs’ system checked in at number 16 while Albert Almora (39) and Jorge Soler (42) also made the top 50. Like last year, the Cubs had only three prospects listed in the top 100 in the game.

The Cubs have not officially announced the signing of Scott Hairston. According to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs are working to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Jon Heyman provided a little clarity on the contract Hairston agreed to last week. The two-year deal is worth a guaranteed $5 million and includes $1 million in incentives that could push the total contract to $6 million.

… And could Carlos Marmol be traded before Opening Day?

Tuesday was a relatively quiet day for the Cubs as the team prepares for the start of Spring Training … it is too bad that the same cannot be said about the rest of the game. Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park on February 10 with the first workout now scheduled for February 12. Position players report on February 16 with the first full squad workout on February 17 … 11 days until pitchers and catchers and 24 days until the Cubs kick off their Cactus League schedule.

Cubs Prospects

Jonathan Mayo unveiled his list of the top 100 prospects in the game on Tuesday night. For the second straight year, the Cubs placed three players in the top 100 but this year all three made it into the top 50.

Javier Baez cracked the top 20 and was ranked as the 16th best prospect in the game … and Baez is one of four position player prospects that received a future projection of 7 (2-8 or 20-80 scouting scale).

Albert Almora, the Cubs first round pick in last June’s Draft, came in at number 39 while Jorge Soler was ranked as the 42nd best prospect in the game.

SolerAlmoraBaezJavier Baez will likely begin the year with the Daytona Cubs and do not be surprised if he receives a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Albert Almora and Jorge Soler appear to be on track to start the season with the Kane County Cougars. Soler is on the 40-man roster and should be in big league camp.

Jonathan Mayo’s Top 100 Prospects List

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine

Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago … here are the highlights:

  • Levine thought Starlin Castro looked a little taller when he saw him at the Cubs Convention and when asked if Castro would stop playing the game hard now that he has been paid, Levine responded with, “This guy wants to be the next Derek Jeter.”
  • The Cubs missed out on Justin Upton because they did not have enough tradeable young talent.
  • Levine guessed that Dave Sappelt would be designated for assignment, and not Tony Campana, in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Scott Hairston.
  • Scott Hairston may end up as the Cubs’ backup first baseman when the season starts. Levine pointed out that the Cubs really do not have anyone in the system that could fill in at first base if Anthony Rizzo were to miss an extended period of time.
  • Levine knows “the Cubs would ideally like to deal” Alfonso Soriano. Levine sees a platoon in right field of Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz. At this point a team would have to lose one of their run producers before the Cubs would be able to deal Soriano.
  • Carlos Marmol should be gone before Opening Day according to Levine and he feels a team will step up and give the Cubs what they are asking in return for Marmol. Levine indicated later in the chat that the Cubs are likely to be asking for pitching or a third base prospect in return for Marmol.
  • As for Matt Garza, Levine thinks Garza would have to pitch into May or June in order for the Cubs to max-out their return for him. There is still a possibility the Cubs will sign him to a long-term extension.

News and Notes

With Spring Training approaching, don’t forget to follow @BoysOfSpring on Twitter and check Tim Sheridan’s site for updates from Mesa.

Rick Porcello remains an intriguing trade target according to Ken Rosenthal.

Brent Lillibridge signed a minor league contract with the Cubs this off-season that included a non-roster invite to big league camp. Lillibridge has a legitimate shot at making the team due to his versatility and the fact he hits from the right side. Lillibridge tweeted Tuesday that he is itching to get on a field and itching to show the Cubs what he can do.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon