Offers Its Updated Top 20 Cubs Prospects for 2013, Plus Other Prospecting Bits

baez almora solerLate in the 2012 season, and Jonathan Mayo put together team top 20 prospect lists, which have now been updated – it is prospect ranking season, after all.

The Cubs’ top 20 prospects, per as of today, are:

1.) Javier Baez
2.) Albert Almora
3.) Jorge Soler
4.) Brett Jackson
5.) Arodys Vizcaino
6.) Dillon Maples
7.) Pierce Johnson
8.) Christian Villanueva
9.) Junior Lake
10.) Matt Szczur
11.) Dan Vogelbach
12.) Jae-Hoon Ha
13.) Jeimer Candelario
14.) Josh Vitters
15.) Robert Whitenack
16.) Duane Underwood
17.) Paul Blackburn
18.) Gioskar Amaya
19.) Alberto Cabrera
20.) Trey Martin

You can see a short write-up on each prospect in the piece.

Among the changes from the list back in September, Dillon Maples rockets up several spots, which could speak to the way scouts perceived his health and effectiveness in post-season instructional ball. We’ll see how he looks in 2013.

Jae-Hoon Ha leaps up from off the list to number 12, and Pierce Johnson moves up a couple spots as well. Trey McNutt was number 7 back in September, but now he’s off the list altogether. Ben Wells (formerly number 14) also falls off the list, as does Tony Zych (18). The latter is a surprise, because I’ve heard only glowing things about him since September. Yes, he’s “just” a relief prospect, but he’s a good one.

The list comes together with a companion article, which discusses the state of the farm system and explains some of the re-jiggering of the list. It also offers a sleep prospect – pitcher Matt Loosen, whom Luke profiled last year – as well as a predicted hitter of the year (Baez) and pitcher of the year (Johnson).

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

138 responses to “ Offers Its Updated Top 20 Cubs Prospects for 2013, Plus Other Prospecting Bits”

  1. Twinkletoez

    a little high for Christian Villanueva? And yes also surprised Tony Zych is off the list. also no Carlos Paniagua?

    1. gocatsgo2003

      Most scouts seem to want to see more State-side action from Paniagua before putting him high on any of their lists.

      1. Twinkletoez

        I guess I understand that, but top 20 in one system is not that high of a ranking.

    2. Marc N.

      I thought Villanueva was about right. Little high on Jackson, Lake, Szczur, Maples, and maybe even Ha.

      Seems to lean on how close they are to the majors more than the other lists.

      1. Marc N.

        I should say that I seem to like Villanueva more than most Cubs fans. I think he gets hurt in perception by not being named Olt or being a pitching prospect named Delgado.

      2. gocatsgo2003

        “Seems to lean on how close they are to the majors more than the other lists.”

        It’s almost like it’s a list put out by Major League Baseball on its own site…

        1. Marc N.

          Oh snap I just got got.

  2. Demarrer

    I am glad to see Vogelbach relatively low. I think Cubs fans need to start tempering their expectations on him. It is getting a little out of hand.

    1. Marc N.

      Rizzo should be more scared of Candelario than Vogelbach. This seems like a relevant comment.

      1. ETS

        Rock Shoulders.

        1. Marc N.

          An almost non-prospect with a cool name.

          1. ETS

            I’m familiar with him. I was just having some fun.

            He is too young for me to call him an almost non-prospect, but maybe by the end of the year (hopefully not!)

    2. ETS

      I find this response very strange. I’d rather see Cub fans be justified in their high hopes than anything else.

      1. Demarrer

        Just like every other Cubs fan, I hope he pans out and becomes a star. However, I am not going to get my hopes up about a guy who can only play on one side of the field in short season ball.

        As a life long Cubs fan I have learned to not only tame my expectations, but think on the pessimistic side. I mean we are Cubs fans, if something bad can happen… it will.

        1. ETS

          I think it’s more acceptable to get your hopes up with prospects because they develop so slowly that your expectations get curtailed at an appropriate rate. Take bret jackson. This time last year, every cubs fan thought he was a top 50 in baseball kind of prospect. We watched him strike out at a 40% clip for a year and now have more reasonable expectations. The “rug wasn’t pulled out”. It was tugged out slowly.

          Not the attitude the FO should have, but as fans get those hopes as high as possible, not much else to do till spring training starts.

      2. DarthHater

        I’d like to see the Cubs FO have an assessment of the value of Vogelbach (and every other Cubs prospect) that is 100% accurate. Whether the value is seen as high or low matters not, as long as the assessment is correct. Beyond that, I’d like to see the rest of the world over-value all Cubs prospects, because that increases the chances that the FO can make beneficial trades.

