One of the fun, extra things that Baseball America does each year is to rank the top prospects in each minor league. Doing so provides an interesting glimpse on how prospects line up relative to other top prospects, without having them in that one, singular, gigantic top 100 list. It also allows folks to see how one publication views the relative value of certain prospects who are not going to make that top 100 prospect list.
As expected, the Cubs are very well-represented in their league lists. The Pacific Coast League list hasn’t come out yet, but, giving the makeup of the Iowa Cubs this year (prospect thin), I don’t think it’s premature to go ahead and get this out, now that the Southern League list has been released.
You can see the full lists here at BA, and subscribers get scouting reports and chats.
In the Southern League (AA), the Cubs had Javier Baez at number three (behind Archie Bradley and Yasiel Puig) and Arismendy Alcantara at number nine (behind a bevy of top prospects). I’m a little surprised to not see Kyle Hendricks sneak onto the back-end of the list, but it really was a stacked league.
In the Florida State League (High-A), the Cubs once again had Javier Baez at number three (behind Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano) and Jorge Soler at number eight (behind Gregory Polanco, Maikel Franco, Noah Syndergaard, and Gary Sanchez). Pierce Johnson was the only member of the pitching staff to make the list, at number 15. C.J. Edwards presumably didn’t pitch quite enough in the FSL to qualify.
Edwards did qualify, however, in the South Atlantic League (Low-A), where he ranked third behind Eddie Butler and Tyler Glasnow. That ranking suggests that Edwards might not be a top 50 prospect to Baseball America, though Glasnow is a serious riser in the rankings.
The Cubs landed three on the Midwest League list (Low-A): Albert Almora at number six (behind Buxton, Carlos Correa, Robert Stephenson, Corey Seager, and Lance McCullers), Pierce Johnson at number ten, and Dan Vogelbach at number 17. The latter ranking very much suggests that Vogelbach is considered a big-time prospect right now by BA. He didn’t really breakout with the bat in 2013 like he would have needed to in order to carry a top ranking, so I can’t say it’s unfair. If he mashes next year at High-A, he’ll be right back there in folks’ minds. Jeimer Candelario was a possibility for this list, but he also didn’t quite break out this year.
In the Northwest League, the Cubs cleaned up: Kris Bryant (1), Paul Blackburn (7), Yasiel Balaguert (9), Dillon Maples (10), Shawon Dunston, Jr. (12), and Kevin Encarnacion (17). The NWL is a smaller league, with just eight teams. But if there were an even distribution of prospects on the list, each team would have had just 2.5 prospects – the Cubs had six(!).