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vogelbach amayaProspect rankings come in a variety of flavors, from team lists to overall lists to league lists. One of the more interesting approaches ranks prospects at each position throughout the minors. Recently, MLB.com ranked Javier Baez as the second best shortstop prospect in baseball, which is extremely high praise when you know that shortstop is absolutely stacked in the minor leagues right now.

MLB.com has also ranked first and second base, with a couple more Cubs making an appearance. On the first base list, it’s no surprise that the Cubs’ entrant is Dan Vogelbach, roundly considered an impressive bat, albeit one belonging to a guy who could struggle to stick at first base without some additional progress defensively. On the bat, the compliments flow: “Vogelbach has stood out for his power dating back to high school. Large-bodied even then, he has hit at every stop of his professional career, bashing at least 17 home runs in each of his first two full professional seasons. Vogelbach’s bat has never been questioned. He easily has plus power and his advanced approach allows him to drive the ball to all fields. He projects to be a good all-around hitter and doesn’t have as much swing-and-miss in his game as many power hitters.”

Although it’s great to see a Cubs prospect so high on a list, it’s important to remember that many of the best future first basemen in baseball are not presently considered first basemen in the minors. Players tend to stick at the toughest defensive position they can handle for the longest possible time (because they have more value there), so if a prospect is in A-ball and already a surefire first baseman, that’s not necessarily a good thing. A huge bat, in those cases, is a necessity. Fortunately, Vogelbach’s got it.

In the second base rankings, it’s another Cubs prospect in the four spot: Arismendy Alcantara. The presumed starter at second base for the Iowa Cubs this year, Alcantara has been steadily climbing the rankings over the past two years as he’s steadily climbed the minor league ranks. From the MLB.com report: “Alcantara has a short, compact swing from both sides of the plate. His swing is more suited for line drives, but he does have some pop in his bat. He is athletic and has well above-average speed, making him a threat to steal. The Cubs have used Alcantara at shortstop and second base. He has a strong arm and is a good defender at both positions, but is probably best suited for second base. Though the Cubs have a burgeoning group of middle infielders in Chicago and the upper Minor Leagues, Alcantara’s potential assures that he won’t be lost in the shuffle.”

Once again, there’s a word of caution: many future second basemen are moved over from shortstop, so a ranking like this doesn’t necessarily mean Alcantara is the fourth best future second baseman in baseball. Not that this isn’t a high compliment, though, considering many of the surrounding names: Kolten Wong, Rougned Odor, and Mookie Betts are the only three ahead of Alcantara.

  • Jim

    With a name like Rougned Odor, how can’t you be good??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You better be good at something.

      • dash

        I dunno — I’m really loving Mookie Betts.

        • EQ76

          Mookie Betts is the Mookie Blaylock of baseball.. I bet Eddie Vedder will be a big Mookie Betts fan.

          • mr. mac

            Ha, I thought the same thing. It will be serendipitous for EV to see a Mookie on the Cubs.

          • Danny Ballgame

            He is a Mookie Blaylock/Dickey Betts hybrid. Solid jumper and slide guitar

            • Fishin Phil

              That is a good one Danny!

          • Chef Brian

            Or the next Mookie Wilson since baseball already has/had a Mookie.

            • EQ76

              ahh… forgot about Mookie Wilson.. not like there’s a plethora of Mookies to reference either..

  • Required

    Bryant just got #2 3 base too!

  • Elden14

    Bryant #2 and Olt at #3 for 3B. Came out an hour or so ago.

    • Required

      Didn’t see Olt on there.

    • bbmoney

      Yeah that was from the weird mid-seasonish update.

      The new 3b ranking has Bryant #2, Castellanos #3, and Olt not in the top 10. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/#list=3b

      • Elden14

        Well that makes me feel silly. I drilled right in to it from the home page….

        • bbmoney

          I find their top prospect pages confusing. It’s hard to tell when they’ve been updated. If you see Bryant on a list you’d figure its for this off-season, but they seem to do some updating during the season (although you’d then think Olt would have dropped).

  • Required

    By the way Brett I figured you’d get around to it eventually. I know you’re busy .

  • bonger0493

    It’s important to remember that the only reason Alcantara was moved to second base was because Baez was coming up and he has more value as a shortstop than Alcantara did

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not entirely. Alcantara has all the physical tools to play shortstop, but he wasn’t doing that great of a job of it even before Baez came along. He would have been moved to second anyway.

      Baez may have sped that process up a year or so is all.

      He looks much more comfortable at second than he did at short.

      • nate1m

        How is his defense at 2B Luke? Did you do a prospect progress on him that I don’t remember?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I haven’t done Alcantara yet, but he’s one of the few left to be written for this winter.

          I like the defense at second. I think the Cubs will be in good shape if he can claim that job in a year or two.