  3. Ashley

    No Trey McNutt? This list can’t be right

  4. X The Cubs Fan

    Vogelbach Is ridiculously low I think he’s 5th best prospect. And wasn’t Vogelbach in the top 110 Pierce Johnson wasn’t even close

    1. Demarrer

      What has Vogelbach done to make him the fifth best prospect? He crushed short season ball, where the pitchers are not very good. He also has almost zero value on defense. When you look at prospect lists, how many first basemen do you see? The position just does not hold a lot of value, especially when you cannot play it very well.

      1. cub2014

        Come on Demarrer “position doesnt hold a lot of value”? to win in baseball
        you need a .300 25hr 100rbi guy or near that. The defense can be suspect
        but the offense needs to be there.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Yes, but what is important is how much more offense you get than your pitching allows. To this end, you do not need particular OPS numbers from any one guy: but you want plus OPS relative to other guys playing the position from as many positions as possible.

          Because first base is a position for guys who can hit but who cannot field well at most positions, the “extra” OPS you get from a 0.850 guy is only +0.05 (or was in 2012) for 1B, whereas the same OPS is +0.17 from a SS and +0.09 from a catcher.

          That means that Vogelbach’s position holds a lot less value for his bat.

          1. Demarrer

            Perfectly said Doc. Well done.

          2. cub2014

            Ok numbers are fun, but if your 1st baseman is not a 3 or 4 hitter producing runs. then you need run production from a non typical position like SS or Catcher or centerfield. Quite often marginal defenders find themselves switch
            to 1st base if they can produce runs, its really that simple. Thats why Vogelbach has value to alot of teams if he can be a run producer. Regardless
            of defense, the same is often said of left field in the majors marginal defense can be justifed by effective run production.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Yes, and it’s the fact that marginal fielders can play first base that makes Vogelbach’s relative value much less than that of guys he can out-hit. There will be (or should be) a few guys who will hit as well as Vogelbach and can play 1B. However, you can look at much lower OPS or wOBA or whatever, and find very few guys putting that up at SS or C. That means that those SS and C are more valuable than Vogelbach because of position: they are doing more to help their team outscore the opposition day in and day out because they make it that much easier for their pitchers to keep their counterparts to lower numbers.

              1. cub2014

                so Doc a below average hitting 1st baseman means you must have an above average hitting shortstop or whatever position you choose
                to compensate for your 1st baseman. So if Babe Ruth is pitching
                you dont need a good hitter at short or 1st base. Ah starting to make sense now.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Your premise is that it’s a choice between Vogelbach and a below average hitting 1Bman, and that is fundamentally flawed. That won’t be the choice for most teams as there are so many above average hitting guys who can play first. Far more teams will be worried about trying to replace a below average hitter with a plus hitter at other positions. And that means the value of guys who do not hit as well as the average 1Bman but who can play a “skill” position is just that much greater: they will contribute more to the teams run-differential after 162 games than that “run producer” batting #4.

                  1. cub2014

                    It is easier to find a poor fielding good hitting 1st baseman
                    I agree. but if your 1st baseman is above the average than
                    he will out produce his counterpart so that would offset weakness at another position. So this scenario could be played out at every position.

                    I guess what you are trying to say is at the prospect level
                    you want to have an above average hitters at non hitting positions and average hitters at those expected positions.

                    At majors you are only worried about how many runs you can produce period. regarless of where they come from.

      2. Cedlandrum

        He didn’t just hit hr’s in Boise. He showed a good approach overall. He took walks, he hit for avg. He was a beast but it wasn’t just mashing. He was a good hitter overall. That is why people are excited. Hell Paul Holliman hit a ton of HR’s in Boise the year before, but it didn’t mean much because he has obvious holes in his offensive approach.

        1. cub2014

          ya I think Vogelbach had a .420 OBP.

    2. Blublud

      I personally think Vogelbach has the bat in the system. When he drops the bat, it’s a different story. However, he is definitely better then the 11th best prospect in the system. I don’t know what Mayo is thinking, but putting Szczur, Maples, Villanueva(LMAO) and few others not named Baez and Soler and maybe Almora and Vizcaino in front of him is just plain crazy.

      1. cub2014

        I think the cubs had 4 minor leaguers hit over .320 bruno,sanders,carhart
        and vogelbach. Vogelbach also has the power numbers to
        go with it. But this year will tell what his real potential will be.

      2. Marc N.

        I would put Soler’s bat ahead right now as well as Baez most likely.

