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 fromĀ 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.

  • Mike S

    Elliot Soto also should be considered on this list somewhere. One of the best defensive gloves in the system and in just his first year in the minors was moved up to play next to Hak-Ju Lee. His bat needs work, but has good speed and could be a surprise canidate to play next to Starlin Castro if Hak-Ju Lee ends up getting traded for a pitcher (Garza??)

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    No prospects considered “hot” or “can’t miss” like you see on the other team reviews of minor league prospects. So, while this might look impressive, its how it compares to the premier teams that counts. Most of these are more than a year away and the problem with that is, if we are building for 2012 we need to know who can perform at the major league level. And the only way of knowing that is to play them in 2011, which isn’t going to happen to any great degree except maybe some pitchers.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Good point. The Cubs have ZERO “can’t miss” prospects. That ultimately comes back to Hendry. He’s been there more than long enough. He needs to go.

  • roughriider

    While there aren’t any “can’t miss” prospects in the Cubs system, the overall minor league operation has improved since Tim Wilkin has been running the draft. Remember that, for the most part, except for Vitters, the Cubs have been drafting further down in the draft. Anywhere from 13 to 31. There are a lot of “can’t miss prospects” that don’t make it. Right now the Cubs system is drafting better than it has been since Dallas Green left and the international signings appear to be better. It is up to the Cubs minor league managers, coaches and the players themselves to do their job and produce results that will culminate in a major league career for the players and successfull seasons for the Cubs.

    Don’t be surprised if you see Casey Harman on this list next year.

    • Ace

      Good stuff, rough.