Another day, another Chicago Cubs prospect list – together with the Hot (or Lukewarm) Stove, prospect lists are what makes this time of year excellent for baseball fans.
Enough fluff. On with the list – this one comes from Minor League Ball‘s John Sickels.
1) Brett Jackson, OF, Grade B+: Love the broad base of skills.
2) Trey McNutt, RHP, Grade B+: Hard to believe this guy was a 32nd round pick. . .he’s got great stuff.
3) Chris Archer, RHP, Grade B+: Another hard-thrower who emerged as a surprise in ’10.
4) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Grade B: I don’t know why, but I think his bat can develop more than people expect.
5) Chris Carpenter, RHP, Grade B: May end up in the pen, but he’s got plus stuff and I wouldn’t give up on him as a starter yet.
6) Jay Jackson, RHP, Grade B: I still like him more than the numbers say I should.
7) Hayden Simpson, RHP, Grade B-: Could rank at the top next year if he does anything in the pros like he did in NCAA Division II.
8 ) Brandon Guyer, OF, Grade B-: He’s always been an athlete and has added skills to go with the tools.
9) Reggie Golden, OF, Grade B-: Enormous potential but very raw.
10) Josh Vitters, 3B, Grade C+: I expect this will be controversial but he really needs to get things going, and age-relative-to-league is just one factor among many.
11) Robinson Lopez, RHP, Grade C+: High-ceiling arm, needs refinement.
12) Austin Reed, RHP, Grade C+: Huge sleeper for 2011.
13) Alberto Cabrera, RHP, Grade C+: Another live arm that needs polish.
14) Marquez Smith, 3B, Grade C+: Not young, but ready to help at the major league level and can catch people off-guard.
15) Robinson Chirinos, C, Grade C+: Like Smith, not young but can help soon.
16) D.J. LeMahieu, INF, Grade C+: I think people are a bit too down on him; he could surprise this year.
17) Rafael Dolis, RHP, Grade C+: Another guy in the live arm/needs polish brigade.
18) Brett Wallach, RHP, Grade C+: Another one.
19) Brooks Raley, LHP, Grade C+: Was very effective in the second half.
20) Su-Min Jung, RHP, Grade C+: Wasn’t great at Peoria, but I think he can get better faster than people anticipate.
21) Austin Kirk, LHP, Grade C+: Breakthrough candidate for 2011.
22) Jin-Yeong Kim, RHP, Grade C+: Will he be worth the big bonus?
Overall, the list is similar to the one recently released by Baseball Prospectus, but Sickels’ list tends to line up a bit more with the conventional wisdom at the top. Sickels remains very high on Jay Jackson, and is higher on LeMahieu than most. The two Austins – Reed and Kirk – are nicely described as possible breakout/sleepers for next year, a la Trey McNutt and Chris Archer this past year.