      3. JulioZuleta

        Vogelbach was not in Law’s 110. That list only had 1 1B, so Vogy wasn’t close. I think 11 looks right (not to say I agree with all 10 ahead of him). I tend to think along the lines of
        1. Baez
        2. Soler
        3. Almora
        4. Viz
        5. Johnson
        6. Paniagua
        7/8/9 Candelario, Villanueva, Maples (toss up with these 3)
        10. Amaya
        11 Vogelbach
        12. Alcantara

        I’d buy him being anywhere in that

        1. JulioZuleta

          *10-12 range

        2. truthhurts

          Very nice list. I’d put Lake in at #9 and lose Maples. Can’t get excited by a guy who’s thrown 10 innings in 2 years. He’s gonna to have to prove it.

      4. Drew7

        There’s no denying that Vogelbach hit extremely well last year, but he will only go as far as his bat will take him. He just has *so* many hurdles left to jump, so his ranking outside of the top-10 is more than defensable.

        Guys like Villanueva, Szczur, and Ha may have inferior bats, but they are much closer to proving those bats are good enough to play at the MLB-level. That, coupled with them all playing positions where the acceptable levels of offensive production are much lower compared to those at 1B, and you can at least understand how one *could* rank all 3 ahead of him.

        1. cub2014

          not according to Doc you want above average offensive players at those positions,
          because everyone at 1st base will be primarily the same hitter.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            I never wrote anything like that. I wrote that the average performance is much higher at 1B, not that the variance was zero.

          2. Drew7

            It’s pretty simple:

            The object of the game is to score more runs than your opponent. So, what you want on an individual level is every position accounting for more “net-runs” than his positional-counterpart (net offensive contribution + net defensive contribution).

            If the average OPS of a SS is .710, and the average for 1B is .750, you get much more value from you SS out-OPS’ing the oppostion by .020 than if your 1B’man doing the same.

            1. Mick

              I think cub2014 is suggesting that Vogelbach has the potential to do much more than out-OPS his 1B counterparts by .20. I think he’s suggesting that Vogelbach has the potential to be an All-Star 1B due to his elite hit and power tools. In case you haven’t noticed, MLBers aren’t having 50+ HR season anymore. Heck, only 3 NL 1B’s hit over 30 last season, the leader was LaRoche with 33. Vogelbach posses elite and unique skills that individually impact the amount of runs his team scores. I’m with cub2014 in saying Vogelbach should have been ranked higher than Villanueva.

            2. MoneyBoy

              Drew … please allow me to respectfully disagree. It seems clear the Cubs plan on having a much improved defense this year. They feel as though that will improve the quality of the pitchers (if marginally). Less errors and other mistakes cut down on the number of pitches … and high-stress pitches. Castro’s improvement last year, Barney’s superior fielding and RizzOMG (bat and glove) are examples. If Stewart hits at all he starts – with his defense.

      5. Drew7


        I’m not sure this unfair at all, let alone so funny that you’d lose your ass over it.

        The guy put up a .780 OPS while playing 2 levels ahead of where Vogelbach ended the year, shows above-average defensive potential, *and* is only 17 months older than him. You can’t compare the 2 as though they are both bowling ball-esque First Basemen.

  5. JR

    How is Brett Jackson still #4? It seems like most give him very little shot of becoming a regular after last years disaster… If he is only a platoon player does he belong at #4?

    1. cub2014

      rizzo hit .141 in san diego in 2011, so we shouldnt count him out just yet.
      but this will be the year that determines his future.

      1. cub2014

        referring to brett jackson being rated #4 prosect

    2. Noah

      II’d bet that whether Jackson is a number 4 behind the big 3 or more like a 6-8 depends on if you think his swing needs major retooling or minor tweaks.

  6. ncsujuri

    I like that they included player’s Twitter handles:
    My favorite is most definitely Pierce Johnson – @FlowBro34

  7. cubspong

    I am curious of what people on here think of Darien Martin. I was surprised by his inclusion and I thought that maybe I just do not know enough about him. I would have expected Zych or McNutt to be ahead of him. But it is also kind of nice (in a way) that those players were left off the list because it just shows how deep our farm system is. We have some very solid prospects outside of the top 20.

    1. cub2014

      As a CF he hit .292 last year hit 3hr struck out every 4th or 5th time. Past that I have no
      clue who he is.

      1. Good Captain

        Sounds a little bit like BJax in the minors w/out the average and the pop.

