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:

Four-Star Prospects

1. Brett Jackson, OF

2. Trey McNutt, RHP

3. Chris Archer, RHP

Three-Star Prospects

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.

  • pfk

    What really counts is how the Cub’s prospects stack up against the other teams, which isn’t good. Depth? yes. Star quality? No or iffy. This could be one of the reasons Hendry can’t pull off a trade with prospects. I think he is absolutely gun shy in trading prospects.

    • BT

      Hendry has traded multiple prospects, multiple times, in multiple deals.

  • mike

    He should be gun shy. All 5 of the Cubs top 5 are not blocked by anybody in the ML. 2011 is going to be a lost season. His focus should be on postioning the Cubs going forward. The Cubs need a long term answer at 1B. I don’t know if Chris Davis is the answer, but I’d make the trade to bring him or another 1B into the organization.

    Next up, getting rid of Z, Silva and Fukudome either before the season or at the deadline. Cashner should be put in the rotation, with one of Archer or McNutt getting an opportunity as a mid season call up if they continue to progress.

    Byrd as a mid season trade candidate, which opens up a spot for Brett Jackson in August. Dempster while not an ace, has the character and work ethic to mentor and help further develop Cashner, Archer and McNutt.

    I think Hak Ju Lee is a couple years away, but he looks to be the leadoff hitter the Cubs need.

    I by no means think the Cubs should be unwilling to trade any of their prospects, I just think they have so many holes, it doesn’t make sense to gut your farm system to fill one of the holes.