javier baez aflBaseball Prospectus, it seems, saved the best team list for last, putting out the Chicago Cubs’ top prospect list last week (and Jason Parks said it was the most viewed team list in site history – Cubs fans are extremely into prospects right now for both good and somber reasons). Now the overall top 101 is out, and the Cubs are once again well-represented.

As it was with MLB.com’s top 100 list, which came out last week, the Cubs place seven prospects on the BP 101, and it’s a familiar group:

4. Javier Baez
17. Kris Bryant
25. Albert Almora
45. Jorge Soler
81. C.J. Edwards
83. Arismendy Alcantara
91. Pierce Johnson

Instant reaction: it’s not that dissimilar from the MLB.com list, which had the same seven prospects in the same order, save for the flip-flop of Edwards and Soler. The difference here, as it has been with Edwards and BP for some time, is that BP has never been as high on Edwards’ potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues. In BP’s estimation, Edwards has been lights out at the lower levels of the minors primarily because of his advanced stuff, which may not play up as well as he moves up the ladder. And then, of course, there’s the persistent question of durability, given Edwards’ extremely slight frame.

You’ll note that BP is as high on Baez as anyone (Parks recently mentioned that there’s an argument to be made that Baez should actually be first overall), but isn’t quite as high on Bryant and Almora as other services. Don’t get me wrong: 17 and 25 are still elite prospect rankings. I’m just greedy. (I also find it interesting that Almora is bunched together with fellow center field prospects Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Gregory Polanco, who appear immediately ahead of Almora, in that order. George Springer is a few spots ahead of Bradley.)

It’s very nice to see the consensus build on Johnson as a top 100 prospect, given the Cubs’ pitching needs. Given some past comments about the Cubs’ system, I think it’s fair to guess that their 8th ranked prospect, Dan Vogelbach, just missed the top 101.

For those counting, BP tallies eight Twins prospects, seven Pirates prospects, seven Rangers prospects, and seven Royals prospects on the list. The Red Sox have six, and the Cardinals have four. The Reds have three and the Brewers have none.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Of course one of the four prospects listed for the Cardinals is ahead of Baez. Why wouldn’t they have someone ahead of us. (Voodoo magic)

  • E

    These prospect rankings are awesome, but they shine a spotlight on a glaring need for pitching. If Baez and maybe Bryant show up to the majors and look to be the real deal, I think the FO starts moving prospects like Vogs and Alcantara for some live arms.

    • Ivy Walls

      You are overvaluing Alcantara and Vogelbach, though as a potential SS Alcantara would rank at an above average in a valued position. Alcantara is just the kind of player you develop and play. Vogelbach is in a position that also has little value noticing that only one in the 1B in BP’s 101 (MLB had similar rankings)

      Pitching is the gold standard and basically you have to trade MLB level to get minor league prospects. What is noticeable is that even though Edwards and Johnson are in the top 100/101 they are also in the bottom of the Top 40 or so RHP’s (BP 33 & 35) translated as among 30 teams the Cubs have near the bottom of the entire pool though above teams that have none, about 20-24th or so.

      You want pitching think of trading Castro you might get something, that would mean that Baez goes to SS, Alcantara to 2B and Bryant to 3B.

      • farmerjon

        I’ve thought the same thing in regards to Castro, try to reestablish value this season and trade for elite, young, cost cotrolled pitching. With a glut of RH bats coming through the system, keeping Alcantara’s switch hitting (and speed) could be wise.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Even as a second baseman the Cubs could get value for Alcantara, should they opt to deal him. He wouldn’t be the cornerstone of a deal for top shelf pitching talent, but he’d be a key part of a package.

        Vogelbach, if he continues to hit, could be heavily sought after by AL teams in a year or so.

        • JadeBos

          Yeah I would hope Vogelbach moves into the top 100 with a good season at A+ along with Alcantara and 3B Villenueva and our glut of infielders/4th OFers.

          After what we got last year for Garza and Feldman just about anything seems possible. Seem like we’ll need to start selling some guys, maybe as early as the trade deadline. SHould make an otherwise painful season at least interesting.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Unless Vogelbach surprises some people on defense, he’ll probably have to clobber Double A before he cracks the Top 100. That’s a tough list for any first baseman to get on.

      • CubSTH60625

        Completely agree with Ivy Walls. Good analysis.

        How much has the building narrative of Dan Vogelbach as nothing more than a DH and a guy with a weight issue hurting his prospects? It seems that his name isn’t complete without the two additions?

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    Brett… mostly off topic… where do you put Kyle Hendricks chances at the rotation? I would think with so few AAA innings, he will start there even if he looks great this Spring. Could he be a mid-season call up if the team is in need and/or trades pitchers? Is he a real threat in 2015 to stick and stay?

    • Ivy Walls

      Before Hendricks will be Ramirez, Hendricks stuff appears to be slated for a swing, where if Cubs can trade the mustached Villaneuva during season that role might be available.

      • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

        I can only see Ramirez leap-frogging Hendricks if Ramirez finds a way to cut down on walks. His BB/K ratio has been less than impressive over his minor league career, while Hendricks seems to have that as a strength.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I suspect Hendricks will see a major league start or two at least this year.

      As for who comes up first, it will likely come down to which starter in the Iowa rotation syncs up with the hole that opens in the major league rotation.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        If the Cubs sell-off at the Deadline again (more than one starter), then I could see Hendricks get a handful of starts late. He has a legit shot to be a long-ish term rotation piece, at the back of the rotation.

        • ssckelley

          Besides Samardzija, what other Cub starters could you see traded at the deadline (assuming this happens ofc), Jackson maybe?

          • On The Farm


            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              All of the above.

