Four Cubs Land On Keith Law’s Mid-Season Top Prospects List

The Cubs’ system has taken positive steps forward this season and the top prospects in the organization keep moving up the rankings. Keith Law released his mid-season ranking of the top 50 prospects in the game on Thursday. The Cubs placed four players in the top 27 and one received an honorable mention.

Law explained how he ranked the players due to the inclusion of several players that were drafted in June. Law based his ranking primarily on upside and projections and used the 20-80 scouting scale to describe the players tools.

Kris Bryant (15), Jorge Soler (20), Albert Almora (25) and Javier Baez (27) made Law’s list as four of the top 50 prospects in the game while Arismendy Alcantara received an honorable mention.

Kris Bryant left for Mesa on Monday and is expected to report to Boise in the coming days. While Bryant is yet to take a swing in pro ball, he has projectable elite power that is expected to translate into a 30-homer bat in the big leagues. Law’s ranking of Bryant ahead of the big three in the Cubs’ system was expected as many feel Bryant will hit whether he is playing third base or right field. The Cubs project him as a third baseman and he is expected to remain at third base as he moves up the system. There has been talk that if Bryant performs well at Boise, as expected, he could skip Kane County and finish the season in Daytona.

Jorge Soler jumped up 22 spots from Keith Law’s pre-season ranking of 42 to land in the top 20. As Law pointed out, if not for a fractured left tibia he would have played in the Futures Game and would likely be on his way to Double-A by now. The Cubs are hoping he is back on the field in August and Jed Hoyer mentioned Soler could play in the Arizona Fall League in order to help make up for the development time he missed this season.

Albert Almora, like Soler, has been slowed this season due to injury but has not disappointed in a short time with Kane County. Almora moved up eight spots in from Law’s pre-season ranking (33).

Javier Baez has the best bat speed in the minors according to Keith Law (and others) and Law acknowledged he should be ranked higher than he is. Baez thinks he can hit just about everything that is thrown his way and his improved approach at the plate was one of the reasons the Cubs gave for his recent promotion to Double-A. Law described Baez’s power as “insane” and his defense at shortstop has been “solid”.

Keith Law – Top 50 MLB Prospects Update

While the bats in the system continue to garner the attention, several pitchers in the organization, such as Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks, Matt Loosen, James Pugliese, Alberto Cabrera and Zach Cates, have shown improvement this year and have put together good seasons to this point.

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  • raymondrobertkoenig

    No pitching. Again. The failure of the Hendry regime to develop Major League pitching or even prospects continues to hurt the organization.

  • paulcatanese

    Too bad Baez could not be in the All Star home run derby, I think he could have rivaled Cespedes with the amount of home runs. the kid has that much power, and the pitches that were being served up would have been to his liking .

  • jiba11

    It’ll be nice to see the power hitting duo of Baez and Bryant at Wrigley. Mid 2015 start of 2016?

  • paulcatanese

    One comment on the ML AAA All Star game out of Reno.
    I now know why they are called minor leaguers. I could really see the difference between them and the Majors.
    Even the worst team in the Bigs is better than both all star teams put together.
    I now understand the stance on letting players develop before bringing them up. Not big league caliber yet.
    Maybe one or two that played could even begin to be ready.

    • DWalker

      On the other hand, there were a lot of guys who would have played in the game, that are now playing in the bigs from callups in the past few weeks. No question though, theres a reason why rookies are rookies when they are called up and why its expected even after the callup its going to take a year or two to for mos tof them to really develop

  • DWalker

    You know, its really nice to see our top prospects considered to be top prospects by someone else besides the fans. not just good, but actually some of the best in the minors. I feel a whole lot btter about Baez now than I did earlier this year, and Soler playing the spring on a fractured leg may explain a few things. Bryant, I think he’s going to fly through the system as fast as the FO will let him, and Almora I think is bucking to move up even if the FO doesn’t want him too this year. I know the last time we had a really good stack of prospects, it didn’t really pan out, but theres a few differnces with these guys. The big one, for good and ill, is no pitchers.

    • Theboardrider

      Once Jimenez is assigned we may have another one in the top 50. Torres could be close too…

      Again, two more position players. Hopefully Vizcaino can get back to where he was projected. You’d have to think he’d be on this list if healthy and showing he’s his old self.

      • bpot92

        Most probably wont have either since they are so young/have such little experience in the states in general imo. Come 2 years from now then maybe they are ranked in one of these

  • Theboardrider

    Interesting that Bryant is ahead of the others and really interesting Soler is ahead of Almora and Baez. It says a lot about the status of our system in term of hitters that there are 3 players ahead of Baez.

