The Cubs Have 5 of the Top 110 Prospects in Baseball, According to Keith Law

baez almora solerESPN’s Keith Law continues his week of prospecting goodness, today offering his top 100 prospect list – together with 10 who just missed the cut. As you probably expected, given yesterday’s news that he’d ranked the Cubs’ system as 5th best in all of baseball, Law has a number of Cubs on his list.

There are four Cubs in the top 100 (well, top 64, to be precise), and a fifth Cub made the “just missed” list. Javier Baez comes in at number 31, which is on the lower side of his ranking for most services this year, but it’s still quite high. Albert Almora is just behind Baez at 33, and Jorge Soler is at 42. As I predicted yesterday, Arodys Vizcaino also made the list, coming in at number 64.

And then there’s the guy who “just missed.” Is it Brett Jackson? Pierce Johnson? Juan Paniagua?

Nope. It’s Jeimer Candelario, whom Law describes thusly:

He’s an offensive third baseman with great rhythm at the plate and a smooth swing, showing just enough to make you think he can stay at third base. I’d just like to see the offensive skill set translate into a little more performance before buying in all the way, because the defense will never be a plus. If you squint, you might see a Pablo Sandoval future here.

Candelario, 19, has been a favorite among the younger group of prospects for a year and a half now, thanks in large part to his advanced discipline at the plate. He was already making some top ten lists for the organization, so you can’t really call this a huge surprise. Still, Law loves younger, high upside players, so it speaks well to Candelario’s breakout potential. Keep an eye on him in 2013.

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

110 responses to “The Cubs Have 5 of the Top 110 Prospects in Baseball, According to Keith Law”

  1. cedlandrum

    Could have as many as 7 in next year. Solar, Baez, Almora, Candelario, Pierce, 1st pick in this draft and Paniagua. Or you know less depending on how they do.

    1. ETS

      That list could contain alot more (or several less depending). Vizcaino and Villanueva are the first names in my mind. Thought the former may be a full time MLB player by the end of the year.

      1. cedlandrum

        Yeah I was thinking Vizcaino will be in the bigs. If he is not it would likely mean that he has slipped a bit. I expect him to start in AAA but be up after the deadline.

        I don’t know about Villanueva. I’m not as high on him being a top 100 guy. This will be a big year as far as showing he is a great prospect. He might just be a really good prospect.

        1. CubFan Paul

          Villanueva got a lot of scout love in 2012. Some think he can reach the majors as soon as this year.

          1. cedlandrum

            That would be hyper aggressive. I can’t see that. He will probably start the year in Tenn. but I don’t see him in Chicago next year unless Stewart flames out and Christian has a monster year in AA. Defensively he could probably play in the bigs, but his offense probably needs a bit of refinement.

    2. blublud

      Vogelbach will also be on this list by next year. I kind of suprised he not there this year.

      1. terencem

        Yeah, I think Vogelbach is a guy most other writers have above Candelario.

      2. truthhurts

        The first time Law saw Vogelbach in person, during ExSp last year, he thought his bat was very slow, and obviously his body type/defense didn’t impress. Even though Vogs came around and showed a bunch with the bat, it typically takes Law a LONG time to change his mind, if he ever does. Hopefully Vogs hits the same way this year and…boom..he’s top 75.

      3. JulioZuleta

        A whole lot of Vogelbach love on here. Notice that the list had only 1 1B prospect. Vogelbach is fun to watch, and a great hitter so far at very, very low levels, but due to his high probability of flaming out, and the likelihood that he’s going to be a DH or a below average 1B, he’s probably not a top 300 prospect right now. 1B just aren’t worth much at all.

        1. Randy

          1st really aren’t worth much at all? Guess someone should tell that to Pujols, Frank Thomas, Votto, the list can go on and on. The truth is, if he can continue to hit the lights out of the ball, he is valuable even with subpar defense. If he become an average hitter, he loses value for that lack of defense. I think it is funny that everyone talks about him “flaming out” and forget that Prince Fielder had the same rep coming out of high school. Prince was always on the top of people’s prospect lists, but Dan can’t get any love. And if anyone is wondering, Dan is listed as an Inch taller and 25 pounds lighter than Prince is.

          1. DarthHater

            Always thought that Gehrig guy was overrated…

          2. hansman1982

            In terms of prospect rankings, yes, being a 1B means you better have the most elite of bats to get a decent ranking.

            Pujols was drafted as a 3B
            I’m not sure what Votto was drafted as but played 3rd, OF and C his 1st pro season.

