Baseball Prospectus Releases 2012 Top Ten Cubs Prospects

We’ve entered the prospecting offseason, a period which lasts from about November until mid-January, during which a number of publications will release their “Top X-number of Cubs Prospects for 2012.” We’ve already seen an updated post-season top prospects list from, as well as a number of league-specific lists from Baseball America.

Now we’ve got a top ten list from Baseball Prospectus, which ranks the Cubs’ top ten thusly:

1. OF Albert Almora

2. SS Javier Baez

3. OF Jorge Soler

4. RHP Arodys Vizcaino

5. 1B Dan Vogelbach

6. OF Brett Jackson

7. RHP Pierce Johnson

8. RHP Duane Underwood

9. 3B Christian Villanueva

10. RHP Dillon Maples

Immediate reactions: Almora over Baez at the top is a mild surprise, and suggests that BP is extremely high on Almora (because everyone is high on Baez right now). Vogelbach ahead of Jackson and Johnson is also a mild surprise, but folks seem to be coming around to the idea that Vogelbach’s bat is just that good (even if he’s a true 1B/DH-only type). I’m surprised to see Underwood and Maples make the list over, for example, Juan Carlos Paniagua. His lack of professional experience would seem to be the reason … but those two don’t have much professional experience yet, either. All in all, I’m encouraged to see at least four pitchers on the list.

In the subscription portion of the article, BP mentions that Paniagua, Marco Hernandez, and Jeimer Candelario are considered prospects “on the rise,” while Tony Zych, Trey McNutt, and Junior Lake are listed as the most likely to make an impact in 2013 (the former two, presumably, because they’re strict bullpenners at this point, and the latter because he’s already on the 40-man, and it’s time to show something). Overall, BP is complimentary of the Cubs’ system, both because of its impact talent at the top, and overall depth of talent.

Thoughts? Reactions? Complaints?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

174 responses to “Baseball Prospectus Releases 2012 Top Ten Cubs Prospects”

  1. Matthew

    I’ve read the article, and I think Almora at #1 has more to do with Baez’s risk factor being extremely high.

  2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I disagree with them, but it is all subjective at this point. I personally feel Baez production/upside/skills are better than Almora at this point.

  3. Drew7

    The only thing that strikes me as odd is the exclusion of Paniagua. After him, Almora, Baez, Soler, and Vizcaino, you could make arguments for at least 15 guys to be included at 6-10.

    Also a little weird that Jackson didn’t fall any further I guess.

  4. Smitty

    So five of these guys were not even in our system last year and we still have people questioning the FO’s moves right now? It seems to me that this FO is slowly making this an ORGANIZATION that is full of talent. Obviously it is lacking in talent in Chicago, but that will come and we cannot rush it if we want it done right.

    1. Spoda17

      … amen

    2. Kyle

      1) It’s normal to add a few guys to your top 10 every year. You are drafting and graduating every season. There’s supposed to be a lot of turnover.

      2) No one ever won the World Series by having the best minor league rankings.

      1. hansman1982

        2) – I wonder if there is any correlation between prospect rankings and big club success.

        1. Kyle

          There appears to be some, anecdotally. But not nearly as high as the correlation between big-league talent and winning the World Series.

          1. Norm

            That leads to the question, how did the team acquire the big league talent?
            My guess is that most is from the farm system.

            1. Kyle

              Roughly a 50/50 mix in general.

          2. hansman1982

            That is part of my questioning. I know having the #1 farm system means jack diddly to that year’s team but is there a positive correlation at X years down the road.

            1. Kyle

              Yes. There’s definitely some correlation.

      2. terencem

        1) I can’t remember the Cubs adding three top 50 prospects in a one year span before.

        1. David

          Don’t forget also having added Rizzo, who would easily be a top 50 if not for having graduated this year.

        2. Kyle

          I guess it’s three if you include Rizzo.

          I don’t think we’ve ever done it before. Some interesting years I found while checking:

          In 2007, we drafted Vitters and signed Fukudome, both of whom appeared in BA’s top-50 the following list.

