Baez, Bryant and Russell Top MLB Pipeline’s Updated Cubs Prospect List

With the additions of INF Addison Russell and OF Billy McKinney to the Cubs organization, MLB Pipeline posted an update to its list of the top 20 prospects in the Cubs’ system. MLB Pipeline’s ranking is not a mid-season list of the best young players in the organization and does not include OF/C Kyle Schwarber.

According to MLB Pipeline, the top three prospects in the Cubs system are Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell with Albert Almora and C.J. Edwards rounding out the top five. Billy McKinney was inserted as the ninth best prospect in the Cubs’ system.

Duane Underwood (19) and Jen-Ho Tseng (20) cracked the top 20 when MLB Pipeline updated the Cubs list early last month.

PrintThe mid-season player and system rankings are expected to be released in the coming days. Baseball Prospectus’ list of the top 50 prospects in the game posts Monday morning and Baseball America’s went to print Thursday.

The Cubs will be ranked as the best minor league system in the game in Baseball America’s mid-season list and Kris Bryant will take over the top spot in the system. Kris Bryant will be ranked as the second best prospect in the game in BA’s mid-season Top 50 with Addison Russell fifth and Javier Baez two spots behind Russell at number seven.

MLB Pipeline’s current ranking of the top players in the Cubs’ system should see quite a bit of change with the struggles this season of Jeimer Candelario and Christian Villanueva. The two third basemen were demoted after struggling early in the season. Kyle Schwarber should be ranked within the top 10 and both Duane Underwood and Jen-Ho Tseng should find their way back on the list.

OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres are off to good starts in their professional career.

The 17-year old Eloy Jimenez is 6-for-14 in four games for the AZL Cubs with two doubles, a triple and a home run (.429/.429/.929/1.357). And the 17-year old Gleyber Torres is 13-for-40 in 10 games with the AZL Cubs that includes a triple, a home run and as many walks (8) as strikeouts (8). Torres has a .325/.429/.450 line with a .879 OPS.

Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez were on MLB Pipeline’s pre-season ranking of the Cubs system.’s Top 20 Cubs Prospects
  1. Javier Baez, INF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Addison Russell, INF
  4. Albert Almora, OF
  5. C.J. Edwards, RHP
  6. Jorge Soler, OF
  7. Arismendy Alcantara, INF/OF
  8. Pierce Johnson, RHP
  9. Billy McKinney, OF
  10. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
  11. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
  12. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
  13. Christian Villanueva, 3B
  14. Eloy Jimenez, OF
  15. Paul Blackburn, RHP
  16. Kyle Hendricks, RHP
  17. Corey Black, RHP
  18. Jacob Hannemann, OF
  19. Tyler Skulina, RHP
  20. Gleyber Torres, SS
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  • daverj

    With the addition of Schwarber, I think the Cubs Top 10 prospect list will be one of the best and deepest Top 10 organizational prospect list I have ever seen. Probably even exceeds the great Royals list from a few years ago (hopefully the Cubs won’t follow that Royals list of many disappointments).

    • Theboardrider

      Not only Schwarber but several draftees could be on this list next year. The haul we got from the draft is crazy! The strategy we used was amazing and I imagine it won’t be as easy in the future as others will do the same.

      • daverj

        I agree with you on this years haul. It was well done. I didn’t think the Cubs could pull it off when they drafted Schwarber higher than expected, but I was wrong.

        • Sonate

          Late to the party, but I agree with both of you. I was intrigued by the apparent strategy and stated on a draft thread here that the draft would be a success if they signed their picks beyond the 3-4 rounds. That they didn’t miss (maybe one?) on the first 22 is truly amazing and indicative of the groundwork/homework Theo & Co. did. When executives in any organization pull rabbits out of hats at crucial times, it likely means that they had 12 rabbits and 12 hats ready for most unforeseen contingencies. Bravo!

  • Theboardrider

    Was reading Grantlands list of best pitchers by the year. I forgot how pedestrian Maddux’s numbers were his early season. And in minor leagues they were nothing to get hopeful about. Very low K to BB. Glavine toiled for 4 seasons before he became who we think of him as today.

    I’ve said it before and by no means am I saying it will happen, but Hendricks was the first pitcher I thought of when I saw these stats. His minor league stats are better than Maddux’s with stuff that has always been compared to MadDog. Time will tell but I think that Hendricks could be much better in MLB than anyone will now give him credit for.

    On this article it’s great to see the respect our prospects have. Some won’t pan out but it’s gret to have this depth. IMO it’s an impressive job and few could have pulled it off this quickly. We now have top end guys and depth to back them up. True pipeline at most positions from level to level that gives us the luxury of trading assets without depleting the system. The next few years will be fun and I believe that we will make moves this offseason to be competitive next season.

    • daverj

      Other than the fact that they aren’t overpowering (like thousands of minor league pitchers), I don’t see anything similar between them. Maddux was a very highly touted second round draft pick out of high school. Hendricks was drafted in the 39th round out of high school and then 8th round out of college. Maddux played at each level at a younger age. In fact, Maddux made his Cubs debut at age 20 while Hendricks didn’t even pitch in single A until age 21. Thus, their minor league careers aren’t even in the same ballpark. Most importantly, Maddux is a once in a generation pitcher with pin-point control and the ultimate in pitching savvy. There are lots of pitchers like Hendricks out there … maybe there is a small chance (under 1%) that he develops in a #2 or #3 type starter eventually like Jamie Moyer, but most likely his upside is decent #4 or #5 starter and his floor is a AAA starter.

      • daverj

        Below is the baseball reference link to Maddux’ minor league numbers. Look at his age at each level. Minor league numbers can only be evaluated (and compared to other players) by looking at the age of the player. Maddux had excellent minor league stats when you factor in that he was only 20 years old in AAA in 1986. If he had been 23 and put up the same numbers, it would tell a very different story and have a completely different major league projection. I think we would all agree that if Maddux were in AAA at age 23, he would have been unhittable … after all, at age 23 he won 19 games with a sub 3.00 ERA in the majors!

        • John_CC

          Good post Dave. I like Hendricks and the fact that his fastball velocity is rising into the low 90s is something to be excited about. With his control of lower part of the strike zone and added velo he could be a solid middle rotation pitcher or better.

          But I agree that comparing to Maddux isn’t fair. Not many 20 year old pitchers make it to the majors and then advance as quickly as Maddux did.

  • Darrell Birkey

    No Schwarber? That’s just wrong.

    • daverj

      It appears that has not added any of the 2014 draft picks to the prospect lists yet.

  • John_CC

    Its pretty amazing the Russell is ranked higher that Baez by BA. I read somewhere that after watching him play with Bryant and Baez in the fall league last year that some scouts ranked him above Bryant!

    The various ranking groups will all vary some but the fact that he Russell is that close to Bryant and Baez and that they got him for Jeff is incredible.

  • The Dude Abides

    Straily I assume isn’t listed due to his time spent in majors. Should be up soon in the rotation.
    Any word on list of potential player to be named later?