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Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com yesterday released his first post-2012 (minor league seasons) prospect lists – each team gets its own top 20, and there’s an overall top 100.

The Cubs’ list has already been discussed a bit by Luke this morning, and in the comments. For your viewing pleasure, here’s the top 20, according to Mayo:

1.) Javier Baez
2.) Albert Almora
3.) Brett Jackson
4.) Arodys Vizcaino
5.) Jorge Soler
6.) Matt Szczur
7.) Trey McNutt
8.) Junior Lake
9.) Pierce Johnson
10.) Josh Vitters
11.) Dillon Maples
12.) Robert Whitenack
13.) Dan Vogelbach
14.) Ben Wells
15.) Paul Blackburn
16.) Jeimer Candelario
17.) Gioskar Amaya
18.) Tony Zych
19.) Alberto Cabrera
20.) Marcus Hatley

You’ll notice some immediate and obvious omissions, including Duane Underwood, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, Ronald Torreyes, Juan Carlos Paniagua, Jae-Hoon Ha, Nicholas Struck, Eric Jokisch, Austin Kirk, among many others. It is as much a testament to the Cubs’ fringe top 10 depth as it is to the fact that compiling these lists for all 30 teams is a tough business. Given the task, I can’t give Mayo too much grief for his list. Yes, Villanueva would have made my top 10 (to say nothing of the top 20), and Torreyes and Paniagua would have easily made my top 10. But I can understand their omission (Torreyes’ slow start and small size, Paniagua’s lack of Stateside scouting reports and data, Villanueva’s … actually, no, I really can’t understand that one). And, yes, Szczur and McNutt could have been lower.

All in all, most of the names you’d expect to be there are there. As we get into the ranking season, I think we’ll find that the Cubs’ top five is pretty much a lock to include, in some order, Baez, Soler, Almora, Jackson, and Vizcaino. From there, you’re probably going to see wild swings. The Cubs will be regarded as a system strong at the top on the positional side, weak on the pitching side, and deep in fringe MLB talent.

Carrie Muskat also put together a write-up on the rankings, which included some Baez swooning from Cubs’ Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod.

“The bat speed and raw power he displays are second to none,” McLeod said. “He needs to work on consistency with his approach at the plate as he’ll get too aggressive trying to do too much and has a tough time staying under control. On the flip side of that, he plays very under control on defense and on the bases, which is an exceptional skill to have for a player of his age.”

Baez is one of five Cubs’ prospects that made the overall top 100 (putting the Cubs behind only the Blue Jays (seven), Pirates (six) and Padres (six), in terms of total players on the list). He ranks 24, Almora is 52, Jackson is 74, Vizcaino is 76, and Soler is 77. Having just one prospect in the top 24 isn’t great, but five in the top 77 is really something.

The rankings also include positional rankings, and the Cubs placed just two in the top 10 at the various positions: Javier Baez is the fifth best shortstop prospect, and Dan Vogelbach was the sixth best first base prospect (which, coupled with his 13th ranking in the Cubs’ system is either a statement of how strong the Cubs’ system is, or, more likely, a statement of just how poorly thought of first base prospects are).

  • Fastball

    How does Jackson get a no. 3 ranking.

    He doesn’t impress me at all. Is because he got a call up. I am just not impressed by him at all. I guess this is one guys opinion. I will never buy a Jackson jersey.

    • hansman1982

      Right now he still has the potential to rattle off a couple 20/20 seasons in his prime. Now his disturbing strikeout totals this year took some of the shine off the apple but the guy is still adjusting.

      In my completely untrained eye he has gone from a guy who should go to a couple All-Star games to a guy who might pull out a couple 20-20 seasons and maybe be a injury fill-in at the All-Star game once or twice.

  • Crockett

    Just another bad list from a guy who seems to be in his own little world.

    Not just stunning omissions but weird ordering.

    Of course, if you go back at look at his 2011 list, take the 3B list for an example. Matt Dominguez #1 3B prospect in baseball? Uhhh yeah I don’t think so.

  • MightyBear

    Great article Brett. More pitching and I think I would be happy with the way things are going and the fact that a lot of the pitchers mentioned are from the new regime gives me some hope. Where is the Cubs farm system ranked overall? 13th? Thanks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d be surprised if they were any higher than 7 or any lower than 13.

