After the mild disappointment of the Top 20 Midwest League prospect list, Baseball America’s Florida State League list might make you a little happier.
The Cubs have three names on the list:
4. Kyle Schwarber
11. Albert Almora
18. Billy McKinney
Those are the three names you would have expected to see on the list, with an outside hope at Dan Vogelbach and Rob Zastryzny (really great in the second half, and solid peripherals throughout). Are they located where you’d hope?
Well, the Schwarber ranking is excellent, given that the only three names ahead of him are Tyler Glasnow and Daniel Norris (two of the best pitching prospects in baseball), and J.P. Crawford (a 19-year-old shortstop who held his own in High-A). This puts Schwarber in the discussion for being a top 30/50 prospect when the 100 lists start rolling out. I think that’s fair, defensive questions and all.
Almora sliding down to 11 is also probably fair, given his early-season struggles in the FSL. Almora was adjusting to a new plate approach, was young for the level, and was dealing with the sickness of his father. I’m really not bothered by his performance or the ranking, and I look forward to a possible breakout at AA next year.
McKinney at 18 is the one that really surprises me. To be sure, this FSL list looks pretty packed with prospects, but McKinney was excellent at the plate while in the FSL. He was just 19 and in his first full professional season. That he even reached High-A is impressive, let alone the fact that he hit .301/.390/.432 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. The scouting reports have generally matched the performance, too, with many seeing a plus bat in the big leagues down the road. I guess he’s being dinged for a probably inability to play center field.