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baez almora solerI have a fairly complex conundrum.

Sometime in the near future I will need to re-rank the Bleacher Nation Top 40 to take into account the 2013 draft picks as well as some of the breakout performances we have seen already see this system. And while some of the decisions are easy (moving Arismendy Alcantara up, for example), one decision is proving to be very difficult.

How do I rank that top four?

In the original Top 40 they were listed Soler, Baez, Almora based in no small part on experience (Bryant, of course, was not yet connected to the Cubs at all). If I stick with the experience angle as the tie breaker the order would probably be Soler, Bryant, Baez, and Almora.

But that means I’m ranking baseball’s best offensive shortstop prospect [Brett: Xander Bogaerts might fight you on that one] and the organization’s leader in home runs third. I’m not so sure about that.

On the other hand, I could let positional value be the tie breaker. That would make the order Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler. Of the four, though, Soler is still probably the safest bet to reach the majors and have an impact there. Why would I rank the highest floor the lowest when their ceilings are so close?

And then we have the talk from scouts and analysts of Bryant having 80 power to go with a 60 hit, or of Almora showing five true plus tools with the potential to be moved up the system in a hurry. Those are very good arguments for listing either of those No 1 over all.

I’m tempted to rank all four in a tie, but I feel like that would be cheating.

This is a genuine puzzle and so far I have not figured out a good way to cut through it.

It is a fun problem to have, though; I hope to be in predicaments like this every time I rank the prospects. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs rallied late, including three run outbursts in the seventh and eighth, to tie the game, but ultimately lost 9-8 in twelve innings.
Tennessee – It was a close one, but the Smokies lost it 3-2.
Daytona – Daytona played well on both sides of the game in this 5-1 win.
Kane County – The Cougars also enjoyed a good game as they walked away with a 4-1 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Dave Sappelt doubled and homered to lead the Cubs’ offense. Steve Clevenger also doubled, but that was the extent of extra base hits.
  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins singled and walked twice as the lead off man.
  • [Iowa] While the offense was climbing back into the game, Hisanori Takahashi was pitching 3.2 hitless innings of relief.
  • [Tennessee] The Smokies did not have a lot of offense in this one. Rubi Silva‘s two hit performance was the only multi-hit game, and his double was the only extra base hit.
  • [Tennessee] Alberto Cabrera struck out seven over seven innings and allowed just two runs on two hits (one of which was a home run).
  • [Daytona] Five of Daytona’s ten hits were doubles. Dustin Geiger, Zeke DeVoss, Ben Carhart, Chadd Krist, and Tim Saunders each collected one of the doubles.
  • [Daytona] Yao-Lin Wang pitched the first four innings, and even though he walked three, he did strike out four.
  • [Daytona] The Cub pitchers had some trouble with walks in this game, except for Kyler Burke and Frank Del Valle. Del Valle, in particular, excelled by striking out both batters he faced.
  • [Kane County] Albert Almora came a home run short of the cycle with this 3 for 4 performance.
  • [Kane County] The only non-Almora extra base hit came from Rock Shoulders, a double.
  • [Kane County] Tayler Scott pitched a very effective game. Over 7.2 innings he gave up just one run on two hits. The three walks are a blemish and the two strikeouts are lower than we might like, but all in all it was a very good outing.

Other News

  • The Tennessee Smokies’ online auction in support of the Oklahoma City Red Cross is still going, and with three days to go the bidding is light on many items. A Fergie Jenkins baseball is on the list for $50, less than one signed by Darwin Barney and only $10 more than one signed by Blake Lalli. The Anthony Rizzo bat has been bid up a bit, but the Ernie Banks edition has just the one bid on it at the time of this writing. It’s a good promotion in support of a good cause. Be sure to check it out while the bidding remains open.
  • hansman1982

    Soler
    Almora
    Bryant
    Baez

    Boom, fixed the conundrum for you.

    • Jp3

      I like it Hansman except for maybe Baez 3rd because Bryant has played a MiLB game yet? And Baez has been on fire. Baez’s streak could be a fluke/hot streak so I’m with you on not getting carried away with shooting him up too high. Although he does play a premium position…💬💬, now I’m confused.