          3. JulioZuleta

            I think Randy kind of starts to make my own point for me. If you finish that list of good/great 1B over recent years, you’ll see it’s incredibly long, meaning they are almost all really good, and almost all relatively replaceable (See Chicago Cubs 2012: Opening day 1B was an All-Star, was then replaced by team’s AAA 1B…who is already seemingly being shoved aside by Vogelbach-mania). For example, last year, out of the 25 1B that qualified for the batting title, the 12th most productive based on WAR was…Paul Konerko. Yes, Paul Konerko, the borderline HOF candidate was average last year. So, in order to be an average 1B, Vogelbach will have to match Paul Konerko, all the while playing considerably worse D, most likely. I like Vogelbach, a lot, but people need to pump the breaks on the expectations a LOT. I think that if you polled the audience here, over half would want him to be the 1B three years from now over that washed up Rizzo guy.

    3. X The Cubs Fan

      Add Vogelbach and Villinueva

    4. Westbound Willie

      Five of the top 110? Lol. How many out of the top 134 1/2?

      I was listening to Rick Hahn a few months ago and he was saying that in 2002 the sox had 5 of the 100 ranked prospects. Only joe crede actually made it and he only lasted a couple years. Ranked prospects is a joke at the very minimum especially with the big club in shambles.

  2. North Side Irish

    I thought there was a chance Paniagua made the end of the list…Law has been quite high on him since last season. Not much of a track record yet, which is probably why he didn’t make the list.

    Also nice to see a pitcher on the list. Even though Law predicts a mid-2014 rotation spot, I’m happy to see someone giving Vizcaino a chance to be a SP.

    1. terencem

      Law has been the highest on Vizcaino among the major top 100′s over the last couple seasons.

    2. Marc N.

      His height isn’t ideal but Vizcaino has a strong and athletic frame that lends some hope to him starting. The guy with supposed TOR upside that I think has almost no shot at it is Pierce Johnson, who has a way longer list of injuries and a slighter frame despite a couple of inches in height.

      1. hansman1982

        There is no correlation between height, success or durability for SP.

        Meaning that, if Vizcaino were 6’6″ he would be just as successful as he is at 6’0″.

        1. Marc N.

          I have some trouble buying that, but it can be overrated when evaluating a prospect.

          1. hansman1982

            I was in the same boat, it just doesn’t make sense but I saw a study that looked at height and ERA and IP and there is no correlation between more height and more success.

            It could be that at the extremes there is a correlation (5′ 10″ guy won’t last same as a 7′ 0″ guy) but from 6′ – 6’6″, there isn’t.

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          The explanation is pretty simple. Size is (or can be) important for aerobic activity, and thus most sorts of “durability” as we think of them. However, pitchers tire from anaerobic muscle activity: the tiredness reflects microfiber tearing, the build-up of lactic acids, etc. Size has very little to do with that. My guess is that it’s pretty much pot-luck as to who is durable for anaerobic activity: that’s why there has been so little pattern to the Methuselah pitchers.

  3. Myles

    I can’t imagine Candelario sticking at 3B. In my opinion, he’s a first baseman which makes his stock go down considerably.

  4. Seth

    All these articles before 10 AM (CT) are making my head explode. I love it.

  5. Tim

    Brett must be in a writey kind of mood today. All together with recording tonight? Busy day!

  6. North Side Irish

    This comment on Baez sums it up nicely…”He’s one of the highest-beta prospects on this list — he could be a 30-homer shortstop, or he could stall out in Double-A because pitchers exploit him and he can’t adjust.”

    1. TWC

      I would prefer option number 1, thankyouverymuch.

      1. North Side Irish

        Law said for now he’d bet on that one too.

  7. North Side Irish

    From Law’s write up on Almora – “The joke in scouting circles last spring was that Cubs President Theo Epstein didn’t just want to draft Almora, he wanted to adopt him.”

    1. JoeCub

      We were his host family in Boise and we wanted to adopt him. Heck of a player but an even better person.

      1. truthhurts

        Thanks for what you do for the Cubs. Good to hear when our players are good people.

  8. Kukini

    I didn’t pay too much attention to the representation of other teams on this list, but for an organization he ranked #5, I expected our individual prospects to be higher. Baez is nearly double his ranking number (16), and Almora and Soler are about the same. Yes, Vizcaino made 64, and was not represented in Mayo’s top 100, but I was surprised Law wasn’t higher on our guys overall.

  9. Patrick G

    Can someone give me some insight on Paniagua? I really don’t know much about him and only heard he was an international signing?

  10. Josh t

    Please no one be mad I did this. I am a paying user of espn insiders. I’m doing it share with everyone what the complete list looks like to better gage our prospects to other prospects around the league. I apologize a head of time if this makes anyone mad.