          It wasn’t immediate, but in 1999 we signed Angel Guzman and Hee Seop Choi, and we drafted Ben Christensen. All would make top-50 appearances on the BA list at some point.

          The 2002 list is so depressing. The Cubs had *five* top-50 guys, including two of the top six, and seven guys in the top-100 in total.

          2. Mark Prior
          6. Juan Cruz
          40. Hee Seop Choi
          45. David Kelton
          48. Bobby Hill
          68. Nic Jackson
          80. Carlos Zambrano

          Fascinating that the lowest of the seven had the best career.

      3. MightyBear

        Who did we graduate?

        1. Kyle

          From the 2011 BP list, Vitters and Castillo.

          1. hansman1982

            If Jackson is on the prospect list then Vitters is still prospect eligible. He would fall into the 10-20 category at this point.

            1. Picklenose

              At the risk of being very negative, I think Vitters became ineligible after they saw him play.

  5. ihop

    Almora shoukd never be above baez. Both hit for high averages. Baez hits way more homers and packs more power than almora. He also plays a tougher position. Almoras ceiling is jacoby ellsbury . Baez’s ceiling is probably a-rod.

    1. TC

      Calm down there, chief. A-Rod was a mega-star at the age of 20, and was in the majors at the age of 18, and was one of the most talented high school players of all time. Baez went 9th in a draft, albeit a good one. Baez will probably be very good, but A-Rod’s prime was a top-10 player of all time, and expecting Baez to even approach that is pretty ludicrous

      1. ihop

        Well a-rod injected himself with magical juices called steroids. They improve ones performance in sports tenfold. Ever heard of them? If baez was on em he’d be better than a-rod. If u would like to try them out sometime theres probably some testosterone needles in your mothers purse.

        1. TC

          Regardless of what A-Rod took, the chances of Baez getting anywhere near that level of play are extraordinarily remote. Baez is still a very incomplete hitter, and every year he spends in the minors correcting that is a year he isn’t adjusting to MLB stuff. The longer he waits, the lower his ceiling gets. That doesn’t mean his ceiling drops considerably, but it definitely takes him out of the best-of-all-time levels of play

        2. Spencer

          Testy, testy.

        3. Cubbie Blues

          I will not insult your intelligence by presuming to think that you actually believe what you just said.

        4. TWC

          If u would like to try them out sometime theres probably some testosterone needles in your mothers purse.

          Can you clarify this, ihop? Are you suggesting that TC’s mom is at or near A-Rod level due to her steroid use? Can she play adequate 3B? Maybe we should take a flyer on her with a non-roster invite to Spring Training…

          1. ihop

            I meant your mother twc. Quit trying to be internet smart ass. You’re obviously big man on campus ; 0

            1. hansman1982

              no, wait…that has to be your mother and my testosterone needle…or is it your purse and my…

            2. DarthHater

              Quit trying to be internet smart ass.

              Yea, you’ve already got that job pretty well covered. Pissant.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, ARod went from A to AAA in his very first season as an 18 year old. By comparison, Harper “only” went from A to AA in his very first season as an 18 year old. Baez went from A to A+ at 19. That doesn’t mean that Baez won’t be good: but he’s not going to be a “Mozart.”

    2. MikeG

      From the comments Jason Parks responds:

      “It’s clear in the breakdown that Baez is the monster on the farm, but his approach to the game (at the present) increases his risk and lowers his floor. Almora is the safer prospect, but he doesn’t have the same impact offensive weapons as Baez.

      We have an article coming out tomorrow that shows the behind-the-scenes of the Baez/Almora debate.”

  6. TC

    When commenting on lists like this, I think it is important for all of us to remember that the guys writing these lists and their sources have seen these guys take dozens and dozens of swings and throw many games. Very few of us have seen more than even the rare highlight from this group.