      • hansman1982

        Bryant is supposed to be like Baez, only with a batting eye and no possibility of playing SS.

        I’m still not a fan of Baez’s walk rate nor convinced of the recent few weeks.

        • Jp3

          I’m not disagreeing with you in theory, I’d just like to see Bryant face pitching other than UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge (these sound like high schools). I’m sure he’s a stud, I just want to see him one time and hell if he stays at third and shows a whiff of 80 power I’m with you moving him up.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Yeah, he’s not disagreeing in theory. Just in principle.

            • Jp3

              Ha😀

          • cubbie blue thru n thru

            He did face StL cards 1st rounder from Gonzaga and went 2-3 with BB FYI, its not like he’s was feasting on bums who couldn’t play all year

          • cubbie blue thru n thru

            He also played a 3 game set against Oregon St (one of the 8 remaining teams in the CWS) went 5-12 2 hrs 5 rbi. He’s showed he can compete against the upper echelon of D1 baseball, he just happened to play in a mid major conference

            • Jp3

              Look I’m just saying its easier to get a read on ANY draft pick in a professional league. It’s a fairly level playing field where there is no danger of SSS and what not, everyone has to face everyone else’s top pros with advanced scouting reports and what not. Pencil me in as one of the people most excited to watch Bryant, he was who I wanted too from the draft. It’s just way early to tell, it’s great to hear though that he rose to good competition

        • Andrew

          walking is important but if Baez can hit like Soriano (in his prime) while playing SS, thats a ton of value. There is more to baseball than walking and players can be very good offensively without having great discipline. I think it’s possible he improves the walk totals, but im not too worried if he doesnt.

          • BluBlud

            I not to concerned with his walk rate, it will improve. The Strike out are more of a concern. If he can keep those in the low 20% or even somehom drop them into the teens, then he will be just fine.

            • Andrew

              no, weve already had this discussion, there is a very good chance his walk rate will not improve, but even if it doesnt, it does not doom him as a prospect. If he can stick at shortstop, or even play a very good 3B or 2B, which i think most scouts would agree he can, the power and hitting he brings already makes him a very valuable player, even if he doesnt improve his walk rate.

              • EQ76

                I personally couldn’t care less about walk rate with a player that could hit 40+ HRs and knock in 100+ runs every year.. I don’t think everybody in the lineup has to fit into that mold.. we just need 3 guys hitting in front of him that take walks.

              • SenorGato

                Walks seem to naturally go up in age. For Baez I was definitely more worried aboot the Ks.

                I cant do a list until.midseason. Baez and Almora fighting for #1, but I might just go with Bryant.

                • SenorGato

                  *go up with age

        • BluBlud

          Of course you are not, but I willing to bet you find to many scout who will not rank Baez as a top 10 prospect, and as the #1 in our system. I almost willing to say you will not find any. Baez numbers are better then Solers against the same competition, and baez is 9 months younger, with makes his numbers even better.

          • BluBlud

            Willing to bet you WON’T find to many

            • Cubbie Blues

              *too

          • Timothy Scarbrough

            Well Luke’s point about floor is valid. Soler is probably the safest bet.

          • Kyle

            Scouts don’t do rankings. Pundits, however, do.

            Jim Callis of Baseball America puts Bryant No. 1
            Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus puts Almora No. 1
            Keith Law has Soler No. 1

            Baez definitely is not a majority No. 1, and maybe not even a plurality.

    • Andrew

      Baez is a better prospect than Soler. He’s younger and hitting better than Soler at the same level and plays the better position. Yes, plate discipline is important, but when you bring the amount of power Baez has to a premium position, that makes a huge difference. I;m tempted to rank it

      Baez
      Almora
      Bryant
      Soler

    • BluBlud

      Here is my top 10

      1) Baez
      2) Soler
      3) Bryant
      4) Almora
      5) Vogelbach
      6) Alcantara
      7) Johnson
      8) Szczur
      9) Geiger
      10) Hendricks

      if you wanna take Bryant out since he has not signed yet, then you can bump everybody up and put Junior lake at 10.

