MLB.com Updates Its Top Cubs Prospects List, And Its Top 100 Overall Prospects List

baez almora solerAnother midseason prospect update is in, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has a slightly different take on the Cubs’ system than other services – though the players at the top generally remain the same.

The top 20 (and you can see the full list here for a scouting report on each):

1. SS Javier Baez
2. OF Albert Almora
3. OF Jorge Soler
4. 3B Kris Bryant
5. 3B Mike Olt
6. RHPArodys Vizcaino
7. RHP Pierce Johnson
8. IF Arismendy Alcantara
9. OF/IF Junior Lake
10. OF Matt Szczur
11. 1B Dan Vogelbach
12. RHP C.J. Edwards
13. OF Brett Jackson
14. 3B Christian Villanueva
15. OF Jae-Hoon Ha
16. 3B Jeimer Candelario
17. RHP Paul Blackburn
18. RHP Duane Underwood
19. 2B Gioskar Amaya
20. RHP Alberto Cabrera

One thing that probably jumps out at you right away is that Mayo has not yet jumped aboard the Alcantara train that everyone else is riding. Mayo also isn’t ready to drop Vizcaino too aggressively just yet, despite not pitching for the better part of two seasons after Tommy John surgery and then a follow-up bone spur surgery.

Pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Juan Paniagua and Rob Zastryzny are absent, which is tough to defend (each arguably merits a spot in the 8 to 12 range), but notice the crazy thing: look at the back-end of the list. It’s not like there are a bunch of non-prospects there. That’s how absurdly deep the Cubs’ system has become in the last two years.

On the top 100 overall, the Cubs landed five – and it’s the top five on the list up there, with Javier Baez up at number 11, Albert Almora at 25, Jorge Soler at 30, Kris Bryant at 40, and Mike Olt at 63. We’ll see what happens when the season is over, but I’d be surprised if Alcantara is left off of too many other top 100s. I can envision scenarios where Pierce Johnson and C.J. Edwards get serious consideration, too, with Mike Olt maybe sliding off of most.

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

100 responses to “MLB.com Updates Its Top Cubs Prospects List, And Its Top 100 Overall Prospects List”

  1. Cubes

    there are many things wrong with this list

    1. Dustin S

      It’s probably not terribly far off, but I would replace Brett Jackson with Kyle Hendricks at least. I don’t get too hung up on these lists though. They’re completely subjective but are good for generating some good discussion.

      Overall it’s amazing to see how the prospect quality has grown from a couple years ago when it felt like we were scraping to find 5 guys that were even list-worthy. It seemed like it was Jackson/Vitters/Sczcur/Maples and filler…

  2. Jackson Scofield

    Edwards was ranked in the Top 75 in baseball by John Sickels recently too, definitely not just #12 in our system.

  3. Jason P

    I don’t know why he’s so high on Ha. I just don’t see any upside with the bat. Great defender, definitely, but how much is a good defensive center fielder who has .250/.330/.360 upside really worth?

    1. Cedlandrum

      I’m with you on that one. I like Ha but I don’t see him as top 20.

    2. gocatsgo2003

      A lot, especially as a bench bat. He could/can cover all three OF spots. You basically just described DeJesus with slightly less pop (which is why he is more likely a bench bat than a starting OF).

      1. Jason P

        So if he reaches his offensive ceiling, he’s a 4th outfielder or below average starting center fielder, and if he doesn’t, he’s probably a 5th outfielder.

        Teams do need players like that, but I’ll take Candelario, Blackburn, Hendricks, Zastronymy, etc. over him any day.

        1. gocatsgo2003

          I agree with you on that, but another element in these rankings is the relative probability of reaching assigned ceilings. At this point, I think Ha is a relatively “safer” bet to reach that ceiling than the other guys you mentioned.

    3. hookersorcake

      I feel the same way about Sczur who is older, 24 and still at AA with worse numbers. 715 OPS vs Ha’s 752 at AA – Sczur has more speed but Ha is probably a little better defender. They seem similar. The ceiling being great 4th OFs. Nothing too exciting. Just higher floors than some of the A prospects probably accounting for their still high ranking.

