Eight Cubs Make Scout.com’s List of the Top 100 Prospects

Kiley McDaniel, National Baseball Analyst for Scout.com, released his ranking of the top 100 prospects in the game. McDaniel is very high on Albert Almora and thinks he is the top prospect in the Cubs’ system

McDaniel ranked Albert Almora as the eighth best prospect in the game. Kris Bryant (10), Javier Baez (13), C.J. Edwards (44), Jorge Soler (53), Dan Vogelbach (80), Pierce Johnson (85) and Arismendy Alcantara (88) made McDaniel’s list of the top prospects in the game.

McDaniel defended his ranking of Albert Almora in the top ten and said, “When pressed, almost every scout conceded he’s a high-probability, quick-moving guy that conservatively has a ceiling of .280 with 15 homers and plus defense. Almora may not have the flashy tools of other prospects ranked this high, but those projected numbers are close to what Carlos Gomez did this year, posting an eight-win season.”

As for where the Cubs’ prospects stack up against the other players at their position, McDaniel ranked Kris Bryant as the top third base prospect. Albert Almora came in fourth and Jorge Soler ranked tenth among the outfielders. Javier Baez is fourth on McDaniel’s list of the top shortstops and Arismendy Alcantara ended up at number 15. Dan Vogelbach was ranked third out of three first basemen that made McDaniel’s top 100. C.J. Edwards checked in at number 27 while Pierce Johnson made the pitcher’s list at number 43.

Javier Baez

MLB.com released their first ranking of the top prospects in the game. MLBPipeline.com’s 2014 Top 100 Prospect list will be unveiled on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9:00pm CST on MLB.com and the MLB Network.

Javier Baez was ranked as the second best shortstop prospect in the game behind the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts and ahead of Carlos Correa of the Astros. Baez will be in big league camp for the second straight spring before he starts the season as Iowa’s shortstop.

Javier Baez is expected to see time at second and third base, as well as shortstop, in the spring before he is sent down to minor league camp to prepare for the season.

Minor League News and Notes

The Cubs see big things for Dan Vogelbach according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And if the National League adopts the DH in the next couple of years, as Tony Andracki points out, the Cubs could have a candidate for that position.

Zak Blair is on his way back from Tommy John surgery.

The Cubs’ Rookie Development Program is underway with several of the top prospects in the system in Chicago for the week. Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Arismendy Alcantara, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, Neil Ramirez, Rubi Silva, Armando Rivero, Arodys Vizcaino and Christian Villanueva are participating in the program.

The Cubs released OF Garrett Schlecht.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Don't wish it were easier. Wish you were better." - Jim Rohn

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  • 07GreyDigger

    If this offseason is any indication, the Cubs may have signed Rizzo to a big extension, but teams always need a first baseman with power. He’s easily tradeable and may have a ticket out of town depending on how his career and Vogelbach’s continue.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Rizzo is signed through 2019.

    • cubtex

      Mets are asking a lot for Ike Davis and teams aren’t biting. Unless Rizzo shows he can hit left handed pitching better he will not be easy to trade.

      • cc002600

        LOL. Your hatred for Rizzo just oozes out every time you write about him. If Hendry acquired him, you would be kissing the ground he walks on. :-)

        • cubtex

          what are you talking about? I don’t make up his stats vs LHP or RISP. I would love for him to be a better player.

          • cc002600

            How many players come up at 23 in their first full big league season and put up sparkling numbers across the board ?

          • cubtex

            I am not going to get into a debate about the shortcomings of one Anthony Rizzo again but this comment was in response to Digger saying how easily tradeable Rizzo will be if Vogelbach ends up being the better all around hitter. Rizzo has played in 296 games. Has 1211 PA. You can keep using that first full season line but he has way more at bats than most who have played in their “first” full season. And one guy who came up at 20 and did pretty good was our SS. Rizzo needs to adjust big time this year to prove that he is an all around hitter.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            if Vogelbach puts up Greg Luzinski type numbers…I will be happy.