    For example, all of us know that Baez raked, and probably saw a few videos of his mammoth home runs. Most of us think, because of that, that he’s a top-15 prospect in baseball, and in no way could Almora be a higher prospect. However, none of us have seen many videos of Almora’s supposed great defense, or of Baez flailing at everything in Daytona. We, as fans, are not privy to a *ton* of information, and these lists should help us fill in our information gaps, rather than be something we argue with based on our very limited knowledge base

    1. Ptbnl

      Are you trying to say that a bunch of people commenting on the Internet don’t know more than the people who deal with prospects every day of their lives? That’s crazy talk!!

      1. TC

        yeah, you’d think this would be a concept most people would get, but I always see people arguing with lists, it just seems so useless to me

    2. Kyle

      To be honest, there’s a lot of Cubs fans on the internet who I would argue know the Cubs’ system better than the people doing the rankings.

      It’s important to note that while their *sources* have seen these guys many times, the writers have not. The writers are expected to divide their time roughly equally between 30 different organizations. Parks may be smarter than us about prospects, but he’s not 30 times smarter. He knows a crap-ton more than I do about the Texas Rangers’ system or the Baltimore Orioles’, but I’m pretty comfortable in how well I know the Cubs’ system.

      1. TC

        Not to come off as a major prick here, but why do you feel you know the system so well?

        Sure you can see all the stats that the rest of us see, and read the same guys, but you don’t have access to the area scouts and the team scouts that guys like KLaw, KG, and Parks have. They talk to people who have seen hundreds of at bats/pitches thrown by each of the players they consider for a list, and they themselves have usually seen a pretty good amount of the player. Maybe they’ve only seen the guy the same amount as you, but they have the ability to supplement that with the opinions of multiple guys who have seen them hundreds of times more than you. They have a treasure trove of information on players that we just cant get our hands on that is 90% of the value in trying to rank prospects, stats being the other 10%. You can feel like you know a prospect well, but you just can’t qualify and support your feelings and thoughts like they can

        1. Kyle

          “Not to come off as a major prick here, but why do you feel you know the system so well?”

          Have you noticed I spend roughly four metric tons of time on the internet following the Cubs’ minor leagues?

          Let’s say Jason Parker examines 40 players from each farm system, very roughly the number actual prospects (non-filler) in each organization before you get down into the pre-18 Dominican kids.

          That’s 1200 players he has to keep track of. If he’s putting in 50 hour weeks, that means he has time to devote two hours to each player every year, and that’s assuming he spreads his time equally among all the players, which he isn’t.

          I guarantee you I’ve spent a lot more time reading about, watching, and thinking about Ronald Torreyes than Jason Parks or Keith law has.

          And I have access to scouts, too. Not quite as much as he does, but the veil has been pulled pretty far back in the internet age. Besides all the indirect scouting reports we get republished through these pundits, I know of at least three professional scouts posting to various Cubs’ message boards and willing to talk about Cubs prospects.

          1. Chris

            MiLB makes it so easy to watch games these days. Anybody spending time commenting on this board is probably more of a fanatic than most other fans, and they’re accessing whatever available information they can get about this team. Kyle’s assessment is fair. While maybe we’re not scouts, I don’t think the writers of these list are either. They talk to scouts, but ultimately they’re collecting information for so many more teams than we care about, whereas we’re focusing on one team.

          2. Picklenose

            Kyle – how do you measure time with metric tons? Metric tons measure mass. It weakens your credibility.

            1. Kyle

              One metric ton is equal to one #@%#ton when I find myself in a situation where I want to keep it reasonably clean.

            2. DarthHater

              Kyle also made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.

  7. calicubsfan007

    I am just happy that we have pitchers on it. Granted, not the top three, but it seems to be an improvement.

  8. ETS

    I love seeing the big man in at #5. I really hope to see Vogelbach play live next year.

  9. clark addison

    When Theo took over, he said there were no impact players in the system.

    He went and got some.

  10. Curt

    maybe it could be explained to me just what it is that puts almora past Baez and what is Baez extremely high risk factor just curious.