    Keith Laws Top 100 list:

    Rank Name Pos Team Ht Wt
    1 Jurickson Profar SS TEX 5-11 165
    2 Oscar Taveras OF STL 6-2 180
    3 Dylan Bundy RHP BAL 6-1 195
    4 Wil Myers OF TB 6-3 190
    5 Xander Bogaerts SS BOS 6-3 175
    6 Christian Yelich OF MIA 6-4 189
    7 Francisco Lindor SS CLE 5-11 175
    8 Gerrit Cole RHP PIT 6-4 215
    9 Taijuan Walker RHP SEA 6-4 195
    10 Addison Russell SS OAK 6-0 185
    11 Miguel Sano 3B MIN 6-3 195
    12 Tyler Skaggs LHP ARI 6-4 195
    13 Zack Wheeler RHP NYM 6-3 180
    14 Travis d’Arnaud C NYM 6-2 195
    15 Mike Zunino C SEA 6-2 220
    16 Jose Fernandez RHP MIA 6-2 220
    17 Anthony Rendon 3B WAS 5-11 170
    18 Gary Sanchez C NYY 6-2 195
    19 Aaron Sanchez RHP TOR 6-4 190
    20 Jameson Taillon RHP PIT 6-6 225
    21 Shelby Miller RHP STL 6-3 195
    22 Byron Buxton CF MIN 6-1 188
    23 Kaleb Cowart 3B LAA 6-3 190
    24 Carlos Correa SS HOU 6-4 190
    25 Trevor Bauer RHP CLE 6-1 185
    26 Kevin Gausman RHP BAL 6-4 185
    27 Kyle Zimmer RHP KC 6-3 215
    28 Julio Teheran RHP ATL 6-2 150
    29 Archie Bradley RHP ARI 6-4 225
    30 Billy Hamilton CF CIN 6-1 160
    31 Javier Baez SS CHC 6-1 205
    32 Jonathan Singleton 1B HOU 6-2 215
    33 Albert Almora OF CHC 6-1 170
    34 Alen Hanson SS PIT 5-11 152
    35 Mason Williams OF NYY 6-0 150
    36 Austin Hedges C SD 6-1 190
    37 David Dahl OF COL 6-2 185
    38 Nick Castellanos 3B/RF DET 6-4 210
    39 Carlos Martinez RHP STL 6-0 165
    40 Jackie Bradley Jr. CF BOS 5-10 180
    41 Kyle Gibson RHP MIN 6-6 210
    42 Jorge Soler OF CHC 6-3 205
    43 George Springer CF HOU 6-4 205
    44 Brian Goodwin CF WAS 6-0 190
    45 Bubba Starling OF KC 6-4 180
    46 Corey Seager SS LAD 6-3 195
    47 Taylor Guerrieri RHP TB 6-3 195
    48 Robert Stephenson RHP CIN 6-2 190
    49 Aaron Hicks CF MIN 6-2 185
    50 Jonathan Schoop SS BAL 6-1 187
    51 Max Fried LHP SD 6-4 185
    52 Tyler Austin OF NYY 6-2 200
    53 Chris Archer RHP TB 6-3 180
    54 Rymer Liriano OF SD 6-0 211
    55 Gregory Polanco CF PIT 6-4 170
    56 Dorssys Paulino SS CLE 6-0 175
    57 Slade Heathcott CF NYY 6-1 190
    58 Trevor Rosenthal RHP STL 6-2 190
    59 Oswaldo Arcia OF MIN 6-0 210
    60 Casey Kelly RHP SD 6-3 195
    61 Alex Meyer RHP MIN 6-7 205
    62 Justin Nicolino LHP MIA 6-3 160
    63 Allen Webster RHP BOS 6-3 185
    64 Arodys Vizcaino RHP CHC 6-0 189
    65 Eddie Rosario 2B/CF MIN 6-0 170
    66 Danny Hultzen LHP SEA 6-3 200
    67 Zach Lee RHP LAD 6-4 190
    68 Jake Odorizzi RHP TB 6-2 175
    69 Nick Franklin SS SEA 6-1 170
    70 Jedd Gyorko 3B SD 5-10 195
    71 Mike Olt 3B TEX 6-2 215
    72 Daniel Corcino RHP CIN 5-11 165
    73 Wily Peralta RHP MIL 6-2 225
    74 Courtney Hawkins OF CWS 6-3 220
    75 Matt Davidson 3B ARI 6-3 225
    76 Kyle Crick RHP SF 6-4 220
    77 Lucas Giolito RHP WAS 6-6 225
    78 Hak-Ju Lee SS TB 6-2 170
    79 Matt Barnes RHP BOS 6-4 205
    80 Clayton Blackburn RHP SF 6-3 220
    81 Alex Colome RHP TB 6-2 185
    82 Jake Marisnick CF MIA 6-4 200
    83 Delino DeShields Jr. 2B HOU 5-9 188
    84 Luis Heredia RHP PIT 6-6 205
    85 Trevor Story SS COL 6-1 175
    86 Jarred Cosart RHP HOU 6-3 180
    87 Roberto Osuna RHP TOR 6-2 230
    88 Joe Ross RHP SD 6-3 185
    89 A.J. Cole RHP WAS 6-4 180
    90 Cody Buckel RHP TEX 6-0 170
    91 Adam Eaton CF ARI 6-2 190
    92 Adam Morgan RHP PHI 6-1 195
    93 Martin Perez LHP TEX 6-0 178
    94 J.R. Graham RHP ATL 6-0 185
    95 Jesse Biddle LHP PHI 6-4 225
    96 Kolten Wong 2B STL 5-9 180
    97 Noah Syndergaard RHP NYM 6-5 200
    98 Tony Cingrani LHP CIN 6-4 200
    99 Nathan Karns RHP WAS 6-5 230
    100 Eduardo Rodriguez RHP BAL 6-2 175

    1. Cooper

      I am mad.

    2. TNN2

      Nice. The Cubs have 4 in there which ranks them tied for 8th. By one crude measure of overall impact you could say the Cubs are ranked about 10th which is pretty astounding compared to where they’ve been the last few years.

      1. Kukini

        The interesting thing is that Law did release a full organizational rankings list and put Chicago at #5 overall. Therein lies my beef with him rating Baez so low – our individual player rankings don’t seem to add up to a #5 team.

        1. ETS

          When law ranked those systems overall he may have put alot more emphasis on total depth than total # of high ceiling guys.

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          Given 30 teams and an expectation of 3.67 guys in the Top 110, you expect 5 teams to have 5 or more guys in the top 110. So, it adds up perfectly on that score.

          On the other hand, you expect only 2 or 3 teams to have 4 guys in the Top 64. As Baez is in the Top 64, that means his ranking is pulling the Cubs *up*, not down.

          1. Kukini

            I guess I never broke down the numbers, but in generalities, as Brett remarked, Law ranking the Cubs at #5 was as high as we’ve seen anywhere. Yet, Baez ranked at #31 is as low as we’ve seen anywhere, and Almora and Soler are pretty much at the same spot on Law’s list that they are on Mayo’s. So, Vizcaino at #64 is the difference maker apparently, because there were 5 Cubs in Mayo’s top 110 too (with B Jax and Vizcaino between 101-110).

            1. Norm

              Law is taking more into account that just Top 100. It’s about the depth too.
              And the difference between, say, #80 and #120….really isn’t that much.

              1. davidalanu

                Right, and there’s guys like Jae-Hoon Ha and Logan Watkins who I would expect to be at least ML backups at some point.

                1. Kygavin

                  Law also said that he changed the way he was doing his rankings this year. He ranked younger, higher upside guys as opposed to guys who are closer to the majors but have lower ceilings. His reasoning was that this is more how MLB teams value guys making his rankings more like one that would be in a FO if they did such a thing

        3. Cubbie Blues

          If you take all of the teams that have 4 or more in the top 100 add the prospects position and divide that by how many players they have the Cubs’ number is 42.5 which is the 5th best. I know you can’t exactly do it like that but, I wanted to give it shot and it happened to work out.

  11. Patrick G

    Is Lindor that much more better than Baez? On top prospects, Lindor is 14 and Baez is 16

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      Offensive Lindor is not. He is just more advance defensively with better range and has shown patience at the plate which Baez has not so far. So that is why Law probably has ranked so much lower. But baez hit tool is better and his power potential is much better

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        “He is just more advance defensively with better range and has shown patience at the plate which Baez has not so far.”

        Pitch recognition is one of the two most basic batting tools, and if Lindor has that over Baez (which he does), then Lindor could easily turn into a valuable offensive asset, particularly if he can play SS (where offensive averages are much lower).

        The other most basic tool is contact skill. Lindor fans only 14% of PAs (to go with walking 10% of PAs) whereas Baez’s fans 21% of PAs (to go with walking 4% of PAs). Now, part of this is reflects Baez’s poor pitch recognition tool: he swings at a lot of bad pitches, and it’s tough to make contact on those. However, to K only 14% of the time requires good contact skills.

