The Cubs Have 6 of the Top 70 Prospects in Baseball, According to John Sickels

javier baez aflPost-season prospect rankings – that is to say, the rankings after the season, not, like, rankings for post-season play (but, hey, neat idea!) – tend to roll out in two phases. There is a handful of top 100/75/50 lists that come out shortly after the season ends, and then another handful that come out shortly before next year’s season begins. In between, you see quite a bit of team rankings. It’s all quite a bit of fun, so long as you maintain perspective.

… the perspective that the Cubs have the best farm system in HISTORY!!!!1!!!lol!!!!!!!!!1

I jest. Mostly. But the first of the post-season rankings is out, and it comes courtesy of John Sickels, who believes the Cubs have some 8% of the top 75 prospects in all of baseball. That is to say there are six Cubs on the list, and all are in the top 70: Javier Baez (8), Kris Bryant (19), Albert Almora (22), Jorge Soler (27), C.J. Edwards (41), and Arismendy Alcantara (70). Pierce Johnson and Dan Vogelbach also show up on the Honorable Mentions list.

None of the listed names are surprising, and their relative positions are similarly unsurprising. We’ll likely see the non-Baez contingent in the top four shuffled around a bit from list to list, and C.J. Edwards will probably show up higher or lower on some. This is probably as high as we’ll see Alcantara, and Johnson could probably show up on the back-end of a couple top 100s. Baez as a top 10 prospect in baseball sounds about right after what he did this past season. His game isn’t without flaws, but, truly, the season was that impressive.

In any case, drink it in. The Cubs have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and the lists this rankings season will reflect it.

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

196 responses to “The Cubs Have 6 of the Top 70 Prospects in Baseball, According to John Sickels”

  1. hansman1982

    ” C.J. Edwards (41), ”

    Whoa, the Garza trade just got a whole helluva lot more interesting.

    1. CubChymyst

      I think that will be the highest we see Edwards. Sickels seems to be higher on Edwards then most of the other prospect guys during the year. The fact that he still has questions marks about his endurance will keep him from being ranked any higher. But the Garza trade does look extremely promising consider what was gained vs what was given up.

      1. frank

        And Sickels says a case can be made to slot Edwards in the 30s.

    2. ssckelley

      I am sure Ranger fans would love seeing that this morning.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Hmm, anger doesn’t mix well with gun-cleaning, either. Oh, wait: maybe it does.

    3. cub2014

      theo & co have brought in 4 of the 7 in just 2 years.
      I am sure someone can put this together. what %
      of the top 20 in baseball from 1990-2010 have gone
      on to become “stars”?

      1. cub2014

        actually 5 of the 7 in just 2 years:

        1. Scotti

          Johnson is in Sickle’s Cub top 8 not 7 (Brett forgot to add Vogelbach in the Honorable Mention list that runs 40 deep (this is the same list that was published here several days ago but on a different site)).

      2. Scotti

        Generally speaking, when a team has top 10 picks in back-to-back drafts and ownership is willing to pay huge sums for International Free Agents, you would assume that the new FO would have brought in the lion’s share of the team’s top prospects vs. the old guard. Add to that the fact that the team has been trading some of its better MLB talent for prospects and that just about guarantees that the current FO will have more of the team’s top ten prospects.

      3. Monte

        Good point on the prospects not making it. You can look at the 1st round of the MLB draft the past 20 years and you will be amazed and how much more than not these picks miss. With that said, the point of having six top prospects is all that more critical.
        The miss ratio is so high…Thats the plan, build share #s of prospects, you can groom them, trade them or in some cases release them when they stink. All about the numbers including another top 5 pick this year.

    4. Kyle

      Not really. He’s not even the most important piece. Olt is.

      *not letting that one go*

      1. hansman1982

        Exactly, if Olt is the cornerstone and Edwards is ranked ahead of Olt…


        1. hansman1982

          I dont even care that it doesnt fit. All the more fitting.

          1. CubFan Paul

            & you’re discounting Olt (& buying into Sickels rankings) because?

            1. Kyle

              Because Olt sucked at baseball this year and Edwards was awesome.

  2. Bilbo161

    I think Vogs was in the honorable mention too wasn’t he?

    1. Grant

      He was…I just checked the article to confirm.

  3. TWC

    Javier Baez is a #8 prospect? Blublud should be along shortly to drone on about how wrong that is.

    1. On The Farm

      I still don’t like Correa being ranked over him. I realize at that point a lot of those guys are interchangeable, but still not a fan of the Astro’s SS being higher on the list.

      1. jh03

        I’ve seen Correa play quite a few times in person and the kid is going to be a freak. He alone gets me out to the ballpark.

        I know you’re not saying he won’t be good, but I don’t have a problem with him ranked higher because you can just see that he oozes projectability.

        1. TC

          Agreed jh. Correa has some very nice power, an excellent hit tool, and looks really good at SS. He’s got a chance to be extraordinarily special

      2. TWC

        What’s amazing about these ratings is that they don’t matter for shit. They exist so that the rankers get readers (with the result that the readers wreak havoc on message boards ranting at the rankers).

        1. cubfanincardinalland

          I am always kind of amazed how excited people get about these lists. America is addicted to lists. It’s like people think where a guy is on the list has an effect on what kind of career he will have. They are completely meaningless, other than telling you who scouts think are currently the best players in the minor leagues.

          1. hansman1982

            On my list of greatest comments ever, this is not on it.