  • abe

    look at the 1 year improvement theo and co have made. I would not be surprised if next year we will have a top 5 system in baseball.

    • cjdubbya

      I just hope that ends up translating to a top-5 team in baseball in the next few years.

  • Luke D

    We have quite a number of fringe prospects in our system, no flat-out stud prospects (save for Baez and maybe Soler). In no way are we stacked enough with talent. The next five, six, seven drafts are all going to matter tremendously. We have to throw more magnets at the wall and see what sticks.

    As the old adage goes, as soon as you think you have depth, you don’t have depth.

    Go Cubs.

    • King Jeff

      You don’t think Almora’s going to be a stud? I think he’s already more well rounded than both Baez and Soler.

      • Chris

        Baez is the best of the 3 at this stage, by far. And that is reflected in his top 100 ranking versus the other 2. He showed more in Peoria than Almora has shown in Boise.

      • hansman1982

        While the Cubs don’t have any Trout or Harper studs there are also 30 teams in baseball that don’t have those type of guys as prospects.

        Baez, Almora, Vizcaino, Soler are studs in every aspect of the word. If they play to their potential next year you could easily have 3 guys in the top 25 with another 2ish in the top 50.

      • Luke D

        I think Almora could be a 20-20 type player (the same projection applied for Brett Jackson), but unlike Jackson, hit for a decent average (.270-.280) and play Gold Glove defense in center field. I believe Baez’s ceiling is higher than that of Almora’s.

        When I think “stud” prospect, I imagine someone who can hit .300 or hit 30 HRs consistently — like a Harper or Trout. Almora’s greatest tool right now, as it is, is his glove and range. Baez certainly has all the makings of being just a step or two below a Harper or Trout.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Villanueva has to be a top 100 player or at worst a fringe top 100. Mayo had to forget he was picked up by us, because he is a very solid prospect.

    • Chris

      I’m not sure Villanueva is a top 100 player, but he certainly should be in the Cubs top 20 list. While he’s an ok prospect, I don’t think he’s nearly as valuable as many people thought he was when he was acquired. And I don’t think it’s a case of Mayo forgetting he was traded to the Cubs. Top 100 is top 100. I could probably argue where they are on the list, but I can’t disagree with the 5 Cubs that made the top 100.

      • EvenBetterV2.0

        Actually, Baseball America had him at 100. So, yes, he is at worst a fringe top 100 player and the fact he wasn’t a top 10 in our system is laughable at best and shows how good Mayo is. He has put up the numbers and was top 10 in a strong Rangers system.

        • Chris

          Prior to the trade though, everything I read about Villanueva suggested he had regressed this season. And he was so-so in Daytona. Therefore, I’m not surprised he’s not in the top 100. Very good defense. Probably won’t hit enough to play 3rd everyday. That’s the scouting report on him. I won’t disagree with you on Mayo. I’m not overly excited about either prospect received in the Dempster deal. It was the deal they could make to move Dempster at the deadline, and I’m fine with that. If he pans out, great. But he clearly isn’t close to Baez, Almora, or Soler in terms of ceiling, so I can’t get too excited about the kid just yet.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I also like seeing the Candyman and Amaya creeping their way up there.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    My Top ten.

    #1. Baez
    #2. Almora
    #3. Soler
    #4. Vizciano
    #5. Vogelbach
    #6. Johnson
    #7. Jackson
    #8. Villanueva
    #9. Lake
    #10. Szczur

    • terencem

      I think I like your list better than Mayo’s. I think just about everybody else will rank the outfielders:

      Almora
      Soler
      Jackson

      I think Jackson is going to slip out of a lot of top 100′s. I think Vogelbach is still held back by being a first baseman only and he’s going to have to rake everywhere he goes to get any sort of respect. Lake’s fielding % this season was .921. As a 22 year old in AA. This isn’t going to work.

      • Flashfire

        For all his strikeout problems, Jackson is currently OPSing .715 in the major leagues — on a .187 average — while Soler is in A ball. Jackson to be ranked higher at the moment. If we’re talking about ceilings, it’s Soler and it isn’t close, but we aren’t talking about ceilings.