    Who would have imagined we’d have 4 guys in the top 50 this time last year? Blows my mind…

    But yeah, lose lots of 10-8 games if we don’t get some pitching.

    • John_CC

      It is amazing. And not just Top 50. Three players in the Top 25!

      • bpot92

        Reading through the minor league baseball top 75 prospects comment board ( Sickels said to ask about prospects that werent mentioned and he would let everyone know what he thought), someone asked about Volgelbosch as well and Sickels put him in the 100-120 range as well. Hopefully our pitching improves and some of the prospects from the Rangers Cardinals and other Garza rumors are in there as well. And He also mentioned Bryant is probably 15-20 range

  • cubtex

    Lets be realistic about this list. Soler was signed as an international free agent for pretty big $. The Cubs have been terrible and had high draft choices the last 3 years and those are the other names on the list. This is not a bash on Theo or Jed as I am on record as saying they are doing a great job building the farm system…..but any team that loses as much as the Cubs have the last 3 years would have at least 3 players in the top 50.

    • Theboardrider

      Well thanks Ray, the parade is going by and it just started raining!

      No, you are right, there’s no reason with the high choices but hey, Hendry couldn’t parlay that kind of success in later years. And you have to like Thoyer’s moxie in going out and signing these guys. This time last year we had one guy on this list, now we have 3, it’s an improvement.

      • cubtex

        Just being realistic. It is exciting to see that we have prospects coming but that is the result of losing the last 3 years.

        • 07GreyDigger

          That may be true, but the Cardinals always have prospects in the top 50 and they win all the time. High drafting does help, but it doesn’t mean everything. I mean the Angels drafted Mike Trout at #22 after all.

          • cubtex

            That is a true mark of a good scouting department. If you lose like the Pirates,Astros and Cubs lately….you should have prospects in the top 50.

    • cubtex

      I can’t see the list since I am not an ESPN insider but I imagine that Mark Appel and Carlos Correira from the Astros are on the list. That is 2 from the last 2 years, and George Springer is one of the top prospects in the game so that is 3 off the top of my head.

      • bpot92

        The minor league ball one had Correa in the top 10 and Appel would be around 10-15 it was said but was not included as no draftees were eligible for that list. Springer was on there as well as well as Singleton. Astros had 7 in the top 75

        • cubtex

          Thanks. I figured the Astros would have several in there.

    • J Daniel

      I would disagree with you today but you do give credit to the improvement but … the Cubs were BAD a number of years and not often had prospects with as high of ceilings than they do.

      It is easy to say they are drafting who they should but we know teams don’t, for whatever reason. The impressive thing to me is that they are signing almost everyone they pick and as many as they can in international.

      Not going to go as far as calling you Ray though, Tex!

      • cubtex

        They did what they should have done with the high draft picks……. just like the Astros.

        • J Daniel

          Agree! Now they need a few of them to make it. If they hit the jackpot and let say Bryant, Soler, Baez, Almora, and Alcantara are good … well they will be really good for 15 years.

          Here is to hoping they hit the jackpot.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Don’t forget that the top pick of all, Bryant, has 8 home runs….in batting practice. He hasn’t had a chance to even see the first pitch in A ball. And Brett Jackson was #32 and #33 top picks in 2012 and 2011. Vitters was #43 in 2008. Add these guys in there, too, and you can see that Team Theo has really built a system to take us to the W.S. in no time flat.

      • cubtex

        The key is if they can stay there for the next couple of years. Almost every top draft pick is a top 50 in the first year. I heard Keith Law talk today about Brett Jackson and he basically has written both BJax and Vitters off. Law never liked BJax’s swing and said it is a desperation move to try to change his swing now and that rarely works.

  • Denver Mike

    Just an FYI to all, I just heard Keith Law will be on ESPN1000 at 3pm CST today (in about 15 minutes), and he’s going to be taking questions from listeners on Cubs prospects. I can’t call from work but if anyone else is interested!

    • Denver Mike


  • texcubnut

    I love that we have all these position prospects and hats off to our FO for the acquisitions. We are low on pitching prospects and I believe all the more reason we should extend Garza. ( Even I don’t believe that will happen now, though. ) I have never been a Hendry supporter but he did acquire a few pitching prospects through the draft including Samardzija and Andrew Cashner and through trades including Chris Archer from Cleveland than traded him for the aforementioned Matt Garza. For Cashner we got Rizzo. A very good trade for both teams. He also traded away Ricky Nolasco. So, we’ve had a few decent pitchers come and go and I guess Matt Garza will be just one more. I still dream of a David Price, Garza, Samardzija, Wood,and Jackson rotation to carry us for three more years until Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks and Juan Carlos Paniagua are ready. Maybe they will be major league ready in one or two years!