Baseball America includes Jeimer Candelario, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr. in Top 20 Pacific Coast League Prospects list
Baseball America released its list of the Top 20 Prospects in the Pacific Coast League for this past season. And three Cubs made the post-season ranking of the best prospects that played in the league this year.
Baseball America ranked C/OF Willson Contreras the second best prospect in the PCL despite the fact he made his big league debut on June 17 and was not sent back to the minors. Contreras began the season considered one of top, if not the No. 1 catching prospect in the game. Contreras ripped up the PCL offensively as he worked on refining his catching and receiving skills.
Contreras played in 55 games for Triple-A Iowa before he was called up. Contreras batted .353/.442/.593 with 16 doubles, three triples and nine home runs for a 1.035 OPS.
Willson Contreras had quite the rookie season in the big leagues and a year that is far from over. Contreras delivered the game-tying hit in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Giants and will play a big role in the upcoming National League Championship Series.
Contreras hit .282/.357/.488 with 14 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs for a .845 OPS in 76 games with the Cubs.
Contreras put together a 30-20 season between Triple-A and the majors, not bad for a catcher.
Willson Contreras will be the Cubs full-time catcher as soon as next season. He made tremendous strides as a catcher and realizes he has a lot to work on and learn in order to become the receiver he and the Cubs think he can in the near future.
Albert Almora Jr. was ranked as the 12th best prospect in the PCL by Baseball America. Almora Jr. made his big league debut on June 7 and showed he belonged in the majors. Almora Jr. still has work to do offensively, defensively he has been as advertised and then some.
Almora Jr. batted .303/.317/.416 with 18 doubles, three triples and four home runs for a .733 OPS in the PCL
Almora Jr. was sent back to Triple-A Iowa to finish the minor league season and was recalled in September. The Cubs included him on the NLDS roster and he delivered a huge catch in Game 3 that sent the game to extra innings. Almora Jr. is expected to be included on the NLCS roster because of the impact defense he provides at all three outfield spots.
Albert Almora Jr. hit .277/.308/.455 with nine doubles, a triple and three home runs in 47 big league games and is considered the Cubs’ centerfielder of the future.
Jeimer Candelario was ranked as the 17th best prospect in the PCL. The switch-hitting 22-year-old third baseman had an excellent season that included a cup of coffee in the big leagues.
Candelario hit .333/.417/.542 with 22 doubles, three triples and nine home runs for a .959 OPS in 76 games for the I-Cubs. Candelario played in 132 games for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, plus five games in the majors, this season. Candelario hit a combined .283/.376/.464 with 39 doubles, four triples and 13 home runs for a .840 OPS.
With the depth on the big league roster, it’s unclear at this point how Candelario may fit with the Cubs down the road. Candelario has the talent to be a successful big league third baseman for many years that provides power from both sides and Gold Glove caliber defense.
Baseball America’s Top 10 Pacific Coast League Prospects: RHP Alex Reyes (Cardinals), C Willson Contreras (Cubs), RHP Jose De Leon (Dodgers), SS Orlando Arcia (Brewers), RHP Jeff Hoffman (Rockies), 3B/1B Joey Gallo (Rangers), OF Hunter Renfroe (Padres), 1B A.J. Reed (Astros), RHP Joe Musgrove (Astros), RHP Jharel Cotton (Dodgers/Athletics)
Dylan Cease, Wladimir Galindo, D.J. Wilson and Chris Pieters were included in Baseball America’s Top 20 Prospects list for the Northwest League. Baseball America ranked Eloy Jimenez as the second best prospect in the Midwest League. Trevor Clifton and Ian Happ made BA’s list of the Top 20 Prospects in the Carolina League. And Ian Happ was also ranked among the Top 20 prospects in the Southern League.
- Four Cubs Land in Baseball America’s Northwest League Top 20 Prospects List
- Eloy Jimenez Ranked Second Best Prospect in Midwest League
- Trevor Clifton, Ian Happ Make Baseball America’s Carolina League Top 20 Prospects List
- Baseball America Ranks Ian Happ Ninth Best Prospect in Southern League