          • cc002600

            Come on, I’m trying to fire you up on this cold winter day. LOL

            And the fact that you brought up Castro just proves my point. Castro was breaking some records at that young age. The point is, its rare. Most of the time, it takes time to develop into all-star type hitter. I just think its way too early to be throwing Rizzo under the bus,

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

            I totally agree. Jury is out on Rizzo, but still 24 HR in your first full season to me is impressive. He had some stats very competitive with Freeman and Votto. Nice company.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Did you notice I said depending on how his career and Vogelbach’s turn out? We’ve got a few years until we figure this out.

        • cubtex

          well of course. but if his career gets better and he shows improvement hitting lefties they probably won’t trade him since he will always be a better glove than Vogelbach.

      • No Baseball In Indiana

        Agreed. His splits are pretty nasty.

    • mutantbeast

      Id rahter keep Rizzo and hope the NL adopts the DH. Id also like to keep Vogelbomb. Power like his doesnt happen too often.

    • daverj

      By the time Vogelbach is ready, Rizzo will have either (1) established himself as a very good (or better) first baseman or (2) continued with production similar to 2013 and have very little trade value. The trade market for .240ish, 20-25 HR first basemen isn’t very good. Supposedly the Brewers won’t even part with their projected 5th starter Tyler Thornburg for Ike Davis (and the Orioles won’t deal one of their B level starting pitcher prospects for Davis).

      • chuckleberry74

        That B level prospect is actually the 6th best lefty prospect and 3# in the O’s system. AND, only 20. Not the kind of guy you trade for Ike flippin Davis.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The biggest signing of this Cubs’ offseason has been “Clark” the mascot.

  • Dorasaga

    The MLB.com SS list shows some interesting signs about Javier Baez’s progress amongst his equals. He already accumulated more regular minor season plate appearances than the other nine top SS prospects (Sardinas had one more at-bat but four less walks in only four less games, compared to Javier).

    I don’t know about other middle infielders from other clubs, so I don’t know if I should be concerned that Baez has missed two consecutive years of Fall and Winter leagues: the last being injury and now due to “mental drain” (quoted Jed Hoyer).

    • texcubnut

      Some guys need the time off, i.e. Mike Olt and some guys need Winter ball to make up for lost time during the regular season, like Dallas Beeler. Obviously they felt Baez needed the time off.
      What I’d like to know is when are the ‘experts’ going to stop placing Bogaerts ahead of Baez in the rankings of minor leaguers. The last time I checked, Bogaerts was playing in the World Series of the MAJOR leagues!!

      • Vivid_Reality

        He didn’t have enough plate appearances to exhaust his rookie eligibility thus he is still considered a prospect.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    What our lineup would look like if the N.L. adopts the DH rule by 2016……

    CF – Almora
    2B – Alcantara
    SS – Baez
    RF – Bryant
    1B – Rizzo
    DH – Vogelbach
    3B – Olt
    LF – Castro
    C – Castillo

    • daverj

      Way too early to rule out Soler too …

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I think the problem is that Bryant is ahead of Soler on the depth chart……Soler will be trade bait unless something changes.

        • daverj

          One of them may end up in leftfield. Or Bryant may end up at 3B. Not all these guys will make it … and if they do, that is a very good problem to have.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Bryant will not play third…..he will be groomed for RF.

          • daverj

            Depends on what happens with Olt and Baez.

        • Brian

          “Soler will be trade bait unless something changes.” WOW. He is 21-years-old. Let’s give him two full years of legal drinking age before we make sweeping, and unfounded comments.

          • Ripsnorter1

            He’s got a 30 million dollar contract. Great trade bait. Will Team Theo have to ship $25 million along with him to net back a 25th rated prospect (ala Alfonso Soriano?). I would think it would take more dough, because Alfonso can do what this guy hasn’t yet done: hit ML pitching.

            Speaking of Alfonso…only 2 OF in all of MLB has hit 25+ HRs, and driven in 88+ runs each of the last three years. Mr. Alfonso Soriano is one, and ……Jay Bruce is the other.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’ll take Jay Bruce!

    • cc002600

      I like Alcantara at 2B
      but no way would I put Castro in LF
      He will be the SS and stay there.

      Move Baez to 3B. Olt will be trade bait. Soler to LF

      I found it interesting that when I went to the dog and pony shows in November for season ticket holders, Jed talked extensively about many of the top prospects. And yet he never mentioned Olt. I remember thinking that to myself as I left. Just sayin’

      .