    2. Spriggs

      He is an outstanding defensive CFer. With outstanding speed too

  8. Chad

    I would like to see Vogelbach continue to rake at low levels and continue to be thought of highly as a hitter. With his defense I don’t see him ever playing in a Chicago Cub uniform, however his value to say the Rays in part of a package of prospects for David Price next year as a DH could be high based on his ability to swing the bat.

    1. Westbound Willie

      I’d like to see vogelbach rake my back yard next fall.

    2. Marc N.

      Yeah, my hope for Vogelbach is that he helps land Price or some other highly significant ML talent.

    3. Noah

      The problem with that scenario is that Vogelbach is just going to have to destroy Peoria and Daytona to a sufficient level to get to Tennessee with enough time to get something like a month of PAs, hit well there, and then probably the AFL to be a highly thought of enough prospect to be a big piece in a trade for someone like Price.

      If the Cubs trade for Price, one of the big three (Baez, Almora, Soler) are going to be a part of the trade. I’d love for Vogelbach to be able to be the second big piece, but that would be a best case scenario.

  9. MichCubFan

    It is easier to look at all the names on a top prospect list without worrying too much about the exact order. Maybe look at prospects in terms of tiers, but comparing a pretty good AAA player to a possible star in short season ball is not really relevant.

    Jae Hoon-Ha is rated 12th on this list, but will probably not be a long term starter. How does that value compare to number 13, Jeimer Candelario, who is close to 20 years old, unproven in professional baseball, and has the potential to be a pretty good starter some day or to flame out sometime in the next 4 years?

    I like to put my own value on these players and see how things end up.

  10. Tim

    I wish the Cubs released their own list of their top prospects

    1. ETS

      haha if teams did that it would only be to try to convince other teams to trade for certain prospects. It’d get ridiculous in a hurry.

      1. Tim

        Yeah, I know. Bummer

        1. Tim

          Just be neat to see what the FO thought of their own prospects.

  11. MichCubFan

    And Jae Hoon-Ha number 12, Logan Watkins not on the list?

  12. cub2014

    I see the cubs have 20 pitches on the 40 man roster and 22 on the Iowa roster
    thats 42 pitchers for 24 spots looks like some people are gonna be let go.

  13. MightyBear

    Luke, what’s the word on Darien Martin? I don’t remember him being profiled during the minor league write ups. Any good info on him? Thanks.

    Brett, looks like its Darien Martin not Trey Martin. I believe Trey Martin was the pitcher that got hit by the car.

    1. Cedlandrum

      Darien goes by Trey. They guy hit by the car was Ty’Relle Harris

      1. TonyP

        The Darien was throwing me off. Thanks for clarifying.

      2. MightyBear

        Thanks. He did have a write up on Trey Martin.

  14. cub2014

    why does timothy sanders not ever get a mention, last spring he led his college to
    their second consecutive national championship. small college player of the year.
    Drafted by the cubs in June played 3 different levels for the cubs last year. He is 6-1
    180 pounds. He hit .381 w/ OBP.431 5hr and 17sb in 200 AB. What is it that people
    dont like, defensive range maybe? Someone tell me what it is.

    1. Cedlandrum

      Saunders is an interesting guy, who if he repeats should really be considered a prospect. At this point he has the fact that he was older playing in lower leagues. But I think the big thing is just pedigree. He wasn’t highly sought after. Now that he is in the system though repeating what he did this year should take care of any concerns.

      1. JulioZuleta

        I remember when he was picked someone (most likely family member of his) said he was a future Derek Jeter. SO we’ve got that goin’ for us.

    2. Carew

      Hey somebody else sees what I see! Sweet action. Granted I’m only going by stats, but I still really like Saunders

    3. Drew7

      Meh. Not really that uncommon for a college senior to have success in the low-minors. This year will be a better indicator.

      1. BluBlud

        Timothy Saunders is a nice prospect, but he reminds me of Darwin Barney. Guys like Darwin barney just don’t get prospect love, and typically don’t get the benifit of the doubt. Yeah, he ripped the lower levels, but he was 22 yrs old. Similar to Darwin Barney, he have to press on until he get his chance to show what he has. He will probably never climb to high on a prospect list and he is not thought of to highly considering his projection for next year are .255/.309/.697 in time he will probably split between Daytona and Tennessee. Low walk rate, High strikeout rate and little power, he probably not as good offensively as Darwin Barney.

        1. Cub2014

          Barney hit .270 at these levels almost 100′points less than

        2. truthhurts

          I’ll take a player with a projected .697 slugging percentage. Any day of the week.

          1. Hansman1982

            Can we trade Castro for him? .442 IsoP is fantabulous!!!!!!!!

          2. BluBlud

            That aprojected OPS, not a projected slugging %. That would be a ridiculous slugging %.

