Best Tools in the Cubs Farm System

The big names in the Cubs minor league system are well known. From the ‘Core Four’ to the ‘Gang of Four’, the players and stats are followed and dissected daily throughout the year. Evaluating and keeping track of minor league players is easier now than ever before. But how do the players in the organization stack up against one another?

PrintJust because a player is considered one of the top prospects in the game that does not mean another player in the system does not have a better arm or hit with more power.

The CCO’s final pre-season look at the top players in the Cubs’ system focuses on the players with the best tools in the system.

  • Best Hitter for Average: Albert Almora
  • Best Contact Hitter: Kevin Encarnacion
  • Best Power Hitter: Javier Baez
  • Best Clutch Hitter: Dustin Geiger
  • Best Plate Discipline: Jeimer Candelario
  • Most Fearless: Jorge Soler
  • Fastest Baserunner: Tim Saunders
  • Best Baserunner: John Andreoli
  • Best Defensive Infielder: Christian Villanueva
  • Best Infield Arm: Arismendy Alcantara
  • Best Defensive Outfielder: (Tie) – Albert Almora, Jae-Hoon Ha
  • Best Outfield Arm: Rubi Silva
  • Best Athlete: Jacob Hannemann
  • Best Offensive Catcher: Willson Contreras
  • Best Defensive Catcher: Carlos Escobar
  • Best Game-Caller: Yaniel Cabezas
  • Best Arm, Catcher: Will Remillard
  • Best Fastball: C.J. Edwards
  • Best Curve: Yao-Lin Wang
  • Best Slider: Pierce Johnson
  • Best Change-Up: Kyle Hendricks
  • Best Sinker: Ben Wells
  • Best Control: Kyle Hendricks
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: C.J. Edwards
  • Best Pickoff Move: Eric Jokisch
  • Best Fielding Pitcher: Casey Coleman

The organization is widely considered to be top heavy with more depth than in previous years, but not much beyond the top 25 to 30 players in the system. That is not the case. The Cubs have good depth in the lower levels that is progressing through the organization. There are several players that could be on the verge of forcing themselves into the conversation among the top prospects in the organization. Here’s a list of players to keep an eye on during the 2014 season.

Luis Acosta, IF/OF; Tyler Alamo, C; Roney Alcala, IF/C; Adbert Alzolay, RHP; Gioskar Amaya, IF; John Andreoli, OF; Delbis Arcila, 1B; Jose Arias, RHP; Jeffrey Baez, OF; Yasiel Balaguert, OF; Frank Batista, RHP; Dallas Beeler, RHP; David Bote, IF/OF; Stephen Bruno, IF/OF; Charcer Burks, OF; Roberto Caro, OF; Erick Castillo, C/IF/OF; Shawon Dunston Jr., OF; Jenner Emeterio, IF; Bryant Flete, IF; Frailin Figueroa, LHP; Scott Frazier, RHP; Dustin Geiger, IF; Trevor Gretzky, 1B/OF; Jae-Hoon Ha, OF; Michael Hamann, RHP; Michael Heesch, LHP; Marco Hernandez, SS; Jesse Hodges, 3B; Corbin Hoffner, RHP; Brett Jackson, OF; Michael Jensen, RHP; Eloy Jimenez, OF; Eric Jokisch, LHP; Austin Kirk, LHP; Erick Leal, RHP; Matt Loosen, RHP; Barret Loux, RHP; Mark Malave, C; Dillon Maples, RHP; Trey Masek, RHP; Jefferson Mejia, RHP; Ryan McNeil, RHP; Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP; Carlos Penalver, SS; Anthony Prieto, RHP; Bijan Rademacher, OF; Armando Rivero, RHP; Carlos Rodriguez, LHP; Alexander Santana, RHP; Tim Saunders, IF/OF; Tayler Scott, RHP; Rock Shoulders, 1B/OF; Tyler Skulina, RHP; Nick Struck, RHP: Gleyber Torres, IF; Daury Torrez, RHP; Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP; Shamil Ubiera, OF; Josh Vitters, OF/1B; Michael Wagner, RHP; Yao-Lin Wang, RHP; Logan Watkins, IF/OF; Sam Wilson, LHP; Jose Zapata, RHP; Tony Zych, RHP

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  • Tony_H

    Marcus Mateo, hardly knew you were gone.