          2. TWC

            “I am always kind of amazed how excited people get about these lists. … They are completely meaningless.”

            Cf. Buzzfeed, et al.

          3. ssckelley

            These lists are not meaningless, the more top 100 prospects you have the more likely they turn into good ballplayers at the MLB level. The last time the Cubs had this many top 100 prospects they came within a few outs of the World Series. A strong farm system with money to spend usually results in sustained success.

            This time next year the Cubs will add at least 1 more to this list depending on who they draft with the #4 overall. Plus once these prospects start graduating we will start to see the benefit of all the over spending in the international market. The Cubs farm system is going to be good for a long time.

            1. TWC

              The *lists* are meaningless. The *ballplayers* are not.

              “The last time the Cubs had this many top 100 prospects they came within a few outs of the World Series.”

              And how many of those David Keltons and Juan Cruzes and Bobby HIlls and Ben Christiensens had an impact on the 203 team?

              “A strong farm system with money to spend usually results in sustained success.”

              Whoa. Mindblowing analysis there.

              1. Kyle

                Bobby HIll had a humongous impact on the 2003 Cubs.

                1. Professor Snarks

                  And Hee Sop Choi had a huge impact on the 2007 and 2008 Cubs.
                  People tend to forget these things when we look at past prospect lists. (and when we critique Jim Hendry).

                  1. Hee Seop Chode

                    I became Derrek Lee, also a 2 time allstar, 3 time gold glover, and was 3rd in MVP voting in 2005.

                2. MightyBear

                  Geeeez, everybody beat me to the Bobby Hill trade.

              2. Hee Seop Chode

                Well Bobby Hill was traded for Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton, so I’d say at least one. 20[0]3 would not have been such a success without Lofton. Ramirez was a 2 time all star, silver slugger, and top 10 in MVP voting 2 other seasons. So yea, I’ll take the agregate 25 or so WAR Bobby Hill produced.

                1. Monte

                  exactly….having multiple top prospects holds great value. I would say Bobby Hill became the only consistant 3B since Santo plus a valuable starter for a playoff run

              3. ssckelley

                Juan Cruz pitched out of the bullpen and Bobby Hill helped the Cubs get Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton both made a pretty big impact on the 2003 Cubs. But also Corey Patterson was pretty good that year and so was Prior and Zambrano. Choi turned into Derrick Lee that benefited other playoff teams.

                I will give you Kelton and Christensen, along with Nic Jackson never made it. But no one is suggesting that all the current prospects will pan out.

              4. YourResidentJag

                And this is where TWC begins to trip on his comments. Awesome :)

                1. YourResidentJag

                  And here’s why I begin to do the same as TWC. Crap.

          4. JBarnes

            ” other than telling you who scouts think are currently the best players in the minor leagues.”

            I think most realize that this is the point of these rankings. If you take these as solid gold facts then you’re an idiot.

        2. ari gold

          still fun to look at and discuss

          1. cubfanincardinalland

            I enjoy seeing who the scouts think the best young players are, no doubt. Where it gets weird is the guys who think the lists have anything to do with successful big league careers. And they start arguing about why some 20 year old should be ranked higher than another 20 year old. And have probably never even seen them play in a ball game. Mental masturbation.

        3. Norm

          They do matter for shit. Being #8 or being #12 doesn’t matter for shit, but these ranking tell you what kind of assets a team has and how valuable they are.
          Having 6 guys in the Top 70 DOES matter.

          1. cubsfanforever

            does it equate to wins and losses

            1. On The Farm

              No, but having a guy who is a consensus top 100 prospect is a much more valuable trade piece then a guy who no one can agree on his potential. If Alcantara makes every top 100 list he could become more valuable.

            2. Hee Seop Chode


        4. cubsfanforever

          Well said indeed . None of it means crap. many have been ranked high and sucked

    2. mjhurdle

      Personally, i think he will have a bigger problem with the fact that Darwin Barney 2.0 is ranked as the 22nd best prospect in baseball.

      1. ssckelley

        well played!

        Thank god I swallowed my drink of coffee before reading that.

      2. Blublud

        I recall one of you 2, mjhurdle or ssckelley betting me he would be closer to 10 then 30. After the 1st list, I’m up 1. :-D

        1. jh03

          Nope, that was me. And I was talking strictly BP’s list. So we still have time lol.

      3. Cub Style

        Ladies and Gentlemen! A living example of why everyone can’t be scouts!

      4. TC

        Calling Albert Almora “Darwin Barney 2.0″ is fucking offensive. Go actually watch him play a baseball game, Almora is extremely gifted in the physical and mental aspects of the game. He’s going to be a very solid player

        1. C. Steadman

          he was referencing a past comment that Blublud compared Barney and Almora having similar singles rates and plus defense and making a joke…noone ever called Almora, Barney 2.0…and was serious about it

  4. Voice of Reason

    Call me crazy, but Kris Bryant could be in the bigs before Baez!

    The Bryant kid is the real deal. With his years of college ball and his age and his maturity level, I’m tell you to watch out for this kid. Superstar!

    1. On The Farm

      I will say that is pretty doubtful considering Baez has already been through AA, and that is most likely where Bryant will be starting. They aren’t going to rush either of these guys. The FO has to get it right with at least two of the big four, a lot is riding on them.

