MLB.com busted out their new prospects rankings last night, complete with a show on MLBN (which was, unfortunately (inadvertently?) scooped by their own web site as the show aired). It’s always fun to see new prospect rankings lists, so long as you take them for what they’re worth.
Eight Cubs prospects made the new top 100, according to Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and the rest of the MLB.com crew:
4. Kris Bryant
6. Javier Baez
7. Addison Russell
37. Arismendy Alcantara
41. Albert Almora
54. Jorge Soler
60. C.J. Edwards
79. Kyle Schwarber
This is the lowest we’ve seen Bryant on a midseason list, but, to be fair, if he drops one spot on the other lists, he’s falling like 50% or 33%. I’ve got no beef with Bryant being where he is on this list, because I think anywhere in those top four is debatable. At a minimum, those are the top four guys. Taveras will soon be ineligible, and, indeed, I believe he was ineligible on some of the previous lists wherein Bryant showed up as top three.
Right there in that next tier are Baez and Russell. That looks right to me.
Alcantara will soon be ineligible, but it’s been fun to see how dramatically he rose in all of the rankings just before making his way to the big leagues.
The Almora ranking is a precipitous fall from preseason, when MLB.com was as high on Almora (14th) as anyone. That was probably a bit aggressive, given the ceiling, but the Cubs continue to believe in Almora’s talent, recently promoting him to AA after he’d made certain adjustments at High-A. He’s just 20-years-old.
The Soler ranking got a great deal of attention last night on Twitter, and Jim Callis explained at length the rationale. Unfortunately, as Luke discussed this morning, that rationale was fairly disappointing. If you wanted to hang it on the hammies or the limited pro experience, I could understand that. But “effort” and “swing and miss” are pretty unconvincing to me. I know we Cubs fans have a tendency to deify Cubs prospects, but I’m pretty sure there’s no one in the 20 to 55 range for whom I’d trade Soler straight up.
It’s nice to see Edwards hanging on despite the injury, and it’s nice to see Schwarber make a prospect list debut. He came in behind Carlos Rodon (23), Tyler Kolek (27), Alex Jackson (39), Nick Gordon (42), Aaron Nola (48), and Kyle Freeland (75) from the 2014 draft, which … eh. Ranking guys with so little (or no) pro experience is really tough, so I’ll give a total pass. I admire MLB.com for doing it, but it’s pretty tough (which is why just about no one else does it until after the season). I think Schwarber is probably on top of a few of those guys come next year.
In tandem with the new top 100, MLB.com also updated its team top 20:
- Kris Bryant
- Javier Baez
- Addison Russell
- Arismendy Alcantara
- Albert Almora
- Jorge Soler
- C.J. Edwards
- Kyle Schwarber
- Billy McKinney
- Arodys Vizcaino
- Pierce Johnson
- Dan Vogelbach
- Jeimer Candelario
- Eloy Jimenez
- Jen-Ho Tseng
- Gleyber Torres
- Paul Blackburn
- Kyle Hendricks
- Corey Black
- Jefferson Mejia
Here’s where I land on the Cubs’ top lists these days: they are so damn deep, even beyond the top eight, that I can’t fault anyone for having a jumbled mess thereafter. Should Jen-Ho Tseng and Kyle Hendricks be higher? Probably. Should Christian Villanueva be on there somewhere? Probably. Can you justify having Vizcaino that high but not having Armando Rivero on there at all? It’s tough.
But is it easy to re-order and make everyone happy? Nope (as you’ll see later this week when Luke unveils his midseason top 40 Cubs list). When the first eight spots are taken up by top 100 guys, everyone gets bumped back a bit. And guys who seem like top 20 types wind up falling down in the 25/30/35 range. That’s what happens in a good system.
The Cubs are loaded at the back-end of these types of lists now, too, in addition to being loaded at the top. Hopefully that helps buoy their ranking when, inevitably, the top guys start graduating off over the coming 12 months.
Lastly, MLB.com had some top positional lists. In addition to the guys you’d expect to see on various lists, Dan Vogelbach came in as the 4th best first base prospect.
Some prospect porn to button things up:
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 28, 2014