MLB Pipeline posted an updated Cubs prospect list Tuesday. Once Kyle Schwarber is officially signed, along with Jake Stinnett, Mark Zagunis and the three prep arms are added to the system, the prospect list for the Cubs will change once again.
Jen-Ho Tseng was added as the No. 20 prospect in the Cubs’ system, taking the spot occupied by RHP Neil Ramirez. With Ramirez in the majors, and being very productive in the Cubs’ pen, he is no longer eligible for MLB Pipeline’s list. Ramirez was ranked by MLB.com as the 13th best prospect in the system prior to the season.
Jen-Ho Tseng recently returned from a stint on the DL and pitched three innings last Monday with mixed results. Tseng allowed one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The Cougars are expected to take it slow with Tseng and build up both his innings and pitch count in order to make sure the sore shoulder he dealt with is behind him.
The Cubs’ system has dealt with a lot of injuries over the first two months of the minor league season. The Smokies rotation has lost C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, Corey Black and Ivan Pineyro to injury this year. Johnson is expected back this week and Edwards is in Mesa building up strength in his shoulder. The front office is hoping Edwards will return to Tennessee and he will be able to pitch the entire second half of the season without any problems. Black is on the DL after taking a comebacker of his right hand and is not expected to miss a lot of time. An official update on Pineyro has not been provided.
Jorge Soler is another one of top prospects that has been slowed down by injuries this year. Soler has missed significant time in what was thought to be an important season for his development. Soler has dealt with hamstring injuries to both legs and is rehabbing the second hamstring injury at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa. The Cubs have Soler on a program to get him on the field that includes extra nutrition and hydration. Jason McLeod recently said the front office is hoping he is back with the Smokies in a couple of week.
On the positive side, Javier Baez is playing much better after his slow start (.296/.355/.630/.984 in June) and Arismendy Alcantara is on fire right now while batting .278/.314/.524 with 14 doubles, nine triples, eight home runs and a .838 OPS. Alcantara has also seen time in the outfield (two games) and is expected to play centerfield at least two games a week in order to make him a little more versatile. The switch-hitting Alcantara can play short and second, adding centerfield to his resume would help at the big league level.
Kris Bryant has garnered nearly all of the headlines in the Cubs’ system. Bryant is tearing up the Southern League and does not figure to stay at the Double-A level too much longer. Bryant is working on his defense and how to be a pro while hitting the cover off the baseball. Bryant has three Southern League Hitter of the Week awards under his belt, was named the Cubs Player of the Month for May, and he’s not even been in the organization for a full calendar year.
After beginning the year in the D-Cubs’ bullpen, Arodys Vizcaino was promoted to Double-A Tennessee and while he took the loss in his last appearance, he is on the mound and pitching. The front office had him on an every-three-day-schedule until his last outing. Vizcaino pitched on June 7 and again on June 9. Vizcaino has struck out 13 batters in 11 2/3 innings at the Double-A level with three walks and seven hits allowed.
Dan Vogelbach has turned his season around after a slow start. Vogelbach is up to .267/.352/.406 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and a .758 OPS after a .253/.333/.352 April.
Paul Blackburn was flying, somewhat, under the radar until the front office named him Pitcher of the Month for May. The 20-year old right hander is 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 12 starts with 47 strikeouts and 14 walks in 59 2/3 innings. Blackburn hit his pitch limit in the first inning two starts ago and the two-thirds of an inning he pitched will skew his numbers.
MLB.com’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
- Javier Baez, INF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Albert Almora, OF
- C.J. Edwards, RHP
- Jorge Soler, OF
- Arismendy Alcantara, INF/OF
- Pierce Johnson, RHP
- Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B
- Christian Villanueva, 3B
- Eloy Jimenez, OF
- Paul Blackburn, RHP
- Kyle Hendricks, RHP
- Corey Black, RHP
- Jacob Hannemann, OF
- Tyler Skulina, RHP
- Gleyber Torres, SS
- Duane Underwood, RHP
- Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP