In a wave of prospect bits that couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, the Cubs get lots of love (and give some of it back) …
- Scout’s Kiley McDaniel – who is showing up a lot these days – released a top 100 baseball prospects list for Scout, and, since a whopping eight Cubs made the list, I suddenly think McDaniel is a smart guy who knows his stuff. In reverse order, the Cubs making an appearance are Arismendy Alcantara (88), Pierce Johnson (85), Dan Vogelbach (80), Jorge Soler (53), C.J. Edwards (44), Javier Baez (13), Kris Bryant (10), and Albert Almora (8). This might be the only top 100 that Vogelbach makes, though he should be right there for most services. Alcantara and Johnson are likely in for most lists, and the Big Four (plus Edwards) will be top 100 types for everyone because le duh.
- There are some obvious surprises in there, notably Almora at the top, ahead of both Bryant and Baez (though they’re all ridiculously highly ranked). Anticipating folks’ questions on that selection, McDaniel wrote that, “Most thought I had Almora a little high as a top 10 guy, but when pressed, almost every scout conceded he’s a high-probability, quick-moving guy that conservatively has a ceiling of .280 with 15 homers and plus defense. Almora may not have the flashy raw tools of other prospects ranked this high, but those projected numbers are close to what Carlos Gomez did this year, posting an 8-win season.” Schwing. I love the fact that, despite everyone knowing that Baez and Bryant are elite prospects, there are still some out there who can make a credible argument for Almora in the top spot. Get a healthy Soler, and maybe the debate rages on further.
- Baez is an even better prospect to Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com, who have ranked the top 10 shortstop prospects in baseball (it’s a stacked, stacked group). Baez comes in at number two, behind only Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox. That means, to MLB.com, Baez is a better prospect that Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, and Addison Russell. That’s serious, serious praise.
- Some more love for Baez in a separate MLB.com piece, if you just can’t get enough.
- Speaking of the Cubs’ top prospects, you can expect them to be featured heavily at this year’s Cubs Convention, kicking off on Friday. The prospects expected to attend include Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, C.J. Edwards, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero, Rubi Silva, Jorge Soler, Christian Villanueva and Arodys Vizcaino. Those same guys are (presumably) in town this week for the now-annual Rookie Development Program, which is an opportunity for the Cubs to spend some time working on some off-the-field stuff with prospects who could break through to the big leagues in the next year. Most of the names are obvious for something like that, but the ones jumping out at me are Almora (because he has yet to play above Low-A, but is obviously a polished, well-liked prospect), Edwards (again, studly prospect, but hasn’t yet pitched at AA), Silva (because he’s not as high on the prospect radar as some, despite a huge signing bonus a few years ago and a solid year at AA), Rivero (a big money Cuban signee last year who rocketed up the system late in the year), and Vizcaino (because of his health issues, I take this as a good sign).
- And, as referenced in today’s Clark the Cub piece, most of the Cubs’ prospects in for the development program visited a pediatric developmental center, having some fun with the kids there: