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javier baez aflIn 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:

  • David

    I get pretty excited when I see these lists from various people. We need new blood…. and a few more pitchers.

  • David

    Where would Junior Lake fit in these top 100 lists if he was still in the minors??? He only has < 1 year experience in the majors – lets pretend he has zero.. Where would he rank in the Cubs top prospect list?

    • ssckelley

      Possibly top 20 in the Cubs system, he would not come close to anyone’s top 100 list.

    • bbmoney

      Not on the top 100 lists.

      9-12 range on Cubs only list. Maybe…….I’m less certain about that part.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For me, he’s in the 8 to 12 range. I’m not convinced he’s a big league regular, and the downside risk is considerable. So much talent, though.

      • dw8

        Brett,
        8-12 considering a stick at CF?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If there was a belief that he could be an average (or better) defensive CF, then he’d probably be just behind the Big Four (plus Edwards) for me.

          Seems like the Cubs are intent on letting him be the regular LF next year, though.

          • dw8

            The move to LF just seems a bit curious considering his arm is among his best tools, if not his best. CF seems like the best way to extract the most value from him if he can handle it (at least from a WAR perspective), but Cubs may and probably do value OF defense differently than the metrics available to the public.

          • CubFan Paul

            “Seems like the Cubs aren intent on letting him be the regular LF next year”

            That was before he showed some CF defensive wizardry in the DWL. I could see him and Sweeney swapping LF/CF

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I really like Sweeney, but nothing would make me happier (given the state of things – small victories make me happy at this point) than seeing Lake get serious time in CF this year.

              • AllAlmora

                “I really like Sweeney”
                Seriously?

                • http://BleacherNation blewett

                  Justin Ruggiano was the opening day CF for the Marlins last year….just sayin’.

                  • Joshua Edwards

                    Question: is the Cubs infield worse than the Yankees infield?

                    For that matter, is the Cubs lineup that much worse than the Yankees lineup?

                    Call me crazy but if the biggest difference is Soriano vs. Cubs Pitcher (TWood) than the Yankees are likely to handle the bottom rung of the AL East and the Cubs could threaten 80 wins with a strong finish.

                    Given the payroll differences, I’d call that a decent year. Especially given the vitriol in Cubdom these days–gotta find your silver lining or go to bed hungry.

                    (Too bad we’ll be paying for most of Soriano without getting any of his hot streaks this season.)

                    • Joshua Edwards

                      Seriously, the Yanks could lose 85 games this year with a payroll more than twice the Cubs.

                    • Justin

                      Yeah, I really hate the Yankees roster a lot even if they get Tanaka. They just have so many old dudes, who you know some of them will break down this yr. I really can’t understand why people like them with Tanaka. I really prefer the Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, and maybe the Blue Jays to their team. Plus their farm system blows. Good luck with sky high expectations and an old crusty overpaid roster Girardi…

                    • ClevelandCubsFan

                      Agreed. 85 Losses is probably the Yankees floor but I don’t see their ceiling being that much higher, maybe 87 wins if they are aggressive with acquisitions. For the Cubs, 85 losses is probably the ceiling as constructed (floor is 90 IMO). Depending on how the rotation shakes out, maybe 81. So I still think the Yankees finish better, but there are realistic scenarios for the opposite.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Yes. I didn’t say as a starter – indeed, it’s pretty easy to see that that *wasn’t* what I was saying.

            • David

              I think he’d be better suited on center, as well. I also believe the Cubs need to take responsibility to teach this highly skilled dude to play defense. He has the necessary tools. I’m a big fan of Lake, I think he’s more than a 4th outfielder. … 3 more years til he hits his prime??

              • Noah_I

                Lake is currently at the age which is close to the front end of most players’ primes, as this will be his age 24 season. Age 27 is the median peak season for most players, and as such is more in the middle of most players’ primes. It is not when their primes begin.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’d probably have him closer to 15 than 8.

    • blublud

      After last year AAA performance and the way he start in thr majors, if they had cut him short and kept him eligible, I think he could crack the top 100.

      • Noah_I

        I don’t think so. First, Lake wasn’t THAT good at Triple A last season, with a 110 OPS+ (in other words, he was 10% better than the average PCL hitter). And the big K rate compared with the low walk rate would continue to scare the prospect writers off, for good reason. Lake is a guy who is far more likely to see his BABIP drop into the .320s, which would result in him being about a .250/.300/.400 player, than to continue to put up a .377 BABIP.

        I think he’d probably slide in as one of the higher ranked C+ prospects.

        • Scotti

          “Lake is a guy who is far more likely to see his BABIP drop into the .320s…”

          Lake has a high BABIP because he is an excellent bunter for hits. He’s as good a candidate to maintain a high BABIP as there is out there.

          “And the big K rate compared with the low walk rate would continue to scare the prospect writers off…”

          Lake’s AAA K rate was 19.4%. That’s good (his MLB rate of 26.8 wasn’t all that bad). His BB rate in the minors was 5.9% which was in the ballpark of guys like Bryant (7.5%), Baez (6.9%), Almora (6.3%).

          One could claim small sample size in last year’s MiLB season but Lake has a 6.9% walk rate in 710 AA PA. Of course his MLB BB/K numbers are worse but that’s typical for a young guy coming up and the exercise was to be where would he rank if he hadn’t spent too much time in Chicago. 5.1% (his MLB walk rate) isn’t exactly falling off the planet. Given his career improvement in the upper minors I’d say there’s the ability to improve and hope for a relatively decent BB/K ratio as a MLB (1:2.5/3.0 ish).

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            The last time that i said I had a “vibe” i got ripped real good. But i think Lake has all the tools to be better than average. But he could be one of the unkown factors that makes this team better than the 100 loses everybody is predicting.

            • Scotti

              I, for one, have no problem with vibes…

            • hansman

              That’s always been the problem with Lake. He has the tools and abilities to be a clone of Starlin Castro with a touch more power but he just hasn’t been able to put it all together for any length of time.

              He might have the most mentions of “…looks lost” in his minor league scouting reports of anyone who projects to be a starter next year.

              • Scotti

                I find the toolsets of Lake and Castro rather dissimilar.

                Hitting, Castro is a much more natural hitter. Let’s the ball in deep. Lake is grip it and rip it.

                Power. Castro doesn’t have the size for much power, nor the swing. Lake has excellent size and takes BIG rips. Very BIG rips.

                Speed, Lake’s speed is exaggerated and Castro’s underrated but Lake has a slight advantage here. Probably the area where they are closest but Lake is just nuts in what he will try (a very large portion of his MiLB SB came from delayed steals–that won’t fly in MLB but it shows an aggressiveness that Castro just doesn’t have).

                Arm. Castro has a strong, accurate arm. Lake has a very strong, erratic arm. Very dissimilar.

                Defense. Castro is a natural who makes instinctive moves in the infield. Lake has adapted quite well to the OF. Never really had a chance in the INF. Again, not clones. Neither physically (Castro is 5’10”, 190# and Lake is 6’3″, 215#) nor in their natural styles of play.

          • hansman

            “Lake has a high BABIP because he is an excellent bunter for hits. He’s as good a candidate to maintain a high BABIP as there is out there. ”

            The greatest hitters in the history of baseball weren’t able to sustain a .380 BABIP. His batting average and OBP is highly likely to drop next year. If he adds some power his OPS *could* remain flat if he hits for a little more power.

            A high BABIP is .320-.330. An unsustainable BABIP is over .350. Mike Trout *might* be in the process of breaking this rule but Lake is not Trout.

            • Scotti

              “The greatest hitters in the history of baseball weren’t able to sustain a .380 BABIP…”

              This argument is rather tiresome because some of the greatest hitters in baseball have some rather pedestrian BABIP (Pujols is .298 over the last decade, for instance). No one is suggesting, or said, Lake will have a .377 BABIP. I said he has as good a chance as any to have a high BABIP because he is an excellent bunter for hits. There are REASONS players hit for high BABIP. Lake has one of those reasons in the hole.

