Following an offseason full of activity, Baseball American has revealed its updated top 10 prospect lists, including the Chicago Cubs. As expected, the only change to the Cubs’ top 10 is the insertion of Anthony Rizzo, who checks in at number three in the system, behind only Brett Jackson and Javier Baez:

1. Brett Jackson, OF

2. Javier Baez, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Matt Szczur, OF

5. Trey McNutt, RHP

6. Dillon Maples, RHP

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Rafael Dolis, RHP

9. Junior Lake, SS

10. Josh Vitters, 3B/1B

You can get a look at each team’s updated top 10 prospects at that link, which is an interesting exercise if done through the lens of “what if the Cubs traded Matt Garza to this team.” Things I notice immediately: Jacob Turner, Nick Castellanos, and Drew Smyly go 1-2-3 in the Tigers’ system, and the Royals’ and Blue Jays’ lists make me drool.

  • Puma0821

    So is Ryan Flaherty that good or does the Baltimore system just suck?

    • Brett

      Their system is very top-heavy (at the very, very top, that is).

    • Luke

      Little of both. Baltimore has great talent at the very top, but it falls off pretty rapidly after that. Overall BA has them ranked 20th.

      Flaherty is a versatile lefty slugger who probably fits best at third or in left. If he can make consistent contact, he’ll be a solid utility guy for a long time. He’s similar to Mark DeRosa. He’s a nice player to have on the roster and he is likely to put together a few good seasons, but he isn’t someone you would want to plan on being a regular part of the everyday lineup.

      Were he still in the Cubs system, I’d probably slot him somewhere below Steve Clevenger.

  • BlueBlood23

    The question I haven’t seen much, if at all… Would we have been better off having never traded for Garza in the first place? I really hate seeing Lee and Archer come in at number 2 and 3 on the TB list! Is there any way we still come out better off in the long run??

    • Seth

      That’s exactly what i was thinking.

    • Brett

      Getting an Archer and a Lee back is unlikely at this point, but still possible.

    • Luke

      I’m a little surprised that Archer is rated that high. His control problems last season are starting to make me wonder if he won’t wind up in the bullpen. As a starter or reliever his ceiling is similar to Trey McNutt (and I personally still prefer McNutt).

      Lee is a great shortstop prospect and was the centerpiece of that deal for Tampa. But it takes value to get value. I’d not be surprised to see Lee and Castro playing short on opposite teams in the All-Star game several times over the coming decade. Both have that kind of potential.

      At the end of the day, this deal is going to come down Garza vs. Lee and Archer. Considering that Garza is a legit #2 starter in any rotation who already has significant post season experience, I think the Cubs did fairly well. If Archer does wind up in the bullpen, the Cubs may wind up with the better end of the deal.

      If I could go back in time and advise Hendry, I’d still say do the deal.

      • When the Music’s Over

        From a pure talent for talent standpoint, I do agree that the trade was a win-win for both clubs, however, from a usefulness standpoint, I don’t see the Garza trade as a win for the Cubs unless they trade him or lock him up long term. If his contract simply expires after 2013 and he walks, the only value/compensation the Cubs will get for him is possibly a Type A free agent draft pick, as his 3 years of service on non-competitive teams (this is assuming 2013 is still a rebuilding year) would more or less amount to pissing in the wind.

    • JulioZuleta

      I thought both were overrated with the Cubs and with still with the Rays. Lee will be an absolutely elite defender, but I just don’t think his bat will play well enough to start for a contending team. Archer seems to be a bit of a headcase, really struggles to throw strikes. I think that we very well could take home a better package than we sent away.

  • BlueBlood23

    Fantasy geek question, if I may… I’m in a dynasty league and looking for a couple of low radar guys that could make a big splash in 2012-13… I managed to snag Matt Moore and Shelby Miller last year and it looks like I’ll get a nice payoff! Any suggestions on similar guys for this season?

    • Luke

      Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Jesus Montero would all be nice pickups, if you can still get them. Julio Teheran and Trevor Bauer should pay off in the short to middle term on the mound..

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, have you heard anything along the lines of a possible Cubs-Garza settlement before Friday?

  • BD

    I would include Arizona as “drool-worthy.” Those top 3 SP prospects are the cat’s pajamas.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Shows how goofy these lists are sometime. Archer was beyond bad last year, yet the hype continues on. And Lee is a slick fielder, but a punch and judy hitter.

