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baez almora solerAnother couple midseason rankings updates are out today, courtesy of ESPN’s Keith Law and Minor League Ball’s John Sickels. Once again, the Chicago Cubs are well-represented.

In Law’s list, newly-signed draft pick Kris Bryant claims the top spot for the Cubs, coming in at number 15 overall. The previous Big Three now all show up in the top 30, and all are up from where they were ranked by Law before the season: Jorge Soler is at 20 (up from 42), Albert Almora is at 25 (up from 33), and Javier Baez is at 27 (up from 31).

There are also eight honorable mentions at the end of Law’s list of the top 50, and Arismendy Alcantara is included. Does that mean we can say five Cubs prospects are in the top 58? I’m not sure, but I’m going to say it anyway.*

As for Sickels, who ranked 75 players (but no 2013 draft picks), he’s got Baez at 14 (up from 18), Almora at 18 (up from 44), Jorge Soler at 23 (up from 25), and Alcantara at 57 (previously unranked). I think it’s fair to assume that, if Bryant were eligible for Sickels’ list, he would have been right up there, too. Once again, it’s a group of climbers, and the order is totally different from Law’s. It’s an underscore that everyone seems to acknowledge that these are the top prospects in the Cubs’ system, and they’re all very good … but the order is anyone’s guess.

That’s a very, very good thing.

The lists are also useful to peruse for potential trade targets, and how their stock may have improved or fallen so far this year. By way of example only, Mike Olt does not appear on either list.

*In fact, Alcantara is seventh among the eight honorable mentions, so, if they are in order, that would make him 57th to Law – identical to his Sickels ranking. Then again, Sickels didn’t include 2013 draftees, so Law may be a bit higher on Alcantara, comparatively speaking. And, technically, if Bryant and other draftees were in Sickels’ list, Alcantara would be bumped down from 57. So there’s some necessary fudging here.

  • Ben

    I found it odd the Law ranked the Cubs so well, but all he did was complain about the lack of walks for most of them. If he really believes that to be a large issue, I can’t understand the high ranks for all the players.

    Regardless, it’s good to have players universally recognized as top guys. We have a lot of offense on the way in our system. If the pitching catches up, look out.

    • Kyle

      I get the impression that prospect pundits are overwhelmed with response and requests from Cubs fans these days, and in some cases like with Law, it’s created a bit of a backlash.

      • itzscott

        Let’s not kid ourselves, these pundits are doing this to make a living by attracting interest, eyeballs and paying customers or non-paying customers who attract advertisers to pay….

        The Cubs have a national following and Chicago’s a major market. What better place to increase revenue and grow a business than focusing on the previously neglected Cubs’ farm system?

  • Jon

    Even with his warts(Walk Rate, strikeouts), Baez @ 27 is just laughable. Keith Law is such a troll at times.

    • Kyle

      It’s a completely reasonable and valid opinion. Outside of the top 50 would be trolling, but there’s plenty of fuzziness in these ratings.

    • Noah

      A lot of people were saying the same thing when Law was the first to drop Brett Jackson severely down his lists. Being at 27 isn’t a diss, but Law finds big K rates especially to be a factor that lowers his ratings on players, especially when combined with low walk rates. This isn’t an inconsistency.

    • TulaneCubs

      Seems completely reasonable to me, especially if the person doing the ranking is concerned with his plate discipline.

  • http://twitter.com/Brad_S_Brewer Brad Brewer

    I remember not so long ago that the Cubs really didn’t have much at all in that top 30 catagory. Great to see that the cream is beginning to rise, so to say.

  • steve123

    I would have to think that this would be the most from any team? Atleast in the top 30 of each list. Wow. Just think if we could create a package for one of those great pitchers the Cubs have been connected with. Go Cubs Go!

    • TulaneCubs

      The Astros have more on Law’s list, but less in the top 30.

  • On The Farm

    Guys who have been mentioned in Garza talks or General Cubs talks on this site

    Clevland-Trevor Bauer comes in at 26 (Sickels)
    BoSox-Garin Cecchini (30 but probably not happening anyway), Ranuado (54), Allan Webster (59), Henry Owens (63)
    LAD-Joc Pederson (31), Zach Lee (61)
    Philly-Biddle (44)
    Pit- Glansnow (46)
    OAK-Sonny Gray (58)
    AZ-Matt Davidson (72)

    • Jp3

      Speaking of Garza talk… My phone is really hoping this deal will happen already so it can take a break for a while

      • On The Farm

        I am having IT bring me a new keyboard today after wearing out my F5 key

        • Ivy Walls

          When you look at the Cubs Farm landscape on thing is missing, A CATCHER, I think Swihert and one of the Bos pitchers,

          Cubs could make a big trade with Bos…
          Garza, B Jax, Vitters, and McNutt or Maples

          for Cecchini, Swihert and one of the Bos pitchers plus a lower prospect.

