Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus Rank Cubs’ System as 12th Best in the Game

The Cubs minor league system made positive steps forward last season, and the improved pre-season rankings back up that statement. While Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod still have a lot of work to do, there is what can be considered impact talent in the Cubs’ system.

Players such as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach and Albert Almora have garnered a lot of attention but it takes waves of talent to have a successful system. While the depth is being added, the upcoming season is an important one for the Cubs as the organization tries to develop the players into their projections.

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus released their organizational rankings this past week. And while neither publication ranked them as high as Keith Law, the Cubs moved a couple of steps closer to having a top 10 system in the game.

The Cubs have several position players that project as Major League ballplayers and a handful that could have very good big league careers. The Cubs lack of pitching depth throughout the organization will be addressed in June’s draft as well as in the International market.

Baseball America ranked the Cubs as having the 14th best system in the game a year ago (16th in 2010) and 13th overall in the 2013 Prospect Handbook. The Cubs moved up a spot when the final pre-season rankings were released this past week. Baseball America likes the building blocks the Cubs have in terms of everyday players, but pointed out pitching remains a priority for the Cubs. Baseball America thinks Juan Carlos Paniagua could be the high-ceiling sleeper in the system. Paniagua is dealing with visa issues that have kept him from reporting to Spring Training.

The Cubs moved up eight spots in Baseball Prospectus’ pre-season rankings from a year ago. Baseball Prospectus correctly pointed out there are high-impact bats in the lower levels of the Cubs’ system but it thins out considerably in the higher levels.

Keith Law ranked the Cubs as having the fifth best system in the game prior to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training while John Sickels of Minor League Ball thinks the Cubs have the tenth best system in the game.

Cubs Prospect Rankings for 2013

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  • Ripsnorter1

    See just how inexact this science is of “Ranking MLB’s Minor League Systems”? It is just somebody’s opinion.

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course it is just somebody’s opinion….that is all the internet really is…somebody’s opinion.

      All that matters is turning the players into major league players. Our farm system has talent starting to reach AA this year, with a few players above that level. Give the farm system another year or 2 and it should start producing more talented players to the major league level, as we will have more players pushing for moving up, versus sending the few guys up that have been over hyped and the guys who really never should of been brought up.

      Of course this all just MY OPINION….

    • Gramps

      Rip, I have to agree with you on it being somebody’s opinion. I am tired of listening and reading (in all sports) how players are ranked, etc. It is just that — somebody’s opinion and just what makes an expert in ranking players? Year after year you see players fall flat on their faces when they have to prove it on the field. There is no way to measure anybody’s drive and heart. Enough already….just show me!

      Happy Easter to everybody that is connected with this great website.

    • triple

      RIP! I’m really kind of disappointed in you… Kind of in the lines of the comment I made to you about the Cubs opening day roster and some guy who works on a website (no offense Neil and CCO staff) and why you actually put weight in the words these guys speak/type. You do realize that anybody can start a website, and pose as a professional on some subject, and even profit off of that, but in reality they are just like all the other people out there faking their way through life to make a buck.

      You really have to pick and choose what information you are gonna believe out there. Again, that is why I really love the CCO. Tons of this info on the Cubs is reported to us, and through reading the articles (and some of the linked articles when I want more info) as well as reading knowledgeable posts by the CCO’s passionate readers it becomes really easy to see and understand what is happening with our beloved team!

      Besides, what’s that old saying? “Opinions are like a##holes, everybody’s got one.” Times that by infinity when it comes to the internet. Just remember, my opinion is always the correct one!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Actually, my comment was motivated by the desire to inform some CCO posters that the Team Theo worship is very premature. The idea that “our minor league system is rated #5!” et al,–posted as evidence that Team Theo has saved the day–is misguided. The proof is in the W-L pudding in the WS.

        • triple

          Well good to know that you got your head screwed on right. I do think Team Theo is doing alright. The team appears to be headed in the right direction. On paper, the organization seems to be improved. But as we all know as baseball fans, that means very little until our team is actually consistently getting to the postseason.

  • GaryLeeT

    From 16th to 12th? Not really a huge move over the Hendry era. I thought that having a team this bad, would proportionally improve the farm system more than it has.

    • Tony_Hall

      4 spots in one draft is not enough….I guess we expect miracles.

      The upper parts of the farm system are pretty weak still, while the A level teams have lots of talent, especially at Kane County.

      • GaryLeeT

        One draft? what about international signings, and prospects gained through trades?

        • Tony_Hall

          Do you think the other 29 teams are sitting back and doing nothing?

          To move up, what it would take for you to say was an improvement, it would take the other teams being asleep at the wheel in this department….kind of like the Cubs were for so very long.

          • GaryLeeT

            Well, to live up to what the current FO has been touted as, and to fulfill what they’ve promised to the team’s fans for their patience, they better make the other teams look like they are standing still.