    1. TC

      Baez has zero plate discipline right now, and better pitchers are going to take advantage of that. He has a lot to learn in terms of his approach at the plate

    2. Norm

      4.3% BB rate
      21.5% K rate
      Yes, small sample…first year….18 years old….etc, etc, but that’s the jist of it.

    3. cubchymyst

      Almora did not have a much better walk rate in Rookie league

      2.5% BB rate
      10.0% K rate

      Same caveats about small sample size and what not.

      I wouldn’t argue that Almora has plate discipline yet, maybe better contact skill due to the lower K rate.

      1. cubchymyst

        *Almora has better plate discipline yet (edit button)

      2. Kyle

        That’s just the thing. Hit tool is the great equalizer. We dismiss it at the MLB level to a degree, but in predicting which prospects will advance and which ones won’t. Almora’s hit tool (and defense) make him a relatively safe bet.

        Baez is a high-risk, high-reward guy. He’s like a super version of Junior Lake. If he puts it all together, he can be a franchise-changing talent the likes of which we haven’t seen since Pentland taught that Sosa kid to lay off the slider (and also probably steroids, yeah, yeah, I know).

        But I’d still put it at less than 50/50 that we ever see him start an entire season for a major league team. There’s just so many holes that need to be fixed in his game.

        1. Chris

          If you’re talking baseball instincts though, there’s no contest. Baez is tons the best. They both are free-swinging physical specimens. Baez is head and shoulders a better defender. When I say that, I’m relying on watching both play on several occasions. I don’t think you can hold high error totals against a young SS, as they both have had those. But watching each of them play the position, you can tell that Baez is a baseball player and Lake is a physical marvel that has physical ability that should translate well to baseball. While Lake may be faster and he’s certainly taller and bigger, Baez has more raw power and a better hit tool.

          1. Kyle

            Agreed. I wasn’t trying to compare the two directly by any means.

            It’s just that Baez has so much amazing talent. His bat speed just makes your jaw drop. But there’s still a lot of real obstacles between him and a big-league quality skill set.

  11. willis

    Man…Kane County is going to be a fun watch next year. Could argue that 6 of those guys will begin their seasons there.

  12. Dumpgobbler

    I’d have Paniagua on there, probably even before Vizcaino. Paniagua is legit peeps.

    1. terencem

      I think it’ll be a year before the prospect rankers bite on Paniagua since their exposure to him has been limited and his velocity has bounced around since the first time he was signed.

  13. ihop

    We need to nab the best overall player in june. Probably austin meadows

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I would be surprised if anyone would think Meadows is the best overall player in June in the draft. There are 2 college pitchers better. We will go with a college pitcher most likely in the draft.

      1. myporsche

        Good Pitching Is abundant in the mlb. The cubs have money to burn and could aquire it when needed. Meadows has been compared to josh hamilton, those kinds of players are rarer than a good but not great pitcher. I doubt any of the college pitchers will become verlanders

        1. nkniacc13

          If meadows is willing to sign under slot then that could be where the cubs go regardless. I doubt him Stanek and Appel would sign under slot but who knows

  14. Cedlandrum

    I’m a bit surprised that Vitters isn’t in the top 10. Even with his below par performance in the bigs, he did have a pretty decent year in AAA and he is still quite young.

    1. Cedlandrum

      That said it speaks to the depth that he and Candelario, Hernandez and Paniauia are not on the list.

  15. Fastball

    It’s a matter of preference by the analysts at BP. It could be so much as recent talent progressing through systems at a very young such as Trout and Harper are outfielders.
    Who knows the rationale. It isn’t even important to do a mental deep dive on it. You could ask 100 different people the question of which of these players should be ranked 1 – 5. You would get a lot of different answers i.e. listings of the 1 -5 and unless you interviewed them all you would never know their thought process. To the end, it doesn’t matter. They are well thought of and they have high end value to the Cubs organization.