          Boston gets a bona fide starter, possible replacement for Elsbury and another number one at 3B and a big arm.

          • Rebuilding

            Would everyone stop with the Cecchini talk. He’s severely underrated even to be ranked in the 30’s no matter what the “experts” tell you. A left hitting, good defensive 3b with some of the best pitch recognition skills in all of baseball. If we had a prospect that had put up these lines would you want Jed and Theo to trade him for Garza?

            A+: 350/469/547 with 43 BBs and 34 Ks
            AA: 341/449/500 with 16 BBs and 20 Ks

            He is only 22 and will fill out more and add power. He should be Top 10 on all of these lists

            • Jay

              Now we need to raid some other team’s pitching prospects, as these are all position players.

          • On The Farm

            Yeah, not sure Boston would want a two month rental, a guy with a 30% K rate at AAA OF to “replace” Ellsbury, a question mark 3B, a AA pitcher who has never been the same since his breakout season, and a guy that just got demoted to A- ball.

            ONLY for their future 3B, C and a good SP prospect.

  • willis

    Almora has been great and Soler was doing very well before his injury, but to have those two ranked ahead of Baez right now is kinda funny. Baez has taken the most steps and has gained the most ground, now playing at the highest level of minor league ball as far as talent is concerned. Either way, great to see these guys getting recognized like this.

  • Jon

    I mean if you are going to harp on walk rates and K rates, at least mentioned that Baez has increased his walks and decreased his K’s over the passed few months.

    Regarding Almora, given his high average and low K rate, I’d say, more than likely he isn’t being challanged enough right now by low A pitching.

    Sorry, Keith Law is a smug little prick

    • Ivy Walls

      got to think Almora is moved to Daytona and once Soler is healthy he is moved as well.

      What will be interesting is who and how many go to AZ Fall League

      • Noah

        I’d actually expect Soler to just sit the rest of the year and then head to instructionals and the Arizona Fall League before moving up to Tennessee to start 2014.

        An Almora promotion wouldn’t surprise me at any point.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      I guess you and I will be sitting on the same side at the next Keith Law fan club meeting.

      Law tends to be a bit stubborn to move off of his initial impressions of players. He’s never going to ‘love’ Baez. The fact that Baez moved up any is a bit of a compliment.

  • Bric

    “All three are up from where they were ranked by Law”- Brett, is there some law that says we can’t have 3 guys in the top 30? I wasn’t aware :)

  • Ivy Walls

    Athleticism, power and hitting for average.

    2 OF’ers
    3 IF’ers

    And if the NL had the DH and Vogelbach continues to move up in the system getting into baseball shape….he could be the 6th in the top 100, and further he could be putting pressure on Rizzo as Baez is doing to Castro.

    • On The Farm

      Not sure Castro is feeling any pressure from a guy who just got promoted to AA, or Rizzo will ever feel pressure from Vogelbach. They have the 7 year contracts, not the two you mentioned in the minors

    • steve123

      Very good problems to have..

    • Noah

      Vogelbach is pretty far from being in Top 100 lists. The prospect guys don’t care that he doesn’t have a position in the NL, just that he may not have a position aside from DH at all. Vogelbach is a bat only player at an age appropriate level (20 years old at Low A), and hitting well, but not setting the world on fire. A .168 ISO and .350 OBP isn’t going to get him in any Top 150 lists, much less Top 100 lists. He honestly could slip out of Cubs top 10 lists, as my guess will be that there will be a strong consensus that Arismendy Alcantara, Pierce Johnson, and Paul Blackburn have surpassed Vogelbach as prospects. At best, I’m seeing Vogelbach ranked as the 8th best prospect in the system, and there are several prospects that could arguably also put above Vogelbach based on him not showing elite power this season: Christian Villanueva, Gioskar Amaya, Arodys Vizcaino (have no idea how prospect writers will deal with him), Kyle Hendricks, etc.

    • Kyle

      Vogelbach has probably lost ground on top-100 status this year. It’s not that he’s had a bad season, it’s just that a guy like him needs to have *great* seasons to earn that kind of hype.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        You guys are right on. What OPS number do you guys think he’d need to be at to garner Top 100 consideration? I’d guess in the 900 range. It’s not impossible, but guys with his build are rare in MLB.

        • Noah

          Considering he’s going a level at a time and just being on age for level, UNLESS the Cubs jump him to somewhere he’s young for the level at some point he needs to be well into the .900s for me. He’d need an OBP close to .400 and an ISO around .250 at least.

