Six Cubs landed in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospect list that was released Friday. Kris Bryant (2), Addison Russell (5), Jorge Soler (22), C.J. Edwards (47), Kyle Schwarber (49) and Albert Almora (57) made it on the ranking compiled by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. And there was another player in the Cubs’ system that just missed the top 100, OF Billy McKinney.
The front office added Billy McKinney to the organization last July in the trade with the Oakland A’s that also netted Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily and cash for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. McKinney is considered one of the top 10 prospects in the system and he was included in Jim Callis’ alphabetical list of 20 players that have caught his eye just outside of the list of the top 100 prospects.
The lefty hitting, 20-year outfielder is considered a pure hitter that could produce average power in the big leagues. McKinney does not turn 21 until August and is expected to join Albert Almora in the Smokies’ outfield on Opening Day.
Billy McKinney was the A’s first round pick in the 2013 draft and put up good numbers at the plate following the July trade.
In 51 games for the D-Cubs, McKinney batted .301/.390/.432 with 12 doubles, four triples, one home runs and a .822 OPS. McKinney ended his first full season of pro ball with a .264/.354/.412 line that included 24 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs for a .766 OPS. McKinney walked 61 times with 100 strikeouts in 543 plate appearances.
McKinney was ranked as the sixth best prospect in the system by Baseball America, Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus. FanGraphs has McKinney as the 10th best prospect in the system on its Cubs’ list and Minor League Ball placed McKinney at number eight in its ranking of the Cubs’ minor leaguers.
Billy McKinney is another one of the young players in the organization to keep an eye on while Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber garner the headlines.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs are not worried about the struggles Albert Almora had last season.
Albert Almora batted .283/.306/.406 with 20 doubles, two triples and seven home runs for a .712 OPS during 89 games with the D-Cubs. Almora hit only .234/.250/.355 in 36 games with the Smokies. Almora hit seven doubles, two triples and two home runs for a .605 OPS.
Albert Almora ended the season with a combined .270/.291/.392 line in 125 games between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee with 27 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and a .683 OPS.
Jaron Madison, the team’s farm director, pointed out to Tony Andracki that he thinks Almora will be better off in the long run for the struggles he had last season. Almora has always excelled at baseball, until last year.
The Cubs view a player’s struggles in the minor leagues as being part of the development process. The team would rather a player learn how to deal with adversity and figure out how to get out of it in the minors than in the majors.
Jaron Madison confirmed Almora is ticketed for Double-A Tennessee to begin the season. And he will stay with the Smokies until he dominates at that level.
ZiPS Top 100 Prospect List
Dan Szymborski input the data and his ZiPS projection system created a ranking of the top 100 prospects based on ZiPS’ projections. And he compared his top 100 list with the one released by Keith Law last week.
Based on the ZiPS projections, Kris Bryant is the top prospect in baseball and Addison Russell checked in at No. 4 in the ranking. Jorge Soler (22), Kyle Schwarber (55) and Albert Almora (57) also ended up in the top 100 prospect ranking.
The Cubs have five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to the ZiPS projection system: Kris Bryant (1), Addison Russell (4), Jorge Soler (22), Kyle Schwarber (55) and Albert Almora (57). One more Cubs prospect was in the ZiPS list compared to Law’s top 100 and a better ranking for Schwarber while Soler dropped out of the top 20.
- ZiPS’ Top 100 MLB Prospects
- Keith Law Tabs Kris Bryant No. 1 Minor League Prospect, Four Cubs Ranked in Top 100