  4. Patrick G

    I don’t see how Brett Jackson is still on this list

    1. Cedlandrum

      based on potential. He still has a ton of plus tools.

      1. CubFan Paul

        And you can’t really knock him for the injuries this year (yet).

      2. Patrick G

        He’s still striking out at 36% rate

        1. Jay

          Absolutely. Whatever they did to re-tool his swing is not having Anthony Rizzo-like results. As far as I’m concerned, Jackson’s a wash.

          1. TOOT

            Not sure what you mean by Rizzo-like results. Rizzo is hitting 230+ and struck out 3 out of 4 plate appearances last night.

            1. gocatsgo2003

              And, despite the low batting average, still has an OPS+ over 100 because of his ability to drive the ball and consistently get on base.

            2. Noah

              Rizzo’s struggles are largely BABIP based, and it’s too early at this point to say Rizzo’s natural BABIP is .262. If you regress Rizzo’s BABIP to the mean (.300), he’s be batting .263/.352/.458. In other words, just normalizing Rizzo’s BABIP to the mean entirely on singles raises his OPS by more than 50 points.

              1. hookersorcake

                not to mention 30 doubles. Tied for 4th in all of MLB

  5. X the Cubs Fan

    My top 10 would be: Soler, Baez, Almora, Bryant, Alcantra, Vizcaino, Olt, Edwards, Johnson, Vogelbach

    1. X the Cubs Fan

      I also think they could all (besides Vizcaino) be top 100 prospects in baseball somewhere.

    2. CubFan Paul

      Olt has to be #1 in our system (yeah, I said it) because he’s close to ML ready. Being Major League ready (or close to) with plus defense and plus power is why.

      1. Mr. B. Patient

        His ceiling with the bat is 200/300, which brings his value down. his > 33% strikeout rate as a 24/25 year old in AAA doesn’t help either. I hope he figures it out, but no way he’s above Almora./Baez/Bryant/Soler.

        1. bbmoney

          That’s not his ceiling.

          1. Mr. B. Patient

            Maybe not, but he has to prove it’s higher. I hope he does. That would be a bonus to the rebuild.

            (and actually, I meant to type .220/320)

            1. Johnny

              Thats still not his ceiling…. dont like this comment at all…. he’ll never hit .300. We get it. But his ceiling says 30+ hrs and if he bats .250/.350 OBP and hits 25-30 hrs and plays his SOLID defense… why wouldnt we take that? He has plus power and plays plus defense.. people are being too critical of his year.. he clearly struggled but he picked it up a lot after his DL stint and I have a hard time believing he dropped from #22 to #63 in 2 months…. hes still top 50… cant wait to see him manning the hot corner soon!

              1. CubFan Paul

                Agreed.

  6. Next Year Come Faster

    Does he really have Baez at 3b or this just a typo

  7. Justin

    Mayo’s list is just ridiculous.. I really don’t think it’s worth discussing it’s so bad.

  8. ssckelley

    Good list except this is the rank that blows my mind:

    10. OF Matt Szczur

    I know he was a top 100 prospect last year but he is not doing anything special in AA. IMO, he has a ceiling of a 4th outfielder and I wonder if the Cubs protect him on their 40 man roster this off season.

    1. JayPaul

      Already on the 40 man, he would be claimed in a heart beat if dfa’d, i think he still has substantial value to the Cubs, definitely enough to not give away for free. He is actually having a pretty solid season and i see him having a big league future, in whatever role that might be. He has shown the tools to potentially be a solid leadoff centerfielder if he only maintains with incremental progression, as he has from my view. Top #10 still, probably not, but known the less, a valuable asset.

    2. Jason P

      Mayo’s always behind the curve on things like that — too late to drop fading prospects, not quick enough in moving up rising prospects. It’s like a lot of his rankings are 1 year behind.

  9. Matt Spangle

    If your professional opinion where do you think this ranks our farm system in the MLB now.