  • bbmoney

    Exciting stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Almora and Soler ranked higher than this in other similar prospect listings.

    Of course it’ll be a lot more exciting if and hopefully when the other 4 of those 5 top 100 guys starting showing up in Chicago.

  • Flashfire

    On positional rankings: First, 5th best as a SS prospect is ridiculously good. Baez is behind: Profar, Machado, Lindor, and Hamilton. Honestly, I think you can make a case that he’s a better prospect than Lindor and maybe Hamilton, but it’s questionable. To this point, his defense has been better than advertised, but the scouting suggests that’s temporary. If he’s a third base prospect, he’s at #4 and if he’s moved to second he’s the #1 ranking 2nd baseman by a huge amount.

    Also, the Cubs tend to get hammered in positional rankings because so many of their top prospects are outfielders. You’re really taking 3 positions and cramming them into 10 slots. It’s really much more fair to talk about a top 30 in the OF. Even given that, Albert Almora is just off the top 10.

  • Austin

    Four of those top ten are courtesy of the new front office.

    That’s always great to see.

  • João Lucas

    Another big omission: Arismendy Alcantara.

    • terencem

      Alcantara is playing way above his tools and that’s something that’s going to hurt a player in just about any ranking. The Florida league is supposed to be heavily a pitchers’ league, though, so this has been an awesome year and he’s worth keeping an eye on.

  • JulioZuleta

    Not one mention of Arismendy Alcantara? He’s easy, easy, top 20. Could be top 10. I know that it’s hard to make these lists. But part of me wishes that these guys would just not do them, rather than do them in such a way that Torreyes, Alcantara, and Villanueva are omitted, and Trey McNutt makes the top 10, and Marcuz Hatley makes the top 20.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That was just a biff on my part – from the time I thought in my head whom I wanted to mention to the time I put pen to paper, he slipped out of my head. But, yes, he immediately came to mind as an omission.

      • JulioZuleta

        I know you’re a big A.A. fan. I meant I was confused that he wasn’t mentioned by Mayo. While it’s fun to look a these lists, they are have gotten to the point where the publishers take the “let’s rush and get our list out earlier, and make it even bigger than the competition’s lists” approach to the point where they get a little sloppy, and lose credibility.

        I guess I’m just saying that it is completely unreasonable to expect Mayo to rank very team’s top 20 in September, without the benefit of the offseason to do any real analysis. To do so, and have such significant names omitted, just kind of makes them pointless in my opinion. I mean, no one can argue that Marcus Hatley is a better prospect than Villanueva, AA, and Torreyes. He appears to have just forgotten about those guys, ya know?

        All that being said, please do continue to post any and all published lists. Heh.

        • JulioZuleta

          Basically, what I’m saying is that right now, on Septemer 7, after a year of following the Cubs’ farm, and pretty much only the Cubs’ farm for the past several months, I think I could make a better list than that. Now in February, when he’s had a few months to analyze/talk to scouts who know more about baseball than I’ll ever know, I’m likely to defer to his judgment.

          (Someone remind me of this in February when I’m flipping out about some expert’s list.)

  • terencem

    Also, Marcus Hatley is a non-prospect.

  • jungledrew

    Question… I know the basics of what qualifies you for rookie status… less than 130 at bats or 45 days spent on a non-expanded roster… but do all of those 130 at bats have to happen on a non-expanded roster as well? The reason I ask, is because Jackson is in line to possibly loose his rookie status right as the season ends at his current AB rate… 91 current ABs over 30 games for 3.03 AB/G x 25 more games for 75.75 ABs, or a year total of 167ish AB. Even with expanded rosters I would think they plan to play him in at the very least a 2/3 capacity, and that would still give 50.50 more AB this season, for 140ish AB finsih to the year. In which case he is no longer a prospect. And would therefore no longer be in line for prospect talk.

    It wouldn’t really necessitate major changes to anyone’s prospect lists, everyone below Jackson just moves up a slot and then we all get to fight over who we think is the 20th best prospect (and I would like to suggest that Stephen Bruno should be up for discussion for this newly vacated top 20 spot)

  • Ben

    A lot of the guys in his top 100 will drop out in the next week or so. Harvey, Gose, even Jackson will lose prospect status very quickly.

