With all of the Chicago Cubs trade rumors flying around this time of year, it’s a good time to take a look at the prospects whose names fly right around with those rumors.
An excellent prospect site, Baseball Prospectus has put together its 2011 list of the top Cubs prospects. The top 11 shake out like this:
1. Brett Jackson, OF
2. Trey McNutt, RHP
3. Chris Archer, RHP
4. Josh Vitters, 3B
5. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
6. Chris Carpenter, RHP
7. Hayden Simpson, RHP
8. Reggie Golden, OF
9. Jay Jackson, RHP
10. Robinson Lopez, RHP
11. Brandon Guyer, OF
No huge surprises outside, perhaps, if the yet lofty rating of Josh Vitters, who’s fallen down quite a bit on most other Cubs lists. Golden and Simpson were the Cubs’ top two picks in the 2010 draft, and Robinson Lopez was the centerpiece of the Derrek Lee trade earlier this year.
The Cubs lack a five-star prospect, but the system has tremendous depth, with another nine solid prospects after the top 11 (with notes from BP):
12. Robinson Chirinos, C: This converted infielder is improving defensively, and he can really hit.
13. Marquez Smith, 3B: He’s a bit of an older prospect, but Smith can provide power and defense at the hot corner.
14. Wellington Castillo, C: He has a plus arm and power; and could turn into nice backup or second-division starter.
15. Rafael Dolis, RHP: He’s another power arm in a system full of them; scouts want to see him in relief.
16. Ben Wells, RHP: This seventh-round pick was late-riser in the spring; he has low-90s heat with projection.
17. Brett Wallach, RHP: The ex-Dodger arm could move up with more consistent control; his stuff is plus.
18. Darwin Barney, UT: He’ll never be a star, will rarely start, but Barney could play a decade in the majors.
19. Austin Reed, RHP: One of the talks of Arizona, scouts love his size and arm action.
20. Alberto Cabrera, RHP: This long, skinny Dominican has plus-plus velo, but needs to refine his secondary stuff.