      • Andrew

        Alcantara is hitting better than Vogelbach at a premium position and at a higher level, no way Vogelbach is higher. I don’t like your 8 and 9 guys, Candelario, Lake, villanueva, among others are better prospects than Szczur and geiger.

        • BluBlud

          Szczur is playing his ass off this season, and doing it at a higher level then all those guys you mention. He was previously in the top 100 in baseball, then slipped a little. This season proves he’s back, and his 9% walk rate and 15% SO are pretty damn good to. I was temped to put Lake higher, but he just got back and like Szczur, needed to do something to get his rank up. He well on his way, but Szczur has been doing it for the whole season. Villanueva is good, but not top 10 good. Not in this system.

          • Kyle

            He turn 24 next month and is putting up a .739 OPS at AA (with the highest BABIP of his career). That just doesn’t project to being a major-league quality hitter, even for a CFer.

      • ari gold

        Not to nitpick but I wouldn’t rate Geiger in the top 20. A light hitting 1st baseman (I believe he plays mostly 1st base now) isn’t much to get excited about.

        • cubbie blue thru n thru

          He’s only 3 months older than Soler, their slash lines are almost identical so does that mean that you wouldn’t rank soler in the big 4 because he’s a “light hitting” right fielder?

          • Kyle

            It means people need to stop putting so much weight on slash lines below AA.

      • cubbie blue thru n thru

        How in the world do you have szczur ranked ahead of Candelario? He’s 19 switch hitting, with a line of .274/.355/.397 42/30 k/bb ratio as he gets older some double will turn to HRs. I’d be inclined to put Candelario ahead of Vogelbach.

        • Spriggs

          I’m not a big Szczur fan (AT ALL), but I can see why some people would still be ranking him relatively high. He hasn’t “busted” yet and was indeed in the top 100 not too long ago – so he hasn’t blown enough to lose too much of the luster he had at one time. He is also doing fairly well at AA this year – though nothing too impressive to me – especially for his age. His baseball inexperience is becoming sort of a Josh Vitteresque type of defense — it is wearing thin. I see little chance of him becoming a regular starting outfielder in MLB.

          • Kyle

            Every year, Baseball America takes a few random toolsy guys and shoots them up the prospect rankings one time for no clear reason. Szczur seems to be getting a *ton* of mileage out of being the beneficiary of that.

            • Spriggs

              Yes, he certainly has. I never saw much there from the start.

        • SenorGato

          I think I would put Candelario over Vogelbach as far as preference goes, but Vogelbach is a more polished talent.

          Candelario is going to haveto put up a hell of a fight for 3Bof the future. I like the idea of internal competition, and I definitely think Candelario is going to be one of thenmore interesting sleepers over the next couple seasons.

      • http://Yahoo.com brandon

        I do like this list but vizciano needs to be inn there

  • Jp3

    Ok Albert, you’ve made your point, on to Daytona with you… He’s closing in on the 100 ABs and they’ve not even come close to figuring him out. He’s not walking very much but damn they apparently are incapable of throwing him enough balls to give him a pass. Daytona is where it seems the pitching is good enough to make him take his free passes and they have the talent to use the advanced scouting reports on a hitter to make him make adjustments.

    • cms0101

      I think everyone agrees that he should be moved to Daytona at some point soon. I think that because he had the hamate injury, and then the hamstring injury, they’re going to let him get his feet under him a bit more in Kane County. They didn’t react rapidly when Vogelbach was tearing things up, and while his power is still there, he’s settled back a little bit as well. Almora is barely 19. This is his first full year in the system. It’s ok to move him slowly. Like Baez last year, Almora should go up to Daytona with a month or two left in the season, but be allowed to get settled into being a pro in Kane Co. for a bit longer. 200 ABs seem like a good number to base his promotion on. He should get there by mid-July.

  • Stevie B

    Almora clearly belongs up a notch. How many more ab’s, and 3-4’s before they say enoughs enough ?

