kyle hendricks iowa cubsHave you ever wondered just how accurate and/or successful those many top 100 prospect lists are? Of course you have. You’re a Chicago Cubs fan in the throes of a rebuild.

We tend to look at that question only from the perspective of the guys who make the lists: did they become stars? Did they flame out? Where are they now? It’s an interesting and useful exercise, but it really only addresses half of what we actually want to know. The other half? What about all of the guys who never made a top 100 list?

Conor Glassey, formerly of Baseball America, takes on that half of the equation in a long, deep look at the blind spots of the top 100 lists over the years. If you’re into the prospecting game at all, set aside 10 minutes and give it a read. The article is well worth it for the background knowledge, alone.

Glassey reviews each position, notes successful big leaguers who were never considered top 100 prospects, and tries to discern a harmonizing reason (or reasons) why certain types of players at certain positions are overlooked. Generally, college draftees who were undersized and/or were not high profile draft picks can surprise, despite not being considered top prospects. Guys without a clear position, but who can hit. Guys without devastating stuff, but with excellent control.

Of particular interest here, Glassey tries to identify current minor leaguers who could fit the various profiles he comes up with, and he includes several Cubs prospects: Dan Vogelbach, Arismendy Alcantara (but he’ll probably make some top 100 lists), Stephen Bruno (I think he would have had a much higher profile if he hadn’t missed most of this year with an elbow injury), John Andreoli (Luke’s been on him for a while), Matt Szczur, and Kyle Hendricks. It’s an ample group of Cubs prospects, and it’s not like Glassey included that many guys.

It’s nice to see the Cubs with some possible under-the-radar types that could break out, in addition to their numerous top 100 types.

  • Jed

    Wasn’t Ian Stewart a top 10 prospect in all of baseball at one point?

    • oswego chris

      yes Jed, and because of that we shall never trust prospects again, as before that I assumed they would all be “future stars”…at least that’s what their baseball cards said…

  • Greenroom

    Andreoli has the potential to be the Cubs lead-off hitter. No power, but amazing potential for OBP and SB. happy holidays~

  • mjhurdle

    That is an awesome article, thanks for the heads up on that Brett.

    Like you mention, we get caught up in what the top 100 do (I have an article that i still reference (probably too much) that is a couple years old that goes over the success/bust rate of top 100 prospects
    It is nice to have another perspective that looks at the ones that didn’t make that top 100 but succeeded anyway.

  • cub2014

    Bruno is the guy that intrigues me, he can play outfield
    or infield. He has flatout hit everywhere, his Cubs minors
    batting avg both yrs is .362. Healthy this year he will
    probably be in Tennessee, he could be a sept call up if
    he continues his hitting. But I havent heard if he is a
    ML worthy defensive 2B. Does anyone know on that?

    • Luke

      I’m planning a piece on Bruno before I wrap up the Prospects Progress series for the off season.

      • DarthHater

        Some teacher once tried to get me to read Pilgrim’s Progress. I find Prospects Progress much more entertaining.

      • abe

        can you do a piece on the guys we should look out for from the lower levels of the system?

  • Stevie B

    Jed, I’ll opologize for that snarky response from OC. Kinda looks like you just asked a question….

    • waittilthisyear

      and the piggy back your apology, please be aware that that is not the authentic oswego chris, who happens to not be a jerk

  • cub2014

    i could see a future bench that includes:
    Lake, Bruno & Andreoli.

  • baldtaxguy

    I agree, great article. I see that Torreyes also was mentioned.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Ross Stripling RHP in Dodgers system is somebody the Cubs should target. He just pounds the K-zone and does not give up many HR’s at all.

    • YourResidentJag

      Yes, he’s solid.

  • Nathan

    This article makes me like what Jed and Theo are doing even more. They like college guys, and college guys headline this list. Bruno, Saunders, Andreoli, and even someone like Szczur seem to fit this profile.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Football player from BYU , Jacob Hannemann is another guy who profiles as a late bloomer. He is an excellent athlete and I will not be surprised that one day he will be competing for a starting spot in the Cub OF. He could be their Ellsbury.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I’m very intrigued by him…where do you think he starts ’14?

    • SenorGato

      This is probably the name I thought of first. He’s not really eligible for Glassey’s article THO being a recent drafty with <100 uninspiring PAs so far.