              “A high BABIP is .320-.330.”

              Over the last decade there are 33 MLB players with at least 2,000 PA, basically 3-4 full seasons (many with MANY more PA), who have a .330, or greater, BABIP (.330-.361). Not all of those cats are stars much less superstars (the immortal Matt Diaz has a .341 BABIP in 2042 PA). Yes, the guys with high BABIP’s tend to do well (duh) but, by no means, does a high career BABIP make you a star. And neither is it freakish.

              “Mike Trout *might* be in the process of breaking this rule…”

              Votto is just a few points behind Trout with many more PA. Looks like rules are meant to be broken. Again, this is a stat where Pujols is 193rd over the last decade (2k plus PA). Ronny Cedeno is 187th. Nuff said.

              • Jason P

                Joey Votto has an absolutely unbelievable ability to get the barrel of the bat on the ball — I think I recall he didn’t hit an infield fly ball until like July last year. Lake doesn’t have the pitch recognition skills to do that. Heck no one except Joey Votto does.

                You do have a good point with the bunt hits. He had 7 last year (and without them, his BABIP would have been just .333). However, a lot of those came within the first couple weeks he was up before teams adjusted and started moving in their third basemen. It remains to be seen if he can keep getting them at the rate he did last season.

                Even if Lake’s BABIP stays really, really high (say .340 range), he’l still probably have to become a passable center fielder to even be an average starter.

                • Scotti

                  BABIP isn’t pitch recognition. If it were, Pujols wouldn’t be behind cats like Gary Matthews, Jr and Rickie Weeks (I really could go on and on with that–dude is 193rd). Pujols walked 13.0% of the time and K’d 9.3%–he’s a pitch recognition freak. BABIP is not about pitch recognition.

                  Re. Lake pulling in the 3B. First, if he pulls them in, great–that increases his chances when he isn’t bunting. Second, he should get bit*h slapped by, say, Darwin Barney, if he stops bunting when the 3B comes in. That should never deter the really, really good bunters and he’s that good.

                  Maybe you can have whichever player is carrying around that Dora The Explorer backpack smack Lake around so Barney doesn’t get carpel tunnel.

                  • Jason P

                    “BABIP isn’t pitch recognition” — no, and I never said it was. But it helps. It’s one factor of many, but when it’s as good as Votto’s is, it helps him see the pitch and get the barrel on the ball more consistently than any other player in the majors.

                    And yes, he will be able to get a few more hits by the pulled in third basemen, but not nearly enough to compensate for the fewer bunt hits.

                    He’ll still get some, and I’m sure he’ll keep trying, but he will not be successful as much.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      There would be a correlation between walk rate & BABiP if pitch recognition had a big impact on BABiP. Insofar as I am aware, there is not.

                    • Jason P

                      I think that’s probably because many of the hitters who walk most are also very slow.

                      How would you explain Votto’s BABIP?

                      His line drive rate obviously plays a huge role, and that’s caused by his ability to barrel up the ball consistently. I’d say the 2 primary reasons for that are his hit tool and his ability to recognize the ball out of the pitcher’s hand.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      I almost never try to explain individuals unless they fall so far outside of a distribution as to demand it. Votto does have a ridiculously high line drive rate: but guys often have big fluxes in BABiP without corresponding fluxes in line drive rates.

              • hansman

                You realize that you are predicting success for Lake based off 10% of the MLB regulars in the past 10 years.

                Lake might sustain a high BABIP. He just isn’t likely to because it isn’t a high probability that a player can sustain a BABIP over .330.

                Lake had a .377 BABIP last year. In the last 10 years, 5 players (1.66% of players with 2000 PA) sustained a BABIP over .350 and only 2 had a BABIP that was significantly over .350.

                One of those is Austin Jackson and he isn’t too dissimilar to Lake. So I suppose it is possible that Lake could end up like Austin Jackson and sustain a BABIP near .360 but it is much more probable (by a wide margin) that he will drop below .350. At which point he will lose a minimum of .010 of BA and OBP. At this point, he becomes a league average bat.