  • Stevie B

    Yeah, what Jp said

  • Andrew

    How would Bryant be above almora if positional value were the tiebreaker? CF, especially potential GG CF is more valuable than 3B with a chance to move to corner OF.

  • abe

    Luke,

    When is Almora getting promoted? He raised his batting average again and he is already hitting above 400, and he is closing in on 100 at bats..

    • Andrew

      Baez had 235 PA in Low A, if I had to guess, I’d say Almora also gets around that many.

      • Rich H

        Baez has over 300 PA’s if you could his cup of coffee last year. I think they want every one to get about 400 per level unless they just destroy the level.

        • cms0101

          I agree Rich. Baez made them move him up last year. Almora has been active less than a month, factoring in his pulled hammy that took him out of the lineup for a week. 200 ABs, hitting at a nice clip, are reasonable promotion targets. Even if he doesn’t hit at the same .400 clip he’s on currently, if he’s progressing through his development plan successfully, it makes sense to bump him. Bottom line, he will get ABs in Daytona before the summer is over, and that’s where he’ll start next season. After one year in the system, I feel he could be moved more aggressively, provided he is performing. 2015 call-up is a realistic expectation in my mind.

  • Idaho Razorback

    The link to the Kane County box score gives me the Daytona box score.

  • ssckelley

    The best part of all this is that we are even having this argument. I have been a Cub fan all my life and cannot remember a time where I have been this excited about 4 prospects in the same year. The next set of prospects after the top 4 are not bad either.

    I rank all 4 tied for first. (Yep, I am no fun)

  • cubchymyst

    I say go on a head and cheat (if you ain’t cheating your ain’t trying) and label them 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d. Does anyone know what Almora hit tool was rated as? He seems to be have a knack for putting the ball in play, and combine that with his defense in Center he floor is as high as any of the others.

    • cubchymyst

      Never mind finally found the baseball-america list with prospect tools listed. It has Almora as a 65 for a future ceiling for his hit tool. Here is the link for anyone interested, all numbers are future ceilings for the top 100 prospect.

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2013/2614739.html

      • LouBrown

        Makes me kind of depressed to see the rankings on Archer and Lee. Wish we had started the rebuild a year prior to the Garza trade, think of the system then…

        • Jp3

          What’s funny about that list is they have Soler’s ETA 2015 and Baez’ 2014? What? I thought Soler was easily the more likely especially being on the 40 man already

        • Andrew

          What I regret most about that trade is that I wouldve much rather traded for a pitcher of Garza’s quality now than I would then. Neither Lee or Archer are close to sure things given the formers knee problems and the latter’s control problems, but if the cubs had more prospects like them, it would make trading for players to contend with a lot easier

  • http://Www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    This is why I prefer Sickels method with grades or even going with a tiered ranking and calling those four Tier 1. Sure, list them in your preferred order, but they are a interchangeable. None of them are the clear best prospect in the system, but they are all clearly above everyone else.

  • Jp3

    Luke, you’re going to have to find a new pic soon for updating the big 3 minor leaguers to 4 soon, you have that one yet or do you not want to jinx the Bryant negotiations?

  • Justin

    1.Almora
    2. Bryant
    3. Soler
    4. Baez
    What’s going on with Soler? He hasn’t done much at the plate lately. I keep waiting on him to go nuts in High A.

    • Jp3

      I think Soler is just in a bit of a slump but yeah he’s been struggling for the last few weeks

      • Justin

        Yeah probably a slump. My expectations are probably unrealistic for him. For whatever reason I thought he would just tear up Daytona from the get go and never look back. His numbers are still solid though.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Baseball Reference has Soler with a .261/.261/.348 over the last 7 days and .261/.314/.370 over the last 28 days. If that’s a slump, then I’m all for it — the lack of walks lately seem to speak to a guy who’s pressing to try to “break out,” perhaps because he looks at Baez and thinks to himself “I can do that, too.”

