Three Cubs in Baseball Prospectus’ Mid-Season Top 50 Prospect List

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus released his Top 50 Mid-Season Prospect list on Tuesday morning and three of the Cubs’ top prospects cracked his ranking.

Albert Almora (15), Javier Baez (17) and Jorge Soler (31) were each ranked among the best prospects in the game and Parks indicated that if Kris Bryant would have signed in time that he would have been included in the list as well.

Albert Almora is off to a good start with Kane County and actually moved up a couple of spots from his pre-season ranking as the 18th best prospect in the game. Almora has not only hit the ball but has been impressive in the field. The 19-year old is hitting .361/.388/.509/.897 in 26 games with eight doubles, one triple and two home runs. Parks said that Almora “is a legit five-tool talent who comes with an incredible feel for the game and has top-tier talent.”

After a slow start to the season, Javier Baez has been on fire of late at the plate while showing improvement in the field. Baez is reportedly more under control at the plate and his numbers reflect the improvement. Baez is hitting .275/.337/.550/.887 with 18 doubles, four triples and 16 home runs in 68 games. Like Almora, Baez moved up a couple of spots in Parks ranking from number 20 in the pre-season. Parks pointed out that Baez “has the offensive upside to become one of the top prospects in the game” while also being a “high risk that has a chance for regression at the Double-A level.”

Jorge Soler has continued to produce and improve on the field despite the well-publicized incident earlier in the season. Soler is currently dealing with a shin injury which landed him on the DL and cost him playing time in the FSL All-Star game. Soler is hitting .281/.343/.467/.810 with 13 doubles, one triple and eight home runs in 55 games. Soler has big power but makes contact. Soler has walked 21 times with only 38 strikeouts in 210 at bats. Soler also moved up in BP’s pre-season rankings from 36 to 31.

All three of the Cubs’ top prospects are 21 years old or younger … Jorge Soler (21), Javier Baez (20) and Albert Almora (19) and of the three, only Jorge Soler is on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

Prospect News

Pierce Johnson made his Daytona Cubs debut on Monday night. Johnson notched a quality start while making only one mistake in six innings. Both of the batters he walked came in the sixth and Javier Baez helped bail him out of trouble with a 6-3 double play. Johnson allowed three runs on six hits with two walks, a wild pitch and six strikeouts … two of the three runs allowed came on a home run.

As expected, Chang-Yong Lim made his season debut on Monday night for the AZL Cubs. Lim is hoping to pitch in the big leagues this season.

P.J. Francescon was promoted to Double-A Tennessee on Monday. There is speculation that he could be a reliever for the Smokies after starting for High-A Daytona.

RHP Matt Loosen was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Loosen is fifth different D-Cubs’ player to earn pitcher or player of the week honors this season joining Javier Baez, Dustin Geiger, Ryan Searle and Jorge Soler. Baez has been named player of the week twice this season.

RHP Paul Blackburn was named Northwest League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Blackburn did not allow an earned run and struck out 12 batters in 10 innings.

The Cubs announced the signings of LHP Sam Wilson (8th round), catcher/infielder Jordan Hankins (11th round), RHP Trevor Graham (13th round) and RHP Michael Wagner (15th round) on Monday. Wilson reportedly signed for $130,000.

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