                That is the most likely scenario. No sense in dumping him just to dump him, but if he comes out with a .240/.300/.400 line next year, don’t be surprised or think the Cubs broke him.

                Austin Jackson is, actually, quite the abberration. He isn’t particularly fast, he doesn’t get a lot of bunt hits, he doesn’t hit for a lot of power, he K’s too much for someone with little power.

                The leaderboard of high BABIP guys has power hitters and speedsters and regulars and part-timers…

                • CubFan Paul

                  “but if he comes out with a .240/.300/.400 line next year, don’t be surprised or think the Cubs broke him”

                  He’s definitely a better hitter/bunter than .240/.300/.400

          • Jason P

            A BABIP in the .320’s is still quite high. MLB average is between .290-.310. Also, a 26.8% K% falls somewhere in the range between poor and awful.

            • Scotti

              Albert Pujols, Aramis Ramirez… They’ve been average over the last decade. And, again, a 26.8 K rate isn’t bad at all for a rookie. What do you think Rizzo’s was??? Hint: it’s somewhere between 30.0 and 30.2. What do you think Bryant’s will be? Baez? I’d give up my second born if I knew Bryant and Baez would have 26.8 K rates in their rookie seasons.

              (And, again as I said, the way the OP laid out the hypothetical exercise above, was if Lake had not played so much up here (i.e. primarily based on his minor league stats and his prospectiness).

              “A BABIP in the .320′s is still quite high.”

              Not for one of the, if not the, best bunter for base hits in MLB.

              • Jason P

                “I’d give up my second born if I knew Bryant and Baez would have 26.8 K rates in their rookie seasons.” — It’s not comparing apples to apples. Baez and Bryant could realistically hit 30 home runs. For a player like Lake, who isn’t going to hit for that kind of power and isn’t going to walk a ton, it puts a *ton* of strain on his batting average especially if he can’t learn to play center passably.

                • Scotti

                  I’m a lot more optimistic on Lake’s power than most. For me he’s 20-25 if he comes into his own.

                  Regardless, again, that first taste of MLB ball isn’t where I expect to see Lake’s K rate. He was 22.4% A+-AAA after cleaning up some extreme hitch problems he had in the lower minors. That’s allowed him to walk more, K less and hit for a higher average and more power all while moving up the ladder.

                  • Patrick W.

                    I guess you’re optimistic. I suppose he could pull a Jose Bautista, but man those guys are rare.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Bautista actually put up much better miLB numbers than Lake has, although Bautista also was a bit older when he started miLB. Bautista showed good pitch recogntion even as a minor leaguer, as well as good power and not overly shabby K numbers.

                      A lot of the “late bloomers” have histories like Bautista: guys like him, Taveraz and Davis had impressive miLB numbers that didn’t translate immediately to MLB success.

                    • Jason P

                      Bautista jumped up from 24 home runs in the minors to 40-50 in the majors. We’re not talking about that big of a power jump for Lake — more like from 10 to 20.

                  • Edwin

                    22.4% still isn’t that great, especially if he isn’t drawing walks or hitting for power. Based on his ISO, I’m not seeing much reason to believe his power will improve that much.

                  • Jason P

                    He’s definitely made more adjustments than people give him credit for.

              • http://bleachernation.com woody

                Speaking of Lakes bunting skills. Having that bunt threat and skill set makes it difficult to play a shift on him. In fact the shift is very vulnerable to the bunt and I think you will see it employed more in years to come. Example; if Rizzo is at bat and the third baseman is playing in the shortstop position any bunt that can get past the pitcher on the third base side is a sure base hit. As teams become more willing to exploit that weakness there will be less shifts employed. I know what you are thinking. But regardless of if there are runners it moves things along. And if Rizzo would do that he would see less of the shift and see his BABIP increase.

                • cow142

                  What I would love to see the Cubs do with Lake is turn him into what the Mariners had with Mark McLemore years ago. Ultra-Sub, kind of a 10th player. Give him a game all over the place. It would make him very valuable by the time the others arrived. Of course I know this is much easier said than done.

                  • Scotti

                    He can’t play the infield. Period. It’s really, really bad.

                • Scotti

                  We had that exact discussion on the message board here a while back. The Cubs should be teaching EVERY prospect to be able to bunt in the minors (to bust the shift and to take advantage of the .400–yes, .400–league wide batting average on bunts). At the level of a competent MiLB hitter, bunting is pure skill, not talent.

                • hansman

                  Dramatic shifts against lake would be incredibly rare regardless of his bunting ability. He is right handed.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Last year, only 10 of the 140 guys who qualified for the batting title K’ed that often. None were rookies, but that shouldn’t be surprising: a rookie K’ing that often is going to get sent down unless he shows tremendous power.

                The power is important, too, as are walks. All of the guys who K’d 27+% of the time last year showed good powe: 21 was the minimum HR (by Reynolds). Moreover, most of them showed good walk rates to go with it: 8 of the 10 walked 9.9+% of the time: the guys on the list are the classic 3 True Outcomes for the most part.

          • Edwin

            If his minor league BB% is 5.9%, I’d expect it to be somewhat lower in MLB, just due to playing in a tougher level. Even if he improves it to 7%, that’s still below average. a 26.8% K rate is well below average, and even though he’s a rookie, it’d be rare for him to improve more than 5%. Even if he gets his K% down to 22%, still well above league average. Lake also has slightly below average power.

            I think Lake can turn out to be an ok platoon/bench OF, at least while he’s cheap. I’m not optimistic about him being a long term starter.

  • Fastball

    Maybe Theo shocks the world and just puts all these guys on ML roster coming out of ST. ;-)
    Having them in the how to act like a Pro meetings is important before the season starts.
    We can bring up Almora, Baez, Bryant and Soler and make a statement. We got all these guys so we are gonna play em. It’s okay for other teams to bring up thier young top talent but it’s not for the Cubs.

    • On The Farm

      ” It’s okay for other teams to bring up thier young top talent but it’s not for the Cubs.”

      How many teams put players on the MLB roster before they have a plate appearance in AA? Still doesn’t make sense to put Bryant and Almora on the roster out of Spring Training. I would be willing to listen to anyone’s case for Baez, but Almora and Bryant should be obvious no’s.

      • hansman

        Even Baez should be an automatic no for the first 20-30 days.

    • Edwin

      I’d imagine they’d struggle. Fans will be pissed that they’re struggling, and people on blogs will be writing comments like “why did the cubs just put all these guys on ML roster out of ST?”

  • NorthSideIrish

    I asked McDaniel on Twitter what percent chance he gives Almora of playing in the majors…

    “basically 100%. You could call it 90% if you want, but most of those possibilities include injury of some sort.”

    Safe to say he’s higher on Almora than most.

  • Jon

    He’s Darwin Barney in center field

    • ssckelley

      Is that his ceiling or floor?

    • Isaac

      Now this is just trolling…

      Albert Almora in (A) ball: .329 – Age 19
      Darwin Barney in (A) ball: .273 – Age 21

      • gocatsgo2003

        Just to add on:

        Almora’s OPS in A-ball at age 19: .842

        Barney’s OPS in A-ball at age 21: .715

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The 0.842 vs. 0.715 OPS tells a more important story than that!

      • On The Farm

        Pretty sure this is a shot at BluBlud who said a few months back that Barney was a good comp for Almora.

        • willis

          Jon can clarify but yeah, I agree here. Calling Almora anything like Barney is tongue and cheek because of the opinion that was voiced a couple months ago which caused quite the stir.

          • Isaac

            I remember that, but again…trolling:-)

    • gocatsgo2003

      Except that he’s pretty much universally regarded as having much better overall hit/average/power tools with the bat in his hands… sure!

    • Isaac

      Basically what you’re trying to say, is that they are both outstanding defensive players. That is the problem with perpetual negativity, it almost always leaves huge aspects out of the equation.

