Minor League Ball’s John Sickels has updated his prospect rankings for the midseason, and, as we’ve come to expect, the Chicago Cubs are very well represented. There are 75 names on Sickels’ list, and six of ‘em belong to the Chicago Cubs (along with previous ranking):
1. Kris Bryant (12)
5. Addison Russell (5)
15. Javier Baez (10)
24. Jorge Soler (62)
34. Arismendy Alcantara (87)
57. Albert Almora (32)
So, there it is: the first list with Kris Bryant in the top spot. Having seen midseason updates from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus already, with Bryant at 2 and 3, respectively, we knew he was right up there. Russell is generally in the same range here as it is on other lists, though Baez is markedly lower. It would seem the upper level strikeout issues are enough to hold Baez down (which I buy, but the possibility of an elite bat playing average or better shortstop makes for a really compelling prospect).
Sickels’ list arriving later than others gives him the benefit of extra looks at a getting-healthier Jorge Soler, and the ranking shows it. Not only is Soler all the way up at 24, that’s an increase of 38 spots from the pre-season. Soler has fallen far on most other lists – which was fair, given the injuries, but if he stays healthy the rest of the year (let alone if he stays healthy and keeps doing what he’s been doing), I think we’ll see him solidly in the top 30/40 of just about every list heading into 2015.
Alcantara takes the big leap for Sickels as he has for others, and Almora slides as he has for others. On Almora, just a for-what-it’s-worth: if we go back an even two months, he’s hitting .287/.309/.402 over that stretch. As a 20-year-old in the pitching-friendly Florida State League, one who plays elite defensive center field, we probably feel pretty darn good about that. Hopefully he keeps up the adjusting as the season winds down.
Draft picks were not eligible for the list, or I suspect Kyle Schwarber would’ve made the cut. Also considered, but not quite making it: C.J. Edwards (42 pre-season), Pierce Johnson (114), and Billy McKinney (106).