  • http://twitter.com/Brad_S_Brewer Brad Brewer

    Law just updated his rankings at 10:42 am this morning and has Kris Bryant at 15. Not sure if anyone else had noticed that yet. That would make him the #1 prospect in the system for the Cubs.

    • http://twitter.com/Brad_S_Brewer Brad Brewer

      I’m an idiot. Totally missed the portion where Brett mentions Bryant.. I was thinking Sickels.

    • hansman1982

      When I saw this in the sidebar I was REALLY hoping it was in this thread.

  • Vin23

    Really impressive turnaround. Not to be the “glass half empty” guy, but man the lack of any pitching prospects in the Cubs system scares me. I was hoping Dillon Maples would be climbing by now, not falling.

    • Patrick G

      Although he struggled yesterday, Panguia is already in Kane County and Pierce Johnson, Blackburn and Kyle Hendricks have been doing well. The pitchers from this years draft have been pretty good as well so far, although they are at the lower levels.

      • Kyle

        “already in Kane County” is not particularly impressive for a 23-year-old. He’s apparently got a very live arm, but he’s going to have question marks surrounding him until he settles in at an age-appropriate level, which for him is *at least* AA.

        Johnson is nice, but overrated by his previous status of “best domestic pitcher” in a bad system.

        Blackburn is encouraging, but teenage live arms in Boise should not be one of the first names you reach for when you start listing an organization’s pitching prospects. Everybody has those guys.

        Hendricks has *huge* stuff questions.

        Our pitching has been slowly improving, piece by piece, but it’s still awful. That’s a list of guys who should be filling out the back half of the top 10 in your list of pitching prospects.

        • Patrick G

          Paniagua just got to the US and pitched 1 game in Boise then promoted to KC. Never said the system was great, but has improved and honestly think this years draft of pitchers will be pretty good

        • ScottK

          The only thing I would say is that as a Cub fan it’s awfully nice to have a plethora of talented position players in the system – I can’t remember us having that. We’ve had pitching talent (and been kinda burned on that) in the past. I wish we had both!

          We have enough money and assets to stock up on pitching though, which is what the FO seems like they’re trying to do.

        • ssckelley

          Just 2 years ago our top pitching prospect was Trey McNutt, now we have an entire list of pitchers we are excited about and people tend to forget they still have Arodys Vizcaino. So I do not think it is as bad as you project it to be.

          But you are right in that most of these prospects are still coming from the lower levels but I think within the next year or 2 (possibly even after the trade deadline) we will see good pitching prospects up and down the organization for us to be excited about.

        • Bwa

          I don’t agree with using age as an indicator for some international players. Sometimes they don’t get to play competitively until they are older and still require more development time. That doesn’t mean they aren’t really good prospects, it just means they will be a little older when they get called up.

        • Noah

          I don’t know if back end of Top 10s is really right, as those would be the best pitching systems in baseball. But in an average system as far as pitching is concerned, yeah, you’d probably have something like Johnson as the 3rd or 4th best pitching prospect in a system, Blackburn as the 6th or so, and Hendricks as the 8th or 9th.

    • mdavis

      i could see Pierce Johnson maybe slipping into the back of the 100. He’s been pretty damn solid. not an ace, but definitely some talent.

      • willis

        Yeah the pitching is still kinda ugh. It’s getting better, but that’s not saying much. That’s like saying a crack head is down to spending only $75 a day for his habit from $100. Which is why I think it’s hard to put a cap on where you would extend Garza. I know it isn’t happening but we all better damn well hope there are a couple decent arms in return because there are a ton of 4/5 starters in the system right now, most of which won’t pan out.

  • David

    Out of the big 4, I vote for Alcantera being the “most likely” to make the big club and be awesome. Can’t teach speed, plus he’s shown is talents in AA for a while – The highest level, relative to the other guys.

    • David

      I don’t think he has the highest ceiling, however. Go Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      I would say Alcantera could be the first to reach the big club out of the big 4 (now big 5?). He has been doing it all year in AA while Baez has just arrived. I think next season Alcantera could compete with Logan Watkins (remember him?) for the second base job with the loser headed to Des Moines.

      I know many have soured on Watkins because he has struggled at Iowa but he still has a decent walk rate and is only 23 years old. I do not think the Cubs are ready to give up on him just yet. This is the first jump he has made where statistically he has taken a step backwards. He still has time to figure it out and get back on track.

      • Noah

        I don’t think anyone has soured on Watkins, just that we see him as more of a utility player than a regular.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Here’s my take…

      Highest overall ceiling: Bryant, Baez, Almora, Soler

      Lowest floor: Baez, Soler, Bryant, Almora

      • On The Farm

        Based on power potential I would think Soler would have a better ceiling than Almora, but maybe not.