  15. cub2014

    I agree Sanders was a very low pick not many 1st year player hit + .300
    at 3 levels. But i think he is 21 or 22. This year will sort out a lot of these would-be
    prospects then next year we will probably be talking about some new guys.

  16. mak

    As mentioned by a few of you guys, these lists have limited value unless the ranker puts them in context. Ha has a pretty limited ceiling but a high floor; Amaya seems like he could be a top prospect by the end of the season or drop off the face of the Earth.

    In that regard, this list has a bit of everything. The biggest shocks to me are the omissions of Watkins and McNutt (nearly certain to have big league careers) and additions of Martin (hard to argue his value over Hernandez, Alcantara, Paniagua).

  17. North Side Irish

    Mayo released his #21 prospect for each team and for the Cubs it was Alcantara…

  18. Rebuilding

    Below is a link to Fangraphs that has video of a new farmhand Yeiper Castillo pitching for Venezuela in the Caribbean World Series. Castillo struck out 8 and walked only 1 across 18 batters. He seems to have a hard biting slider and an advanced change-up:

    1. DarthHater

      Yippee, Yeiper!

      1. TWC

        The comment section of this site … smh.

        1. cjdubbya

          But what if the comments section was on steroids, man?

          1. DarthHater

            What if the comments section was on LSD?

            1. Hansman1982

              Vote them into the HoF no questions asked

            2. TWC

              You mean, *again*?

            3. DocPeterWimsey

              You shouldn’t text and drive.

              1. TWC


  19. Tommy

    I though it was interesting that Lake’s arm was only graded as a 6 by Mayo when he supposedly has one of, or the strongest arms in the majors. Also, Vogelbach only graded a 5 on power when that’s really all we’ve heard about the guy.

    Those two things really stuck out to me, but those numbers are still good. Also, Darien Martin at no. 20! I can’t remember even hearing of him before, though I’d be willing to bet Luke has written about him at one point or another.

  20. Tommy

    Lake has one of the strongest arms in the minors is what I meant to say.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      That might be, but “arm” should be a composite of three different tools/skills: strength, accuracy, and quickness of release. A very strong arm that is wild and/or requires a long release is not as good as an average arm that is accurate and has a quick release. Ozzie Smith was a great example: his arm was not all that strong, but he got the ball from the glove to his hand to the air in a flash; he probably would get the ball to first in less time than would Shawon Dunston on the same play despite have so much less velocity just through the quickness of the release.

      (The quickness itself is a bit of a composite: it involves hand-hand coordination, arm speed and footwork.)

    2. cubzfan

      Lake is apparently being moved to the outfield, so he will have plenty of opportunity to show off his arm.

  21. BluBlud

    Doc, question about Vogelbach. So what you are saying is if it was a list of top batters, unrelated to any position, or added positional value, without taking defense into account at all, ranking only who has the best bat in the system that Vogelbach would be in the top five? However, due to his position, and his bat not being as elite or even elite at all reletive to other guys at 1B, his prospect value is depressed. If this is what you are saying, then I guess it makes sense, though I still think he is higher then 11th in this sytem, even if not top 100 overall.

    1. D.G.Lang

      I don’t think that he is knocked down because of his bat, he is valued lower due to his defense. It is easy to find first basemen who have a good hitting tool and poor defense but much harder to find the good batter who also has good defense at that position.

      Comparing a firstbaseman to a Shortstop or other high value position will always result with the firstbaseman being ranked lower. In this case, the better defensive skills of the player occupying the premium defensive position is worth more than the firstbaseman who usually can be fairly easily replaced.

      The players who play a premium position which demands good defensive skills are always ranked higher than players who play positions where their defensive skills are less valuable. Another factor is flexability in that a good defensive player can usually procide good to excellent defensive value in other positions in addition to his primary position.

      A player with excellent offensive skills but poor defensive skills is restricted in the number of positions that he can play. This is in essence why some other players are ranked higher than Vogelbach despite the fact that he seems to have outstanding and potentially very uncommon offfensive skills.

      In Vogelbach’s case, the fact that Rizzo who is an outstanding defensive player is also an excellent defensive player at the same position but isn’t recognized as being a player who can play multiple positions. At this time, Vogelbach seems to be restricted to playing either first base or designated hitter but there is no designated hitter in the National League which further lowers his value since half of all the teams can’t use a designated hitter on a daily basis. Since most firstbasemen aren’t recognised as being very good defensively, they usually can’t be moved to other positions.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      I do not know if Vogelbach would be Top 5 if we rated these guys purely as hitters with no regard for his fielding. For one thing, if I were doing this, then I would weight heavily on a “survivorship” concept: that is, what is the probability that the guy will play at performance X in the next level (say, A+ from A) given his numbers; given that spread, what is the probabilty that he will play at performance X two levels up (AA from A).