    • cms0101

      I have to disagree with this a bit. Almora is impressive, but he’s got to be 3rd on the list, at minimum. He doesn’t have the raw power that Soler and Baez have. While a solid all-around player, he doesn’t really have a tool better than either of the other guys. He plays a solid center, but he’s not a burner. I don’t want this to sound like I’m downgrading him as a player, but I don’t think he’s the top guy. I can’t really rank Bryant yet. His college career was impressive, but I need to see a little in the pros before I can truly rank him.

      • Nathan

        He plays a lot better CF then you are giving him credit for. When the prospect rankings came out before the season, he was the highest rated defensive prospect in the entire minor leagues.

      • Rich H

        You realize that Jim Callis compared Almora in Centerfield to Ken Griffey JR defensively right? Speed does not make a good centerfielder look at Jim Edmonds. His knowledge and routes to the ball are considered major league ready now. He is far above solid in center.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I would phrase it differently. Almora appears to be a guy like Edmonds who knew where the ball was going to go almost immediately after it left the bat. These guys intercept the ball rather than chasing it. The “routes” part is misleading because it’s the cart, not the horse: guys who take bad routes are chasing a moving target (where they think the ball will go) rather than intercepting an id’ed target.

          • Rich H

            I would agree Doc I was using the terms that Callis talked about on Twitter. Almora’s defense is so far above “Solid” it isn’t even funny.

            • SenorGato

              I would also say that he is on a path to have the best hit tool in the bunch.

              Almora is pretty studly in a quiet way…Probably my favorite of the bunch.

    • Noah

      When you’re looking at a slump, you have to ask why? Is it due to batted balls just not finding holes, or is the hitter striking out more or walking less? So if you look at just Soler’s June, the walk rate is WAY done (1 walk in 45 PAs) and the K rate is up slightly (20%). So it might just be that he’s not seeing the ball well. However, he’s also having a low BABIP stretch (.265 compared to .304 on the season). So it’s probably a little bit of both over a short slump. Short slumps, though, are nothing to be concerned about.

  • Spriggs

    Like Luke said, it’s a great problem to have. Since I’ve been just a hair disappointed with Soler’s stats this year in Daytona, and since I am a Baez freak, I’ll say:

    1. Baez
    2. Almora
    3. Soler
    4. Bryant

    When I see Bryant crush one 500 feet in his first two ABs in AZ, he’ll be moved up. Until then, I am just too skeptical of his competition.

    • Dynastyin2017

      This is good. After two weeks in a league, Bryant moves to No. 2. (I hope).

  • cub4life

    Luke,

    I got a way out for you (unless you already figured this one out). Take the 4 guys and rank there 5 tools first (Bryant 80 power and 60 hit) even if they are tied (1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 point for each tie). then also rank them for their ceiling and their floor. If you still need a tie breaker you can look at age, experience, speed in which they should move up the ladder ect. as possible rankings.

    With all that said you are absolutely correct in the good problem to have. All in all it really doesn’t matter what they are rank, what matters is will we be able to keep them and will they help us finally win for years to come.

    And I also must say that you do a great job with the minor league updates and we all appreciate the news of the Cubs future. A BIG Thanks to you.

  • bryan

    TIer 1:
    1.Almora- I simply think he is gonna be a stud and the best pro of the 4.
    2.Baez
    3.Soler
    4.Bryant

    Tier 2
    5.Alcantara
    6.Vogalbach
    7.Candeleiro
    8.Geiger
    9.Szurzr
    10.Lake

    Aroyds and paniangua would belong in tier 2, but since neither have pitched I wont put a rank down.

    Tier 3
    11. Pierce Johnson
    12. Watkins
    13. Jackson
    14. Shoulders
    15. Vitters
    16.Villanueva
    17. Hendricks
    18. Amaya

    Those are my top 18. In tiers, but im not crying. ;)

    Lets hear what you guys have to think

    • cubchymyst

      Looks good to me, I might be tempted to move Pierce Johnson to tier 2 though.

      • bryan

        yeah I was considering that, but I wanna see him pitch higher competition successfully first before I put him up there. It was tempting though.

    • cub2014

      bryan,
      I like the list but no one has any love for Stephen
      Bruno. I know he is hurt and I dont know about his
      defense. But the kid has hit .360 with OBP of .440
      in 2 partial years far and away best statistical hitter
      in Cubs organization. Somebody enlighten me on
      Bruno.

      • Timothy Scarbrough

        Bruno is the kind of guy who is going to have to earn it at every level.

    • miggy80

      I think it’s a pretty fair ranking. I too think Almora will end up having the best career. I was wondering where B. Jackson would end up. Didn’t see him on any others top 10. I wonder if he’s feeling the pressure?

  • Joe

    1. Almora
    2. Baez
    3. Bryant
    4. Soler

    Alphabetical.

  • bryan

    Am I crazy for considering rock shoulders a top 15 prospect?

    • bryan

      in our farm**

      • mak

        He’s cooled off a bit, and I think there are at least 15 or 20 guys who would have more value to a competitor’s front office. He’ll need to finish strong, and have another good year next year to pass a lot of the talent in the system.

    • SenorGato

      Probably. System is deeper than that and Shoulders isn’t really a prospect.

  • Mak

    3 tiers (positional prospects only):

    A) elite prospects

    1. Soler
    2. Bryant
    3. Almora
    4. Baez

    B) Closest to majors/most likely to be on a MLB roster soon
    1) Watkins
    2) Jackson
    3) Lake
    4) Sczuzr
    5) Villaneuva
    6) Vitters
    7) Ha

    C) Elite potential
    1) Alcantara
    2) Vogelbach
    3) Candelerio
    4) Torreyes
    5) Geiger
    6) Amaya
    7) shoulders
    8) M Hernandez
    9) Penalver
    10) W. Contrerras

    • mak

      as far as pitching, it would be more like (note, I don’t know anything about this years draft class):

      A) Elite/TOR
      N/A

      B) #2 or 3 potential
      – Vizcaino, Johnson, Maples, Cabrera, Paniagua

      C) Back end potential
      Hendricks, Jokish, Loux, Beeler, T. Scott

      D) Interesting young guys
      Torrez, C. Rodriguez, C. Martinez, Arias, Peralta, Santana, Conway, McNeil

      E) Solid bullpen prospects
      McNutt, Zych, Negrin, Rosscup, Del Valle, Burke, Pena, Cervenka

      • Andrew

        If you’re talking pure upside, I’d say Underwood and Maples should be mentioned as potential TOR guys.

      • AB

        I’d to see guys throw 120+innings of average if not effective innings before I consider them TOR type prospects.

        Maples is at least throwing innings on a consistent basis, despite the results. I’m afraid he’ll turn into Chris Huseby, part 2.

      • Nathan

        No Underwood? That is just crazy

        • Mak

          Him and Blackburn were omissions for sure. Would still probably have to put them both “interesting young arms” for now.

      • Kyle

        I think those are very optimistic. I’d knock almost every pitcher down a tier.

    • Andrew

      I’d bet on Alcantara making it to the majors before szczur, villanueva and Ha. Dude is already a stud and is knocking on the door of the Big 4 based on how he’s played. Legit 5 tool player that already has shown success in upper minors.

      • mak

        To some extent, I agree, but Alcantara has a very small track record of this kind of success. He could be in the majors just as soon, but it would be much bigger jump than those other guys who have at least 1-2 full seasons at AA/AAA. I think Ha’s floor is a 5th OF and he could probably fill that role in Sept. I have no idea what Alcantara’s floor is (although we’re certainly seeing his ceiling)

        • cub2014

          Ha will not be up in September to many
          outfielders ahead of him. Where as Barney
          could be gone by August 1st, so Alcantera
          has a great shot at a call up this year.

          • mak

            I meant Ha COULD fill that role (if he wasn’t blocked). I don’t think there’s any chance we see Alcantara this year — Watkins would definitely get the call over him (on 40 man already).

            • cub2014

              Mak, thats true i forgot about 40 man roster
              issue.

          • NickB

            Wouldn’t Logan Watkins replace Barney?