  • CubFan Paul

    Isn’t Almora’s ceiling only ‘Austin Jackson/Brett Gardener’ high?

    • David

      Man… I hope not.

      • Patrick G

        I would take that. Austin Jackson had a great season last year and was traded from the Yanks to Det for Granderson, something the Cubs could package for a stud. And Gardner steals 50 bags a year id take that also

        • turn two

          Never heard his ceiling add Brett gardner though, ever since we’ve drafted him I’ve heard from multiple publications that his veiling is Carlos Beltran.

          • CubFan Paul

            Beltran is one of the greatest switch hitters of all time. Come on.

            • turn two

              A. You said ceiling and he is a top 10 pick.
              B. I’m going off what all experts have said, just do a quick search and I’m sure their names will be linked, i know that’s what they said on draft night.

              If your asking who he will probably resemble I’d agree with you, but you said ceiling.

              • CubFan Paul

                Yes, I said ceiling. Then you went and sat on the roof.

                • hansman1982

                  The roof is just the ceiling of the attic.

                  • turn two

                    Poetic hansman. I will stick with his ceiling, that is to say the greatest he could possibly be is Beltran. Same tools.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Except for switch hitting and power. Almora’s ceiling to me is an .800 OPS

                      Beltran does that before breakfast.

                    • turn two

                      I think he has the power tool its just not at beltrans level, probably never will be, but it could and thats a ceiling.

            • hansman1982

              A lighter hitting version of Carlos Beltran?

              • CubFan Paul

                Beltran is a borderline Hall of Famer. Sorta. So, no at lighter hitting.

                • hansman1982

                  The skill sets should be similar…high contact ability with a good knowledge of the strike zone and good defense. The difference is that Beltran was putting 30+ homers a year during his peak but Almora will probably only do 20+ homers a year.

                  The more I think about it, Brett Jackson with the ability to actually hit the ball.

                  • King Jeff

                    I don’t think Almora will develop the same as Beltran, but if you compare their age 18 and 19 seasons, Almora actually has better power numbers than Beltran did. Beltran didn’t hit 30 bombs until he was 27.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      22, 7, 24, 29, and 26 were Beltran’s homerun totals before 2004/before he turned 27…

                      15-20HRs has always been Almora’s ceiling.

                    • King Jeff

                      328/393/323 that’s Beltran’s slugging% at ages 18-20
                      464/484 those are Almora’s at age 18 and 19

                      Like I said before, Almora probably doesn’t project to hit for as much power as Beltran, but Beltran wasn’t exactly projecting as a middle of the order bat in his teens.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “but Beltran wasn’t exactly projecting as a middle of the order bat in his teens”

                      Sure about that?

                    • hansman1982

                      Per B-Ref:

                      Prospect Ratings by Baseball America:
                      Pre-1997: Rated #93 Prospect
                      Pre-1999: Rated #14 Prospect.

                      BA has a draft writeup on him:

                      http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/12716

                • hansman1982

                  The only question really remains, will Almora be able to acquire enough “veteran” in his career like Beltran…

            • King Jeff

              I’ve seen a lot of people make that comp. Almora would have to fill out and develop some more pop as he gets older, but it’s not like anyone is saying he is the next Beltran, just that they have a similar skillset.

              • CubFan Paul

                except for switch hitting and power.

                • hansman1982

                  A lighter-hitting version of Carlos Beltran?

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Brett Gardner? Austin Jackson maybe.

                    • hansman1982

                      Austin Jackson without the K’s
                      Brett Gardner with more power
                      Carlos Beltran with less power
                      David DeJesus with a better glove and a smidge more power.

              • Andrew

                I think he projects to be Adam Dunn, but with less power, more contact ability, ability to play great CF defense

      • Cub Style

        Yea, that would suck. Those are only two guys with top 25 OF fWAR.

    • Jon

      I’d take Austin Jackson in a heartbeat

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Or he could be the Gold Glove version of David DeJesus. (though it would be hard for Almora to ‘out marry’ DeJesus).

        • bbmoney

          A truer thing may never have been said (your parenthetical point).

    • rickyp024

      You say Austin Jackson like you’d be disappointed? I’ll take Austin Jackson any day.

      • CubFan Paul

        If Almora is A.Jackson the Big 4 just became the “Big 3″ (Soler, Bryant, & Baez).

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          Draft day Almora was compared to Adam Jones and is still compared to Adam Jones. I would say Almora’s floor is Austin Jackson.

          • turn two

            This is just silly

            • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

              I’m higher on Almora then probably anyone so I hear you.

              • turn two

                No matter how high, realistic sense says you can’t put an austin Jackson floor.

                • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

                  The day Almora got drafted I said he’d win an MVP one day. I figure if you give a guy a ceiling of an MVP, an Austin Jackson floor is completely fair. Like I said, higher then anyone.

                  By the way if I really had to put a true floor on Almora, I would say it would be that of a 4th OF. I don’t think there is any way this kid doesn’t make it to the show in some way.

        • Rebuilding

          ??? If Almora ever puts up Jackson’s 300/377/479 line from last year while playing great CF defense he will be an All-Star and I think everyone would be ecstatic

          • CubFan Paul

            That’s one year out of many. Jackson is a .400 slugger, like this year.

            • rickyp024

              As a leadoff guy, slugging percentage isn’t really indicative of his success. His career OBP is .347 and averages 100 runs per season. I’d take that from the 1 hole.

              • CubFan Paul

                “As a leadoff guy, slugging percentage isn’t really indicative of his success”

                I NEVER said it was. I was putting .300/.377/.479 in perspective.

            • Rebuilding

              If Almora turns out “just” to have the career of Austin Jackson and you aren’t satisfied then prepare yourself for a lot of disappointment with prospects

              • CubFan Paul

                Why would I be disappointed if he turned out to be Austin Jackson? You’re assuming.

                • Rebuilding

                  Well, if you have him in the Big 4 now, but turning out to be Austin Jackson means we only have a Big 3 it seems you would be disappointed. No?

                  • Rebuilding

                    Jackson has put up a 5 WAR every year of his career and he’s only now 26. That’s borderline star

                    • CubFan Paul

                      We have very different definition of “star”. AllStar alternate maybe. Or “star” on a small market team maybe.

                    • gocatsgo2003

                      Plus a 5.0 is often considered an All-Star-worthy season.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    No.

                    Albert Almora is not part of my Big 4. That’s my whole point.

                    .700-.800OPS CFers aren’t “BIG” to me. He’s studly on the field, I’m a fan of grinders and good defenders. He probably even has Jeter-like Captain ability with his alleged plus make up but the BIG 3 all have something Almora doesn’t: Power, More Power, and Power on top of Freaking Power.

                    No disappointment on Almora, he is who he is. That’s not the discussion.

                    • Chad

                      Power doesn’t make everything or else you’d field a team of Dunn’s. Almora is in a position that doesn’t require as much power (CF). I want a CF that is smart in the OF (check) gets on base (0.371 check), contact skills (< 13% K rate, check), adequate speed (check). And he's only 20? Not every player is going to hit for power, which doesn't necessarily mean they aren't a stud and shouldn't be in our "big 4". Lot more to baseball and a baseball player than power

                    • gocatsgo2003

                      But… wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone in the 1 or 2 spot to get on base in front of all that POWAR?

                      Plus a .750 OPS would likely put him amongst the top 100 players in baseball for that metric. Throw in the tangible and intangible skills you mention and… I think I’m good with him as my everyday center fielder.

                    • Rebuilding

                      A CF who plays great defense and OPSs 770 is a 5 WAR player. Anyone whose floor or comp is a 5 WAR player is easily one of the Top 20 prospects in baseball. But I’ll stop now because I have a feeling you’re someone who thinks WAR is a meaningless statistic

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Not every player is going to hit for power, which doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t a stud and shouldn’t be in our “big 4″. Lot more to baseball and a baseball player than power”

                      No Shit Sherlock. Nothing wrong with me having a BIG 3 and then a 2nd Tier

                      Almora
                      Alcantara
                      Lake (til he flames)
                      Vogelbach and so on…

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “I have a feeling you’re someone who thinks WAR is a meaningless statistic”

                      Why assume? Just ask. Only DieHard thinks that. Thanks for the mocking/demeaning/and assuming. How adult of you to stop now.

        • rickyp024

          I don’t think I agree with that. If Almora turns out to be similar Austin Jackson, I’d say that’s a pretty damn good CF for the next 10 years. When healthy, he is one of the better CF’s in the game, both defensively and offensively. If that’s where Almora lands, what is the problem?

          • CubFan Paul

            BIG. spell BIG. Define Big. I have no problem with who Almora is or will be. A slappy in CF or solid Dejesus type whatever it be. He’s just not in the caliber/room with Baez, Bryant, & Soler because of defense and campana-like intangibles. Good kid, better player not a BIG 3 or 4 player in my opinion.

            • CubFan Paul

              …Good kid, better player, *But not a BIG 3 or 4 player in my opinion.

            • rickyp024

              I’d say there is a sizeable difference in comparing him to Austin Jackson and comparing him to a DeJesus or Campana type. Not really the same caliber of player. Agree to disagree. It sounds like you expect all 4 of those guys to turn out to be Mike Trout’s and Manny Machado’s, and that’s not going to happen.

