Being that Baseball Prospectus ranked Addison Russell the Chicago Cubs’ top prospect back in November, we already knew that Kris Bryant – considered the Cubs’ to prospect by just about everyone else – would not be the top overall prospect in baseball. That’s been the subject of a fair bit of discussion recently, as Bryant was the top overall prospect to Keith Law and ZiPS, but was behind Byron Buxton to MLB Pipeline.
And a Cubs prospect fell just behind Buxton for the top spot in another list, but it wasn’t Bryant. He fell behind Buxton and three other prospects. That’s right, on BP’s just-released top 101 prospect list, Bryant is fifth, behind Buxton, Russell, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor.
Before you get too annoyed about the Bryant ranking, just think about that Russell ranking. The second best prospect in baseball, behind only a guy in Buxton whom many consider a generational talent akin to Mike Trout. This is some serious love for Russell, which is, ultimately, a good thing. As for Bryant, well … yeah, I’d have him higher.
You can read BP’s original take on the Cubs’ system for more details on how the order of the Cubs’ prospects shook out like it did.
2. Addison Russell, SS
5. Kris Bryant, 3B
19. Jorge Soler, OF
38. Albert Almora, OF
77. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF
81. Billy McKinney, OF
83. Pierce Johnson, RHP
A number of things should jump out at you beyond the top two. First, there’s Almora, still considered a top 40 overall prospect to BP. Clearly they still love the glove and believe the bat can come around. I’m an Almora-believer, myself, but I understand why most wouldn’t have him quite that high right now. Remember: these rankings are the accumulation of a number of things, including the collected wisdom of not only BP’s staff, but their contacts in the industry and around baseball. So, when you see a ranking like that for a guy who is coming off an ostensibly tough year, that suggests that many scouts are still seeing good things. (Note that the ranking is a dip for Almora, though, who was 25 to BP last year.)
How about McKinney and Johnson getting some top 101 love? It’s so easy to lose sight of excellent prospects like them in a system where you’re debating about the two guys in the top five in all of baseball, but it’s nice to see McKinney and Johnson getting some attention. Like a number of Cubs prospects this year, each has the potential to break out and enter the elite level of prospect-dom.