      Because Vogelbach is so low, even having a high survivorship probabilty at each level means a lower one overall because there is still the chance that he gets tripped up at A, A+, AA & AAA, never mind MLB.

      But to get closer to answering your question, Vogelbach would certainly move up if I was trying to estimate just the probability of performance X without regard to position. The guy shows excellent hitting tools at 19, but at rookie and low A-ball. That means that there is a good chance he’ll perform at similar levels in A; if so,then there is a good chance that he’ll perform at similar levels in A+, etc.

      (You’ll note, however, that there is a bad chance of a string of good chances happening! Baez might still rank higher because he’s 2 steps closer to MLB, and thus has two fewer opportunities for extinction.)

      1. BluBlud

        Yes, there is a chance that any prospect trips up. However, there are stats that give you a level of cofidence that his hit tool will play at the next level. His high walk rate, low strikeout rate relative to his power, good batting eye, ++power, great work ethics and he a very patient hitter by all accounts. These are signs of a hitter who will have success at every level. Does that mean he’ll be the next Babe Ruth or even Adam Dunn, of course not. He has to still work to get better. However, he definitely has the tool to be an elite batter at the Major League level if he continues to work and get better. With his patience and ability to draw walks and work counts, he may be just as developed as Baez , and IMO, he is more developed then Almora, who is at the same level, but Vogelbach’s numbers trump his, offensively. I do understand Almora is younger, but the same principals should apply to him as Vogelbach as far levels and tripping up along the way. In fact, there a better chance Almora flames out then Vogelbach.

  22. ChicagoCubsTalk

    A question about Jae-Hoon Ha…He had a decent spring last season, but if he shows up again this year is there any chance he could get called up to the bigs…Or at least get added to the 40-man roster?

    1. Whiteflag

      I would guess, yes. He will be Rule V Draft eligible this year.

    2. Hansman1982

      Hooray! An actual productive comment!!!!

      Step 2: utilizing your critical thinking skills to put an opinion out there and gather responses.

      But the only way Ha gets added to the 40 man (if he’s not there presently) is if the cubs trade Soriano AND DeJesus and Jackson flops.

      1. ChicagoCubsTalk

        That kinda stinks….He looked impressive in spring last year and shows he wants it. Maybe he can will be a totally different player this spring and be what the Cubs are looking for in right field!

        1. Hansman1982

          Ya, although I he is rule 5 eligible next winter and does well in Iowa this year I imagine he willed up on the 40-man as the teams 5th OF

  23. Spriggs

    Not impressed with Zych. I think he gets much undeserved love. Nice to see Amaya this high

  24. When the Music's Over

    Maples at 6 seems very aggressive. Seems odd some people want to fans to curb their expectations for Vogelbach due to his success coming at a low level of the minor leagues, but are perfectly comfortable with Maples appearing at 6 in spite of only throwing 10 innings since being drafted two years ago. To illustrate another parallel, one guy might be limited due to body type/weight while the other might be limited due to injury/technique.

    1. Spriggs

      Not only that, but in those 10 or so innings, he often could not find the plate. With all the talk about his questionable mechanics, I was at least hoping to see a smoother delivery too. Very, very high bust potential for Maples.

  25. daveyrosello

    Alcantara should be getting a lot more love than this list suggests. Leaving off Watkins is just dumb. And Panigua might well be the 2nd best pitcher in the Cubs system. The three biggest omissions IMO.

    After last year, I’d barely have Jackson hanging on in my top 10. I don’t see how you can fix a contact issue that is SO bad.

  26. truthhurts

    Has anyone seen a catcher on any of these lists? Top 50? Top 80? Is it too late to teach Lake or Saunders how to catch?

    1. Marc N.

      Jeremy Martinez has a shot to be the Almora of the HS crop in 2013. Solid all around tools , a polished game, and lots of experience and performance against top competition make for an interesting makeup. I have seen him, very early in the initial 2013 talk before Fraizer doubled and Meadows tripled in the AFLAC game, as high as the best HS player in the draft.

    2. Spriggs

      Having seen the current Cubs come up through Mesa (Arizona Rookie League, Instructional Leagues, Ext. Spring Trainings, and Spring Training Camps), the only catcher I’ve seen that has my interest is Marra. Everytime I looked up, the kid was on base. Made a lot of solid contact. Looked ok behind the plate.