            • Dynastyin2017

              If everyone is healthy, the Cubs would probably put Vitters at third and move Valbuena to 2nd. Unless of course, Watkins figures out his K problem. Then you hope for Vitters to hold his own, at least enough to interest other teams.

    • Jackalope

      I like the idea of tiers. It’s really splitting hairs ranking guys that are very close. It seems more meaningful to categorize players in descriptive groups.

  • Jackalope

    Let’s play the old Rob Neyer game for these two prospects that differ in age by less than 3 months. (For the record, I’m not suggesting they are of equal prospect status, just remarkably similar age and performance.)

    Prospect A: .291/.359/.461
    Prospect B: .281/.343/.467

    Any guesses?

    • mak

      I’m guessing the “B” guy is someone like Geiger?

      • Jared

        Could the A prospect be Soler?

      • ETS

        The A prospect is Geiger. Still looking for the B.

        • Jackalope

          A is in fact Geiger, while B is Soler.

  • ChicagoMike702

    Pro experience would be my tie breaker, better pitching and wood bats.

  • cub2014

    Cubs are loaded with hitters that can play
    3B-SS-2B. 15 of them and we only have 2
    spots open at major league level, thats a
    good thing. Hopefully 2 of them are stars.
    3B Lake
    Vitters
    Villanueva
    Bryant
    Candelario
    Carhart
    SS Alcantera
    Baez
    Sanders
    Amaya
    Hernandez
    2B Watkins
    Torreyes
    Bruno
    Darvill
    All potential good hitters.

  • cubsin

    Amaya has played 2B exclusively since 2011, and was primarily a 2B in 2010. He’s also the best prospect currently playing there. With the glut of 3B and SS in our system, he’ll have an uphill battle to win a big league roster spot.

  • UCF

    How is Vizcaino not making any of these fan projected prospect lists? Hell, he was in the top 100 at the beginning of the year as our 5th best prospect.

    I understand the arm issues and delays that have happened this year….but he is in the top ten.

    • UCF

      *4th best

    • Kyle

      Injuries matter a lot for a pitcher. We’re at the point now where he’s had arm injuries several years in a row and hasn’t pitched competitively in almost two full seasons. You could find room for him at the back of the top 10 if you really wanted, but outside the top 15 would be defensible too.

  • Rebuilding

    I think Baez has to be above Soler given he’s younger, plays a premium position and has performed better at the same level. I think Almora also has to be above Soler given the first two factors above and the way he is destroying a level a little advanced for his age. Bryant, I think, has to be behind all 3 because we’ll have to see the transition to really know. Alcantara is now my solid #5 – has to be above Vogs and is the breakout player of the year so far. So:

    (1) Baez
    (2) Almora
    (3) Soler
    (4) Bryant

    (5) Alcantara

    We could be scary good and almost completely cost controlled in a few years.

    • Drew7

      When comparing 2 guys through 1/2 season of A+, Give me peripherals over OPS every time.

      Soler:
      BB – 8.9%
      K – 16.1%

      Baez:
      BB – 5.3%
      K – 22.9%

      I like Baez, but those K’s are still a huge red flag for me.

      • gocatsgo2003

        All true and good, but those numbers have been on opposite trends over the past month (28 days since that’s what Baseball Reference gives me)…

        Soler:
        BB — 7.8%
        K — 18.6%

        Baez:
        BB — 7.9%
        K — 14.9%

        Obviously both of these guys have much more to prove, but speaks to the ebb and flow of prospect evaluation that we can get stuck with if we focus exclusively on numbers and arbitrary timeframes.

        • Kyle

          The games before the last 28 days also counted.

          • gocatsgo2003

            I’m well aware, but trajectories are also extremely important for prospects, especially in the various A-level teams — is performance improving as they are taking the things they’re coached to do into the games?

          • Dynastyin2017

            Yes, all games count, but with prospects, wouldn’t you look for some type of growth?

        • Drew7

          “…Those number have been on opposite trends…last 28 days”

          “…we can get stuck if we focus exclusively on numbers and abitrary timeframes”

          So, arbtrary timeframes are bad, but you refute my point by citing 28 days of performance? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to say.

