On the heels of ranking the 30 farm systems in baseball (the Chicago Cubs came in 20th), ESPN’s Keith Law also revealed his top 100 overall prospects in baseball, as well as each system’s top 10.
Unsurprisingly, the Cubs had three prospects in Law’s top 100, and they’re the three you’d expect – outfielder Brett Jackson, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and shortstop Javier Baez. Somewhat surprisingly, though, none is ranked even remotely as high as they are on other top 100 lists, save for Rizzo, who comes in at 36. Jackson, who is roundly considered a top 40 prospect, is ranked 89th by Law. Baez, usually in the top 50, is 95th.
Law’s work is premium content, so you’ll have to pay if you want all the details, including a brief scouting report on each of the three players in the top 100. In short, Law likes Rizzo for all the reasons others do (great numbers at a young age, great defense, great makeup, etc.). As for Baez, Law is similarly complimentary, noting Baez’s excellent swing, and strong athleticism. In fact, Law thinks it’s possible Baez could stick at shortstop (where his value would be at its highest) if he works hard enough at it, and, you know, doesn’t grow too much more.
On Jackson, Law focuses on what many naysayers do: Jackson’s lack of contact. Law praises Jackson as an athlete and a defender, but doesn’t see a great deal of power in Jackson’s future. In other words, Law sees an average MLB regular, but no more, unless Jackson cuts down on the strikeouts.
As for the Cubs’ top 10 prospects, Law’s list looks a fair bit different from others we’ve seen:
1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
2. Brett Jackson, OF
3. Javier Baez, SS
4. Trey McNutt, RHP
5. Zach Cates, RHP
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Dillon Maples, RHP
8. Josh Vitters, 3B
9. Reggie Golden, OF
10. Matt Szczur, CF
As you can see, Law is much lower on Szczur than most, and much (much) higher on, for example, Cates (who typically shows up around 15 to 20). Law is also a bit higher on Golden than most. He seems to have a preference, in general, for younger, high upside players, rather than older, higher floor types.