      1. Voice of Reason

        Bryant is more “refined” where Baez is still trying to harness all of his raw talent.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love Baez… I’m just saying that it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bryant up in the bigs by mid to the end of 2014.

        I also agree that nobody will be rushed! I think if Bryant or Baez is here it’s because they’ve earned it.

        1. On The Farm

          While Bryant is more refined because he went to college, I just don’t think he will skip over AAA which is what he would need to do to beat Baez. I think Bryant’s best case is maybe August, probably September, small chance he doesn’t make it. I think the FO does need to challenge Baez so I think he makes it midseason, at least by August. I guess I just don’t see Bryant beating Baez. I would be okay with being wrong (because that means Bryant is playing out of his mind).

          1. cubsfanforever

            Others have skipped AAA. Not sure that matters

            1. On The Farm

              Who has this FO let skip AAA?

              1. cubsfanforever

                I didn’t say this FO. I am saying many have jumped AAA. Just because they haven’t yet doesn’t mean they cant or wont in the future. Just saying its a possibility.

                1. On The Farm

                  Well obviously its a possibility, but its not this front office’s MO. Baez was a freak at AA this year and they didn’t bring him up in September.

                  1. cubsfanforever

                    I agree but we have no way of knowing their plans. Baez was a freak but struck out a billion times. Bryant could be more refined. Time will tell but for the record we all have an opinion.

                    1. On The Farm

                      Really? Byrant struck out more in his A+ stint this season more than Baez did in his debut last year and over the course of the whole season. Just seems odd to bring up a situation that this FO has not practiced in any of their time as GMs (at least in the Cubs FO for sure). Maybe they have, and I just don’t know, but I don’t think they are going to break tradition.

              2. jt

                “Who has this FO let skip AAA?”
                –On The Farm
                PD had a total of 108 games A, A+, AA. He had a bit of a funk at AAA in 2005 but after a good 2006 AAA season Pedroia was a Sept call up in 2006.
                Henley was traded to The Marlins after his AA season. Perhaps The Red Sox would not have called him up that season but Fla did.
                Josh Reddick had 79 AAA PA’s when he was called up in Sept 2009.
                Perhaps they just wanted him to establish value because they really did not like his hacker tendencies. And yes, he was traded.
                Ryan Kalish had 160 AAA PA’s when called up July 31, 2010.
                Kalish got hurt. They had a lot of high hopes riding on him.
                These guys did not totally skip AAA. But they didn’t spend a lot of time there either before seeing “The Show”.

                1. On The Farm

                  Thank you for doing that research. I don’t think you can count Hanley because the Marlins tend to call a lot of players up who have not seen AAA. That is their MO. I am pretty sure they called up a SP and 2 OFs this season without a AAA stint.

                  As for Pedroia, I looked at fangraphs and didn’t see his 2005 stats, but I do see he played 100+ games in 2006 at AAA. Kalish still spent a month (30+ Games) in AAA. So I guess Reddick is the only real one who contradicts the MO of skipping AAA entirely because he was only there for 18 games. Regardless, Bryant will at best spend a month in AA, a month in AAA. Baez could be up in June (If they don’t care about Super 2). I am just saying that looking at the amount of professional experience Bryant has, even with the guys you mentioned. None of them made it to the MLB to stay without at least 100 minor league games in AAA or one year of professional experience.

          2. Voice of Reason

            Your true prospects are at Double A. Triple A is more for your older veterans who are waiting for someone on the major league roster to get hurt, etc.

            1. On The Farm

              But there are also fringe major league arms there and you can have your prospects see major league curve balls on a more consistent basis. I think some fans under value AAA.

              1. wvcubsfan

                What’s funny to me is it seems the ones that devalue AAA the most are the self proclaimed experts at evaluating players.

                1. On The Farm

                  I am not trying to be an expert, I just don’t see how someone can say AAA is just for fringe MLB players, when a majority of all the best players have spent time at the level. Obviously it is not a waste level, otherwise all the good players would skip it all together.

                  1. jt

                    “Obviously it is not a waste level,”
                    –On The Farm
                    obviously seems to be the “apropos” word.
                    Willy Mays only had 164 AAA PA’s…. but heck, he was Willy Mays.

            2. cubsfanforever

              Agree with you voice of reason

        2. Norm

          The “more refined” Bryant had a worse K/BB rate in A+ than Baez did.

          1. Voice of Reason

            And that K/BB rate is based on how many plate appearances?

            That’s what I thought….

            1. Norm

              Sure, but I think you’re jumping to conclusions if you think Bryant is more refined simply because he played college ball.

              1. cubsfanforever

                I didn’t say he was I said he could be. I am only trying to throw out possibilities that the FO could be thinking. We clearly do not know and I don’t think we should rely on there previous MO. I think they are going to have to get a little more aggressive this off season. I don’t think you land Girardi by saying we are going to suck ass for another year.

                1. On The Farm

                  Yeah because obviously the FO is going to abandon the plan with prospects. The current line is prospects should have a full season at AAA, which would probably suggest that really good prospects need only a few ABs there (100 AB sample size).

                  Getting aggressive in the offseason to land Girardi makes sense. Completely ignoring the plan they set out for prospects seems far-fetched.

                  1. jt

                    Kris Bryant came out smokin’ in A ball.
                    He came out smokin’ at the A+ level.
                    If he comes out smokin’ for the Smokies he ain’t goin’ to be smokin’ in Tenn long.
                    And if he lights up in Iowa that boy will be given a ride in a limo that permits smoking to Wrigleyville.

                    1. On The Farm

                      Right, but he will probably need to “smoke” for about 100 PAs at a given level to prove its not a fluke, or he is on a hot streak. Heck the FO may want to even keep him at a level so that he can experience his first cold streak in the minors that way his first taste of failure isn’t in the majors. If he never really fails in the minors and is batting insane numbers in AA, obviously they are going to promote him. But to think that he will by-pass AAA with less than a full year of professional ball under his belt isn’t what this FO has been preaching. I am not arguing as much he won’t beat Baez (I can think of scenarios where this is possible). But I don’t think he will completely skip AAA.

                  2. jt

                    Bryant is probably not the next Willy Mays and will probably need at least some AA and AAA.
                    But, I’m really psyched about this guy.

                    1. On The Farm

                      Agreed, I am mad he skipped A (MWL) because I never got the chance to see him. When he gets to AAA, I will be making the trip to DM to see him. I agree I think I am more excited about him then Baez.

                    2. jt

                      Never been to minor lg game.
                      I’m now on the North Shore of Boston and I’m planning some 2014 trips to Lowell (low A Red Sox) and maybe even Pawtucket.
                      It just sounds like a lot of fun.

                    3. On The Farm

                      I think it is really nice to not have to deal with as much traffic, cheaper beer ($2 difference between Wrigley and the Cedar Rapids stadium), and watching really young guys trying their hardest to make a name for themselves. There is a lot to like about them, and watching a Red Sox system team would probably be a really great atmosphere.

            2. Patrick W.

              Wait, what is what you thought? I didn’t see an answer.

              1. wvcubsfan

                But if you throw out all of the game he struck out 5 times it makes the percentage look a whole lot better.

  5. jh03

    These prospect rankings get me feeling so tingly inside.

    1. Bilbo161

      Yea it’s exciting to dream. Let’s hope these kids can make it reality.

    2. Fishin Phil

      Me too! Oh wait, that was just termites, never mind.

      1. TWC

        Holy crap, a puppet sighting!

  6. Voice of Reason

    “If” the sun and moon come together….

    LF Bryant
    CF Lake/Sczurur
    RF ?
    3B Baez
    SS Castro
    2B ?
    1B Rizzo
    C Castillo

    Pick up a big bat in right field and a really good defensive second baseman to help up the middle… go get a solid #1 starting pitcher… GO CUBS!

    Alcantara certainly has the speed and glove at second, but he simply strikes out way too much!

    Maybe Bryant ends up at third and Baez at short with Castillo moving over to second? I’m worried about our defense up the middle at that point.

    There are so many variables with who is going to make it and where they’re going to play, but it’s exciting!

    1. Coldneck

      RF: Soler

      And I’d love to see Castillo play 2B. That would be interesting. :)

      1. CubsFaninMS

        I’d like to see Navarropotamos play center field personally.

    2. Chad

      If the sun and moon come together and everything works out perfectly then Soler could slide into RF and Alcantra would be at 2B. Of course that is highly unlikely to work out that way, but it would be the perfect scenario.

      1. cub2014

        i read a couple weeks ago that the Cubs were
        going to have Alcantera work out in CF this
        winter. Versatility with power.

    3. Chad

      Castro traded sounds good to me as well. ha

    4. CubChymyst

      “If the sun and moon come together” then we have a Soler Eclipse right?

      1. hansman1982

        No, we would lose the Moon, tides and werewolves. The Sun would gain mass.

        1. On The Farm

          Yeah, if the Sun has come together with the moon we actually have a worse chance of that lineup happening, because that would mean that the Sun has expanded and Earth would become a flaming ball of magma.

          1. Professor Snarks

            Nope. The Earth would vaporize.

            And Republicans would still deny it. (sorry Brett, couldn’t resist)

            1. hansman1982

              And Democrats would be hell bent on destroying ‘Merica through Socialism and Nazism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


            2. CubsFaninMS

              Keep it apolitical dude. If you respect other people’s vantage points based on solid evidence/logical rationale when discussing the Cubs, why not do the same with your political ideology? Not accusing you of being childish here, but the premise of “dumbing down” those exercising alternate viewpoints than yours IS childish.

          2. hansman1982

            Very true, it does depend on why the Sun and Moon come together. If a super-villan places giant rockets on the moon to change the orbit and crash it into the Sun, we’d get a neat solar event. (and a whole lot of superheroes that have some ‘splainin to do).

            If it is because, in 5 billion years, the Sun has turned into a Red Giant and the Moon (which will have escaped Earth’s gravity by then) is pulled into it. Well, the Earth has probably lost all of it’s atmosphere, the oceans have boiled away and Wrigley Field will have lost all of it’s history and traditions (or will all of this happen because Wrigley lost all of it’s history and traditions). It would also be quite possible that the Earth will have been either torn to bits due to gravitational influence of the Sun or pulled into the Sun as well (since the Earth and Moon would share, roughly, the same orbit).

            Either way, we should NOT be hoping for the Sun and the Moon to come together.

            1. Professor Snarks

              I vote for the superhero one.

              1. On The Farm

                I will call Brandon Routh and see what he thinks. It seems like he has a lot of free times these days.

        2. CubChymyst

          We certainly can not afford to lose the werewolves.

      2. jon

        Any truth to the rumor that the moon is made of green cheese?

    5. frank

      The Cubs already have a really good defensive second baseman–he just can’t hit.