    1. TC

      bingo. best possible perspective on this stuff, right here

  16. Freshness21

    Reaction = Cautious optimism

  17. Fastball

    My opinion on ARod and Peds. Peds don’t give you the ability to field a ball, catch it, throw it. They don’t give you the ability to hit a ball. Talent and skill are needed to have an eye and a swing that is repeatable as well as conducive to squaring up a baseball. Peds do not give an athlete talent. They do enhance strength, ability to recover from injury etc. ARod made it through the instructional league levels because of the team he was on and the health of that organization at that time. He was a phenom and whether he used Peds or not he was still a phenom in the sport. He did Peds because they were all using them. In that era you had to keep up with the Jones’. How you going to let someone who if a non user had the strength and ability to recover from aches and pains in 3/4 the time it took someone who was a user. You couldn’t and you had to compromise yourself to stay employed in the sport. Because most were using them it would have been difficult not too. It wasn’t right but Baseball made or allowed it to be right. As in any sport where you earn a paycheck you do what ever it takes to keep the next guy from taking your job. NFL guys go in the locker room and take the shot in the knee because if they don’t the guy behind them might not ever relinquish that spot. Then you are an athlete with no income and no future.

    1. Believe in 2015

      Totally agree, Fastball. I believe that PED’s won’t make bad players great. PED’s help the good players maintain and improve at an already high level of play. I don’t want people to think that I am okay with players taking PED’s though.

    2. Cubbie Blues

      I will disagree with one part.

      They do enhance strength

      They don’t make you stronger. They help you recover faster so you can workout more often and build more muscle.

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Look, I take synthetic Testosterone and a high level of it. If you guys don’t think it makes your reaction time better, you are fooling yourself. Part of that reaction time is squaring up something. I am a golfer and I hit the ball further while on the cream. Not because I am stronger, but because I have better reaction time of situating my club to square up the ball. It most certainly has an impact on your game. Why do you guys think a guy came out of nowhere to be the All Star MVP, first half of the season MVP, and then failed for testosterone? It sure as hell can make an average player better, if they use it right. There is a “peak” feel on it and it is typically about 2 hours after you take it if you are using the cream. I take Axiron now. That goes under your armpit. I have taken Testim and Androderm as well as the injections. I like Axiron the best because its daily and the boost is longer. The shot gives you a huge boost but it is weekly. Most players will use the daily cream, guaranteed. Yes I have a prescription for it before anyone asks. But, if you think it doesn’t improve a player you haven’t taken it.

        1. myporsche

          Hate to burst your bubble but the only functions of the hormone testosterone is creating sperm and controlling male characteristics. The ped most players used was hgh, human growth hormone. Thats the one that makes you big. I think you’re just exhibiting a mere placebo effect.

        2. DoubleDown

          Why would you go there?

    3. Gcheezpuff

      Actually the use of Peds improves vision and reflex meaning you could see a baseball better and react and put a better swing on it or field it better.

  18. someday...2015?

    Im not suprised at all to see Almora ranked #1. He’s got just about every tool, and he’s only 18. People don’t see the power yet but again, he’s only 18. I see 35, 40 homerun potential from Almora… I said it the day he got drafted and im sticking by it till it happens. Albert Almora will win the NL MVP one day, with a clip of .300+ 40 HR and 120+ RBI leading the Cubs to a central division crown and a world series title! You heard it here first.

  19. someday...2015?

    Brett or Luke, do you think Lake would be an option at 3rd? I know Starlin wants to play every day as does the gold glove winner. Unless he can play in the outfield I don’t see any other spot for Lake other then trying him out at 3rd.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      His bat has a ways to go before we think about him in the Bigs. He should get his first glimpse of AAA this year (if he is still with the club).

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Or, what Brett said.

        1. someday...2015?

          So other then Baez there really isn’t a clear option for a future ‘star’ third baseman, is there?

          1. Luke

            Don’t dismiss Candelario. There is a ton of potential there that is still rounding into form. He’s not a certain star, but I think that’s within the range of possibility with him.

  20. JulioZuleta

    Candelario should be on there. Underwood should not be, mostly just because he is so raw that he’s realistically 5 years from sniffing the big leagues, and is much, much more likely than not to ever get there.