  • Tony_H

    Even GW is saying that if Olt can make the throw from 3B (shoulder soreness gone) that he is going to the 3B for the Cubs. GW!

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 1h
    Olt has power Cubs need — and 2 1/2 weeks to convince them

    John Arguello ‏@CubsDen 37m
    Hearing that if Olt can make the throws from 3B, he’s going to get the job.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Wasn’t it Mr. Tony Hall who said something about not believing beat writers?


      I hope he makes it.

      • Tony_H

        I am as shocked as anyone that GW is actually on to something and that he has a positive spin to it.

        • cubtex

          Maybe GDub just calls it as he sees it. You know…. unbiased

          • Tony_H

            He is one of the most biased reporters out there.

    • Tony_H

      Now Jesse Rogers is jumping on the bandwagon.

      “But those talking points never applied to 25-year-old Mike Olt. It’s not like Cubs officials were handing him the third base job — far from it — but it was understood by what they didn’t say about him that he had a chance. He was the one exception to the “dominate every level of the minor leagues before being called up” narrative the Cubs had laid out for their other prospects. Olt is older, and was on the verge of making the big leagues before being sidelined with vision problems.”

    • BigJonLilJon

      I’ve been saying that for months on this site!!! lol

      • Tony_H

        Same here buddy! and taking a lot of heat for it.

        • BigJonLilJon

          He who laughs last, laughs best though!!

  • cubtex

    Tom U, Neil or anyone who enjoys stories about minor league baseball.
    Just started reading John Feinstein’s new book… “Where Nobody Knows Your Name” Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball. Thoroughly enjoying it and bringing back a lot of good memories. Recommended reading.

  • Vivid_Reality

    Is it sad that I am more interested than following those “other” prospects than most of the prospects on the poll? I am extremely intrigued by:

    Tyler Alamo
    Roney Alcala
    Gioskar Amaya
    Shawon Dunston Jr
    Scott Frazier
    Dustin Geiger
    Michael Heesch
    Jesse Hodges
    Corbin Hoffner
    Eloy Jimenez
    Eric Jokisch
    Erick Leal
    Barret Loux
    Dillon Maples
    Trey Masek
    Ryan McNeil
    Juan Carlos Paniagua
    Anthony Prieto
    Tim Saunders
    Tyler Skulina
    Gleyber Torres
    Daury Torrez
    Jen-Ho Tseng
    Michael Wagner
    Sam Wilson

    I have especially high hopes for Leal and Hoffner. As erratic as prospects are, the ones we hear more about are more of a known commodity. The unknown developing players is what is going to make or break the farm system.

    • SuzyS

      Vivid, I’m with you on this. We know for a fact we’ll be able to find all kinds of stuff on the top 20 prospects. It’s the other guys we’ll have to “glean” info on.
      Heck, I still look for Ryan Searle.

    • Bredstik

      I came away really impressed with Geiger from the year he played here in Peoria. He played both 3B & 1B and had a knack for getting the clutch hit.

      The one not on your list that I still follow is LHP Austin Kirk. He was their best SP that season and threw a no-hitter on the 4th of July.

      Hoping to still see both cracking the top prospects lists at some point.

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  • Theboardrider

    I hope to get a lot of coverage of Gleyber and Eloy this year! Those two are bures down there but may have of the best talent.

  • SuzyS

    Just read that the Yankees are going to give Soriano a look at first base. Interesting.

    • Tony_H

      Every time that comes up, I think of Paul’s comment how if Soriano played 1st, there would never be any outs as he would hop before catching the ball. That was such a good line.

      I will believe it when I see it, ST game maybe, real games, just don’t see it.

      • Tom U

        One of the funniest things I have ever read on this site!

    • cubtex

      Makes perfect sense. I was shocked the Cubs never tried him over there.