Five Cubs Ranked Among the Top 100 Prospects in Baseball

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo released his mid-season list of the top 100 prospects in the game on Friday. The top three prospects in the Cubs’ system ended up in the top 30 on Mayo’s list while two newcomers to the Cubs’ organization also cracked the top 100.

Javier Baez (11), Albert Almora (25), Jorge Soler (30), Kris Bryant (40) and Mike Olt (63) made Mayo’s list and it would not be going out on a limb by saying that Arismendy Alcantara will crack the top 100 on several off-season lists this winter.

The Cubs system is now considered one of the best in baseball. While some, like Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus, thinks the Cubs could have the second best system in the game, Baseball America’s Jim Callis acknowledged on Sunday during Cubs Weekly (720 WGN Radio) with Jordan Bernfield and on Hit & Run (670 the Score) with Barry Rozner and Ben Finfer that the Cubs’ system is at least one of the top five in the game.

To no surprise, Theo Epstein is happy with the additions to the organization over the last month. Epstein said on Friday, “We’re focused on building a healthy productive organization with a robust farm system.” The Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations knows the challenge is now to develop the players, “And make sure they make a positive impact on winning Cubs teams for years to come,” Epstein added.

Jonathan Mayo also updated his top 20 prospects lists for all 30 big league teams. Here is how Mayo thinks the Cubs’ systems stacks up after the midway point of the season.

MLB.com’s Midseason Top 20 Cubs Prospects for 2013
  1. Javier Baez, SS
  2. Albert Almora, CF
  3. Jorge Soler, OF
  4. Kris Bryant, 3B
  5. Mike Olt, 3B
  6. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
  7. Pierce Johnson, RHP
  8. Arismendy Alcantara, IF
  9. Junior Lake, OF/IF
  10. Matt Szczur, OF
  11. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
  12. C.J. Edwards, RHP
  13. Brett Jackson, OF
  14. Christian Villanueva, 3B
  15. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
  16. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
  17. Paul Blackburn, RHP
  18. Duane Underwood, RHP
  19. Gioskar Amaya, 2B
  20. Alberto Cabrera, RHP

The front office has added inventory to a system that was considered rather thin prior to the 2011 draft. Tim Wilken set up the Theo Epstein regime with a solid draft class that netted such players as Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, Shawon Dunston Jr., Dillon Maples, James Pugliese and Rock Shoulders in June of 2011. The Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer front office has added 11 of the players that MLB.com thinks are among the top 20 prospects in the system over the last 21 months.

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  • 07GreyDigger

    It’s very interesting to me that Arodys Vizcaino is the 6th best prospect when he hasn’t thrown a pitch all season.

    • daverj

      It’s because his upside is high. He could be a lights out closer. None of the prospects below him jump out as clearly better.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Alcantara isn’t a better prospect?

        • daverj

          I think it could be argued either way.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I believe he will still get a shot to start. Many starters in this age return from Tommy John and can start. I heard a stat where it’s like 30% of SP have had TJ surgery.

          • cubtex

            You have to imagine they will be real conservative with him. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2 years. There is no way they won’t have a real conservative pitch and inning limit on this guy next year. I think he starts in the bullpen and start building up his arm strength. Time will tell if he can maintain a big workload but he will be handled with kid gloves.

          • daverj

            Agreed

          • cubtex

            I would think that Theo won’t be as quick to aquire players who are not fully recovered from TJ surgery in the future. Vizcaino is taking 2 years to recover. Scott Baker was signed for 5 or 6 mil (I can’t remember how much)this year and they will only get a handful of starts out of the guy.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Not to mention he’s been pretty awful in his rehab starts.

          • JasonPen

            5.5 Mil for Baker. I’m sure they regretted it. Probably had plans to flip him at the deadline like Feldman.

          • mutantbeast

            Some guys actually come back from TJS and actually throw harder. Its if you get a 2nd TJS that you end up with real arm issues.

          • 07GreyDigger

            If he’s going to end up on a lot of writers top 100 list over Vizcaino, doesn’t that make him a better prospect?

          • daverj

            Where did you get “a lot” from? Neil’s article indicates perhaps “several”. AA will end up on some Top 100 lists, but probably not a lot of them. That makes him a better prospect than Vizcaino in the eyes of some. I don’t agree as I think Vizcaino has the higher ceiling and both have a low floor (and neither are sure bet major leaguers). As noted above though, I did say that I think either is arguably a better prospect. They are both 6-10 in the organization.

          • 07GreyDigger

            You’re arguing over word usage? Weak.

          • daverj

            I’m not arguing over word usage. I’m arguing that there will be a variety of opinions on whether Vizcaino or Alcantara is a better prospect … and there is no real answer since both have major risks and unknowns. No clear (or even almost clear) answer on this one.