    6. Cub Style

      On what planet do Lake and Szczur beat out Almora?

      1. cms0101

        On the planet that has one in the majors already and the other starting in AAA in 2014, while Almora will be in Class A Daytona in 2014, with a slight chance of moving to AA mid-year. He listed the projected 2014 lineup he foresees. I don’t think Baez will be up in the majors right away. Nor do I think Szczur will be either. But Almora is DEFINITELY not going to be in the majors in 2014.

  7. Griff

    Wow! Olt didn’t even make honarable mention. His stock really dropped.

  8. Chris


    Dan Vogelbach is also on the honorable mention llst

  9. Ramy16

    On another note guys .really hope we resign Dioner Navarro

  10. ssckelley

    Brett, you didn’t notice us discussing this article in one of your blogs last week? I was surprised when I did not see it in one of your bullets last week.

  11. Blublud

    My problem with the list is not that Baez is 8th, but that there are guys in front of him who are only there based off projection. I think Correa and Lindor are good players, but a lot of there ranking is based solely off projection, where as Baez has shown the ability to put big numbers.

    Lindor has a 75% singles rate and has not shown the power to hit many extra base hits. Very similar to Almora, though I think he has a better bat then Almora. He may develop some power, but I don’t see him gaining much. His defense Is good, but not enough to be ranked over Baez.

    Miguel Sano is a power beast. But that is about the only thing he done better then baez in the past. If you look at their AA numbers, both at the age of 20, though Baez is slightly older, then there shouldn’t be a question that Baez is the better player. Baez dominated and played his way out of AA to start next season, while more then likely Sano will repeat. Add in the fact Baez plays a premium position of Sano, its a no brainer Baez should be ranked over him.

    As for the pitchers, I would take a big slugging short stop who could possibly hit 40 HR in a season and slug between .800-.900 then a starting pitcher anyday. Even an Ace.

    Correa I like much more than Lindor. I don’t think this guy is overrated as I do think he’ll develop a decent amount of power, and more then enough to play shortstop. A fair bit of his value is still based off of projections and not what he has already done, but he has shown an ability to at least frive the ball with gap power.

    1. Myles

      Only 2 people have ever slugged between .800-.900; Bonds and Ruth each did it twice. I think your ceiling is JUST a little high here.

    2. hansman1982

      “slug between .800-.900 ”

      That is A LOT of slugging.

      1. TWC

        I look forward to Jay’s backpedaling response.

        1. Blublud

          No backpedaling, but that definitely should have OPS.

          1. Scotti

            Very humble reply to a very snarky post. I don’t know how you put up with this on a daily basis…

            1. TWC

              Because he takes it only as seriously as it was meant.

              1. Scotti

                Over and over and over and over and over… If it wasn’t meant, one would think it wouldn’t be done so much.

            2. DarthHater

              Yea, Blub, I don’t know how you manage to put up with all the good-natured joking around on this site.

            3. Blublud

              I got 3 beautiful kids, a great job and a very good life, and I’m enjoying my new life in Nashville, as evident by my monday night out hangover that still has me in bed right now. Tootsies was really live last night. There nothing that can be said on this site that can get me down.

              1. C. Steadman

                hows Nashville?? i wanna vacation there sometime in the near future…I’m a huge fan of country music

                1. Blublud

                  I love it. I’m embracing the rock and country culture. The bars are fun. Tootsies and Coyote Ugly are my favorite. But Broadway is very touristy, as is most of Downtown near Broadway and 2nd ave.

                  1. C. Steadman

                    gonna have to remember that because it looks like its vacation destination for 2015

    3. Norm

      “My problem with the list is not that Baez is 8th, but that there are guys in front of him who are only there based off projection.”
      Um, that’s what prospect rankers do…project.

    4. Norm

      Based on your comments, George Springer should be the #1 prospect in baseball.

    5. ssckelley

      There you go again, if a guy does not have a lot of home runs then you do not think much of him as a prospect. Lindor does not need to hit for a lot of power to be one of the top shortstops prospects.

      I am dating myself a little here but back when i was a kid I remember a slugger that came up with the Braves named Bob Horner, he had a ton of power and hit 23 home runs in only 89 games. At the same time a small shortstop came up with the Cardinals who was fast but did not look like he could hit much but he was so good defensively that many thought he should win the ROY. Long story short he finished 2nd to Horner because people were enamored with that power even though he was a 1 dimensional hitter. Horner would go on to play 10 seasons in the big leagues mostly because he could hit the long ball, but the shortstop (Ozzie Smith) ended up in the Hall of Fame. I am not suggesting Baez ends up being the next Bob Horner but there is much more to the game than just knocking the ball over the fence.

      1. arta

        wasn’t Ozzie traded to the cardinals? or signed as a FA. I keep thinking he came up with SD. no big thing.

        1. ssckelley

          Your right, he did come up with the Padres.

      2. Blublud

        Ozzie Smith stats were pretty bad.I don’t care how many GG and SB he had, or how many back flips he could do, he should not have been close to the hall.

        1. mjhurdle

          “shouldn’t have been close to the Hall”

          i hate the Cardinals, and the fact that everyone here in STL acts like Smith is the 3rd coming of Jesus (behind Musial), but to say that one of the best defensive players at any position in the history of the game who stole over 500 bases and is 106 in career hits should not even be close to the Hall is one of the most ignorant things i have ever seen posted.
          I think you can make a decent argument that perhaps he shouldn’t have been automatic, or that it was close one way or the other. But to say that he shouldn’t even be close to it is just silly.