  • CubChymyst

    Almora is untouchable as far as I’m concern. I think he could be huge for the Cubs in center field for years.

    • ced landrum

      He isn’t and shouldn’t be untouchable. None of the prospects should be.

  • V23

    That is great stuff from McDaniel. I remember watch Almora’s hitting videos when he got drafted and looked like he always had a nice line drive quick stroke. If he’s projected to 15 homer, .280 guy with solid D, that’s outstanding.

    I wonder if Baez or Castro will start working at 2b this year?

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    My thoughts about Baez playing second base are that if were to man the position it puts him at a higher risk for injury in those pivot situations. And now that MLB is protecting catchers I think they need to stiiffen the penalties for guys going way out of the base path on double plays. Matt Holliday comes to my mind right away as one of those offenders. As for the top 4 prospects I see Soler as less of a sure thing. I know he has the tools, but for the money we put out for his contract He should be closer to being MLB ready. Hopefully he is injury free this year and crushes the ball. Would love to see the two B’s up this year and Almora and Soler next year on opening day.

  • cubsnivy56

    I think this will be an interesting year to be a Cub fan. If Olt can make the team out of ST, Castro and Rizzo rebound, then are joined by Baez at some point this season (MLB.com projection), this could be fun to watch. We may start to see what the fuure holds.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I just hope than when Baez comes up, that he and Castro don’t have negative feeling for each other and can be supportive of the other. I know that Starlin has a good friendship with Barney. But I think Renteria is the type of guy that would nip that in the bud real fast. If Cstro gets moved off of his position I think he may be resentful.

  • Kyle

    I just can’t go that high on Almora given how far away he is and the nagging injuries, but I can see the argument for it.

    • Jason P

      I agree. The chance of him not reaching the bigs is fairly miniscule, but there’s still a real possibility he could end up a utility outfielder.

    • Joshua Edwards

      I wonder if schierholtz in CF with better defense and good speed is a better way to think of Almora. Minus the platoon splits.

      • blublud

        So then, he is not Schierhotz in CF.

  • CeeDeeVee

    Brett or anyone else:

    Any idea why I can’t post on the message board? It keeps saying my username & password are incorrect. First time I’ve registered since the new login changed

    • CeeDeeVee

      Nvm, I got it now

  • Diehardthefirst

    Hope Springs Eternal – prospects is a derivative of prospect which connotes searching as in for gold or oil – Cubs need to strike it rich one day

    • Wilburthefirst

      Never were truer words spoken …

      • half_full_beer_mug

        Not by DieHard; that’s for sure

  • TommyK

    If I’m reading the top hundred list, there doesn’t seem to be a single Brewer on it. So at least I’m not a Brewers fan.

  • Jon

    What about Tuffy Rhodes as a comp for Lake?

  • nkniacc13

    Brett do you see the Cubs to be in on Suk-Min Yoon?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Ranking Almora that high is a good example of ceiling versus floor. Almora’s ceiling isn’t a high as that of Baez or Bryant, but then his floor is well above those guys as well.

    I wouldn’t rank Almora that high, but I can’t really argue with it.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    The fact that Almora managed to bat over .300 in the AFL was impressive to me. He was playing with guys quite a bit older. It seems that Almora who is of Cuban decent has become a really close friend of Jorge Soler. I would think that they are on a similar trajectory to be ready in 2015.

  • Rebuilding

    “Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday that the club did not meet with Masahiro Tanaka while he was in Los Angeles last week.”

  • NorthSideIrish

    “Paul Maholm could be on Cubs’ free-agent radar”…I would prefer that to a Scott Baker reunion.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-paul-maholm-cubs-baseball-spt-0115-20140115,0,6868198.story?track=rss

  • ChiMike702

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what Rivero can do with more than 30.1 innings but his 45 K’s was a very good sign. He’s about to be 26 years old so he needs to climb the ranks quickly but he should definitely see AAA this year and hopefully the majors too.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Look for Yanks to make blockbuster for infielders

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