            I would prefer to have Vizcaino. Sounds like you would prefer to have Alcantara. Nothing wrong with either of those opinions.

        • mutantbeast

          AA is a solid prospect. Hes also likely a ML 2b, which somewhat dilutes his status.

    • cubtex

      They mentioned this morning on the radio that he hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2 years.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Angel Guzman is disguise!

      • 07GreyDigger

        Even better.

    • DWalker

      Just goes to show how good he could be that after 2 years of not throwing he is STILL a top 10 prospect in a system that is now one of the better farms. Heres hoping he starts pitching soon so we can see if he has anything left.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Majority of these guys won’t be playing at Wrigley until 2016 the earliest…….

    Tigers got themselves a reliever…..Veras

    Orioles want to trade their #1 prospect, Brundy,…….this guy has arm issues and I wonder Orioles know something that they are not telling others………

    Five teams are on Russell……this trade could happen very soon…….big returns…….similar to the Marshall trade……

    Theo is not getting what he is looking for on Samardzija…no worry….next July will bring even a bigger return…….not much quality pitching out there…….

    hope to see some great Anti-Braun signs tonight at the old park……

    MLB might come down today with the PED suspensions..

    • 07GreyDigger

      If they got a good return on James Russell, I’d take it. He’s a glorified LOOGY. I’m excited to see what they pull off in the next three days.

      It’s a curious move that MLB will hand down suspensions right before the trade deadline. I sense a conspiracy…

    • daverj

      After the scott downs deal today, it is pretty clear the cubs will not get much for russell. I have no idea where your marshall comparison comes from. Russell is a loogy…marshall gets righties and lefties out.

      • calicub

        Downs is also much older and a FA after the season. Russel has 2.5 yrs of control left. Green apples and red apples

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I don’t see Russell bringing back near the Marshall return either. Russell is a LOOGY, but he’s a darn good LOOGY. And there is a place on every staff in baseball for a guy like him.

    • calicub

      I’d like a similar return to the Marshall trade as much as anyone but you can’t forget that Marshall had established himself as one of the best left-handed set up men and all the week for a couple years meanwhile Russell has done no such thing and has proven himself to be no more than a quality LOOGY than anything

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    All position players.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Yep, but I do like the depth we’ve added this offseason. Especially in the draft.
      What we need is a bonafide future #1. Like an Archie Bradley type. CJ Edwards is probably the closest to it but there are still so many unkowns about him. I do believe his ceiling is a #1 though.
      Edwards, Arrieta, Hendricks are all guys that could be in our rotation for years to come. If Vizcaino can start he would be the bonafide #1 guy, otherwise we still are lacking.
      But I will state today that I believe Edwards will be a #1. I’m not calling him a bonafide as of yet but I believe he’s going to be an all-star caliber player.

      • mutantbeast

        Edwards needs to put on some weight. !55 lbs and throwing 93-98mph? Not good for a healthy arm. Now maybe if he can get to the 190-200 lbs range in 3-5 yrs, thats different.

        • JasonPen

          Tell that to Tim Lincecum.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Don’t forget, a lot of these guys could be traded and turned into pitching. I think that’s partly the goal.

  • paulcatanese

    What comes next for the Cubs when they run out of people to trade? They are getting close to that mark.
    Just the “Shark” and Russell that would bring a decent return.
    Is it now time that they start to see what the system holds?
    The sixth best prospect hasn’t thrown a pitch in two years? Don’t care what his upside is supposed to be, he shouldn’t be on a list, any list.

    • J Daniel

      AGREE

  • JeffD

    Sad news today … Frank Castillo has apparently passed away at the age of 44. He pitched for the Cubs from 1991-97. RIP Frank. Way too young.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Oh no. That’s sad. Even if he wasn’t very good for the Cubs.

      • JeffD

        He had a couple of solid years with the Cubs. In 1992 he was 10-11 with a 3.46 ERA. In 1995 he was 11-10 with a 3.21 ERA.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    More sad news…First Baseman George Scott, Brewers, Red Sox, also passed away at the age of 69.

    • cubtex

      The Boomer. that’s too bad

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I know Kevin Forster passed away, who was the Cubs pitcher who got killed on the beach by lightening in South America? All three of these pitchers were together on the Cubs

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Geremy Gonzalez….that s who was killed…..Castillo, Forster, and now Castillo.

    • Brp921

      Do you mean Kevin Foster?

  • CubbyDenCritic

    back to Trade Rumors…..latest Cubs rumor is a Blockbuster deal with the Pirates……Samardzija, Schierholtz, Gregg going to the Pirates for a boat load of Prospects………….Pirates have one of the better farm systems in the league…..and the Pirates GM might have to pull the trigger of dealing away top level prospects to get into the playoffs after 20 years absence.

    • mutantbeast

      they want those 3-wed better be getting Jamison Tallison back for one.

    • daverj

      Very surprising as I thought Pitt would hold on to their top prospects. Pirate fans will be irate if Tallion or Polanco are in a deal like this. Where did you read this? Do you have a link for this?

      • J Daniel

        Not if they win the WS!

    • calicub

      Link?

      • Brp921

        Agreed

      • CubbyDenCritic

        From those baseball “experts” over at Cubs Den, who must look pretty stupid now when I mention the Cubs should trade Samardzija months ago to speed up the rebuildng process……..now those “expert”s are on the band wagon…..where are they buddies now who said the Cubs would never think of trading Samardzja and bashed me for it.

        • Brp921

          I just read that article and it just said they heard the Pirateswere have gainedinterestin Samardziga and had a long interest in Schierholtz. It was their opinion that it would take a lot of prospects and I agree but I didn’t gather that there was anything serioushappening. I just took it as conjecture. They didn’t give any reference to where they heard it like the cco does.

          • daverj

            I just read the article too. In my opinion, it’s just some blogger speculating. It makes you really appreciate how good the articles are on CCO. CCO is the only Cubs focused site I visit.

          • Brp921

            Me too. I don’t even read the Chicago sports pages anymore.

          • paulcatanese

            I don’t know where it came from and is probably just a rumor, but from Pittsburgh’s standpoint it makes sense, no matter what it costs them.
            No question they need some help if they want to make it to the post-season, or beyond.
            What may push them to make a deal has been the last couple of years and the fade they have had the second half of the season.
            As far as the Cubs making the deal, I don’t think it’s beyond Mr. Epstein to do it, especially if the return is substantial.
            Why not?

          • Brp921

            I agree with you Paul.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I generally don’t follow any Cubs blogs but this one. Most blogs are guys (except for Neil) who talk out of their butts because they have an internet forum and think they know things. There’s a lot of rumors going around today, but I don’t see Neil posting them to post. He puts sources. That’s how journalism is supposed to work.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    Other Cubs Blogging sites get their information from Carrie Muskat, who is always the first one on top of a Cubs story, and then expand from her story.

    • calicub

      Carrie is rarely the first to report anything cubs related aside from internal moves. Follow the CCO twitter feed and you can see just how delayed she is in a lot of her reports.

  • Dorasaga

    With my limited info. via CCO, I’m thinking over these prospects after Vogelbach (past rank#11) are “top.” Big question mark on their potential, growing curve, and current performance. But it also says something about the Top 11, might stay around Chicago or other ML clubs for a while. I can see a possible trade of Vogelbach and Bryant with Rizzo under long-term contract and organizational depth after the Olt trade.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Sure you have Rizzo under a long term deal, but do you know what you have with him yet? Do you know what you have with Bryant or Vogelbach? If they were to sell any of them, I’d go the Reds route did with Yonder Alonso. See what you have and sell at max value. I don’t think the Cubs are in any rush to sell any of these guys.

      • Dorasaga

        The purpose of building a farm is to strengthen the club’s Major League team. Not the other way around. If there will be a foreseeable shot in 2015, then the management would need to make some incremental moves. Opportunities to trade for an immediate return only come when the other club, the trade partner, sees the need to give up their best talent for future talent (prospects are not M.L players).

        What can you do with Vogelbach on a Cubs team? DH? PH? They could sign Thome or Giambi for that. Or maybe trade for Werth and some other name-player who’s old and not good on the field no more. An AL team WOULD LOVE to part with their best ML talent for a DH if that’s what they want for a long term.

        The point is value for the ML parent team.

        • Suzy S

          Dorasaga, Your theory is fine but your timing way off.
          IE…Bryant as a member of this year’s draft class cannot be traded for a year.
          Vogelbach I wouldn’t bother with any prime prospects like Vogelbach until they reach at least AA to begin to maximize value.

          I agree that the purpose of the milb players are to maximize the value of the mlb team….we’re just not there yet without seeing what we have.

          • Dorasaga

            Maybe you’re right, but remember J.Donaldson, a single-A catcher? The A’s parted one-time ace Rich Harden for him and a bunch of temp. fillers (low-ceiling pitchers). It’s a matter of organizational need for those rebuilding team giving away M.L pitching.

            The Cubs cannot do better right now, because they have a good, packed farm. But it’s always a 50/50 chance for any of these fine arms, young, below age-24, to actually see light and stay on the Big as sustainable.

            I guess I was off the topic, when I brought up the Top 12-20, any of them should be traded, if the Cubs know where to find more impact-ready, better talent. Maybe later this year, maybe earlier next year, but never too late, never too early.