        Now, Baez shows more power than Lindor does but Baez also is a year older than Lindor: and power is something that increases as players age simply because years of training makes them stronger than they were. Still, Lindor shows all the signs of being a high OBP, good fielding SS. As the same tools that make great range also make for great base-running (footwork, acceleration, ball judgement), we can bet that Lindor will be an excellent baserunner too, although that’s just icing on the cake.

        1. Norm

          One point that I think gets overlooked with Lindor is that he is nearly 1 full year younger than Baez. In fact, Lindor was younger than some high school kids drafted in 2012.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            And that is huge when looking at power. Baseball players are like everyone else: they are filling out at that age, still. They also are hitting the weights: and one year more on the rack makes a huge difference at that age.

            I doubt that Lindor will achieve Baez’s power, but Lindor will more than make up for it with high OBP.

            1. Cubbie Blues

              Sounds like we need to teach Baez pitch recognition then.

              Just kidding Doc, just kidding.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                Damn, I’m so easy to play that I might as well be a robot……

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                Seriously, I would add that Baez might wind up a very useful player of the Sori-type. Baez might also be able to do that at a higher-skill position if his ceiling for making contact gets to MLB level. However, guys who have better pitch recognition simply do not need such great contact skills to be good hitters, which stacks the deck against Baez (relative to Lindor and Boegarts) just a bit….

        2. davidalanu

          Another thing to consider with Baez is his approach, not just pitch recognition. I saw him twice last year when he was with Peoria, and even to my untrained eye he was absolutely swinging from his ass, even with an 0-2 count. He looked like a guy trying to hit a tape-measure shot.

          With his bat speed, he can cut back on his swing with 2 strikes and still be able to drive the ball. Hopefully this is something that comes with some coaching and maturation.

        3. Marc N.

          Damn good analysis of Lindor vs. Baez without even touching that Lindor is far more likely to stay as a SS for a decade+ in the majors. I think it’s very, very underrated on the Internetz how rare a SS who can hit is because we only just got out of the ARod/Jeter/Nomar/Tejada/etc era.

          1. Mick

            Lindor hasn’t exactly proven he can hit, offensively he’s only proven that he can get on base, mostly by taking walks, and he certainly hasn’t slugged. To ascertain that Lindor’s going to add power through beefing up or lifting weights is assuming a lot from a kid who’s already 5’11” and 175 lbs. Also, there’s going to be a point sometime soon of diminishing returns on how much bigger Lindor gets versus losing range at SS and speed on the basepaths which are maybe Lindor’s two greatest qualities (other than pitch selection). In the case of Lindor versus Baez, I feel people over-rate Lindor’s position when tallying the final score. If you move Lindor off of SS his value basically vanishes whereas, Baez can move anywhere on the diamond and he maintains is top prospect credential.

    2. yield51

      Lindor has the higher floor of the two. He is better at SS, high OBP guy, and younger. Baez has the higher ceiling though IMO. Law is a SABR guy having previously worked at baseball prospectus so he values some things differently than Mayo, who covers Milb, and the draft for mlbdotcom.

    3. bbmoney

      He’s a better defensive SS and probably the biggest thing is the fact that he probably has a higher floor.

      But the Lindor’s ceiling, at least offensively is lower.

      1. terencem

        Lindor is a slick fielding shortstop with the potential to be one of the best defensive SS’s in baseball while there are still questions if Baez will be able to stay there. I think that’s the big difference

    4. Serious Cubs Fan

      Patrick G: Another reason probably is he is predicting Baez will move off of short stop which will make his value a decent amount less. Anthony Rendon ranking I do not understand at all. He’s injury prone and is barely proven himself in the minors even

    5. North Side Irish

      There is also no doubt that Lindor sticks at SS, which provides more value. Obviously people are coming around on the idea of Baez sticking at short, but it is definitely more questionable than Lindor.

    6. João Lucas

      Xander Bogaerts is #5 overall on Keith Law’s list but four spots behind Baez on’s!

      1. Patrick G

        Good call didnt even recognize that

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        Xander Boegarts has put up very similar numbers to Baez, but always one level above Baez. They also are the same age, and have the same questions concerning fielding. One big edge Boegarts has is that he’s got very good pitch recognition; however, although he walks 9% of the time, he also K’s 19% of the time, so he probably will not be the OBP machine that Lindor threatens to be.

        That also suggests that Boegarts power comes in part from the classic “selectively aggressive” approach that the Sox love so much, and thus that his native power is less than that of Baez’s.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          I should add that I read somewhere that Boegarts is very weak against a pitch called “Riddikulus.” It’s like he just vanishes if you do throw it properly: but you have to be in the right frame of mind to do so, it seems.

          1. bbmoney

            Outstanding Doc.

