The accolades for the Cubs system continued Wednesday when the team topped the Sporting News’ organizational rankings.
The Sporting News followed Keith Law in naming the Cubs the best organization in the game heading into the 2015 season. And the top spot was earned on because of the bats in the system such as Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora.
The same publication that picked the Cubs to win the World Series thinks the system overhaul that began in the fall of 2011 when Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod took over baseball operations will begin producing at the Major League level this year if not by 2016.
Following the Cubs in the Sporting News top 10 are the Rangers (2), Red Sox (3), Rockies (4), Astros (5), Twins (6), Pirates (7), Nationals (8), Royals (9) and Blue Jays (10).
Keith Law Positional Rankings
Keith Law continued his prospect rankings Wednesday with his position-by-position breakdown of his list of the top 100 minor league players.
Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler made the cut on Law’s lists.
As was the case with MLB Pipeline, Kris Bryant landed at the top spot of Law’s list of the top third basemen in minor league baseball. Law ranked Corey Seager (Dodgers), who could also end up at shortstop, behind Bryant with Joey Gallo third on his list.
Keith Law does not think Kyle Schwarber will end up behind the plate in the majors, but for now Schwarber ended up eighth on Law’s list of the best young catchers in the game. To no surprise Blake Swihart (Red Sox), Jorge Alfaro (Rangers) and Kevin Plawecki (Mets) composed the top three. MLB Pipeline ranked Schwarber as the third best catching prospect.
Addison Russell ranked higher on Law’s list than Francisco Lindor (Indians) and Corey Seager (Dodgers) and behind Carlos Correa (Astros) as the second best shortstop prospect in baseball. Law said there wasn’t a more valuable commodity in the game right now than “a Major League ready shortstop who can field and hit.” Law values shortstops a little more than other positions and listed the top 15 at the position. Russell checked in as the third best shortstop in MLB Pipeline’s ranking.
MLB Pipeline ranked Jorge Soler the third best outfield prospect and Soler ended up second on Law’s outfield positional ranking. Soler slipped in behind Byron Buxton (Twins) and in front of Aaron Judge (Yankees), David Dahl (Rockies) and Joc Pederson (Dodgers). Law went 20 deep with his ranking of the outfield prospects.
2015 Prospect Financial Report
Jim Callis posted his second annual Top 100 Financial Report. And the top 100 prospects in the game received a total of $248,678,430 in bonuses, an average of close to $2.5 million per prospect.
Jorge Soler received the largest amount of guaranteed money because he was able to sign a Major League deal before the rules changed. Under the new CBA, players can no longer be signed to Major League contracts. Soler received a nine-year, $30 million contract that included a $6 million signing bonus in 2012.
Kris Bryant topped Soler’s franchise record signing bonus and set a “new Draft mark for up-front money for a position player.” Bryant signed for $6,708,400 and that is also the largest bonus “ever for a college position player and the most anyone has gotten in the three years with the radically revamped Draft rules.”
C.J. Edwards signed for one of the five lowest bonuses. Edwards received $50,000 for inking a contract with Texas after the Rangers selected him in the 48th round of the Draft.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Cubs new High-A affiliate announced several front office changes on Wednesday.
Andy Milovich was named President and General Manager of the team. Milovich was the Pelicans’ Vice President and General Manager. Ryan Moore returned to the team as the Vice President of Business Development. Zach Brockman was promoted to Assistant General Manager of Sales after serving as the Pelicans’ Senior Director of Ticketing.
Nathan Barnett, the Pelicans’ Media Relations Manager and Broadcaster, received full-time status.
The Pelicans first game as part of the Cubs organization is Thursday, April 9 versus Wilmington.