Keith Law released his midseason Top 50 Prospects List on Thursday, and Law included three Cubs in his ranking and one recent draftee received an honorable mention.
Over the years Keith Law has been very hard on prospects in the Cubs’ system while others have been much-higher on their upside than Law. Having three players from the Cubs’ organization in Law’s Top 50 shows there is depth in the organization. As Theo Epstein recently pointed out to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs may not have the top system in baseball any longer but they still have one of the top organizations in the game.
Keith Law ranked C Kyle Schwarber as the 10th best prospect in the game, and he admitted Schwarber could have been a little higher on his list.
SS Gleyber Torres checked in a No. 30, OF Billy McKinney came in a No. 47 and OF/2B Ian Happ received an honorable mention.
Keith Law’s Top 10 Prospects: SS/3B Corey Seager (Dodgers), SS J.P. Crawford (Phillies), RHP Lucas Giolito (Nationals), LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers), 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers), OF Nomar Mazara (Rangers), RHP Tyler Glasnow (Pirates), 3B Rafael Devers (Red Sox), SS Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) and C Kyle Schwarber (Cubs).
Keith Law admitted he may be ranking Kyle Schwarber “too light.” Law learned from two different teams they grade Schwarber with a 70-hit tool “and that praise is coming from quarters where he wasn’t as highly regarded before the season.”
Schwarber raised his stock throughout the game and with Keith Law during his six-game call-up with the Cubs. Law pointed out that the “defense remains his main weakness, but his bat is so advanced that it may behoove the Cubs to move him to left field now to get him to the majors.”
Schwarber started the season at Double-A Tennessee and mashed Southern League pitching. Schwarber batted .320/.438/.579 in 58 games with 10 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs for a 1.017 OPS. Schwarber walked 42 times with 49 strikeouts in 243 plate appearances.
During his six-game ‘pit stop’ in the majors between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Schwarber was 8-for-22 with a triple and a home run (.364/.391/.591/.982). Schwarber drove in six runs with a walk and eight strikeouts in 23 plate appearances.
In 17 games with Triple-A Iowa before the break, Schwarber was 20-for-60 with seven doubles, a triple and three home runs (.333/.403/.633) for a 1.036 OPS. Schwarber spent his break in Cincinnati and was named SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game MVP.
Kyle Schwarber produced at the plate in the first half of his first full season in pro ball, made his big league debut and earned top honors in The Prospects’ All-Star Game … and he made improvements with his defense. Not bad, not bad at all.
Gleyber Torres can hit but it was his defense that received high praise from Keith Law. According to Law, Torres “defense really stands out right now, both his range and his instincts at shortstop.” Law thinks Torres should be included in the Cubs’ big four of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber and “be just as untouchable in trade talks.”
Torres has outplayed expectations at Low-A South Bend. The 18-year old shortstop has hit .303/.372/.390 in 80 games with 15 doubles, three triples and two home runs for a .762 OPS. And depending on how much the front office wants to push him this season, Torres could finish the year at High-A Myrtle Beach.
Billy McKinney is often referred to as “the other prospect” the Cubs received along with Addison Russell from the A’s last summer. McKinney has put up very good numbers this season and is projected as a high OBP, 15-20 homer bat that provides good defense in left field.
McKinney started the season back in High-A ball after many thought he would begin the year with Double-A Tennessee. McKinney tore up the Carolina League and batted .340/.432/.544 in 29 games with a .976 OPS. McKinney had five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 17 walks and 13 strikeouts before he was promoted to Double-A.
In 52 games with the Smokies, the 20-year old lefty has hit .298/.354/.438 with 17 doubles, a triple and two home runs for a .792 OPS.
Billy McKinney, in his first full season in the organization, has hit .313/.384/.477 in 81 games with 22 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 34 walks and 39 strikeouts for a .861 OPS in 325 plate appearances.
Ian Happ received an honorable mention from Keith Law, who indicated not long after the draft that Happ would likely be ranked as the Cubs’ No. 2 prospect in the off-season rankings.
Theo Epstein recently said Happ was getting close to a promotion from Short-Season Eugene. The Cubs plan for Happ is for him to focus on just hitting the baseball for the remainder of the season while playing outfield. Happ will see time at second base after the season in fall instructs.
Happ is 24-for-90 in 25 games (.267/.402/.467) with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, 21 walks and 24 strikeouts in 112 plate appearances for a .868 OPS.