  • Diamondrock

    How long to people generally project it will take Vogelbach to make it to the majors? I have this fever dream where they finally bring the DH to the NL (we all know it’s going to happen at some point) and Vogelbach slides right into that spot. I’d hate to have to ship him off to an AL team. I know it’s too early to worry about that kind of thing, but still…

    • nate1m

      Is it? He should be in AA fairly quickly this year (starting in Daytona) and if his hitting continues he’ll be a 2015 arrival candidate. Luke talked about him being ‘the most obvious trade candidate in the farm system’ and said ‘its possible he will be dealt this winter’. That looks less likely now but if his value keeps climbing you trade him when you think you can get the most for him.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        It still is possible he could be dealt this winter, but most likely only if the Cubs decide to deal for a major acquisition.

        There is no rush to move Vogelbach, though. I don’t see his value dropping anytime soon.

        • blublud

          I don’t think Vogelbach is any more of a trade candidate than anyone else. While I like Rizzo a lot, he’s certainly not to the point that you trade a good prospect because of him.

      • Jon

        He could also be kept, in case Rizzo never becomes anything more than a 2 win first baseman.

        • SenorGato

          Is that even a real worry? There is still a tooooon of reaaon to think Rizzo is a stud. North10 on PSD covered him well this offseason. I am not against moving DV while perceptions are high.

          If anyone should worry Rizzo in the system its probably Candelario anyway.

          • Jon

            Vogelbach’s value is really not that high. You really don’t have to do anything right now. He still has to go through HIgh A, AA, and AAA. So you got at least 2 years.

            • SenorGato

              He seems plenty valuable for a non-elite prospect. Theres certainly a little hype right now.

          • blublud

            Yes, there is a worry. There is worry about every player on every team. A prospect should not be traded because of a player on the Manor league roster unless that prospect is manor league ready and the teams wants to keep the established player or because that player has maximum value and is requested for by a team who has a player you are requesting.

            • blublud

              Major must not exist on my phone database. It changed major to manor twice.

            • Jon

              Agreed bluebud

              (cue the Apocalypse :) )

            • SenorGato

              Way less worry with Rizzo than Vogelbach.

    • ssckelley

      People have been mentioning Vogelbach as a trade candidate for the past 2 years. I find it hard to believe the Cubs would draft someone that would not project to play anywhere but DH, even under the old regime. There are a number to minor league prospects that the Cubs may trade to land a veteran player before it is all said and done. You look at the last time the Cubs had a farm system this highly rated a number of those prospects were used to land players like DLee and Ramirez.

  • Scotti

    “I’d hate to have to ship him off to an AL team.”

    It’s WAY too early to discount Vogelbach at first or even to consider him “blocked.”

    • Jon

      or even to consider him “blocked.

      ^^^^^^Yes!!!!

  • Napercal

    This is all encouraging. It is not out of the picture that Almora and Soler get listed as top 10 outfield candidates.

  • Big Daddy

    I really hope most of these guys pan out. I hope 2 or 3 of them can make it to the show by 2015. What if we sign Tanaka, extend Shark, and sign 1 of Scherzer, Masterson, or Bailey? Then the kids come up and play well. Oh to dream.

    • Big Daddy

      I meant Lester.

  • AA Correspondant

    They should have traded Brett Jackson when his value as a top prospect was highest….there were enough internal alarms sounding to make this the right thing to do. The perception of him outside the organization was still pretty high.

    They should do the same with Junior Lake now.

  • hcs

    Anything subliminal about “Dan Vogelbach, roundly” I mean really, Brett, a fat joke?

  • DarthHater

    Yikes! :-D

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 1m
    Based on recent conversations w/ industry sources, I think ranking Javier Baez #4 overall in MiLB is going to look foolish. Case for #1.

    • JacqueJones

      mmm prospect porn. I’m starting to rosterbate to this.

    • cking6178

      Yep, just saw that on Twitter…he goes on to tweet:

      “Baez still comes w/risk, but the bat speed is elite, the power potential is elite, and he can play on the left-side of the infield. #Cubs”

      Pretty hefty praise…expectations to follow….we’ll see how he handles that this year…

  • jeff1969

    I know it was Spring Training, but remember Baez hitting 3 homers in that one game? That wasn’t batting practice, that was in-game. Feats like that get downplayed because of the circumstances, but how often do see a guy do something like that. Ooops. Just remembered how Dan Johnson hit 3 homers pretty impressively in the last game of the year for the White Sox in 2012. That’s how predicting prospect success seems to me. Some people can guess with a little more authority, armed with a little more evidence, but not really, not much.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      that was 4 homers in one game my friend!

    • Danny Ballgame

      He hit 4 in one game last year at AA. He also hit three straight pitches out in Spring Training last year

      • AA Correspondant

        HIs 4 homer game was in high A Daytona.

        But, he did home in his first AA at bat which was pretty cool. And he did have a coupel of muti homer AA games.

        It was a special half season in AA watching this kid perform. He may go down as one of the best to have played his home games at Smokies Park. Looking forward to some more excitement this season with Bryant, Soler, Edwards, and others.

    • hansman

      Well..The gap between a ST game and BP isn’t that great.

  • dan77

    Said it before Alcantara will be the best player from our current crop in the minors

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That would surprise me greatly.

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