          1. Blublud

            .262/.337/.328. OPS+ of 87. His defensive value may have made his average, or slightly above. If smith played today, he would stay in a lineuo long enough to steal 500 bases.

            1. ssckelley

              Which is why Omar Vizquel just retired last year at the age of 45. Defensive players have no value in baseball today, you got to hit the long ball.

            2. C. Steadman

              theres more to the Hall than just offense…Ozzie Smith is the career leader in defensive WAR with 43.4 (BR version) 13 GG and 15 time AS

            3. Norm

              So…Ozzie Smith, the best defensive player of all time, you say his defense doesn’t add all that much value to him.
              But at the same time you give Baez props for being at a premium position over Sano as if defense is suddenly important.
              How can elite defense not be that important for Ozzie (and Almora, for that matter) but you still consider the fact that Baez can stick at SS (and be adequate) as a point in his favor?

              1. Blublud

                I said Baez plays a premium position to Sano, not that his defense makes him better. I never said defense wasn’t important, just that a player with those offensive numbers isn’t made more than average by great defense.

                I do feel defense is quite a bit overrated at the MLB level.

            4. mjhurdle

              He averaged a 2+ oWAR a year over his career, so he was an above average offensive player. Not great, but not horrible.
              Add in the fact that he averaged saving 20 runs a year on fielding alone, and i don’t see what he is missing.
              Obviously these stats are not the gospel, and they leave room for interpretation. But they are pretty darn good.
              Again, i am not saying that he is the greatest player ever, or that you can debate one way or the other.
              At worst, Smith is a borderline HoF. There is no way you can have any credibility saying that he shouldn’t even be close to the Hall.

        2. ssckelley

          That statement proves my point about you. There is much more to baseball than knocking the ball over the fence.

        3. Hee Seop Chode

          I thought i was the only person who made this argument. He’s not close to HOF worthy by any measurment.

          1. Hee Seop Chode

            isn’t dWAR based largely on UZR? how do pre-modern players dWAR get calculated?

          2. mjhurdle

            he has the 43rd highest career WAR, the #1 highest defensive WAR, and the #183rd highest offensive WAR according to Baseball Reference.
            That is a measurement that says that he is close to HoF worthy.

            You can debate the measurements, but at the very least your statement that “He’s not close to HOF worthy by any measurment.” is wrong.

            1. Hansman1982

              He was also in 15 All Star Games.

              There are far worse ball players in the HoF than Ozzie Smith.

      3. Steve

        ssckelley: Ozzie Smith didn’t come through the St. Louis farm system. The Cards traded Garry Templeton to the Padres for Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith in 1981. This is just another example of why St. Louis is in contention for the playoffs year after year. They have an excellent farm system and the vast majority of the free agents (Cepada,Holiday, Beltran, Sutter) that Cardinals add to their roster continue to have excellent careers after they arrive in St. Louis. Epstein should take notes on how the Cardinals operate their organization.

        1. ssckelley

          Yep, my teams were off but my point remains the same.

    6. Noah_I

      The difference between Sano’s numbers at AA and Baez’s were entire BABIP. Now, I like Baez slightly better than Sano as well due to Baez’s potential to stay at shortstop, but I could understand why others would rate Sano slightly above. If they don’t think Baez is likely to stay at short, Sano draws a significantly higher number of walks.

  12. cubsfanforever

    I bet there are trades in the works this winter. I think there could be one or 2 of our top prospects gone for a stud pitcher or a really good outfielder.

    1. Professor Snarks

      I think Baez is the only one who is at peak value, and I don’t see them doing that. Maybe Stanton, but I don’t know of any other player they would do that for.(if Almora and Soler are crazy good in the AFL, they could raise their value).

  13. cubfanincardinalland

    The real thing that you can take out of these lists is that it shows you what minor league players have value. The reality is that being on the top 100 baseball America prospect list hardly means a kid will be a good big league ballplayer.
    The Cubs have put themselves in a position to use these valued minor leaguers to trade for some proven major league talent. This is what they should and no doubt will be doing in the future. That is why you see the front office hyping up these young fellows. To build there value.
    The sad reality is the vast majority of them will not have good major league careers. A study was done a few years ago, of the top 100 players from the lists, less than 10% of position players go on to have a 2.5 WAR major league career(which is not much of a career). Less than 7% had 4.5 WAR.
    For pitchers it was worse. 5% had 2.5 WAR, and only 1 out of 200 pitchers in the top 100 had 4.5 WAR or higher for their career.
    If you are in the top 10 like Baez, the numbers are certainly better, but hardly a slam dunk. Only 10% had 4.5 WAR or better, but 50% of the top ten had 1.5 WAR or better. So most make the big leagues from the top ten, but a small minority really become quality players.
    The key is to trade them for proven ball players.

    1. Ryan

      I can’t agree with that, given where the Cubs are in the building process. A few reasons stand out:
      – Proven major league players progress and regress each year, and get injured
      – Proven major league players are way more expensive than young talent. Part of the rationale for building through the farm is that you get years of cost control on the prospects that pan out
      – Trading minor leaguers for proven major league players inevitably nets you a lot fewer ballplayers in return than you trade away. And that’s why it’s generally teams that are almost there that trade away a handful of unproven commodities for one proven player. But the Cubs don’t need one, or even two or three, new good players. They need the majority of the lineup. That’s why I can’t get on the “trade the farm for price/stanton etc” bandwagon.