          • Tony_Hall

            That is such a ridiculous statement!

          • GaryLeeT

            So no expectations should be put on team Theo? OK

          • Tony_Hall

            The expectations that they would make all the other teams look like they are standing still….ridiculous.

          • GaryLeeT

            So they are average in their abilities, and expectations need to be lowered? I agree.

          • Tony_Hall

            They are good at what they do, unrealistic expectations are unrealistic.

          • GaryLeeT

            A little premature with that one. The only evidence that counts are championships.

          • Tony_Hall

            So no one who doesn’t have a championship in baseball is any good…

            Their ultimate grade will be in championships, but I didn’t call them great, the best ever, etc, I said they are good at what they do, and they are that.

          • GaryLeeT

            And all I said was the expectations are, that they better be.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t understand what you are trying to say in the last post….

            Happy Easter, Have a good day.

          • Tony_Hall

            And a terrible argument to go from one extreme to the other…

    • Ripsnorter1

      Almora, when he was drafted by the Cubs, was assessed by Aaron as “the tallest midget in the draft.”

      We shall see how it turns out. I was for drafting him. This year will tell us something about his future.

      • Aaron

        I also didn’t like the selection of Baez, as I thought he was too cocky (was right) and played too out of control (was right), and didn’t seem to hit the ball really hard in the scouting video I watched (boy was I ever wrong about that…he hits the ball harder than just about anyone in the game).

        As for Almora, I didn’t like his build, and I didn’t even think he had enough speed to stick in CF, or bat lead-off with his lack of speed. Nor did I think he had enough power to bat anywhere else in the lineup. Jury is still out on that one, so I guess we’ll see. If I remember correctly, I think it was Joey Gallo that I wanted them to take, but I thought it might’ve been too high to select him. Gallo certainly didn’t disappoint with his power onslaught and made it to low-A ball and finished with a .272/.412/.660 line with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 22 hr, 52 RBI in just 59 games…oh, and he also plays 3B, albeit pretty poorly (17 errors)

        Time will tell

      • John_CC

        Which was again, just someone’s opinion.

        What’s your point?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Rockies cut Ramon Hernandez, who is owed $3.2 million. They have a last place team, just like the Cubs. They will not win a pennant this year. So, to replace Mr. Hernandez, the Rockies signed one Mr. Yorvit Torrealba. Mr. Hernandez hit a mere .217 last year. However, his replacement, Mr. Torrealba, hit a mere .227.

    My question for those who know how to rate minor league systems is this: why would you throw $3.2 million away into the sewer, when the replacement is no better than the one you already have?????

    And if Mr. Hernandez is in decline, well, who cares, since “the Rockies are stockpiling draft picks.”

    • Tony_Hall

      The money was already spent whether they kept him or not, so that is really not that big a part of the decision as you think it is.

      At 36 years old maybe he has shown signs of decline, as his 217 last year was well below his normal. In 2011 he hit 282/341/446.

      Torrealba is 34 but my guess here is that he was the better defensive catcher this spring, as that is the main thing with a backup catcher.

    • mutantbeast

      Notice who else the Rox sent to the minors. One Tyler Colvin.

      • calicub

        day late dollar short my friend

  • Tom U

    A very Happy Easter to everyone at the CCO!

  • SuzyS

    Happy Easter to all at the CCO…staff and readers/commentators.

  • Tony_Hall

    Happy Easter to everyone at the CCO!

  • calicub

    the marlins dfa’d Zack who was a top 100 prospect pre-2012 &2011. with 3b so devoid, he cohld be a good pick up

    • Vivid_Reality

      Ironically the player I thought we should have drafted and the player we actually drafted from the 2010 draft were both released on back to back days. I heard Cox was only released due to the MLB contract he signed. Someone will pick him up and I think it would be a good move by the Cubs.

  • Tom U

    An Anthony Giansanti Tweet leads to believe he has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee.

  • Neil

    I would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter

  • mutantbeast

    Hendry, and more importantly poor ownership by the Tribunbe, left thius farm system in shambles. The ownership dictated to Hendry to overspend after the 06 season, and never increased the size of the scouting dept or modernized it. It was when Ricketts came in that the FO finally began to take shape,and get financial srtability. Cubs are still 1-2 years away from playoff consideration due to factors beyond most anyone in the current managements control. Give Theo and Hoyer a break.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I wish I could click the positive one ten times with this one!

  • paulcatanese

    Happy Easter to all. Wow, woke up to all the great arguments today.

  • Aaron

    Cubs should absolutely sign Cox as Calicub mentions. I was high on him out of college, and he has a fairly high ceiling still. He’s only had 2 full season in pro ball, and made it to AAA in his second season.

    But the Cubs idiotically seem married to Valbuena on the roster. I’m flabbergasted by that. He’s an all or nothing type of hitter, but without much power to show for it

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