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addison russell smokiesWake up and debate stuff!

Baseball Prospectus has been rolling out its top ten prospect lists for the post-2014 ranking season, and they just got to the Cubs this morning. And, yup, they’ve courted a debate. I’d urge you to read the actual scouting reports and discussions before raging too hard

  1. SS Addison Russell
  2. 3B Kris Bryant
  3. OF Jorge Soler
  4. OF Albert Almora
  5. C Kyle Schwarber
  6. OF Billy McKinney
  7. RHP Pierce Johnson
  8. SS Gleyber Torres
  9. 1B Dan Vogelbach
  10. LHP Carson Sands

Well, then.

Obviously the name other than “Bryant” at the top is throwing you for a loop, and I’ll respect you there. Each of Bryant and Russell are clear top five guys in the game, so I suppose there’s some play there, but, for me, unless you’re willing to say Russell is *the* best prospect in the game, you just can’t rank him ahead of Bryant right now. Not only has Bryant already succeeded at AAA, he’s destroyed it – and his big league ceiling is as high as they come. Yes, positional value matters, but I can’t agree with this one.

It appears that the primary points of the distinction between the two prospects is the belief that Russell can stay at shortstop (with a great bat), while Bryant is likely to be below average at third base if he sticks there, and then Russell has the superior bat (though obviously not the superior power).

The other big thing you’re noticing on the list is the striking lack of C.J. Edwards. BP, previously under Jason Parks’ tenure (he’s now with the Cubs), wasn’t ever quite as into Edwards as the other services, seeing him as a pretty clear future reliever. Edwards comes in for discussion after the list, and, indeed, it’s the reliever thing and this year’s injury holding him back. I’m not really surprised, and I can understand where they’re coming from.

BP still believes in Albert Almora, thanks to the elite defense and bat-to-ball skills, and the high makeup/IQ to continue developing his approach at the plate. Almora remains my number one breakout candidate for the Cubs in 2015, and it sounds like BP agrees, given the ranking, and the comment that he could actually end up reaching Chicago by the end of the Summer.

Dan Vogelbach’s bat continues to get love, and it’s really fun to see youngsters Gleyber Torres and Carson Sands get a mention. There’s so much to digest in these pieces – and it just came out – so I’m going to keep digging in, and I think you should do the same.

Two final things to note before I turn you loose: the system is regarded as possibly the best in baseball (they won’t know until this rankings season is over), and could stay that strong¬†even after graduating some of their top guys, thanks to very interesting, breakout-type lower level guys. And then here’s the top list of talent 25 and under anywhere on the Cubs or in the system:

  1. Anthony Rizzo
  2. Starlin Castro
  3. Addison Russell
  4. Kris Bryant
  5. Javier Baez
  6. Jorge Soler
  7. Arismendy Alcantara
  8. Albert Almora
  9. Kyle Hendricks
  10. Neil Ramirez

What I find really interesting about that list (all things I agree with) is that Castro is still ranked ahead of the top prospect talent, that Javier Baez is still ranked ahead of Jorge Soler, that Arismendy Alcantara is still very highly rated, and Kyle Hendricks has ROCKETED up these kinds of lists after folks got a chance to see how his always-questioned stuff played at the big league level.

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