      I could, in another year +, potentially get behind the Cubs trading some of their infield depth for a proven player. But only once you see that you have the 2B/3B answers from some combo of Baez/Olt/Alcantara/Bryant/Villanueva – otherwise you hang on to the depth, because as you said, a lot of prospects don’t make it.

  14. Aaron

    Jeff Samardzija will come into next season as a man on fire and will become the pitcher we thought he could be. But will he be doing that in another uniform if the Cubs trade him this off-season?

    I like Shark and believe the Cubs should do whatever it takes to sign him to a long-term contract extension. However, if that does not happen, consider trading him for some highly ranked prospects, including starting pitching, to a team that is one player away from being a contender. Samarardzija is under team control for another 2 years which is highly attractive. He also made less than $3 million this season. Possible trading partners: Angels, Royals, Diamondbacks and Nationals.

    1. Ryan

      I think trading Shark only makes sense in a pretty narrow set of circumstances, honestly – and even then no sooner than next summer, and only if

      – You sign Tanaka in the off season and he’s good
      – Arrietta has a solid first half of the year as a starter
      – Wood maintains his form
      – Ejax isn’t horrible
      – Shark looks like he’s going to be unsignable without giving him TOR starter money (which I don’t think would be warranted yet).

      Still, trading him could be a good move, but I think a lot of things have to happen for it to make sense.

  15. pfk

    Not related to this article…but I have to vent somewhere. Maybe you should have a separate “venting” space on here. Actually, you probably do but I haven’t looked. LOL
    My vent…once again Gordon W. shows his ignorance by saying that there is only one manager Epstein can hire – Girardi. He writes this so he can say that Epstein failed if he doesn’t hire Girardi. In other words, there is nobody else qualified to manage the Cubs. That’s nuts. Gordon W. just loves to poke at Epstein and his ways. In the process, he actually makes a fool of himself.

  16. mel

    Not to put a downer about having six on the list. but Pittsburgh has six also and is an established playoff team.

    1. ssckelley

      You make a good point, but they did get the benefit of drafting #9 and #14 in last June’s draft. But Pittsburgh has an exciting core of young players at the MLB level and if they keep cranking out good players out of their farm system they may emerge as the toughest competition for the Cubs in the central. Starling Marte is an exciting ball player that will only keep getting better.

    2. hansman1982

      Apparently you didn’t get the memo of the levels of their suckitude for the past two decades.

      1. YourResidentJag

        2003-postseason, 2004–really should have been in one, 2005- D Lee injury, season tanked, 2007-postseason, 2008-postseason, 2009-above .500 record. Sucked for the past two decades, huh? 1990s–hey, well there I’ll agree.

        1. hansman1982

          Umm, Pittsburgh sucked for the past two decades.

          1. YourResidentJag

            Damn, and here I thought you were talking about the Cubs. Shit.

        2. Eric

          I think he was referring to the Pirates.

        3. Noah_I

          He’s talking about the Pirates sucking for the last 2 decades, until this season.

  17. North Side Irish

    BA put out their Top 20 Midwest League prospects yesterday and the Cubs had three players on the list. Almora was #6, P. Johnson was #10 and Vogelbach was #17. The scouting report on Vogelbach was pretty rough, but they seem really high on the other two.

  18. Beardface

    4 of the top 27 is a huge deal! I can’t wait for the next few years. It may have been a tough season at the MLB level but I’m still enjoying the ride if rebuilding. This is a really big deal.

  19. jon

    Funny how a prospect that has a consensus rank in the top 20, and some in the top 10, has an offensive ceiling of Darwin Barney.

    1. Blublud

      Um, Almora not even top 20 on this, better yet consensus, and he won’t be in anyones top 10. Get your shit straight first before trying to debate.

    2. Scotti

      Jon, even a peak Almora may never reach top 10. Almora ain’t peak right now.

      1. cms0101

        Agreed. Almora’s best tool is his makeup. While refreshing, I don’t think that carries him to top 20 status, let alone top 10. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not nearly as thrilled with him as the other top 3 prospects.

        1. Cub Style

          His makeup is his best tool? Is defense not a tool now?

    3. C. Steadman

      i like almora but he isnt a top 20….22 is probably the highest we’ll see this offseason but i’m happy weeing him in the 21-35 range

      1. C. Steadman

        woah…definitely did not mean weeing him…… -_- ….seeing****

  20. TC

    WHY DO PEOPLE THINK ALMORA HAS THE OFFENSIVE UPSIDE OF DARWIN BARNEY?! Have any of you idiots seen him play the game?! I saw him take 30-40 plate appearances in Kane County this year, and he could hit better than Barney if you threw him in the bigs right now. He’s got a great eye at the plate and makes tons of very solid contact. He may have only average raw, but the hit tool is going to at least be a plus and allow the power to play up a grade. He isn’t walking a ton yet, but that’s not because his eye isn’t good, Midwest League pitchers simply can’t throw a strike past him so he’s not getting deep in counts. It’s profoundly stupid and misinformed to say Almora has a 75 OPS+ offensive upside….