      I like Dunston Jr. and hold out some hope for Justin Marra to join a conversation like this.

    • Jason P

      Hamman and Hannemann are both sleepers.


    Do not make the mistake and leave out Silva just good all around player

  • cubfanincardinalland

    First off, it is stunning the amount of talent that has been added to this farm system in the past two years. And developed.
    Here are a few more guys who caught my eye last season.
    Jeimer Candelario-3B Just turned 21 year old Dominican, his coaches love him, really high character young man. Has the approach the Cubs like, great eye and very patient hitter with a low strike out rate. Career OBP of .371 and the power started to come at Kane County last summer. Just filling out, watch for him in Daytona in 2014.
    Ivan Pinyero-SP Stole him from the Nationals in the Hairston trade. He was nails down the stretch for Daytona. Just turned 22, the walk rate really dropped for him, I think the Cubs found something mechanical with him. Hopefully he can turn it up a notch at Tennessee. Major league stuff, projects as a solid middle of the rotation starter.
    Tyler Bremer-RP He was down right wicked at times closing games for Boise last year. A bit old for the league, but he struck out 48 guys in just 28 innings. 26th round pick 2 years ago, he was a stud at Baylor. Could be a factor in the Cubs bullpen in a couple years, told he has big league fastball.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Forgot another young man, that we should all be watching big time. Paul Blackburn, who was the Cubs compensation pick for losing Carlos Pena.
    This kid has a chance to be tremendous starter in the big leagues. He has added 30 pounds of muscle since high school, just turned 20. Was throwing easy 95 last summer, and has excellent secondaries. Needs to develop the command, I think we will see him starting at Kane County this summer.
    Was told if he was in the draft this year, he would be a top 10 pick, maybe higher.

  • Darth Ivy

    Yeah, Stephen Bruno! Woot-woot!

  • another JP

    Should Bruno continue to hit as before he was injured I could see him contributing in Chicago by 2015. The group that interests me are the college guys like Masek and Skulina that were drafted last year- if someone were to step up to perform like Pierce Johnson our 2015 rotation and pitching depth improves immensely with Hendricks and Edwards also ready for the majors.

  • woody

    That’s crazy that Goldschmitt was an 8th round pick and was never a top 100 prospecct. IMO he got robbed for the MVP. This is why the scouting and development is so important. I do believe that Baez was being over looked when the cubs drafted him. But I doubt he would have fell beyond the second or third round.

  • Kyle

    Darwin Barney’s MLB success (quiet, everyone) has always intrigued me. He had an ability to move up the ladder and be a mediocre middle infielder at basically every stop.

    • Brett

      He was definitely unique.

  • Matt

    Kyle, shifting subjects, I loved your comments about Epstoyer setting themselves up to fail with their singular focus on Tanaka. Pick the one battle you’re destined to lose and then say you gave it your best.

    Most of the self-described, progressive/ intelligent fans are going to give them a pass based on their “best efforts” approach to acquiring Tanaka. We’ll hear about their putative genius/value hunting skills because they acquired 3 WaR, across 4 roster spots, this offseason for the mkt cost of 1.5 WAR. In the meantime, we’re set up to lose 100 games and have the rest of MLB wondering what the hell is going on with Tom Ricketts.

    • YourResidentJag

      It’s not just that though, there’s still the debate over what constitutes fair market value for Shark should he be traded or extended, and when these actions should occur. In concert, with the singular focus on Tanaka, the piggyback efforts to choose to extend or not extend Shark may also be given a pass should “through not fault of Epstein’s” Shark gets injured or regresses during the 1st half of 2014. This is all predicated on what the fair market value should be or should have been this offseason both in terms of an extension or a trade.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I disagree that the Cubs are set up to lose 100 games. Not even close in my opinion. Fangraphs recently released their player WAR projections, the team cumulative had the Cubs with a 76-86 record based on the current roster. There is plenty of talent on this pitching staff, much improved bullpen on paper. They score some runs and quit hitting .233 with runners in scoring position, I could see them flirt with .500.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That is pretty much my opinion & back-of-the-spreadsheet-calculation. The 2013 Cubs were vastly better than the 2012 Cubs. I don’t expect quite the same improvement in net core performances this year, but it should take them to the point where 0.500 is possible with some luck.