  21. MightyBear

    I agree with Brett, even though they’re young, I’m ecstatic to see 4 pitchers on there. More would be even better. I’m curious to see what Luke thinks. Luke?

  22. When the Music's Over

    Something that people cannot see without the subscription is the expected major league timeline for a lot of these guys. While BP may be taking a conservative approach, the writeup guesses that the majority of these guys won’t reach the MLB level until 2015 or beyond. Additionally, you cannot expect these guys to be highly effective immediately upon call up. In many (or most cases) it takes a guy a few years to really hit his stride, and in other cases, unfortunately the guy never makes it.

    Those that are preaching patience at the expense of purposely taking several MLB years, better be ready (not saying it will take quite this long) to be real patient.

    Dates in parentheses From BP:

    1. OF Albert Almora (2016)
    2. SS Javier Baez (2015)
    3. OF Jorge Soler (2015)
    4. RHP Arodys Vizcaino (2011)
    5. 1B Dan Vogelbach (2016)
    6. OF Brett Jackson (blank)
    7. RHP Pierce Johnson (2015)
    8. RHP Duane Underwood (2017)
    9. 3B Christian Villanueva (2014)
    10. RHP Dillon Maples (2017)

    1. DoubleDown

      You can’t genarlize people. Something that people cannot see without the subscription is the expected major league timeline for a lot of these guys

      1. When the Music's Over

        Why, are cyborgs or robots reviewing the list?

    2. hansman1982

      My contention is NOT that Theo/Jed want to build an All-Farm team but they need a great farm system to build a great MLB team.

      This is a FO that is NOT afraid to trade away big time talent to get big time talent back which is half the reason you have a farm system.

      1. Kyle

        I don’t know if I’d agreed that you “need” a great farm system in order to build a great MLB team. It definitely helps, though.

        But the ultimate issue is whether you need to do what they’ve done to build a great farm system, or whether it’s best to let it develop organically without diverting significant MLB-level resources toward it.

        1. DoubleDown

          But the ultimate issue is whether you need to do what they’ve done to build a great farm system, or whether it’s best to let it develop organically without diverting significant MLB-level resources toward it.

          What? Sometimes you make no sense.

          1. Kyle

            OK, I’ll try to explain.

            The farm system develops naturally by drafting new players and signing new IFAs every offseason. If our front office is as good at scouting and development as we all think they are, then our farm system could become very good via this method alone.

            Instead, they’ve chose to divert resources that would normally be used to try to win Major League games to try to improve the farm system. That includes money and playing time, i.e. signing the most “flippable” players instead of the best ones.

            Everybody wants a good farm system. Nobody thinks the farm doesn’t matter. We’re just differing on whether it’s desirable to speed up the development of the farm by the chosen means.

            1. When the Music's Over

              “Instead, they’ve chose to divert resources that would normally be used to try to win Major League games to try to improve the farm system.”

              I think you meant to say, they’ve chose to divert ALMOST ALL resources….

            2. DoubleDown

              Instead, they’ve chose to divert resources that would normally be used to try to win Major League games to try to improve the farm system.

              Show me proof, not opinion.

              1. Kyle

                “Show me proof, not opinion.”

                I have no idea where you would draw that distinction, so I don’t know how to answer that.

                1. DoubleDown

                  No, the question was where do YOU draw that distinction!

                  1. Kyle

                    Well, in the last offseason, the Cubs focused on possibly underrated players to short-term deals and gave them playing time, then flipped the one the one that drew interest for prospects.

                    This offseason, they are again talking about how they hope to find possibly underrated assets on short-term deals, and have talked about the possibility of making significant trades in the same vein yet again.

                    So while they haven’t come out and said “we are going to flip major league players for prospects this year,” they couldn’t possibly make it more clear that is their goal.

                    If you want to claim some sort of semantic victory about whether that constitutes “proof” or not, that’s your prerogative, but it would be obscuring the reality of the situation, imo.

