Baseball America released its midseason ranking of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs’ system. And there is no longer a clear No. 1 prospect in the organization.
Due to the excellent season Ian Happ has put together, first with High-A Myrtle Beach and now with Double-A Tennessee, Happ has closed the gap on Gleyber Torres for the title of the top prospect in the Cubs’ system.
Gleyber Torres has been really good this year after a slow start in the Carolina League. Torres has shown an improved approach at the plate. According to John Manuel, opinions vary on whether or not Torres will be able to stick at shortstop long-term, much less move Addison Russell to another position, but he’s shown enough pop in his bat that scouts think he could eventually hit for enough power to play second or third base in the majors.
Ian Happ has “impressed the Cubs with his work ethic, desire and improved footwork” at second base according to John Manuel and he’s certainly hit enough to play second base on a full-time basis while moving to the outfield from time-to-time. Manuel said, “His versatility defensively and offensively as a switch-hitter with speed and power potential makes him a perfect fit for the modern game.”
OF Eloy Jimenez, OF Mark Zagunis and 3B Jeimer Candelario round out Baseball America’s Midseason Top 10 Cubs prospects.
Willson Contreras and Albert Almora Jr. were not eligible for Baseball America’s midseason list after appearing in the preseason ranking.
LHP Rob Zastryzny and 1B Dan Vogelbach improved their status in the first half of the season while OF Billy McKinney and RHP Pierce Johnson had their stock slip in the first half. Johnson cannot stay off the DL and when he been able to pitch, he has really struggled this season. Baseball America pointed out McKinney added “some bad weight and slowed down, both in terms of his speed and bat speed.”
Two pitching prospects have lost significant time due to injury. RHP Oscar De La Cruz missed the first half of the year with forearm tenderness but he’s back on the mound. And right shoulder pain has kept RHP Ryan Williams from pitching since May 19.
Cubs Top 10 Prospects – Midseason 2016
2016 Preseason Ranking in Parenthesis (NA – Not Available, NR – Not Ranked)
- Gleyber Torres, SS (1)
- Ian Happ, 2B/OF (3)
- Eloy Jimenez, OF (9)
- Mark Zagunis, OF (11)
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B (10)
- Oscar De La Cruz, RHP (8)
- Dylan Cease, RHP (5)
- Trevor Clifton, RHP (18)
- Duane Underwood Jr., RHP (4)
- Eddy Julio Martinez, OF (28)
Six of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs’ system are position players. Of the four pitchers Baseball America included in the ranking of the 10 best players in the organization, Trevor Clifton has put together the best season.
The Cubs realize the lack of pitching in the organization must be addressed. At the same time, the Cubs could use for the projectable arms in the system to stay healthy and off the disabled list.