It would have been true even before acquiring Addison Russell, but, after that fortuitous occurrence, the Chicago Cubs dominate the upper tier of the latest top prospect rankings list.
Indeed, it’s fun timing that Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus just released their updated midseason top 50 lists, which allows us to see the most current thinking on how valuable the Cubs’ new shortstop prospect is. And also, those other guys.
On Baseball Prospectus’s list, the Cubs crowd the top 10 and 20:
3. Kris Bryant
5. Javier Baez
6. Addison Russell
18. Arismendy Alcantara
37. Albert Almora
BP notes that Kyle Schwarber would have figured into the top 50 discussion if they’d considered this year’s draftees (and ranked him fourth, behind only two of the guys who were taken ahead of him – Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon – and top overall bat, Alex Jackson).
The obvious good news – and the most important thing – is the leaping that the top guys are doing. Bryant moved up from 8, Baez largely held steady (from 5), Russell moved up from 7, and Arismendy took a huge leap from 83. To put how much BP is loving on Alcantara into perspective: he’s two spots behind Miguel Sano, and one spot ahead of Corey Seager. Mercy.
Bryant is behind only Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, while only Francisco Lindor separates Baez and Russell from Bryant. Three of the top six. Again: mercy.
The bad news, as it were, is that Albert Almora fell 12 spots – understandable, given his slow start, even as I’m not really worried about his ceiling being impacted. Jorge Soler was previously 45, and has fallen out of the top 50 – again, not a surprise, and totally understandable, given the hamstring injuries.
C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson weren’t in the top 50 before, so there’d be no reason for them to be there now.
Baseball America’s list also features Cubs aplenty:
2. Kris Bryant
5. Addison Russell
7. Javier Baez
33. Arismendy Alcantara
Three of the top seven. MER-CY.
Again, we see a huge leap for Alcantara (previously 100), in whom the pundits seem to be “buying” after he showed success at age 22 in AAA. He’ll likely get his next challenge – the big leagues – very soon.
Bryant moved up from 8, while Baez slipped slightly from 5. The bummer is seeing C.J. Edwards (28), Albert Almora (36), and Jorge Soler (41) fall out of the top 50. Understandable, again, and it’s not like those spots couldn’t be reclaimed by the time the minor league seasons wrap up.
Draft picks were also ineligible for BA’s list.
All in all, a strong showing for the Cubs, who boast probably the top overall system in baseball now. Should Soler, Edwards, and Johnson return to full healthy performance levels? Should Almora do what we expect him to do? Should Schwarber keep on rocking? Yeah, I like where this is going.