The CCO’s extensive look at the top prospects in the organization begins with the best tools in the system, a list of players to keep an eye on throughout the upcoming season and for the first time three players that just missed our Top 21 prospect list.
Keeping track of players in the minor leagues is easier now than ever before. Not only are there detailed scouting reports available for just about every player, those that cannot make it to the park can watch the prospects on MiLB.TV for a yearly fee.
But how do the players in the organization stack up against one another?
Just because a player is considered one of the best prospects in baseball that does not mean another player in the system does not have a better arm, hit with more power or play better defense at the same position as a top prospect.
Here is a comprehensive list of the players with the best tools in the Cubs’ organization.
Best Tools in the Cubs Farm System for 2016
- Best Hitter for Average: Chesny Young
- Best Contact Hitter: Billy McKinney
- Best Power Hitter: Eloy Jimenez
- Best Clutch Hitter: Willson Contreras
- Best Plate Discipline: Mark Zagunis
- Most Fearless: Mark Zagunis
- Fastest Baserunner: Jacob Hannemann
- Best Baserunner: Jeffrey Baez
- Best Clubhouse Presence: Anthony Giansanti
- Best Defensive Infielder: Carlos Penalver
- Best Infield Arm: Jeimer Candelario
- Best Defensive Outfielder: Albert Almora Jr.
- Best Outfield Arm: Jeffrey Baez
- Best Athlete: Darryl Wilson
- Best Offensive Catcher: Willson Contreras
- Best Defensive Catcher: Victor Caratini
- Best Game-Caller: Cael Brockmeyer
- Best Arm, Catcher: Victor Caratini
- Best Fastball: Dylan Cease
- Best Curve: Carl Edwards Jr.
- Best Slider: David Garner
- Best Changeup: Jen-Ho Tseng
- Best Sinker: Ryan Williams
- Best Control: Ryan Williams
- Best Strikeout Pitcher: Felix Pena
- Best Pickoff Move: Eric Jokisch
- Best Fielder: Daury Torrez
The Cubs have a lot of depth throughout the organization. The front office has done a good job of layering the system in order to keep filtering talent from the minor leagues to the majors. Here’s an extensive list of players to keep an eye on during the 2016 season that could be on the verge of playing their way into the conversation of the top prospects in the Cubs system. Players such as Oscar De La Cruz, Dylan Cease and Willson Contreras have appeared in previous lists.
Aramis Ademan, INF; Tyler Alamo, C; Adbert Alzolay, RHP; Gioskar Amaya, INF/C; Miguel Amaya, C; John Andreoli, OF; Pedro Araujo, RHP; Luis Ayala, OF; Jeffrey Baez, OF; Yasiel Balaguert, 1B/OF; Alex Bautista, OF; David Berg, RHP; Jhonny Bethencourt, INF/OF; Paul Blackburn, RHP; Casey Bloomquist, RHP; David Bote, INF/OF; Cael Brockmeyer, C/1B; Stephen Bruno, INF/OF; Charcer Burks, OF; Jesus Camargo, RHP; Josh Conway, RHP; Rashad Crawford, OF; Luis Diaz, INF; Shawon Dunston Jr., OF; Scott Effross, RHP; Andrew Ely, INF; Greyfer Eregua, RHP; OF; Wladimir Galindo, INF; Robert Garcia, OF; David Garner, RHP; Jacob Hannemann, OF; P.J. Higgins, INF; Corbin Hoffner, RHP; Michael Jensen, RHP; Ryan Kellogg, LHP; Kwang-Min Kwon, 1B/OF; Erick Leal, RHP; Gabriel Lima, RHP; Junior Marte, RHP; Jonathan Martinez, RHP; Trey Masek, RHP; Yohan Matos, C; Ryan McNeil, RHP; Rafael Mejia, INF; Andruw Monasterio, INF; Erling Moreno, RHP; Preston Morrison, RHP; Jeremy Null, RHP; Isaac Paredes, INF; Adonis Paula, INF; Jose Paulino, LHP; Yeiler Peguero, INF; Felix Pena, RHP; Carlos Penalver, SS; Starling Peralta, RHP; Chris Pieters, 1B/OF; Gustavo Polanco, C; James Pugliese, RHP; Ian Rice, C; Armando Rivero, RHP; Carlos Rodriguez, LHP; Edgar Rondon, INF; Matt Rose, INF; Alexander Santana, RHP; Carlos Sepulveda, INF; Jonathan Sierra, OF; Pedro Silverio, RHP; Tyler Skulina, RHP; Jake Stinnett, RHP; Tommy Thorpe, LHP; Daury Torrez, RHP; Kyle Twomey, LHP; Dan Vogelbach, 1B; Jason Vosler, INF; Austyn Willis, RHP; Sam Wilson, LHP; Rob Zastryzny, LHP
Just Outside The CCO’s 2016 Pre-Season Top 21 Cubs Prospects
With the top talent in the system more than 21 players deep, here are three players we think are just outside of the best of the best prospects in the organization.
Lefty Carson Sands, 20, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. The first of the high school pitchers taken by the Cubs two years ago, did not perform to expectations last season which dropped him in the prospect rankings.
Sands put together a good stint in Rookie Ball after he signed with the Cubs. Sands was 3-1 in nine games, four starts, in 2014 with a 1.89 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. The stats say Sands did not have the same amount of success with Short-Season Eugene last year.
Sands was 3-4 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Sands allowed 40 runs, 25 earned, on 62 hits with 21 walks and 41 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings las season. His numbers are skewed from one horrible outing in which he allowed nine runs and recorded only one out.
Sands has an excellent reputation and is known as a hard worker. Sands projects as a back of the rotation starter in the big leagues. Sands features a fastball in the 89-92 mph range, a solid-average curveball and an above average changeup. The Cubs think that he will be able to add a tick or two to his fastball by applying the slight adjustments to his delivery that have been made.
Carson Sands is expected to be part of Low-A South Bend’s rotation this season.
While the Cubs seem undecided if Brad Markey will be a starter or reliever, there’s no doubt that he has shown he can be successful in either role. The right-hander split his time between South Bend and Myrtle Beach last year pitching in 21 games, making nine starts and saving two games. He went 7-0 with 63 strikeouts in 84 innings, 1.61 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.
His fastball ranges from 91-94 mph, but doesn’t feature much zip. He commands it well and does the same for a sinking curveball. He has a changeup that could become average with more experience.
Markey made eight of his nine starts for Myrtle Beach and will likely get a chance to show he can start the whole year. He mostly pitches to contact, so it’ll be interesting to watch how he holds up over the whole season.
The Cubs selected Darryl ‘D.J.’ Wilson, 19, in the fourth round of last June’s Draft and bought him out of his commitment to Vanderbilt. Wilson is a burner and projects as a top of the lineup hitter in the big leagues that can easily handle center field with an above-average arm.
Wilson is built like a slot receiver (5-foot-9, 177 pounds) and has tremendous bat speed, strong wrists and forearms. Wilson doesn’t project to hit for much power but he surprised scouts last season with his power.
Darryl Wilson is only 19 and did not hit as well as most expected last season in Rookie Ball. Wilson was 21-for-79 (.266/.322/.354) in 22 games with three double, two triples and a .676 OPS.
With an excellent spring, Wilson could start the year in South Bend. He will likely be held back for extended Spring Training and be part of Eugene’s Opening Day roster when the Short-Season gets underway in June.
Up next, The CCO’s 2016 Pre-Season Top 21 Cubs Prospects: Nos. 11-21