I mentioned this in the Bullets over the weekend, but it deserves its own spotlight: Baseball America recently released its Northwest League prospect rankings for 2012, and the Chicago Cubs were all over the place. The Boise Hawks (short season low-A), who play in the NWL, made a run to the league championship series, so some top prospect recognition was expected.
But this is serious.
The Cubs comprise more than a third of the entire top 20, with seven players listed, including four of the top nine. The Hawks’ entire 2012 infield made the list, and, indeed, those four were the ones in the top nine.
Specifically, first baseman Dan Vogelbach came in at number two, behind only Mariners’ top 2012 draft pick Mike Zunino (Albert Almora would have been up there as well, but he didn’t quite have enough plate appearances to qualify for the list). Shortstop Marco Hernandez was sixth, third baseman Jeimer Candelario was seventh, and second baseman Gioskar Amaya was ninth.
2012 draftee and super utility type (so far) Stephen Bruno came in at 15, outfielder Trey Martin was 16, and pitcher (yes, finally a pitcher) Tayler Scott was 17.
With eight teams in the NWL, each organization would expect to place about 2.5 prospects on the list. That the Cubs had seven – SEVEN – is domination. And, keep in mind: the list doesn’t even include some of the Cubs’ tip-top young prospects like Almora, Javier Baez, and Jorge Soler.
Previously, BA named its top AZL prospects for 2012, and the Cubs cleaned up there as well. As we move up to the higher ranks of the minors, the Cubs’ presence will diminish rapidly. But it’s good to see the foundation forming.