    1. stevie_k

      In the same rankings, Mayo came up with a point system (#1 overall = 100 points, #2 = 99 points and so on), and then ranked the teams based on that. The Cubs were third, I believe, behind the Astros and Twins?

  10. Mr. B. Patient

    MLB.com and Mayp were just lazy with this list. If they really cared about accuracy, they would have updated ALL the ‘scouting reports’ rather than just doing write-ups for the new guys.
    I mean the guy has Baez and Almora as having the same current power. Come on. Try to have some credibility.

    The order is debatable, but not outlandish, but don’t put too much stock in it.
    Another thing, when the Cubs picked Zastryzny on draft night, Mayo looked shell-shocked. Not because Z was a reach, but because it looked like he never heard of him. So, of course he wouldn’t make any Cubs lists.

    Did I say Mayo was lazy?

    1. Patrick G

      If Baez has a “4″ for current power and “7″ future power with 25 home runs in the minors right now, we could have the next Babe Ruth

      1. Johnny

        Lol. Awesome comment.

    2. ssckelley

      I would not expect him to update all his scouting reports in a mid season update. This is for the offseason when he can dedicate more time to something like this.

      1. Mr. B. Patient

        I disagree, but okay. Players change. The perception of players change. He doesn’t take that into account in his scouts cliche ridden player capsules.

  11. Clark Addison

    How many of these experts have actually seen the players they rank?

    Wasn’t Corey Patterson ranked the best prospect in the minors at one time?

    1. Mr. B. Patient

      My guess. Very few. At least on a regular basis. Guys like Sickels, Law and Parks constantly have ‘old’ observations in their reports, which means they file things away and only refer to them when doing the lists. Even if it’s two years later. I’m sure each of them have scout friends who they talk to, but most likely the scouts only have first hand knowledge of a few guys and rely heavily on second hand info. Like, you know, I heard from a friend who, heard from a friend who, says you was messing around, type of scouting.

      1. chirogerg

        Law and Parks, at least, are traveling the country constantly to watch new guys and rewatch others. You have to keep in mind that they are watching college summer league games, USA Baseball games, and Major League games in addition to the minors.

        1. Mr. B. Patient

          Which means they don’t see a lot of these prospects.

          1. Timothy Scarbrough

            They are probably able to see about 50% of them, and in addition they have a wide network of scouts they talk to. They no a lot about all of them.

  12. JoeyCollins

    Surprised not to see Alcantara not at 5. If he finishes this season strong I’d love to see what he could do in the AFL. An impressive performance there and we might start referring to ‘the Big 5′ instead of the current 4.

  13. Oswego chris

    Wow, the cynicism I am hearing regarding this list…I understand the hesitancy to embrace prospects(one of the chapters in my book details the busts!) but even to compare just 13 years ago( the ranking of Patterson) is no longer valid

    Live-streaming of minor league games, twitter, Skype…prospects are probably more accurately ranked than they have ever been….

    So embrace and be excited by the Cubs’ system…

  14. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    How many of this years draft picks made the Top 100 list?

    1. someday...2015?

      Mayo had 8 on his top 100. Appel(29), Gray(37), Bryant(40), Frazier(56), Stewart(66), Meadows(75), Moran(78), and Ball(95).

  15. Mush

    Does anyone have scouting report on Hendricks? Speed, pitch type etc? He is lights out at AA but never hear about him as top prospect.

  16. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    3+ Prospects per team how does a 2013 prospect even crack top 100

    1. Larry19

      The Braves have 0. And a lot of teams have 1.

  17. Teddy

    Does anyone have an idea if/when (being safe) Kris Bryant will be promoted? Want to go to a Kane County game within the next month and watch Almora + Bryant, a possibility?

    Thanks

    1. ssckelley

      I doubt you will see Bryant in Kane County, if at all. Candelario is still one of the top 3rd base prospects and he is not ready to be moved up to Daytona.

      I have discussed this before in another thread, I wonder if Bryant does not skip KC altogether and head to Daytona next season leaving Candelario in KC at least for the start of the season. Unless they determine he is not going to be a 3rd baseman then he might go to KC to play the outfield. But I think they will give Bryant every chance to stick at 3rd.