      You might hear that a lot of people say they have high hopes for Rosario. He showed a great bat a couple years ago. I was excited about him because of that, but he regressed pretty badly at the plate last year. I don’t know if he was hurt or what, but he couldn’t hit squat in his 2nd year in the AZL. And behind the plate he is just plain horrible. He’s young and could improve (does have a fairly good arm), but I haven’t seen a worse fielding catcher ever come through Mesa.

      You might even hear some people are high on Lopez. I just don’t see much there.

      Gibbs and Brenly are probably high minor league filler guys.

      Krist is someone I never saw play very much. Have no opinion on him. He could be someone to watch.

      1. cedlandrum

        Rosario had to have been hurt, he only had 42 ABs last year. This is a big year for the catchers in the system. they need to distinguish themselves.

        Malave I believe has already moved off of Catcher.

        1. Spriggs

          Yes, I don’t consider Malave a catcher. Did they move him to 3rd?

          1. cedlandrum

            Seems like it. He played at SS and 1st too. But mostly 3rd.

  27. Marc N.

    Some prospects to keep an eye out for in 2013 for the Cubs:

    - Carlos A. Rodriguez: May not even be real, but the numbers attached to the name on the DSL roster were nice. Supposedly left handed, was only 17 last year, and posted a really strong K rate.

    - Shawon Dunston Jr.: Showed a solid approach last year, and was an interesting but very raw HS talent. Former Vanderbilt recruit and bonus baby and obviously Dunston’s kid.

    - Tayler Scott – One of the most athletic pitchers in the system and did not allow a HR last year.

    - Marco Hernandez – A solid SS prospect who flashed some better power this year. A bit like Christian Villanueva in that he’s a good athlete and defender at his position who has flashed a potentially interesting offensive skillset. He and Candelario were my favorite of the Boise offense.

    - Neftali Rosario/Justin Marra/Marko Malave – One of these catchers needs to get on the map.
    Malave also played 3B, and has been compared to Victor Martinez (a likely outcome!).

    - Jose Arias: Tall, might throw hard, and is young.

    - Jeffry Baez – Another low low level CF prospect who has shown some interesting something.

    - Godzilla 2014: It might be the best movie ever made.

    1. Spriggs

      This will be a big year for Dunston. I think he’ll be up to the challange. I don’t how much is mandatory, but he is always down here in Mesa working his butt off.

      1. cedlandrum

        Agreed. Tell me what you thought of Rashad Crawford. I know he didn’t play much before he got hurt, but i get the sense that he and Dunston are similar.

        1. Spriggs

          Strictly from what I saw and what I remember – Crawford is probably a little faster of runner, though I wondered why he didn’t try to steal more when he got on base in the games I saw. Once Dunston got comfortable, he looked like the better hitter with more pop. But to be fair, Crawford didn’t have a chance to really get in much of a groove at the plate.

          1. cedlandrum

            Thanks appreciate the info. Looking forward to where they place Martin, Dunston and Crawford next year. Bit of a logjam with Almora being a head of those guys. My guess: Almora-Daytona? Martin-Kane County, Dunston-Boise and Crawford will stay in Mesa since he didn’t have much of a shot last year.

            Anyway you look at it though some good CF prospects.

            1. Spriggs

              It really is a log jam without a lot separating the 3 now… I think you’re right about Crawford staying. I know if Dunston goes to Boise, he will bummed big time – but I think you may be right there too.

              1. cedlandrum

                Well if Dunston wants to go to Kane County…. Good. Martin can play anywhere in the outfield and so can Dunston. An outfield of those two and Golden could be fun.

                1. BluBlud

                  I was big on Dunston, but to me, he now appears to be a guy with a name instead of a guy with a game. I hope he proves me wrong, but I think him having his dad’s name, him threatening to go to college and teams knowing the rule changes were coming the following year so they needed to lock prospects up got him his signing bonus. People seen he got such a signing bonus and it elevated his hype. He’s a decent ball player, but I’m not sure he is a legit prospect yet.

                  1. Marc N.

                    Vanderbilt is a pretty legit school to be committed to so there must be something there. They aren’t as good with positional guys as pitchers, but it’s still one of the best baseball programs in the country. I think that definitely helps Dunston remain relevant. He’s got plenty of time as he wouldn’t be drafted from college until 2014.

        2. Marc N.

          Crawford was a million dollar bonus baby in the 2012 draft. The only video online of him is when he is dunking from the foul line. I’m not even sure if PG or anyone else had a good scouting report on him, but I assume freak athlete. Cubs added a lot more athleticism to the system in 2012 fa sho.