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Theo said Baez will play SS…..if Baez goes to third, then Olt & Villanueva will be trade bait….if Baez goes to second, then Alcantara is trade bait……wherever Baez plays at, there will be trades to be made.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Who says Baez isn’t trade bait?

          Juat say’n because we do NEED young TOR project-able pitching.
          Now I know the down arrows are coming.

    • Denver Mike

      Can you imagine Castro in LF? He has trouble paying attention when he plays the infield. Put him in the outfield away from the action, the fans in the bleachers talking to him? yikes.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    So the Angels are out of the Tanaka bidding….Dodgers and Yankees to the wire…..and still don’t count out the Mariners.

    • 07GreyDigger

      How many times has a team said they were out on a guy and then signed that guy?

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Remember how Oakland came out of no where to sign Cespedes away from the Cubs!

  • daverj

    I’m surprised no team has signed Colvin yet. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs given him a chance over some of the outfield options on the current roster (if it were a 1 year deal at a salary close to the major league minimum).

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Colvin…Jim Hendry boy…..
      We got Ruggiano now!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Jim Hendry boys, imo, are not welcome on the Northside of Chicago.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Baez is a Hendry boy.

          Do you welcome him?

  • cubtex

    Saw where Jonathan Mayo ranked the Pirates as the Best Minor League system and the Astros 2nd. Is this due to an excellent scouting department? Hardly. Any team should easily develop a good farm system by losing on the mlb level for several years in a row like the Pirates,Astros and Cubs.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Cubs should be in the top five in the draft for 2015 & 2016…..long way to go but the results should show up by 2017.

      • cubtex

        definitely for 2015. Hard to tell what they will look like for 2016. Too many ? for that right now. Who knows how well the prospects will adjust to mlb pitching. Who knows what our pitching staff will look like then. Next offseason they better be a 100 times more active.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          I see only more Mascots added…….
          maybe have big Cubs HOF heads race around the bases……Banks, Williams, Santo, Jenkins, Sandberg and Harry!…….if Harry wins, free Beer for everyone at the game.

          • cubtex

            now that would be good. Announcer Heads of the past racing around Wrigley like the Sausages and Presidents. Harry, Brickhouse, Milo(trying to trip Harry the entire way around the field) Lou Boudreau.

        • cc002600

          agree. but the one path where cubs can speed up process is if they have enough redundant young talent, they can trade that young talent to a team that is looking to dump some salary. (think ARAM & DLee trades) Because the one thing we know for certain is that they will have PLENTY of room to add payroll now. There is NO disputing that. Good example might be someone like Homer Bailey right now. If cubs farm was deep enough to where they could afford to trade some young guys, I would think they could easily snare someone like that.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Poor math.
          They haven’t done a thing.

          100 X zero = zero

          Oh wait….they added Clark. LOL

    • daverj

      If you look at the Cubs history, there were many years where the Cubs both (1) were bad at the mlb level for many years in a row and (2) had a poor minor league system … so it clearly can be done :)

    • 07GreyDigger

      How about the Cardinals, Rangers, Rays and Red Sox who ranked in the top ten last year? Was it from all the losing those organizations did over the past few seasons?

      • cubtex

        Did you forget the Twins? What have they done as well? You can still have a good farm system without losing…BUT you are almost guaranteed to have one these days by losing BIG several years in a row.

        • cubtex

          and of course the Marlins

        • 07GreyDigger

          I just named good teams who have good farm systems. Why would I mention the Twins or Marlins? How bad have the Cubs been for the past few years with no prospects? You just don’t luck into good players, you have to be good at scouting too.

          • cubtex

            how good scouting do you need to pick in the top 10 each year? You don’t. Hence the top ranking for the Bucs,Stros,Cubs,Twins,Marlins. The other teams(especially the Cards) is the team that should be applauded for what they continue to produce. Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly,Matt Carpenter, Trevor Rosenthal. That is scouting!