            • Chad

              Please define BIG for us. Is it just power? Then I guess Jurickson Profar is a nobody prospect. Again, can’t all have power, and you don’t need everyone to have power, but if you think an OPS of .855 (Low A ball obviously) is not pretty good then I don’t know what to tell you.

              • CubFan Paul

                …Profar is a 20yr old in the Majors. He’s BIG. Tier 1

                • Chad

                  But he’s not a power guy. Also, if it a requirement for them to be in the ML or in AAA to be considered BIG prospects I guess Lake and Rusin top our list of BIG prospects. Prospects have to be looked at within the league they are in and Almora is crushing it. I guess Appel isn’t a BIG prospect either cause he’s not advanced in the system? Is Billy Hamilton (reds) not a big time prospect ( 6′ 160 lbs). Francisco Lindor (5’11, power rank of 3), Carlos Correa (A ball, power rank of 3). Are those guys not big prospects. Please define requirements to be a big time prospect

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “Also, if it a requirement for them to be in the ML or in AAA…”

                    What are you talking about? You’re taking BIG assumption leaps.

                • turn two

                  paul, I see where your coming from here even if i rank Almora in my top three. You need a team of strong all around players, but those guys are relatively easy to find in comparison to all around players that can rake. Bryant, baez and soler could all play solid d, hit for average and hit homeruns and drive in runs. Almora while in my opinion may be the best of the four won’t show tremendous power and you’d rank him lower, that’s fair.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Exactly. Very fair.

                • Chad

                  Paul, I want to know what your requirements are to be a BIG prospect. I’m just guessing at what you mean. You said Profar was BIG casue he was in the ML. I’m just curious what your requirements are. I can’t really argue successfully until I know what points you are wrong about.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Scroll up to my July 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm comment and read all the way down to here. You’ll get a very vivid picture of what I’ve already defined as BIG. Nothing wrong with being a second tier player.

                  • Chad

                    Now Paul, if you are saying Almora is in your opinion in the top 4, but perhaps not elite due to power, I can accept that, but your quote was this:

                    “Albert Almora is not part of my Big 4. That’s my whole point.”

                    That makes me think someone replaces him in your Big 4. If you only have a big 3, then eh, whatever, that’s semantics. I personally think he has a better chance of making it/sticking than Baez, but you never know.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      I too, also believe Almora has a better chance of making it/sticking than Baez. Almora is super polished, smooth in the outfield. But Baez ranks higher til he flames for me/my rankings.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Define BIG:

              Big is a 1988 fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish “to be big” and is then aged to adulthood overnight.

              • Ricky

                great flick

                • CubFan Paul

                  One of my favorite movies as a kid.

              • DarthHater

                My favorite quote from Big:

                Co-worker: “See that girl over there in the red? Say ‘hi’ to her and she’s yours. She’ll wrap her legs around you so tight you’ll be begging for mercy.”

                Tom Hanks: “Well, I’ll stay away from her, then.”

    • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com Tommy (TC)

      if you told I could have Almora produce like Austin Jackson or take my chances with his development otherwise, I’d take Austin Jackson immediately. Jackson is a really, really good player

  • Boba Fett

    Any recent rumors from assman22?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I think the last rumor from assman was that the Cubs are talking to 4 teams with compensatory picks.(Pirates, Indians, Dbacks, and Cardinals)

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        Competitive balance picks*

      • gcheezpuff

        I like the idea of the Cubs trading for a competitive balance pick because it has further implications then just receiving another pick. The Cubs more then likely will have a top 10 pick in the draft next year which per CBA is a protected pick. If they sign a Free Agent that was made a qualifying offer, they would only lose their 2nd pick. If they trade for an additional pick now, it allows them the ability to sign one of the top free agents without really loosing much from a draft perspective. No guarantee they will have a top 10 pick the following year so this off season might be the right time to pull the trigger on a top free agent.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    Brett, I’m sure I’ve missed it, but have you recently given us your rankings of the Top 4?
    Join the fun.Let us know your take.

    I’m currently
    Bryant
    Baez
    Almora
    Soler

    (will probably be different in an hour)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ve intentionally avoided doing it. I can make a good argument for literally any configuration. If I picked one, I don’t think I could believe in it.

      • Kyle

        Weak. Sauce.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Yeah…he’s a big baby! :-)

    • Noah

      I’m actually trying to figure out how to rank the Top 4. If you go by ceiling, it’s Baez, Bryant, Soler, Almora. If you go by floor, it’s Almora, Soler, Bryant, Baez. If you go by positional value, it’s Baez, Almora, Bryant, Soler.