    • DocWimsey

      These lists are not based on last year’s performances, but on expectations derived from last year and other seasons. Yes, Archer pitched poorly: but both the were reasons for that (injuries) and his prior success need to be taken into account. As for Lee, he has not yet developed much power, but unlike most “punch and judy” hitters, he has excellent pitch recognition. That should allow him to develop better power than he has yet shown.

      • Luke

        Archer was injured last year? What did he have? He pitched nearly 150 total innings, so it must have either been fairly minor or came very late in the season.

        • King Jeff

          Nope, he was healthy all year. He just stunk it up. He was pitching in the same league, against many of the same players. His walk rate was crazy and he started giving up the longball. He’s not even considered a top 10 prospect in Tampa anymore. It looks like Brandon Guyer was a more valuable acquisition than Archer at this point.

          • DocWimsey

            Archer was reported to have been pitching with some minor arm problems. (This was dumb, in my opinion, but I’m not a coach.)

            Archer’s walk rate last year was identical to his career rate (although that never was great). The possible causes for concern was an increased HR rate (basically one more HR per 2 games) and 1 fewer K’s per game. However, what really hurt him was a really high batting average on non-HR hit balls: and pitchers do not control that much.

            Besides, he was part of the Garza deal, and we all know that HOF plaques await all of those guys, right? 😉

    • King Jeff

      A slick fielder who commits too many errors.

      • Luke

        Lee’s errors are normal for a young shortstop. Like Castro, all he needs is experience and he’ll likely be fine.

      • DocWimsey

        Range, not errors, is the important trait of a good fielder: that is what most strongly affects the number of outs a fielder creates. Lee’s range is supposed to be outstanding. He could make twice as many errors as the average SS and still create a lot more outs than those SS’s.

        • Duke11

          Errors and range are both important. I would not say range is more important. There have been many shortstops with incredible range that can not consistently make the plays necessary to play at the big league level. The ability to play solid defense within an average fielding range is what I would use to rate defense. Simply having terrific range will not necessarily = a good fielder.

          • DocWimsey

            People used to make that claim about Cal Ripken in comparison to Alan Trammel and Ozzie Guillen. However, the facts were that the extra outs that Trammel and Guillen made with their greater ranges were many more than the extra outs that they gave away on errors. Moreover, most of their errors were on balls that Ripken never would have reached, anyway.

            This is a big reason why fielding percentage is frequently actively misleading. Given the same pitchers, the denominator is entirely controlled by range, but just a few extra errors has a huge effect on the numerator, when what *really* is important is the absolute value of the numerator.

    • Scotti

      Hak-Ju Lee is NOT a Punch and Judy type hitter. He slugged .443 last year in high A as a 20-year-old (ISO .125). At the same level (and only half a year younger) Starlin slugged .391 (ISO .089). Starlin will fill out more than Lee will. Starlin will hit for more power, IMO, for sure. But that doesn’t make him “Punch and Judy.” Lee will have near average MLB power–especially for a plus defensive SS.

  • Andy Nelson

    This has probably been answered in another thread, but using the Baseball America list as a guideline, where would Cespedes likely slot in?

    • Luke

      Top 15 or so in all of baseball, and the overwhelmingly clear number one for the Cubs.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Here is another thing that bugs me about these lists. They have Lance Lynn of the Cardinals listed as their #7 prospect. Now the guy pitched the 8th inning of the 7th game of the World Series last year with a 2 run lead. What is Samardjia and James Russell still prospects also? Ok, Im done venting for today.

    • Luke

      Lynn did not pitch enough innings to lose rookie status, so BA still counts him.

      Rizzo is still eligible despite being in the majors for the same reason.

    • DocWimsey

      Todd Worrell appeared in 7 games in the 1985 post-season, with one very memorable win and an even more memorable loss in those games. He was the 1986 NL ROY. That is the criterion for being on the list: could he be a 2012 ROY?

  • JulioZuleta

    In the 2007 Draft, Boston’s fifth and sixth round draft choices were Will Middlebrooks (Boston #1 prospect and #56 overall in baseball) and Anthony Rizzo. Cubs fifth and sixth? That would be Brandon Guyer and Casey Lambert. That came in a draft where the Red Sox didn’t have a first rounder and their second rounder didn’t sign. The draft should be fun for many years to come.

  • die hard

    Interesting that 2 are SS……wouldnt it make sense to trade Castro now for 3 everyday players who could help Cubs go for it in 2012, 2013 and 2014 while these kids mature?…move Barney to SS and have tryouts at 2B unless Cano is one of the players in exchange

    • TWC

      Nice cast, die hard. Let’s see how many you reel in with that one.