  28. Cheryl

    It’s interesting that some players are referred to as having a better chance of making it to the majors becuase there young. But isn’t V only 19? This year we need to have a better sense of his capabilities on defense.Law saw him once and completely wrote him off. Since then there are scouts that have expressed surprise that he’s better at defense than they were led to believe. V has said he wants to be a complete player. Whether he can be will take some time to assess.If he’s assigned to Kane County there is a good chance that many of you will see him play a lot. Is he a lousy defensive first baseman? We’ll know soon enough.

    1. BluBlud

      Cheryl, I totally agree. Vogelbach is a sure thing IMO. I can’t find a flaw In his offensive approach at all. He has some other issues, but I don’t know where this “he only has fall down range at first” comes from. He’s not Rizzo, but he’s not nearly as bad as people try to say. In fact, people use it i think just to argue a point, because most people have never seen him. He was at the same level as Almora last year, and his number made almora’s, and everybody elses at that level, look pretty amateurish, yet Almora is regarded pretty and V not so much. Almora has bust potential, whereas V is close to a sure bet to be a average major leaguer at the least. This is all my opinion of course, but it’s the way I see it. These ranking are a popularity contest. V is a better hitter then Almora could dream to be, atleast right now. There is no way he is not a top 5 prospect in this system.

      1. hansman1982

        Sure thing? Little bit of hyperbole there?

        1. BluBlud

          Sure thing to at least be a major leaguer. Maybe not a sure thing to be a star, but he will definitely make the show, and sooner then people think. Maybe 2015.

          1. hansman1982

            Well then, let’s go in the Way Back Machine, all the way to 1997.

            Dee Brown led the NWL in SLG and OPS that year. 19 years old. Posted a .531 wOBAs that year (compared to V’s .436 last year) with an 81% steal success rate.

            He had Vogelbach smoked in walks, hits, doubles, triples, SB. V beat him in HR.

            On paper looks like this kid was better than Vogelbach, even played LF (which demands less of a bat than 1B (and per 2011 averages even less than CF (although just barely))). Drafted 1st round. I bet there were a LOT of Royals fans who were thinking he was a sure fire future big leaguer.

            Too bad that over 8 seasons in the majors he was unable to generate a single season of positive WAR. Even had a full-ish campaign one year of 400 PA and managed a 63 OPS+.

            Long story short, Vogelbach is NOT a sure thing and doubly so when he will struggle to be league average defensively at 1st. It ALL rides on how his bat holds up moving up the ladder.

            Statistically, he looks like a beast but he is just in SS-A ball right now. Let’s see how he does if he makes it to AA.

            1. BluBlud

              Right. You made my point. Dee Brown made the bigs, right. That’s all I’m saying V is a lock for. I not predicting his success or failures once he’s there, I’m just saying he’ll get there.

              1. hansman1982

                ” Vogelbach is a sure thing IMO. I can’t find a flaw In his offensive approach at all.”

                Going from that to:

                “I not predicting his success or failures once he’s there, I’m just saying he’ll get there.”

                Is like saying my 2002 Grand Prix is a contender to win a NASCAR race to “Well, it will finish the race.”

                You could predict the same thing of everyone in the Top-20 and be right no less than half the time.

                1. BluBlud

                  In other words, his bat is good enough to get him to the majors. I not guaranteeing he will be a star or a bench player, just guaranteeing he’ll get there.

                  Seperate from that, it is my opinion that his bat will make him a Super Star, and his defense will be at least league average though I’m not willing to guarantee that part because it is only my opinion. Notice the first line has IMO beside it.

            2. BluBlud

              Oh, and I yhink he’ll be at least league average. His glove is not questioned, just his range. I think he’ll be alright.

      2. JR

        Offensively he is for sure a top 5 player. But there is some serious concern about his size and how it will effect him at first base in the future. Considering he is still so far away, and with the defenisive concerns that is why he is ranked where he is at. I am not as high on Almora as most either, and hope he decides to take a walk every once in awhile this year. But yeah, if Voges continues to rake as he moves up the system, people won’t give a flying shit about his weight and D.

  29. dan

    Watched Vogelbach last spring in a private work out session stood by two coachs who made the comment that he will be above average defender in majors. From what I saw he was better than that this guy looked like a vaccum at first. Then he took bp he lost so many balls in the seats it was ridiculous

    1. Spriggs

      It will be so interesting to see his development… Sure is a lot to like.

  30. arta

    what’s that saying from ML scouts? if u can hit they’ll find a spot for you. there have been many bad fielders who made it to the ML’s.