  12. Marc N.

    Candelario is right with Almora as my favorite teenager prospect in the system. Even if he has to move off of third if his bat develops as it might/can then he could be a significant first base prospect. I am a big fan of the switch hitter.

    To do what I hate to do but it can be fun:

    An infield of Rizzo/Baez/Castro/Candelario in 2016 with Almora and Soler in the OF would bring much moisture to Chicago.

  13. Cubbie Blues

    The Twins have 7 on the list including 4 in the top 50.

    1. terencem

      When I saw the Cubs play the Twins in Minnesota last June, both teams’ futures looked very different. It’s awesome how much their fortunes changed in about 7 months.

  14. Patrick G

    Also, Cubs top 20 come out tomorrow on

    1. Kygavin

      I think Law’s Cubs top 10 + sleeper prospect comes out Thursday. I think its AL top 10′s tomorrow and then NL on Thursday

  15. ruby2626

    Disappointed Soler is only at #42. I know he’s still developing but $30M is a lot to pay for the #42 prospect. Course could be worse, the Cuban the Dodgers signed for $40M (Pueg or something close) I don’t believe is even on the list.

    1. hansman1982

      Don’t get too attached to how much was spent. They were both prospects that signed at a highly unusual time for international guys and therefore teams were willing to spend more to ensure they got the guy they wanted.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Exactly: the supply and demand rules for Soler were completely different than they were for drafted players. If teams could have openly bid on Profar 12 months ago, then he would have commanded much, much more than Soler did!

        And, seriously, complaining that a 21 year old with one year in the States is ranked “only” 42nd is almost petty…..

      2. Kyle

        That doesn’t change how much they are or aren’t worth to the organization.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Are you just trying to start an argument? It is simple supply and demand.

        2. hansman1982

          Ok…not sure I commented on that, just that to compare the amount spent on Soler and Puig to IFA’s that came before them is a fool’s errand.

  16. blublud

    Baez is a top 20 prospect easily. Soler should be in Almora’s spot, if not higher. Almora is rated entirely to high in my opinion.

    Vizcaino, I have no opinion on where he should be because I’m not sure. Seems he could be top 10 or off this list completely. I don’t think either choice or any where in between is wrong.

    Vogelbach should be on this list. Lake would be on my list, though I understand why he’s not on any list. I guess I higher on him then anybody. He a sleeper. He is going to suprise some people, maybe as early as ST. Jackson and Vitters also have not falling that far. People putting to much stock in their MLB numbers. Though Jackson has a better chance then Vitters.

    1. Drew7

      Can we get a Cubs top-25 list from you, Jay?

      That’s sure to spark a shit-storm

      1. blublud

        Sure. Give me a minute.

        1. DarthHater

          Yea, a minute sounds about right. ;-)

    2. Kygavin

      Law takes defense into account quite a bit (hurting Vog) and when he saw him last he said he had fall down range and was overweight and unathletic. Lake doesnt deserve to be anywhere near a top 100 list of prospects. Jackson was in the 90′s on Law’s rankings last year so it makes sense he isnt on it this year after his TERRIBLE showing in the bigs. Vitters wasnt on the list and looked bad in the majors so no big shock there either

      1. Kygavin

        also in his chat on ESPN today KLaw had this to say about some Cubs:
        Question about Vog- answer was a sarcastic one about his weight
        when asked about overrated prospects- “I’m ignoring the guys like Ruf, Gattis, Junior Lake, Szczur, fringy guys who are treated by their own fans as future stars.”
        On Pierce Johnson-Arm action scares me. Would at least like to see a full healthy year first, since he’s had so much forearm trouble.
        Baez approach- “He can hit a lot of pitches. Just not all of them.”
        Brett jackson’s future-I’d say extra outfielder. We’ll see if the swing changes he allegedly has made amount to anything. My skepticism on him was always a function of his swing and thus his hit tool.

  17. blublud

    My Top 25

    1. Baez
    2. Soler
    3. Vogelbach
    4. Vizcaino
    5. Almora
    6. Jackson
    7. Piniagua
    8. Lake
    9. Whitenack
    10. Loux
    11. Vitters
    12. Underwood
    13. Candelario
    14. Johnson
    15. Alcantara
    16. Amaya
    17. Szczur
    18. Maples
    19. Villenueva
    20. Blackburn
    21. Watkins
    22. Zych
    23. McNutt
    24. Hernandez
    25. Jeffrey Baez(Sleeper)

    1. Cedlandrum

      Thanks for taking the time to do that. I disagree with Loux being anywhere near the top 10 though. Maybe 20 or so.

      1. Marc N.

        Agreed on Loux being too high…Probably just a name recognition thing. He’s a BOR starter with a checkered health history. He’s “safe” in the sense that he’s close.