      I actually probably go with the last one right now. I’m concerned Bryant (and this was my pre-draft concern with him as well) will have a lot of swing and miss issues, so I just want to see some professional results. Baez’s ceiling still gets me, though. A shortstop with that offensive ceiling just gets me every time.

  • Boba Fett

    The 4 teams with competitive balance picks. Are they discussing garza with them?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I believe these were the last two comments by Assman.

      Assman22
      July 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink | Reply
      Cubs talking to 4 teams about their competitive balance picks…all 4 teams have their foot in the door in the Garza sweepstakes…crazy game of poker continues…

      someday…2015?
      July 18, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink | Reply
      Rockies, Indians, Dbacks, and Cardinals?

      Assman22
      July 18, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink | Reply
      Rockies no, Pirates yes…Barney’s name has been mentioned multiple times…

      • cking6178

        Interesting to see Barney’s name being mentioned….hard to fathom that a gold glove second baseman has such little value to our team…I understand the offensive struggles and what we have in the farm, but it still boggles my mind a bit….

        • MichiganGoat

          as long as Barney can’t put up a OBP above .300 no about of gold on that glove creates a value we wish he had. If he wasn’t an amazing defender he wouldn’t be on the roster. Defense just can’t make up for meh hitting.

          • turn two

            But goat he is grindy and clutch

            • MichiganGoat

              If and when he is traded there will be a giant scrappy backlash… but at least with him it makes more sense than it did with Campy.

        • bbmoney

          if he was even a slightly below average offensive player I’d agree with you. But he’s a career .298 OBP guy with no power. He doesn’t even make hard enough contact to be a high BABIP guy.

          A better offensive team can handle that in a trade off for the Defense. The Cubs really can’t. And defense ususally peaks early as range diminishes, so when we’re hopefully a good offensive club in a couple years his defense likely won’t be as valuable.

          My two cents at least.

          • ssckelley

            There is an outside chance he hits double digits in home runs this season.

            just sayin

            • bbmoney

              That’s great and it’d be better than if he hit less than 10.

              However, there’s also an inside chance he gets on base less than 30% of the time while OPSing less than .650….which he’s also done for his career.

              • bbmoney

                which you can deal with on a good offensive team. Tough to deal with on a below average offensive team.

  • The Dude Abides

    Very cool, two of them are in AA so that’s sweet as well. Can’t wait for the next ranking of minor league systems. Hopefully we will be number one and after they throw the parade maybe we can get down to putting a contender out on the major league field.

    Obviously you need to continue to build the minors BUT at some point you need to put a playoff caliber team on the field in Wrigley.

    Hopefully before 2016 when most of the guys on this list will be rookies or possibly going into their first full season in the majors. I’m sure we all can recall the last time all five guys make it and led their respective teams to the playoffs in their first season.

    Really is great to see but you can’t expect this group to be anything more than complimentary for the first year or so with the possible exception of someone having a truly breakout rookie year.

    • Kyle

      They’ve done a fantastic job of building the minor league system (which, considering the resources that have been thrown at it the last three seasons, *should* be the case), but that’s the easy part. The hard part is translating it into MLB success.

      It’s not that I’m not happy they’ve piled this array of prospects. It’s simply that I understand that the hardest parts are yet to come, the parts that actually trip up organizations.

  • North Side Irish

    I do find it a little disappointing that Law has Bryant listed as OF…his bat is much more valuable if he can stick at 3B. Considering the cubs have said they will play him at 3B, it seems like that is where he should be listed or at least 3B/OF.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Oh boy…Law didn’t rank Baez in the top 15, he’s clearly trolling. And OMG, he didn’t mention the small sample size of lower K’s in his blurb. Maybe next time he should write multiple pages about every one of these guys so he can squeeze every data point into the article.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Yeah, how dare these people. Why would anyone want their love for a favorite player confirmed by an ‘expert’?

      Just part of being a sports fan.

    • On The Farm

      Maybe they should publish 30 different rankings with each organization’s top guys exactly where every fanbase wants to see their guys? That would solve a lot of problems

  • Boba Fett

    Thanks someday!! I really interested I seeing who the cubs trade this month. I’m actually a little surprised that Barney’s name has been mentioned. I really think the FO is trying to make a blockbuster trade.

  • IrvingandAshland

    I think Alcantara is going to be the best out of all of them. I love his swing and his speed. Also decently patient. Sometimes the under the radar prospects that emerge a little later in the season end up being the best down the road. Seems like a great player. (I realize he’s made a lot of errors this year, don’t really care.)

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Yeah im starting to jump on the Alcantra bandwagon as well, if he starts tearing it up early next year he can be up for good in June. Baez will follow soon thereafter, maybe Soler as well, 2014 will be a fun year even if we aren’t contending.