            • ssckelley

              You think he ends up in the starting rotation?

              • On The Farm

                Well I guess at some point I do. He will probably get some starts just to show other teams that he does in fact still have the swing man trade value. My guess is that Rusin had a decent year, but I am not sure if he showed enough to be a full time SP. I think that 5th spot will come down to Villanueva vs Grimm. I really want Grimm to take the spot and run with it, but I just don’t know about him yet.

      • On The Farm

        Curious as to whom you think makes more starts Grimm or Hendricks? I suppose if Grimm doesn’t make it as the 5th SP out of Spring Training he would be slotted for the bullpen all year, but maybe they could squeeze in a few starts at the end of the year?

        • Edwin

          I’d guess Hendricks, but only because I think Grimm is already on the fast track to be a reliever, and they might want to give Hendricks a few more shots to see how his stuff translates at the big leauge level.

          • CubFan Paul

            “give Hendricks a few more shots to see how his stuff translates at the big leauge level”

            Like Randy Wells.

            Grimm should show enough in Spring to end the reliever talk.

  • coondawg

    Wow the Rangers with 7 even after all the trades. That’s pretty good scouting /drafting!!

  • coondawg

    I think our lack of catching prospects is far worse than outback of pitching!!!

    • coondawg

      Our lack of

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      For both pitching and catching, the situation isn’t quite as bad as it appears from this list. There is a depth of potential in pitching, but it is low in the system.

      Catching has some infielder conversions underway – headlined by Malave – that could help that situation.

      But agree the catching situation is the worst case of scarcity in the system right now.

    • ssckelley

      The Cubs did draft a couple of interesting high school catchers in last Junes draft that have some high upside. Obviously it will be a while before we see them on the prospect radar but there is hope for the future.

      • On The Farm

        I kind of like Cael Brockmeyer. Not sure, why, but he is my favorite among catchers they drafted.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          He’s a long way off, but I like the potential in Brockmeyer. I’m glad the Cubs were able to sign him.

        • ssckelley

          I do to, and since he was a college catcher Brockmeyer is more advanced than the other catchers they drafted. Not sure about his defense abilities but his hitting looks like another Steve Clevenger.

      • http://BleacherNation blewett

        Too bad they weren’t able to sign the Martinez kid they drafted. It was a longshot anyway, though.

  • baldtaxguy

    Just awesome that a rental of Garza returned a top 100 prospect, a pitching one no less.

    • On The Farm

      And Ramirez and Grimm aren’t bad arms either.

      • CubFan Paul

        Olt too. If he’s healthy that trade could turn into a Cubs favorite

        • On The Farm

          A healthy Olt could make the Rangers look really silly when you think that they traded those guys for virtually nothing (not even a wild card berth).

          • CubFan Paul

            The Rangers traded from surplus/depth. If not the Cubs, it would of been another trade or Rule 5

            Smart of Theo&Co to recognize that (and keep going back (Soto & Dempster))

            • On The Farm

              True, but maybe if they held onto Edwards, and Olt they could have paired them up with Martin Perez and made a move for Price or something. Probably would have taken more than that and I do have the power of retrospect here, I just feel they could have made a run at another SP somewhere with control.

              • CubFan Paul

                I bet they tried. Now, not resigning Garza is the kick in the nuts.

  • Greenroom

    The Texas Rangers have been very good to us. Let’s see if we can trade them Barney for another top 100 prospect. Worth a shot. :)

    • Ivy Walls

      Look to Minnesota, LAD, Cleveland, Baltimore or Toronto. Now what is also revealing is how low Oakland, TB, NYY, LAA, MIL, are, in fact there are few trading partners out there.

  • ssckelley

    So if we add in the Rangers top 100 prospects the Cubs have 14 top 100 prospects.

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  • itzscott

    I pretty much read it a lot on this blog that the odds of any of the Cub prospects becoming solid major leaguers isn’t favorable and declines considerably the lower on the list you go.

    But there doesn’t seem to be much divergence of opinion among all these “experts” so I have to wonder how they could all possibly end up being so wrong when all is said & done.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The thing is that they aren’t wrong. Nearly half the guys rankings in the Top 20 at some point go on to be productive players, and half of those go on to become really good. Between one quarter and one fifth of the guys ranked 21-100 at their peak go on to become productive. The proportion of guys who never make the Top 100 and still become productive is tiny.

  • NorthSideIrish

    David Cameron ‏@DCameronFG 13m
    Cubs fans wanting some hope should check out Javier Baez’s ZIPS projection and #1 comp. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-zips-projections-chicago-cubs/

    Looking at their comp for Baez made me lose all blood flow to my brain…

    • Jon

      They have Castro’s comp now at Rennie Stennett…OUCH!!!!

      • NorthSideIrish

        Hey…Rennie Stennett had a 4.6 WAR season in 1975…just ignore most of the rest…

        • Jon

          If that is anywhere close to what the true future projection of Castro is, I’m moving him and clearing shortstop for Baez, easily.

  • NorthSideIrish

    These 5 year projections for Baez would be OK…I suppose I could learn to live with them.


  • NorthSideIrish

    From the BP chat…I like the phrase “generational talent”…

    Ryan (Chicago): You tweeted last week that “based on recent conversations w/industry sources…Baez has a case to be ranked #1”. Can you elaborate?

    Jason Parks on the Top 101 Prospects: It was put to me this way, which helped tun the light on a bit (even though we’ve been high on him and I’ve seen him play before): Baez could end a 40 HR shortstop. That’s his ceiling. That’s actually a possibility. Likely? Not sure. But its possible. How many prospects in baseball can make such a claim? That’s a truly elite ceiling. That’s a generational talent. That’s why he has a case for #1.

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