    1. C. Steadman

      name one person that said Almora has the offensive upside of Darwin Barney…not even Blublud said that

      1. TC

        There’s like four comments in here saying exactly that

        1. On The Farm

          I saw mjhurdle and jon both make sarcastic comments (in response to a post several days ago) to BluBlud because he compared Barney to Almora. This was based on a high singles rate, GG defense, low power upside. Whether it is a good comparison is debatable, but I think you are blowing things out of proportion here. even in original post, BluBlud said he thinks Almora will be better offensively than Barney, but that they share similarities.

          1. C. Steadman

            beat me to the punch

            1. On The Farm

              by a hair

              1. jon

                “Exactly the same type of player” (when comparing Almora & Barney) was the verbiage used by someone. It’s there, if someone wants to spend time with the search function…

                1. C. Steadman

                  i remember him saying it…but he did go on to change it offensively and gave his projected slash line for Almora which was like a .280 BA so he did concede that Almora would be a better hitter

                2. On The Farm

                  I am not into who said what last week (or whenever it was), the point was you and mj were having a little fun at BluBlud’s expense (which good natured ribbing is fine) and TC seemed to think that was a consensus thought on the site. When I doubt you can find four people to say that Almora’s ceiling is Barney with a straight face.

        2. C. Steadman

          they’re joking….Blublud once said(like a couple weeks ago) Almora and Barney had similar makeup because neither hits for power and they are plus defenders…both jon and mjhurdle are making jokes off that…neither are them are serious…Blublud did go on to state that Almora is a better hitter than Barney he was just comparing their singles rates

      2. Funn Dave

        “Funny how a prospect that has a consensus rank in the top 20, and some in the top 10, has an offensive ceiling of Darwin Barney.”

        -Jon, a few comments up.

        1. On The Farm

          This is a joke at BluBlud’s expense for something he said a while back on a different post. This has been established. But yes someone did say, I will agree.

          1. Funn Dave

            No, YOU’RE a joke at Blublud’s expense.

            ….sick burn……

            1. On The Farm

              I need some ointment for my burn. Thank you Dave!

              1. Hansman1982

                Might I suggest stopping at the store for some aloe vera?

                Cuz you just got burned.

          2. jon

            Keep in mind, said poster played baseball, so his depth of knowledge on subjects like this far exceeds ours.

            1. On The Farm

              This is true, he did once make a comment about the fact that he has played baseball at a higher level than most.

  21. Gutshot5820

    Top farm in baseball? SUCH BULLSHIT! I’m ecstatic that we are ranked so highly and at the same time, this is such BS. Post new CBA the ONLY way to be ranked and have the top farm in baseball is to tank the MLB team for several years running OR/AND to sell off all your MLB team assets in trade. Every high ranking player on that list is a result of the Cubs being the worst team in our division and one of the worst teams in baseball OR acquired in trade from selling/trading off any asset they had, The rest were leftovers from the Hendry era.

    It’s nice that we have a decent farm, but wth are we so proud to toot our horns about it. We have the top farm because we suck so bad, not because we were elite at drafting. Show me a list that had a lot of players that were drafted mid or late rounds? None.

    Almost any MLB team, if they decided to sell all their assets and decided to tank and pick 2-10 for four years in a row that wouldn’t have as good or better a farm than the Cubs? The Astros figured this out a while back and they didn’t even have any assets to trade/sell.. It’s great that we have a great farm, but it’s nothing to brag about, almost embarrassing how we got there.

    1. On The Farm

      Well Soler is a top 30 guy who is not a result of tanking. As for players drafted midround? That’s kind of hard considering 2012 was the first draft this FO has had. I will Pierce Johnson counts as a good find because Sickels named him a honorable mention and we acquired him because we let an aging 3B go and got a draft pick because of it. Other than that I would have to say you have to give it another two years before we can tell how the Cubs have drafted (no one outside of round one talent is able to tell who was a good pick yet). Paul Blackburn has a chance to be a pretty good pitcher and is in the top 20 Cubs prospects right now. I am not disagreeing. Most of the talent is Hendry left overs, high draft pick, and trade acquisitions.

      1. Gutshot5820

        Ok Solar, we BOUGHT him like a free agent, Meanwhile, we embarrassingly missed/passed on a bevy of other IFA free agents that have already played in the MLB and have contributed immensely to their team.

    2. Patrick W.

      ” Post new CBA the ONLY way to be ranked …”

      “… almost embarrassing how we got there.”

      Why would you be embarrassed by getting somewhere the ONLY way (possible)?

      1. Hansman1982

        Hey, Capt Kirk figured out a different way to beat he kobyashi maru

        1. Jason Powers

          Set phasers to “shake and bake.”

  22. Die hard

    More impressive to say 5 of top 50

  23. another JP

    What’s really amazing about Sickels list are the number of talented prospects that weren’t listed. Vizcaino and Olt dropped mainly from injury concerns. And then there’s others that are listed as top prospects statistically that aren’t necessarily as projectable as Sickels evaluates but are recognized by others. According to Norris’ GAPPER score as used by Matt Garrioch, Kyle Hendricks was the #6 rated pitcher in the PCL ahead of pitchers such as Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha (who Fangraphs ranked #24 overall in 2013). And of the top statistically ranked minor leaguers in 2013 ranked by youngest age, only Arismendy Alcantara made the list for the Cubs that was on Sickels top 75. But six other Cubs prospects were listed, including Dustin Geiger, Dan Vogelbach, Jeimer Candelario, Rock Shoulders, and Yasiel Balaguert.

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