    2. Marc N.

      I’ll say this…that makes two of us who acknowledge the existence of the other Baez, who has been a pretty nice player so far in the minors. He’s one of those rare 18 year olds the Cubs brought stateside, though the wrist issue he had leaves me a little less high than I was.

      1. Cedlandrum

        I acknowledge Jeffery Baez, but I would like to see him do something here in the states before I jump on the bandwagon. 25ish is just too high right now. He is intriguing though.

      2. Cedlandrum

        Marc 18 isn’t a rare age for the Cubs to bring guys over to the states. Most of the Cubs better prospects come over at the beginning of their age 18 year.

        Marco Hernandez
        Giosker Amaya
        Starlin Castro
        Junior Lake
        Jeimer Candelario
        Alberto Cabrera
        Arismendy Alcantara

        1. Marc N.

          Notice how short that list is. For every one of those guys there’s probably a dozen kids who did not get the call. Baez was officially put on the map, though obviously tentatively, because he was one of the guys they considered talented enough to handle the situation.

          1. Cedlandrum

            Well yeah a lot of guys don’t get the call ever, but it is pretty standard for guys to come over when they are 18 if they were signed at age 16. Sometimes they are 19, but usually the true prospects will spend two years in DSL and then come to the states at age 18. If they are signed at 17 like Malave and Acosta then they probably won’t come till 19, but it isn’t uncommon for guys to come at 18.

            1. Marc N.

              A list 7 guys deep of dozens seems pretty uncommon to me.

              1. Cedlandrum

                I think we are arguing semantics. I’m not saying that every guy comes over or that they bring a ton of guys over. What I am saying is that bringing a guy over at age 18 is not uncommon, that is when they usually bring a guy over if they are going to bring him over. That is not to say they don’t bring guys over after age 18 or before at age 17 like they did with Zambrano, Suarez, Burruel and Marwin Gonzalez. Actually what is unusual is for a guy to start a year in DSL and finish in the R league.

                other 18 year olds: Cedeno, Marmol, Dolis, Antigua, Jose Rosario, Oliver Zapata.

                Some pitchers seem to sign later so you have guys like Pena, Arias, and Diplan who come over later, but because they were signed later. 19 and older.

                So here to sum it up, alot of when you get called over if you are a true prospect has more to do with when you sign. 2 years is pretty standard for guys to spend in the DSL unless you are not a prospect or have Visa issues. That said it is not uncommon for them to call a guy over at age 18. Just like it isn’t uncommon for them to call a guy over at age 19. Again assuming you are good enough to come over.

  18. JulioZuleta

    Pretty surprised how low he is on Castellanos (38) and Olt (71). Hard for me to believe Mike Olt would be the 5th best prospect for the Cubs.

    1. Marc N.

      Anyone have the writeup on Olt? Everyone’s in love with the guy so I’d love to hear one former pert call him on his shit (literally no success above AA going into his age 24/25 seasonm and you can even pick apart those AA numbers a little).

      1. Kygavin

        Olt’s big league debut could have gone better, as he swung and missed a lot (13 K’s in 33 at-bats) when he was able to get into the Rangers’ lineup, but he’s also the team’s main trading chip and might have to wait for a deal to get his chance to play third base every day.

        Law had him at 71:
        “A poor defensive shortstop in college at UConn, Olt has remade himself into a plus defender at third, and he has big raw power that could produce 30-plus bombs a year if he makes enough contact. That’s the main question on Olt at this point. Contact rates were an issue for him in college, and between Double-A and the majors last year, it’s resurfaced to the point where he’s probably going to be a low-to-moderate batting average guy who draws 60-70 walks a year and hits 20-25 homers.

        The swing-and-miss problem isn’t from his swing, though, which has gotten more direct since college, so perhaps he just needs more reps — he had just over 600 pro plate appearances coming into 2012 — to get past it.”

        1. DarthHater

          Hrm. Sounds kinds like Stewart.

  19. Demarrer

    Can someone please explain the Vogelbach love to me? He is an overweight (although he is working hard on this) poor defensive first basemen who is in the low low minors. Why are we pretending that this guy could be the next superstar for the Chicago Cubs? He can hit and that is all, but shouldn’t we see if he can hit good pitching before we starting praising him a top 100 prospect in baseball?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      All reports I have heard when scouts have actually seen him play is how much better he was on defense than they thought he would be. And seriously, who doesn’t love the long ball.

    2. JulioZuleta

      I think the best explanation is that fans like seeing baseballs go over fences. I like him, but you would think he was a lock to be a Hall of Famer if you read the comments sometimes. He’s a fat lefty, so obviously his ceiling is Babe Ruth and his floor is Prince Fielder.