  • North Side Irish

    Jack (Toronto)
    You angered quite a few Cub fans with your Baez ranking. I was assuming your ranking was due to your first hand observations from the AFL and spring training. Have you seen Baez much or at all this season? Supposedly taking pitches, and calming his swing down.

    Klaw (1:11 PM)
    Tell them to consider therapy.
    <
    <
    Thanks for answering the question Keith…

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Keith can’t admit he does half of his ‘scouting’ off of box scores.

      What a pompous ……

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Isn’t the Law the guy who went to see a college player, wrote a report on his poor defense, and it was later revealed the guy played DH the day Law was there?

  • Patrick G

    The silence of trade rumors is crazy after what we heard of before the ASG.

  • Part of the Core

    Let’s not forget Dustin Geiger, Matt Sczur and Alberto Cabrera. They’re all a bit under-the-radar and putting up solid numbers. It speaks to the depth of the Cubs system. In many ways, a major league team needs more of these type of guys than the ‘impact’ guys. If the Cubs can do a good job of finding and developing these types, they have a lot of flexibility with them…package a few of them for ‘impact’ guys, trade them at the trade deadline for the rental, injury replacements, etc. and on and on.

    Also, with Geiger, he could be the next ‘Alcantara’…under-the-radar and then comes on the national scene in AA.

  • http://JUICEDMOTORSPORTS.COM JUICED1

    I like Matt Sczur in CF and Alcatara at 2b on the club soon as our 1-2 hitters. That would be two guys up top with speed and on base skills. Hopefully, they both pan out and can put up similar numbers in the bigs.

    • David

      I like Alcantera at lead off and Almora #2. Would love to see Sczur make the team out of spring traing in 2014. He’d be great in center until Almora is ready.

  • Lou Brown

    Mark Bowman has the Braves looking for a left handed reliever, with Russel at the top of their list. They are also looking for a backup infielder. I wonder if a Russell/Barney or Russell/Valbuena combo could return some decent prospects?

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Keith Law comments on Cubs system: ‘it would be nice if someone in this farm system would walk more than twice a month.” What a kick to the nuts.

    • bbmoney

      I mean he’s not wrong on Almora or Baez….although he exaggerates…..slightly. Soler walked at a good rate though.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I agree with what Law says about Baez. The guy doesn’t walk and probably never will walk a ton. Its just not in his nature. He is extremely aggressive. He has enough power and bat speed to hopefully make up for his lack of OBP. I think he could possibly be a .330 OBP type guy but probably not .350+ guy. He’s so young its hard to predict these things, but I just don’t think he’ll ever be a big OBP guy

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Law gives his top midseason 50:

      Kris Bryant #15 “Bryant has huge raw power from the right side, a rare and valuable commodity in and of itself, and profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat whether he’s at third base or in right field”

      Jorge Soler #20 “He remains a very high-ceiling player, with a quick bat, easy power and running speed, but losing a half-season of reps doesn’t help”

      Albert Almora #25 “Almora doesn’t walk much, but he’s got great feel for the bat, making a lot of hard contact, and plays plus defense in center.”

      Javier Baez #27 “He continues to play solid defense at shortstop, and the power is insane, but it would be nice if someone in this farm system would walk more than twice a month.”

      Honorable Mention: Law said Arismendy Alcantara just missed the top 50

      • Edwin

        Sounds like a fair assessment to me. I don’t see what all the complaining about Law is for. The difference between being ranked 27 and 15 is basically non-existent anyways.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          I agree, Law did a great job with his ranking. People just wanted him to put Baez in top 10 based on his huge upside and ceiling. The Baez learns to work counts and take walks regularly he’ll be in the top 10. Actually probably won’t be in the top 10 because he wouldn’t qualify for it because he’ll be in the bigs.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            This is very true. I’m not a Law fan, but I am a big Baez fan, but I still can’t get worked up over his rank as a 20 year old. I do think some of the ranking services may have been influenced by his 4 hr day, and maybe overvalued him.

    • Spriggs

      Hey, Josh Vitters walked twice last night! What’s he talkin’ about?

      • DarthHater

        The month ain’t over and he still has to draw another walk. :-P

        • Spriggs

          Yeah, I guess you should never assume…

  • http://JUICEDMOTORSPORTS.COM JUICED1

    Law is right though, you want your system to develop some patience. I have faith that the FO has the minor league coaching putting some emphasis on stuff like this. It seems like Baez has gotten better since the beginning of the season already and Almora is just crushing the ball, why walk if you’re hitting 350

    • ETS

      Because hitting 350 at single A doesn’t mean you will be able to hit 350 @ MLB. However, walk rates tend to be rather reliable predictors of walk rates at future levels.

      • Drew7

        I think he means he isn’t being challenged enough to have to work counts.

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