    That being said, I agree, his Cubs top 20 is very strange. I don’t blame him, though. Hard to know all 30 teams top-20 prospects really well. We know our Cubs prospects because we follow them very closely, week to week.

    • terencem

      But it’s literally Mayo’s job to know these things. I know Goldstein used to talk about his notebooks and spreadsheets full of observations on players from his own scouting reports to things he learned from other scouts and insiders. Sickels actually said in a mid-season chat that he would be working on getting more information on some of the Cubs prospects that had been making noise, like Candelario. He really should have a rough idea of every team’s top 25 at any given point in a season (not necessarily off the top of his head…) This is his job.

      • Crockett

        100% agree. And Mayo is always floating off their in his own little world. I am NOT the world’s biggest Sickels fan, but at least it seems like he does due diligence. This just seems like Mayo looked at who the Cubs had acquired and plugged them randomly into last year’s list.

  • terencem

    So a lot of posters at BCB are saying this isn’t actually “Mayo’s List”. There’s just someone at MLB.com that takes out the players who aren’t eligible and then slots in other players. So this is an incomplete update from Mayo.

    • Flashfire

      I saw that. I think Josh is wrong. Too much movement. Torreyes and Villaneuva completely fell off the list. I believe Gioskar and Jeimer swapped places and moved up.

  • die hard

    Next yr Baez to SS and Castro to LF…will relax Castro so he can become a 30/30/.325BA over next 10 yrs…he would cover lots of ground out there

    • Eric

      please stop saying things you clearly know are stupid just to upset people. You are smarter than that. Please act like it.

      • MoneyBoy

        Eric, um, no … he’s proven he’s NOT!!!

    • Carew

      wow

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    My Top 20

    1.) Javier Baez
    2.) Albert Almora
    3.) Jorge Soler
    4) Arodys Vizcaino
    5.) Brett Jackson
    6.) Dan Vogelbach
    7.) Matt Szczur
    8) Pierce Johnson
    9) Christian Villanueva
    10) Juan Carlos Paniagua
    11.) Dillon Maples
    12.) Junior Lake
    13.) Trey McNutt
    14) Duane Underwood
    15.) Josh Vitters
    16.) Logan Watkins
    17.) Robert Whitenack
    18.) Ronald Torreyes
    19.) Ben Wells
    20.) Paul Blackburn
    **20.) Jeimer Candelario
    **20.) Gioskar Amaya
    **20.) Arismendy Alcantara
    felt I had to list this 3 somewhere

    • GoCubsGo

      Best list I have seen so far!

  • Zach Hansen

    Amaya and alcantra should be higher then Torreyes. His only tool really is hitting for average. Those two have more pop and speed. Jackson wont be considered a rookie next year.

    • Scotti

      I’ve been a fan of Alcantara since he lit up the DSL in the first half of his first pro season and Amaya is a good prospect as well but neither have been moved through the minors as quickly as Torreyes. Amaya has been station to station. DSL, Mesa, Boise. No skips. He’s had a good year but he’s the same age as Torreyes and TWO levels behind. Alcantara was at the same level but has a year more experience (as well as being a full year older). Alcantara did skip a level (DSL then straight to Boise) but he hasn’t produced like Torreyes has. A healthy Torreyes showed what he can do in the second half and he wasn’t punchless. None of the three will be powerhouses. MLB avaerage power from each is about their ceilings. Alcantara IS faster and a legitimate SS. However, he’s not going to play short for the Cubs and he won’t play anything for anyone unless he can tighten up his walk to K ratio. Amaya’s ratio is fine but, since he isn’t going to be a HR guy, the K’s just really don’t look good.

      While Torreyes has but one plus, plus tool, it is the one tool that filters out who plays and who doesn’t. I wouln’t trade Torreyes for three of Alcantara and/or Amaya and I LIKE both. Torreyes’ hit tool is that special. He doesn’t just hit for high average, he does so against much more experienced players AND with a great BB/K and AB/K ratios. The rest of his game may be lacking in plus tools but all indications are that his can play 2B, run the bases and hit for far more power than his frame would suggest. Pedrioa turned that into an MVP award (before anyone gets on my case about comparing the two, Theo and Jed beat me to the punch).

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