For the most part, we’ve exited the team-specific part of the pre-season rankings season, and we’re entering the overall rankings period. MLB.com wanted to be both first up and most noticed in the process, so they did a run up to the rankings last and this week, culminating in a TV special last night unveiling their overall top prospects list.
We knew going in that the Cubs were probably going to have no fewer than three prospects on the list, and given Jonathan Mayo’s positional lists, it seemed unlikely that they’d have more than three. So, it was really only a question of where each of Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler would fall in the top 100.
Well, they’re not just in the top 100 – they’re all in the top 50.
Baez, a 20-year-old shortstop, came in at number 16, placing him in the upper crust of prospects across baseball (again, according to MLB.com and Jonathan Mayo). Almora, an 18-year-old center fielder, was number 39. And Jorge Soler, a 20-year-old outfielder, was just behind Almora at number 42.
Obviously we’ve long been referring to Baez, Almora and Soler in the same breath when discussing the Cubs’ top prospects, and it would seem justifiably so.
2013 is a crucial development year for all three, as Baez looks to demonstrate his offensive prowess against better pitching (while sticking at shortstop), as Almora heads to full-season ball to show off his polished chops, and as Soler is given an opportunity to rocket as high up the organizational ladder as his bat will take him. It’ll be pretty fascinating to see where each ends up when 2013 is in the books.