Keith Law completed his week-long look at the minor leagues Friday with a top 10 prospect list for each organization. And to no surprise, baseball’s best system is led by Keith Law’s top prospect, Kris Bryant.
Keith Law ranked Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber the top four prospects in the Cubs system, and at that point is where Law’s ranking takes a very interesting, and welcome turn. Law ranked SS Gleyber Torres as the fifth best prospect in the system with Billy McKinney, Albert Almora, Duane Underwood, C.J. Edwards and Jen-Ho Tseng rounding out the top 10.
The system that Law said “still isn’t where it should be in terms of potential starting pitchers” has three pitchers ranked in the top 10 and seven in his top 20.
Keith Law led off his look at the Cubs organization by stating “the majors’ best farm system is loaded with potential, or even likely stars, with their top six all projecting as at least average everyday players” and several of the players outside of the first 10 “have a decent shot to join them.”
Duane Underwood, who took huge steps forward in his development last season as previously reported, caught Law’s attention and replaced C.J. Edwards as the Cubs top pitching prospect. Law really liked the additions of Carson Sands, Justin Steele and Dylan Cease in last June’s draft. Law pointed out Rob Zastryzny and Jake Stinnett could “end up as fifth starters or solid relievers.” And Law jumped on the Corey Black is-going-to-be-a-reliever bandwagon.
Keith Law thinks Kris Bryant should make an impact for the Cubs this season and not only be in the conversation but to be a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year. And Addison Russell might be ready for the big leagues by the All-Star break while his promotion could depend on Javier Baez and if he “gets comfortable at the plate.” Jorge Soler is projected as the Cubs everyday right fielder and Law mentioned C.J. Edwards “might break in as a starter this year” but like most, Law is “skeptical he can remain a starter.”
As for Keith Law’s sleeper in the Cubs system, he likes Justin Steele. Law thinks Steele projects better than Carson Sands.
Keith Law’s Top Cubs Prospects for 2015
2014 Ranking in Parenthesis (NA – Not Available, NR – Not Ranked)
- Kris Bryant, 3B (2)
- Addison Russell, SS (NA)
- Jorge Soler, OF (3)
- Kyle Schwarber, C (NA)
- Gleyber Torres, SS (NR)
- Billy McKinney, OF (NA)
- Albert Almora, OF (4)
- Duane Underwood, RHP (NR)
- C.J. Edwards, RHP (5)
- Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP (NR)
Keith Law’s Beyond Top 10 Cubs List
- Justin Steele, LHP (NA)
- Pierce Johnson, RHP (7)
- Victor Caratini, C (NA)
- Dylan Cease, RHP (NA)
- Eloy Jimenez, OF (NR)
- Carson Sands, LHP (NA)
- Corey Black, RHP (9)
- Rob Zastryzny, LHP (NR)
- Jake Stinnett, RHP (NA)
- Bijan Rademacher, OF (NR)
What jumps out when looking at Keith Law’s list of the top prospects in the Cubs system is how many of the players were either not available for last year’s list or took steps in their development to jump over previously ranked players.
There is depth in the system and while the primary focus will be on the big league team this season, the importance placed on player development by the front office will not change.
2015 Cubs Prospect Rankings
- FanGraphs Ranks the Top 31 Prospects in Cubs System
- Baseball Prospectus: 2015 Top 10 Cubs Prospects
- Minor League Ball’s Top Cubs Prospects for 2015
- Baseball America’s Top 10 Cubs Prospects for 2015