          • Dorasaga

            Maybe 20 years ago, but nowadays, clubs are competitive enough to hire good scouts. Just saying:

            http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2014/01/daily-tanaka-cubs-mix-mariners-favorites-tanaka.php#comment-1185912448

          • triple

            Here’s the Cubs top 10 draft picks over the last 30 years (starting back in ’83 and moving towards the present):

            # pick/name
            6/Jackie Davidson
            3/Drew Hall
            9/Derrick may
            4/Mike Harkey
            9/Ty Griffin
            8/Earl Cunningham
            4/Kerry Wood
            10/Jon Garland
            3/Corey Patterson
            3/Luis Montanez
            2/Mark Prior
            6/Ryan Harvey
            3/Josh Vitters
            9/Javier Baez
            6/Albert Almora
            2/Kris Bryant

            Let’s just say that Mike Harkey’s career is the lowest standard for labelling those drafted players as “having a successful MLB career.” For that matter, I guess we can include Corey Patterson too then, ha! That is probably debatable, but let’s just go with it. Obviously, the jury is still out on Baez, Almora, and Bryant, so let’s remove them from this amateur statistical analysis. So by my account, the Cubs GMs are collectively 4/13 in top 10 drafts over a 27 year period. I just noticed I left Mark Prior out. Maybe we should just include him though, so let’s call it 5/13, in case anyone wants to argue that his career was successful. Now lets see how those 5 players impacted the cubs for those top draft picks that so easily turn any losing team around.

            player/years of MLB service /years as Cub/career all star selections:

            Mike Harkey/8/5/0
            Kerry Wood/14/12/2
            Jon Garland/13/0/1
            Corey Patterson/12/6/0
            Mark Prior/5/5/1

            So overall, 13 years of drafting in the top 10 over 27 years has provided the Cubs with THREE all-star seasons. Remember that Garland never played a game for the Cubs at the major league level. That’s not so good.

            Now let’s compare the last 3 years of losing and top 10 draft picks. Nevermind that JH drafted Baez, and ingore that it was a big influence from Ricketts to spend in the same way during that draft class like other successful teams do who have been known to draft and develop talented players. Those 3 players have been developed by a newer management team than all the past years of failed prospects. I’d be willing to bet that between those 3 players and whomever gets drafted this year, that these 4 players will produce way more at the major league level than the previous 13 top draft picks. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think that between Bryant, Almora, Baez, and ________, that the Cubs will have developed at least one or two of them to a point that they will total more than 3 all star appearances for the Cubs in years to come.

            As for your kind words about the Cardinals. Yes they should be applauded for their scouting. I think their development of those players deserves even more recognition. This is the first time in a while that I’ve seen the Cubs being recognized for making some good draft picks, and now for 3 years in a row. Let’s see what happens if they actually develop that talent too!

          • cubtex

            What are you not recognizing?

          • cubtex

            It is a crucial point on why the losing teams have a top minor league system.

      • cubtex

        Now if Theo would have got the Cubs farm system in the top 10 by winning like these teams….Clap Clap Clap. The way he did it. Yawn. Any GM in training could have done the same.

        • triple

          No team ends up with a top 10 farm system as a result of winning. It has nothing to do with winning. Drafting and development creates a top farm system. Both the Cardinals and Yankees had extended years of losing that helped get their farm systems in order. The impressive part about the Red Sox is that they turned their farm system into one of the best while winning. But losing badly for 3 or 4 years in a row is probably the easiest way to rebuild the farm quickly. It worked for the Nats. It hasn’t worked for the Astros so much.

          As far as, “Any GM in training could have done the same.” Then why are there so many teams in constant rebuild? I guess the Astros better go out and get a GM in training.

          • cubtex

            I pointed out the Astros record vs the Cubs over the last 6 or 7 years or so. Astros farm system is currently ranked ahead of Cubs and are ahead of the Cubs rebuilding plan. The biggest difference is Astros cannot support a 130 mil payroll like the Cubs could and should

    • SuzyS

      “Any team should easily develop”…. It also takes scouting, organization and an ownerships commitment to building an excellent minor league system…as well as some luck.
      So I guess my issue is with “any team”. It really does not describe the Cubs. especially in their past efforts. http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=572257

      • cubtex

        why did you post Robert Whitenack’s stats?

        • SuzyS

          As an example that you still need scouting, organization, and development.
          Your statement is that “any team should easily develop….”
          And it’s not necessarily true.
          In the Cubs case…when they had one of the smallest budgets committed to scouting and development during all but the last 2 years of JH’s regime…the resuilt was signing’s like Whitenack’s and the corresponding results.
          It takes commitment to build and maintain the minors…and constant vigilance once the mlb team starts winning.
          Of course, a losing mlb team makes it easier to build a talent base…it’s what the Cubs are doing…along with budgeting for better scouting and development departments.

          • cubtex

            Whitenack was not a top pick, maybe you were thinking of Hayden Simpson? I am not getting your point. Whitenack was actually a very good pick who quickly moved up the prospect rankings until he got hurt and had TJ surgery

    • No Baseball In Indiana

      Twins, Cubs, Astros. Mayo is high.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    oh please please please let the NL adopt the DH.

    All offended “purists” can watch the nearly limitless video library of former NL games and watch the exciting at-bats of the Shark, Sean Estes, Dick Ruthven, and the other thousands of Cubs pitchers that have given us mild “thrills” over the years with their collective .115 BA and failed sacrifice bunts and weak bouncers-back-to-the-mound.

    I for one will embrace the NL DH!

    • Tony_Hall

      I never use to think that way, but over the last few years have decided that the only way that baseball can be fair for all teams, is if they all use the same rules, which greatly affects roster construction. Bring on the DH and let Vogelbomb hit.

      • TheWrongGuy

        I agree for bringing in the DH for the same reason it was brought on in the first place ..
        MORE offense! it puts more butts in the seats(meaning it sells more tickets).
        Yes I agree in letting Voggie hit.

        • cubtex

          Don’t like the DH. No strategy. Don’t need as deep a bench. Managers sit on their hands all game. You force a manager to make a decision in the NL. Example…pinch hit for your starting pitcher late in a close game or let him hit. There are so many more game within the game thinking going on.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I actually understand and as a real baseball person myself I agree.
            BUT…
            If you look at the American league teams vs. the National league teams, American league teams have more offense and sell more tickets. This would also speed-up the *cough* CUBS rebuilding efforts.

          • Ripsnorter1

            What strategy does the NL have now? They carry 13 pitchers. 13! That leaves 4 subs, and one is a catcher. Then you load up on no offense types who can “play the OF.” LOL

            Look at the Cubs: 2013 Brent Lillibridge. Scott Hairston. Alberto Gonzalez. There’s your 2013 Opening Day bench.

            I couldn’t wait to see them hit!

            Strategy? No strategy there. “Don’t use the bench!” That’s all the strategy they had.

          • Ripsnorter1

            2012 Opening Day Bench:
            Joe Mather. Yeah!
            Luis Valbuena. YES!!
            Jeff Baker. Did you see him misplay ball after fly ball in the OF?
            Reed Johnson. That was the one bench player they had. He could hit and field.

            Don’t forget that Darwin Barney was a starter for this team…..

          • Tony_Hall

            The AL is never going to drop the DH, which is why I say the NL has to adopt it, to have access to the Vogelbach type players that the AL teams look to add. Plus it gives the AL teams an advantage with free agents. Not as big of deal to sign a 30 something FA, when you know you have a slot to keep their bat in the lineup and give them days off from the field.

          • Tony_Hall

            I get it, if the NL had the, DH, it would give you less things to complain about, as there is less strategy that they can use modern stats to make more educated decisions :)

          • cubtex

            Is that another insult from you??? Not surprising. The part of baseball that I love is the inner thinking that goes into the game. When I played…I used to play along in my head what moves the other manager would make. I get you don’t appreciate the purity of the game as it was invented. Computer baseball and fantasy baseball.

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry, was not trying to insult you, but just take a jab at how much you picked apart Sveum.

            I like the game without the DH, but in reality, the AL is never going to drop it and it is a disadvantage to the NL to not have the DH.

            The in game strategy is fun to get into, I just don’t get into second guessing the manager who is actually making the decisions with all the information, versus what us arm chair quarterbacks know.

            You really should try fantasy baseball, you would enjoy it, if you stopped mocking it.

          • cubtex

            the reason why I love baseball so much is the thinking aspect of the sport. stolen bases,bunts,pitching around a hitter to force a manager to either pinch hit or leave the pitcher in. that aspect of the game is getting lost and by getting adding the DH to the NL will take away even more. The DH will probably happen one day in the NL but I don’t like it.