cubs azl spring training logoThe Chicago Cubs are taking their farm system unanimity victory lap, as another publication has ranked their crop the best in baseball. MLB.com’s MLB Pipeline put the Cubs in the number one spot, just as so many others have already this year.

That’s groovy, and you can give it a read here. But what’s even more fun is that MLB Pipeline is beefing up its team rankings this year, including 30 prospects now, up from 20 last year.

That means there’s a fresh, updated top 30 list of Cubs prospects about which to debate and squeal:

    1. Kris Bryant, 3B
    2. Addison Russell, SS
    3. Jorge Soler, OF
    4. C.J. Edwards, RHP
    5. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF
    6. Albert Almora, OF
    7. Gleyber Torres, SS
    8. Duane Underwood, RHP
    9. Billy McKinney, OF
    10. Pierce Johnson, RHP
    11. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
    12. Eloy Jimenez, OF
    13. Jake Stinnett, RHP
    14. Carson Sands, LHP
    15. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
    16. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
    17. Justin Steele, LHP
    18. Mark Zagunis, C/OF
    19. Victor Caratini, C/3B
    20. Corey Black, RHP
    21. Dylan Cease, RHP
    22. Jacob Hannemann, OF
    23. Rob Zastryzny, LHP
    24. Christian Villanueva, 3B
    25. Daury Torrez, RHP
    26. Eric Jokisch, LHP
    27. Paul Blackburn, RHP
    28. Kevonte Mitchell, OF
    29. Trevor Clifton, RHP
    30. Bijan Rademacher, OF

The list features new scouting reports for each player, so you’ll want to spend a little time perusing. MLB Pipeline also broke down some of the best tools in the system, and that’s definitely worth a read.



In total, this is one of the deeper looks at the Cubs’ system this offseason, and we once again see certain trends playing out: Gleyber Torres is right there on the cusp of becoming a big-time national prospect, folks are buying into Duane Underwood’s 2014 season as the start of a breakout, and the Cubs are elite in positional talent at the top, but very deep in quality pitching talent just after that top tier.

As usual, it’s fun to look at these lists and still be able to come up with guys who are legit prospects and couldn’t make the top 30 (Charcer Burks, Gioskar Amaya, Jeffrey Baez, Armando Rivero, just to name a handful that immediately came to mind).

Just a tease of one of the MLB.com scouting reports on a guy who was really impressive at the backfields when I was there last week:

Like [Jorge] Soler, [Eloy] Jimenez has huge raw power and fits the right-field profile to a tee. He looked raw but not overmatched while making his U.S. debut at age 17. His large, projectable frame is starting to add strength and already generates impressive bat speed and leverage. He shows the makings of plate discipline and pitch recognition, which will increase his chances of fully tapping into his home run potential.

An average runner with a strong arm, Soler can be an asset in right field but must improve the accuracy of his throws. The Cubs rave about his makeup, lauding him for going back to complete his high school degree in the Dominican Republic and for making the effort to learn English quickly.

I can speak a little bit to that second part – the Cubs were holding a ton of meetings in groups throughout the backfield practice sessions. Jimenez, who stands out physically, so you can’t miss him, was always especially attentive, and front-and-center for these meetings. How much can you really take away from an anecdote like that? Eh, probably not much. But when he was pairing that apparent attitude with so much easy power in the cage, I was really impressed. And then I remembered that he just turned 18 in November, and isn’t even in his home country anymore.



Jimenez has huge breakout potential this year, but, even if it doesn’t yet all come together this season, he’s got plenty of time – he’s basically the age of a high school senior right now.




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