                    1. DoubleDown

                      No. I don’t want to claim victory of any sort Kyle. You do make many legit arguments. But do give some kind of proof to supprt your agument.

        2. Mick

          If you go back to your post for the 2002 Cubs’ top-50 prosepects, Bobby Hill was traded for Aramis Ramirez and Hee Seop Choi was traded for Derrek Lee.

          1. Chris

            Those are solid trades made to fill two gaping holes that existed in 2003 and 2004. They are extreme examples of why a good farm system is necessary. Unfortunately, the main reason those deals could be made at that time was because both teams were addressing financial concerns in dealing their young stars. I don’t see many similar opportunities out there at the moment to trade for a young, good player for monetary reasons. And with the new TV deal, I think there will be less reason for small market teams to make such deals going forward. But obviously, those are the types of deals the FO should be trying to uncover. Also, it just feels to me like Baez, Soler, Almora are much better prospects at this stage than those guys were at the time of those trades. Choi had already failed a bit in the majors. Hill too. But teams were willing to take them to shed potential payroll headaches and at least get something for guys that would leave via free agency eventually anyway.

            1. Mick

              My point was that the Cubs couldn’t have achieved those deals if they didn’t have a deep farm system with top-tier talent. Give Theo time to build up the farm system and core of MLB players so that when the time comes we’ll have the option to trade from our abundance of talent to acquire the last remaining holes on our MLB roster.

              1. Kyle

                The Cubs were able to pull off the Garza trade without needing an extremely deep or impressive farm system.

                1. Mick

                  At the time of the Garza trade, Tampa Bay was negotiating with at least 3 other teams for Garza’s services. If the Cubs didn’t have the right pieces the Rays wouldn’t have picked our deal.

                2. Marcel91

                  Yea and they gutted it with that deal. I’m just glad Tampa wanted Chiniros over Castillo or else we’d all be raging. Granted, Archer and Lee have not lived up to their status but if they did that would go down as one of Hendry’s worst trades unless we get more than we gave up for Garza

          2. Kyle

            Thank you, Jim Hendry, for those strokes of brilliance.

        3. Chris

          I don’t think you “need” a great farm system to build a contender, but it certainly can’t hurt. I’ll be watching for your assessments on whatever upcoming signings they make, as well as your thoughts on opportunities lost, while they actually happen instead of in retrospect. (Not saying you weren’t timely last year, I just wasn’t paying attention.) While I understand all of your thoughts around 2012 resources not be allocated to your expectations, I feel like 2013 will be different. They won’t fill all the needs, 3B will be tough, but I fully expect to see a myriad of ML team improvements during the next couple of months.

          1. When the Music's Over

            They will make improvements, but it won’t be in hopes of winning or making the playoffs (if they stumble into that, then all for the better). It will be in the hope of not completely alienating fans, and more directly in the hope of flipping these off-season improvements for more young assets.

            Trust me, I’m all for rebuilding, but I’m not going to kid myself into being dumb enough to think the Cubs actually want to win this year. Almost every single message out of the front office has been to stockpile talent. Best way to do that after trading away your major league assets (that cupboard is almost dry) is to get top draft talent. The only way to accomplish that is to make sure you lose.

      2. When the Music's Over

        For sure. Agreed. Just seems the sentiment (and a lot of the pointed aggression towards Kyle) is that the Cubs should simply sit around, spend literally as little as possible on the payroll (eg, just enough to not completely alienate fans) and wait until the farm is “ready”. Then, voila, sign a few key free agents and dominate. That’s a) very far away, b) not that simple, c) leaves so much room for error and d) leaves a purposely shit team for what could amount to as long as 2-4 more years, and that timeline assumes all falls into place as planned.

  23. BWA

    Has Baseball Prospectus or anyone else ranked the MLB farm systems yet? I’d be interested to see where the Cubs stand.

  24. #1lahairfan

    I like the vogelbach rating

  25. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Sounds like Trevor Bauer was made available. Wonder if we have anything that could make an attractive deal. Don’t want another Zambrano though. If he can keep his head and listen to his catcher his talent is undeniable.