          At any rate, the numbers I gave pretty much mirror what each have shown throughout their respective MiLB careers.

          • gocatsgo2003

            True enough — I should have walked that back somewhat to say that I am always a bit skeptical of focusing on numbers in and of themselves in prospect evaluation. At the end of the day, the numbers are all that pretty much any of us have to work with, but we can’t get stuck in a vacuum of looking exclusively at the numbers without consideration of a prospect’s overall development arc (e.g. working on one aspect of their game to the detriment of another, etc.).

      • Rebuilding

        Understood. The K-rate concerns me too and I think that Baez does have a higher flame-out potential, but his ceiling while playing the middle infield (I think he moves to 2nd) is enough to overcome it. Just because of positional value, if he just has a 300 OBP and a 500 SLG % he’s a Top 5 2b/SS anything more than that and he’s a superstar

  • John (ibcnu2222)

    Brett/ Luke, Do you think Almora should be called up to Daytona already? He has surpassed his PA’s at Low A and Rookie Ball already with better results.

    • Rich H

      I am not either but I will give my opinion anyway.\

      No he needs to see and be seen by a pitcher multiple times to see what adjustments are going to be made to him. In another 50 PA’s then the conversation starts to be is he too advanced for the level but not yet.

      • John (ibcnu2222)

        Sounds good. Just wondering out loud since they had promoted him to Kane County so fast.

    • LouBrown

      Log jam in the outfield at all levels. Once the trades at the MLB level start to clear it, you will see some outfielder movement: Almora and maybe Redemacher to Daytona, Andreolli and maybe Soler to Tennesee, Ha and/or Sczur to Iowa, and Bogusevich to Cubs.

  • andoalex

    Just read this in a grantland article (talking about pujols’ albatross of a contract) and thought it was pretty fitting to think about:

    So if you want to avoid making a $240 million mistake you’ll regret for a decade, the answer’s simple: Assemble a bottomless well of homegrown talent and hire a GM with enough clout to talk his billionaire boss out of doing anything rash. Piece of cake.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    I think your fun problem is one of definition. I see at least four factors.

    1. potential
    2. performance to date
    3. maturity
    4. position

    If you ranked on performance; you might say Junior Lake is at AAA and so far is doing very well. He is performing at the top minor league level.

    If you ranked on potential, Bryant has some incredible scouting numbers but has yet to sign a contract.

    If there is a pitcher who is a lights out closer, he could easily be #1. If you look at the difficulty of finding top notch 3B’s then Bryant gets an advantage so position can become part of it.

    I see the trade off as deciding which is placed higher in the criteria in the ranking process.

    As another example, Baez sure is a good hitter; but maturity wise he probably ranks on the bottom at this point. While Almora is around the same age, his maturity both on and off the field has been highly touted.

    Tell us how you rank the criteria and your weighting and then your numbers will make mores sense.

    Just my $..02,

    regards,
    5412

  • Josh Kirby

    My list would go:

    Soler (safe bet, good power)
    Baez (huge reward, but very risky)
    Almora (smart, hard worker, athletic)
    Bryant (have to put last until he plays)

  • RoughRiider

    I guess we can now start trying to figure out who the Cubs will pick with the 3rd pick in the 2014 draft. I’m ready to say it will be a Right Handed Starting pitcher.

  • John

    1. Javier Baez
    2. Albert Almora
    3. kris Bryant
    4. Jorge Soler
    5. Dan Vogelbach
    6. Junior Lake
    7. Kyle Hendricks
    8. Matt Szczur
    9. Arismendy Alcantara
    10. Pierce Johnson
    11. Dillon Maples ( Hes struggled with Command but hes still got great Stuff and is still young)
    12. Jeimer Candelario ( Seems to be the forgotten 3rd baseman because of the Kris Bryant Selection but he leads Kane County with 20 doubles and is 2nd on the team with 30 BB)
    13. Josh Vitters
    14. Christian Villanueava
    15. Paul Blackburn
    16. Duane Underwood
    17. Frank Batista
    18. Dustin Geiger
    19. John Andreoli
    20. Rubi Silva

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