Baseball Prospectus today released its top 50 prospect midseason update, which you can read here. It’s strange to see a list like this with so few Chicago Cubs, though it’s hard to argue. Kyle Schwarber shows up at number 8, and Gleyber Torres sneaks on as the last guy on the list. That’s a rapid ascent for both players, and a very nice feather in their – and the Cubs’ – caps.
With Kris Bryant and Addison Russell promoted this year, with Pierce Johnson injured and C.J. Edwards moved to the bullpen (for now), and with the rest of the Cubs’ top prospects settling more comfortably into the 75 to 125 range (I’m guessing), I wouldn’t have expected more than Schwarber on this list. Torres is not a total surprise, but it’s a pleasant recognition for his breakout season.
In tandem with the release of the midseason update, BP also released a discussion piece on interesting names to look for in a future top 101 list. Two Cubs show up for discussion there: Eloy Jimenez and Dan Vogelbach. To be quite clear, these are not the next guys on the list for the Cubs – just players who will be considered for the top 101 after the season, and merited extra attention now.
Jimenez is described as you would expect – a hulking, beast of an 18-year-old – and the take on his swing is how I would describe it, too. Jimenez covers the plate well and understands the strike zone very well for someone his age. He barrels the ball consistently, but doesn’t take advantage of his full raw power yet, mostly because he’s still figuring out how to use all that leverage naturally built into his huge frame.
Vogelbach, who apparently had to miss the Pan-Am Games (his Twitter and a mid-game removal make it seem like it was an ill-timed injury), is described as having a top 50 bat in the game, and the profile of a future excellent designated hitter in the big leagues. That’s simultaneous praise and limitation, of course, because BP doesn’t see the glove working even at first base, and doesn’t see any added value on the base paths. You can read the article for more on Vogelbach (and Jimenez).
Vogelbach, who is Rule 5 eligible after this season, may not be a long term fit for the Cubs’ big league team, but as long as he keeps hitting, he’s going to have value to some team. It’s possible he’s a trade piece for the Cubs as soon as this month (assuming there’s not a long-term injury there), but it’s also possible he finishes the season in the organization and the Cubs consider their options from there.