    3. cheryl

      Its the potential that people are looking at. This season is very impoetant in terms of V’s advancement. Don’t forget he’s been named on several lists as a top prospect.

    4. Cedlandrum

      He has an advanced approach at the plate he is more then just a power hitter

      1. DarthHater

        Yea, at the dinner plate. [rim shot]

        1. Cedlandrum


    5. Marc N.

      He’s the obligatory “wow what numbers!” guy in the low, low minors that skyrockets for a year and could be anywhere next year. Plus he’s likable…everyone likes big guys who can hit HRs and not be a dick to teammates.

  20. cheryl

    Wait until at least half-way rhrough the season befor judging some of these guys. IMO V will not be a flameout. But we won’t have a good idea about him until he’s further along.

  21. Marc N.

    Here are the Cubs tidbits:


    “Baez might have the best bat speed in the minors, and he certainly has the angriest swing, often reminiscent of John Belushi’s samurai character from “Saturday Night Live.” (Of course, when Baez was born, Belushi had been dead for a decade, so perhaps I need a more contemporary reference.)

    His hands are explosive, and the bat speed is so good that he’s already got plus-plus raw power and can drive the ball out to the opposite field like he’s tying his shoes. He’s also one of the least patient hitters in the minors, approaching each pitch in fourth gear, swinging and missing because he doesn’t shorten up or otherwise adjust his swing to the situation. In the field, he’s quieted doubts about his ability to stay at shortstop; he has the agility and instincts for it, as well as a plus arm, so the only major issue is whether he eventually outgrows the position.

    He’s one of the highest-beta prospects on this list — he could be a 30-homer shortstop, or he could stall out in Double-A because pitchers exploit him and he can’t adjust. I’m willing, for now, to bet on the former.”


    “The joke in scouting circles last spring was that Cubs President Theo Epstein didn’t just want to draft Almora, he wanted to adopt him. Almora is a natural center fielder who has outstanding instincts, especially when reading the ball off the bat, so even though he’s an average runner he plays with plus range and has an above-average arm.

    Almora starts his swing with a high leg kick but gets his foot down in time, with a very steady, controlled swing that has plenty of hip rotation for power without sacrificing his ability to square up the ball for solid contact. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and doesn’t swing and miss much, even with the wood bat. His lack of patience in his pro debut (two walks in 145 plate appearances) was something of a surprise, although he might have just wanted to fit in with all of the Cubs’ other hitting prospects.

    His ceiling is as a high-average hitter with plus defense in center and 20 home runs, although he’s going to have to show he can take a pitch now and then to get there.”

    I still find it funny how many people really hang on those two walks in rookie ball as if that’s going to carry over. I’ll eat three THOUSAND kittens over the course of the next 100 years if he puts up 2% walk rate next year.


    “Soler signed before the new CBA rules on enriching owners at the expense of impoverished Latin American kids went into effect, signing with the Cubs for a $6 million bonus and $24 million in salary over nine years, although he can opt out of the deal if he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.

    He’s a wiry, athletic outfielder with explosive hands at the plate, starting them high and deep but getting them moving so quickly that he has no trouble catching up to good velocity. He doesn’t look like a typical power hitter, but he’s got the quick-twitch muscles to be able to rotate the bat through the zone and drive the ball out to left-center like an older or more physical player would. On defense, he might be playable in center for now but the Cubs have him in right, which would be his long-term position regardless.

    Soler only played 34 games last summer after signing, but it’s a point in his favor that he struck out just 19 times even though he hadn’t faced live pitching on a regular basis in nearly two years. At just 21 this year, he should be able to get to Double-A with the upside of an above-average regular in right who should peak in the 25-30 home run range.”

  22. Anthony M.

    This doesn’t excite me when the Cardinals ( in our division ) has 5 in the top 100 and 3 for them are pitchers !

  23. Westbound Willie

    It’s too bad that a decently ranked minor league system won’t generally translate into a top major league organization. The greatest thing that could happen is if the other 29 clubs just decided to not get any better or actually get worse for the next five to ten years. If that happened then the door would probably be opened for the cubs to make a World Series run.

    1. hansman1982

      So do you have a list of organizations that have terrible farm systems that had 3-4-5-10 year windows of contention and success?

  24. Another Top Ten Cubs Prospect List, Together With Thoughts on the System from Keith Law | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] top ten lists. We already knew that the Cubs had Baez/Almora/Soler/Vizcaino/Candelario at the top, thanks to their having made Law’s top 110 prospects. The rest of his top ten looked like [...]