    1. someday...2015?

      No doubt the Cubs will go after Bauer. He may be expensive but he is also exactly what the Cubs are looking for right now. Young power arm with potential ace ability. You better believe the Cubs will at least have a talk to the Padres about Bauer.

    2. Mick

      According to Kendrick (DBacks Managing Partner), the team is interested in a top of the rotation starting pitcher with experience. That may open up the door to a Matt Garza deal in ST. They’re also looking to upgrade their 3B and SS which we couldn’t help them.

      1. someday...2015?

        Garza, Barney, and Vogelbach + a PTBNL for Bauer and Upton? Im no expert, just throwing a crazy trade out their:)

        1. someday...2015?

          Check that, you would probably have to throw in one of Soler, Almora, or Baez to get that done.

        2. Mick

          I doubt Garza would be used to acquire both Upton and Bauer but could definitely see a package to acquire one or the other. It’s interesting that Upton now has 4 new teams on his no-trade list. Either way, Garza is injured and probably won’t get traded until he can demonstrate otherwise.

          1. fortyonenorth

            I think it’s ironic that Matt Garza is worthless until proven otherwise while teams are lining up to bid on McCarthy who suffered a near-fatal brain injury and who, to my knowledge, hasn’t thrown a pitch since then.

            1. Kyle

              No one’s giving McCarthy the $10+ million that Garza’s getting next year, let alone prospects on top of it.

            2. Mick

              While I agree the two injuries are parallel in seriousness, the recovery schedule for those two injuries are completely different. McCarthy’s injury equates to a bruise which was alleviated by the surgical procedure. Garza’s elbow stress reaction is only cured by rest and even then needs to be re-evaluted once a throwing program begins. What remains to be seen or documented with McCarthy’s injury is if he suffered any concussion related symptons which could lead to a longer recovery. Either way, signing McCarthy to a short term contract requires much less risk than trading away top prospects for a pitcher on a 1-year contract with a balky elbow.

    3. hansman1982

      If the dbacks are giving up on Bauer already that is a GIANT red flag.

  26. someday...2015?


  27. Marcel91

    If his alleged complaints of decreases in velocity and uncoachability is true then I think there’s no way we give up the prospects needed to acquire him. I expect the Dbacks to accept no less than Baez or Almora for him.

  28. ruby2626

    For all the media complaining that we didn’t get enough for Maholm and Dempster our return is sitting at #4 and #9 on our prospects list, pretty good return if you ask me.

    It’s ironic that when Jim Hendry finally figured out how to be a good G.M. he got canned. Too bad we didn’t have more years where we spent the 3rd highest amount of money on drafted and international players. Don’t get me wrong for his $210M+ All Star outfield of Soriano, Bradley and Fukudome he deserved to get fired, just sayin.

  29. nkniacc13

    With this ranking is why I think Villanueva has to be protected in the rule 5 draft

  30. Carne Harris

    How many of them weren’t even here before this FO? 5, 6? Gotta love the job they’re doing.

    1. When the Music's Over

      Hendry is responsible for 2, 5, 6, 10 and one could argue that Hendry was responsible for 9, as he was the one that took the chance of signing Dempster after his TJ surgery. That said, Theo and crew have done a great job of infusing talent into the organization in only 1 year’s time.

      1. Ted

        Yeah I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say new FO did SO MUCH LOOK AT THAT LIST. Whoever we picked 1 this year would be on our top ten, and with the green light for foreign prospect investment Hendry would have been in on Soler too. Great job on the vizcaino deal and nice to see two later round picks make top ten already (though 1 making it isn’t that surprising) , but lets not get too excited.

        1. Carne Harris

          Six out of the top ten in one year’s work? Really should be 7 with Paniagua. Lot to be excited about there.

          1. Goldencub

            I agree. 6 in one year is good. The key thing I think the FO may have done thought is lay the groundwork for true player development in the minors, which has been sorely lacking over the years. That combined with identifying the good talent is what has me optimistic.