      1. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

        I don’t think Bryant is above Olt, Bryant will go to left, Candelario may be a super utility.

        1. Drew7

          Candelario has less of a chance to stick at 3rd than Bryant.

  18. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    So 8% are in top 100, so 8% drop out? Developing a Prospect to MLB ready takes years.
    So how can they justify those rankings with limited Minor league play? Bryant has what a dozen games in?

  19. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Who dropped out of the Top 100 once 2013 was added or were 8 prospects promoted?

    1. ssckelley

      At a quick glance I did not see Profar’s name on the list and I am sure there are others who graduated and after this season no longer qualify as rookies.

      1. Patrick G

        Profar, Skaggs, Teheran, Myers, Rendon, Gyorko, Arenado, Shelby Miller.

        1. X the Cubs Fan

          Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, Trevor Rosenthal

  20. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    If the Orioles are going to sell the farm for a Starter, Samadjia makes the most sense.

    1. X the Cubs Fan

      We can all dream that its the Orioles.

    2. Patrick G

      Now of course it most likely won’t happen, but I like the Pirates or DBacks for Shark. Taillon, Heredia, Glassnow and Kingham would do it for me.

      1. X the Cubs Fan

        Tallion, Glasnow, Vic Black and Tony Sanchez for Shark and Schierholtz would be awesome.

  21. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Who are the best player ranked from 101 to 125

  22. cubsin

    The dropouts include about 8-12 who reached the big leagues and other prospects who regressed and were passed up in favor of others who advanced, as well as the 2013 draftees.

    I strongly disagree with some of Mayo’s rankings, but understand that I just follow the Cubs’ minor league system while he has to follow 30 of them.

  23. X the Cubs Fan

    Mayo gave Lakes arm a 6???

  24. John

    My top 20 would be

    1. Baez
    2. Almora
    3. Soler
    4. Bryant
    5. P. Johnson
    6. Alcantara
    7. Hendricks
    8. Edwards
    9. Olt
    10. Vogelbach
    11. Vizcaino
    12. Blackburn
    13. Paniagua
    14. Maples
    15. Jackson
    16. Sczur
    17. Zastryzny (sure i didnt spell correctly)
    18. Skulina
    19. Andreoli
    20. Cory Black

    The pitching in the organization has greatly improved since the beginning of the season its went from bad to respectable.

    1. Brent

      Black at number 20?

      All opinion, but Hendricks at # 7 is crazy. He has a ceiling of a # 5 starter. Maybe # 4. The stuff just isn’t there. Great numbers, but I see him more in the 15-25 range. I know Vizcaino is hurt, but when healthy, he could easily be in the top 3-5. He has a ceiling of a # 2 starter or a very good closer.

      1. Baez 2. Almora 3. Soler 4. Bryant (can’t argue any order of the top 4) 5. Alcantara 6. Johnson 7. Vizcaino 8. Olt 9. Edwards 10. Vogelbach

  25. someday...2015?

    The Cubs really need to do a Cubs affiliate homerun derby at Wrigley.
    The top 10 power bats the Cubs could showcase is ridiculous!
    Rizzo
    Olt
    Baez
    Soler
    Bryant
    Vogelbach
    Bour
    Shoulders
    Alcantara
    Villanueva

  26. Salesguy

    I think we take this list for granted, if you took, for example Amaya, and planted him in the White Sox system, he would easily be top 5 if not the top prospect in their system, that’s how awesome our top 20 is. Pretty cool, not too bad for a year and a half worth of work, well done jedstein!

  27. BlameHendry

    I’m still not sold on Baez being the #1 prospect. I know he was only just recently promoted but he’s hit only .220 in Double-A, and I’m very skeptical of a “top prospect” who just cannot hit .300 at any level in the minors. You can talk all you want about the homers but home-run-power alone certainly does not warrant a #1 position. I dont know why our “genius” FO has such a thing for high-power-but-high-K hitters, but 3 of our top 5 have the same exact problem and if they are out future, we’re going to continue the dismal trend of being “that team” with the worst RISP batting average in baseball. I’m much more excited for guys like Almora who constantly churn out the hits and have a much higher tendency to get those hits in the situations where it matters the most.

