Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo released their organizational rankings Tuesday, and Mayo took the Twins over the Cubs on his list while Callis chose the Cubs over the Twins. Callis and Mayo agree that the Cubs, Twins and Red Sox own the top three farm systems in the game.
Jim Callis has been constant with his take of the Cubs’ system. Callis has not seen a “better collection of young hitting talent in one organization than the Cubs have right now” in his 25 years of covering prospects. Even after promoting Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara last year, the Cubs system has four of the best hitters in minor league baseball led by Kris Bryant.
After the top four of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs have “several more intriguing position players” according to Callis in “sweet-swinging outfielders Albert Almora and Billy McKinney.” Callis is high on SS Gleyber Torres and pointed out the Cubs’ system also has very good pitching prospects in RHP C.J. Edwards, RHP Duane Underwood, RHP Pierce Johnson, LHP Carson Sands, RHP Dylan Cease and RHP Jake Stinnett.
Jonathan Mayo’s knock, if he actually made one, is that the Cubs’ organization is “a tad hitter heavy” and Mayo is very high on OF Byron Buxton’s projections. Based on the points system Mayo and Callis have established, the Twins (464) have more points than the Cubs (424) while both teams placed six players in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects Ranking.
Regardless of the publication, the Cubs system is considered one of, if not the best in the game. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN’s Keith Law and The Sporting News ranked the Cubs as the top organization in baseball.
As Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have pointed out countless times, the rankings and accolades are great but it really doesn’t mean much unless those players help the Cubs reach the ultimate goal. Prospects are valued more in the game today than ever before. The Cubs must keep the players in the system on the right path with their development so they can help the big league team win games either on the field or in trades to acquire talent from outside the organization to improve the Major League roster.
Keith Law Top 20 Impact Prospects for 2015
ESPN’s Keith Law posted his ranking of the 20 prospects he thinks will have the biggest impact for their respective teams this season. And at the top of his list were Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler.
Keith Law ranked the Cubs as having the best system in the game with four prospects in his top 100 (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber). Law did not include Addison Russell in his latest top 20 because he’s not sure if Russell will see enough time in the majors, if any at all, this year to make an impact for the Cubs.
Kris Bryant is Law’s pick to win the National League Rookie of the Year even with the strong possibility of starting his season with Triple-A Iowa. Law thinks Bryant is “likely to hit 20-plus homers and get on base at a strong clip even with a strikeout rate that will probably top 25 percent.”
Jorge Soler is Keith Law’s back-up pick for NL Rookie of the Year. Law said if Bryant doesn’t take home the award then his teammate will. Law sees 25 homers from Soler this season “with a modest OBP and average to above-average defense in right.”
CF Joc Pederson (Dodgers), RF Stephen Souza (Rays), RHP Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays), C Christian Bethancourt (Braves), LHP Andrew Heaney (Angels), LHP Marco Gonzalez (Cardinals), 3B/1B Maikel Franco (Phillies) rounded out Law’s top 10.
Keith Law’s top 10 Cubs prospect ranking for 2015: Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber, Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Albert Almora, Duane Underwood, C.J. Edwards and Jen-Ho Tseng.