        In other words, we’ve probably gotten back to 2010 (which could have won 81 games with good luck), which was a year removed from a contending team.

        • Kyle

          It takes an uncommonly bad team to *not* have a shot at .500 with some luck. All but a few teams should cluster each year in the 73-89 win projection.

          I could see them flirt with .500 and I could see them lose 100 games.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Ah, the vagaries of words like “some”! Let’s put it this way: 67% of teams win within 5 games of what you would expect given net OPS. That’s about 1 SD (68.2%).

            Over the last 50+ years, 20% of teams have played so poorly that they needed to over-achieve by 10 games (~2 standard deviations) to win 81 games. 42 teams have overachieved by that much (or more) in the last 52 years. So, that’s a lot of teams that really need a LOT of luck to finish at 0.500.

            About 17% of teams project to be between 0.470 and 0.500 teams: these are the ones that need only a bit of luck to win 81. However, to get to the Cubs back to the level where they need 5 or fewer “overachievement” wins to be a 0.500 team, you have to get back to the 2010 Cubs.

  • jsorensen

    How much can a really horrible draft set a team back? Anyone studying the effect of that on the fortunes of a team? I recently saw Micah Gibbs’ name in an older BA Prospect Guide that described him as the best catcher in the 2010 draft so I searched him. Cubs 2010 3rd rounder, college catcher, switch hitter, finished playing in the Frontier League in 2013. So I looked at the Cubs whole 2010 draft and wow, other than Szczur, there is no other decent prospect to come out of that draft for the Cubs. Dustin Geiger, Matt Loosen, Eric Jokisch, Ben Wells, Dallas Beeler. I guess Geiger & Wells (especially hopefully Wells) have promise, but that’s a very bad draft. The first three picks the Cubs made were Hayden Simpson, Reggie Golden, and Micah Gibbs. PU. The other thing that is very noticeable is the lack of even serviceable minor league players, guys to play & fill up the rosters from that draft. Eliot Soto? Chad Noble? The 2010 draft should be bearing fruit right now, players ready or close to ready or being used in trades. 2010 really offers none of that. The stockpile method grows wiser methinks.

    • Kyle

      For rule-of-thumb use, I generally expect a team to get 3 useful MLB players out of every two drafts.

      • jeff1969

        3 seems a little low. Useful? Bullpen arms, bench players? You’re probably right though. Does that useful include trade bait too? In any event, 2010 seems especially barren to me. That’s some of the stuff that kills franchises.

        • jeff1969

          2009 wasn’t so hot either. The Cubs will be lucky to pull one ML player out of that draft. Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley might be the most useful. LeMahieu is a part timer for the Rockies. Another draft that was very weak, though it did offer a few more decent minor league players than 2010: Brett Jackson, Austin Kirk, Greg Rohan, Justin Bour, Nick Struck, Trey McNutt, but that still isn’t much of anything. So 2 years in a row, 2009-2010, the Cubs may come out of those drafts with one player they traded (LeMahieu), maybe two to three borderline bullpen, very end of the rotation pitchers (Rusin, Raley, Wells, maybe), and a smallish group of minor league roster types. I guess 2011 (in theory) has to this point way made up for those two years with about 18 usable players & one possible future superstar type (Baez), and a few actual good prospect types (Vogelbach, Zych, DeVoss, Andreoli, Dunston, Gretzky, Shoulders, Maples, Lopez, Scott). This isn’t even really a hindsight thing, 09-10 was just devoid of many guys putting up soild numbers, like real baseball players. Not superstar stuff, but just guys who didn’t get released a year after they were drafted.

  • Cubs Faith_27

    I have thought for a while about a few Cubs prospects that could be good in the bigs. To me there is a different buzz through out the entire cubs organization then there has been in recent memory.

    • DarthHater

      “To me there is a different buzz through out the entire cubs organization”

      Might just be mosquitoes. 😛

  • YourResidentJag
  • PaducahCubFan

    That article is great! It shows how some organizations have scouted well and had players over-perform (Cardinals) and how some have not. Here’s to hoping that a similar list in 10 years will have more Cubs on it.

    • Internet Random

      Mmmmmm. Starnes.

      I often ask myself would it be worth it to live near all that awesome barbecue but have to be surrounded by all those Cardinal fans. It’s a tough question to answer.