    I personally still think Almora and Soler are the top 2 guys (with either of them being #1) while Baez is #3 or lower. Unless he makes some big changes, I cant see him ever hitting more than .250 in the bigs.

    I’ve lost a lot of hope in Vizciano and he is not even a top 10 guy anymore in my book. Szczur is ranked way too high, and Jackson shouldn’t even be on the top 20 anymore. This is overall a poorly-ranked list. While the Cubs system is undoubtedly much stronger than it was a few years ago, I honestly think our whole farm system is pretty over-rated, as much as I hate to say it.

    1. Timothy Scarbrough

      Well, Baez is from the Hendry Regime, so you can’t really blame this front office, while Bryant has only recently begun to play pro ball, and we don’t really know where his k rate will stabilize at. Olt was probably the best guy the Front Office could possibly get for Garza, even with he amount of Ks.

    2. Mr. B. Patient

      I’ll agree with you on two things:

      -Our Front Office does not deserve the Genius tag (yet).
      -Jackson doesn’t belong on the list. I also think Vizciano doesn’t deserve top 20 status.

    3. chirogerg

      Let’s see which of Mayo’s top prospects are indeed hitting under .300 at their current level:
      #1 Buxton .270
      #3 Sano .231
      #6 Bogaerts .273
      #10 Yelich .280 (AA)
      #11 Baez .228
      #13 Castellanos .278
      #15 Polanco .278
      #19 Hamilton .245

      The list goes on and on. A prospect (or any player) is not made by his batting average. With strikeout rates as high as they are, it is very difficult to hit .300. Discipline and power, however can make up the difference, not to mention defense.

      1. chirogerg

        If Baez hits .250 in the bigs, he can still be an extremely productive hitter. If He goes .250/.330/.500 like he is certainly capable of, that’s a top tier SS or above average 3B

      2. cubchymyst

        Out of the 175 players with at least 300 plate appearances this year only 30 are above 0.300 (or 17%). I agree you’d like to see prospects dominate at their level but hitting over 0.300 is not that important for an impact players especially if they can compliment their average with a strong walk rate.

        1. chirogerg

          or lotsa bombs, a la Baez

  28. Terencemann

    It seems to me that Mayo’s lists are very fantasy baseball oriented in that, once you move last the guys with the highest ceilings, you often see that the next group could be seen as the most relevant to fantasy owners. Szczur and Lake aren’t that great but will probably be more valuable to fantasy owners over tr next couple seasons than all the guys below them.

  29. Mike F

    WOW…. really we are complaining about Baez when the soon to be superstar conferred status 25 year old suspect Olt continues to whiff away at AAA? The pattern for Baez has been the same at every level, it takes some time for him to adjust, but he’s very young and does get better. Olt on the other hand was overwhelmed in Texas at AAA and regressed as went up. In Iowa, he’s done nothing to break the trend.

    1. Mr. B. Patient

      I think it’s ‘shiny new toy syndrome’ with Olt. let’s see how the opinions change if he doesn’t pull it together at Iowa. Baez, though, would help his cause if he could stop striking out near 40% of the time. The other day he struck out on a pickoff attempt.

      1. chirogerg

        He’s striking out at 26% right now, so….

        1. turn two

          Pesky facts

        2. Mr. B. Patient

          Not in AA ….> 32%

  30. JungleDrew

    So in addition to placing 5 in the top 100, the top 10 by position features a number of cubs as well… 1B #3 Vogelbach, 2B #4 Arismendy Alcantara, 3B #2 Kris Bryant & #3 Mike Olt, SS #4 Javier Baez, and OF #7 Albert Almora & #9 Jorge Soler….

    Side Note, I think the Red Sox, Yankees, & Padres are the best landing spot for Shark, since they both have multiple high end starting pitchers and catchers, which as you can see from any of the lists that have been published we are definitely lacking in… (Best would be Padres, if we could somehow get Fried and Hedges)

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