It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve discussed prospect rankings and drawn heart shapes around various players’ names in our spiral-bound notebooks, which is odd because we’re right in the heart of rankings season. Then again, I guess we already got the BP Cubs list, the FanGraphs list, the Minor League Ball list, and the ever-updated MLB.com list, so I suppose we’re on the tail end of the individual team rankings, and headed toward to overall top 100s, which tend to filter out after the turn of the calendar (and then you get overall farm system rankings just as the season approaches, before we then turn to draft rankings, then midseason updates, then postseason lists, and the cycle begins anew).
While we await Baseball America’s top Cubs prospect list, and the overall top 100s to start coming out, former scout and current MLB.com prospector Bernie Pleskoff offered up his personal top ten prospect list, and, as you might expect, the Cubs are featured.
Kris Bryant comes in as the game’s top overall prospect to Pleskoff, and Addison Russell slides in at number four, behind only Bryant, Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa, and Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton. That’s high praise for Russell, who has been climbing these kinds of charts ever since he was drafted in 2012. As excited as I am to watch Bryant’s transition to the big leagues in 2015, I am nearly as excited to see Russell with a hopefully healthy start at AAA, where he is poised for a huge breakout.
Dream scenario? We’re all having huge fights in June about what to do with the Cubs’ positional players, because Starlin Castro is still playing very well at short, Javier Baez has cut his strikeouts and looks like an impact player at second base, Kris Bryant has stepped in at third base and made an immediate impact with the bat and looks surprisingly good with the glove (and Luis Valbuena is the best infield utility man in the league), and Addison Russell is posting a 1.000+ OPS at AAA and playing above average defense at short. I want those fights, man. I’m ready for them.
In reality, of course, the odds are high that if Russell is dominating come June and the Cubs want to bring him up – which is not a lock, mind you, but it is a possibility – there will be some clear way to accommodate him. A dream scenario requiring four things to go perfectly just doesn’t happen.
Pleskoff added on Twitter, by the way, that the toughest decision he had to make in the top 10 was omitting Jorge Soler. You could say that makes Soler number 11 on the list – he’s going to see a huge, huge jump on the top 100s when they start coming out, by the way – and gives the Cubs 3 of the top 11 prospects in the game, according to Pleskoff.