Last week the Top 40 was revealed over the course of the week, ten players at a time. Today, for the first time, we have them all in one place. And if you want to discuss the list more, Brett and I will be having a live stream on this – among other topics – tonight at 7pm CT/8pm ET. Stop by.
If you missed the original series, here are the five links you’re looking for.
- On Monday we had the introductory article, which talked about the changes to the list at a high level.
- On Tuesday prospects 40 through 31 were revealed.
- Wednesday included the list of 30 through 21.
- Numbers 20 through 11 were published on Thursday.
- And finally, on Friday, came the rankings of 10 through 1, including the slightly controversial new number one.
There are some interesting positional trends that jump out when viewing the total list like this. For example, even though the Cubs are still lacking in pitching at the very top of the list (just two in the top ten), pitchers appear in large numbers once we get past the top ten. In fact, exactly half this list consists of pitchers (17 right handers, 3 lefties).
Catcher, a weakness in the system after the 2013 season, has emerged as a real strength. The Cubs placed 3 catchers on the list, tied for second highest of any non-pitcher position (with third base, behind outfield).
The real strength of the organization offensively has shifted from the infield to the outfield. There are 10 outfielders ranked here, and many of them are ranked for their bats. None of them (with the possible exception of Jimenez) has the offensive potential of Soler, but outfielders with major league starting potential are sprinkled all over the list. The battle for the fourth and fifth outfielder slots in Chicago could start to get very interesting in a year or two, and the fights for starting jobs could become more competitive shortly after that.
Interestingly, there were two players this year I classified as utility because of wide range of defensive futures ahead of them (Happ and Young). Both probably profile best at second, but Happ has done a nice job so far this summer in center field. Happ in particular I could see becoming one of those guys who can play a lot of positions and could provide his manager with a ton of flexibility.
All in all, even though the elite talent is largely out of the system, the Cubs still have a very deep farm system with a large amount of quality talent. It is not the historically good group we saw a year ago, but it is solidly a top ten farm system. Maybe even a top five.
For the near future, though, it looks like the Cubs will have to look outside the organization for starting pitching depth. There are some guys who could help by the middle of next year, Johnson and Williams come to mind, but for the most part the 2016 organizational rotation depth will look like the 2015 version. Fortunately they should have some additional bullpen options coming, including potential impact arms in Edwards and Black.
The pipeline of bats should continue to flow unabated. McKinney, Almora, and Rademacher could all three provide value to the major league team in the outfield at some point next year, the first two as potential starters and the third as a quality bench guy. Contreras looks to be the new heir apparent at catcher, and he could show up next season if the Cubs need him, while Happ has a chance to hit his way onto the Russell-Schwarber major league express lane. I don’t expect to see Happ in Wrigley next season, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
And the future beyond next year continues to look bright. This is probably the best combination of a good, young major league team, developing strong financial resources, and a deep, talented farm system the Chicago Cubs have seen in a long time.
1. Willson Contreras, C. Tennessee.
2. Billy McKinney, OF. Tennessee.
3. Gleyber Torres, SS. South Bend.
4. Pierce Johnson, RHP. Tennessee.
5. Albert Almora, OF. Tennessee.
6. Ian Happ, INF/OF. South Bend.
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B. Tennessee.
8. Carl Edwards, RHP. Iowa.
9. Mark Zagunis, OF. Myrtle Beach.
10. Christian Villanueva, 3B. Iowa.
11. Duane Underwood, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
12. Ryan Williams, RHP. Tennessee.
13. Eloy Jimenez, OF. Eugene.
14. Dylan Cease, RHP. Arizona.
15. Paul Blackburn, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
16. Bijan Rademacher, OF. Tennessee.
17. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
18. Jake Stinnett, RHP. South Bend.
19. Dan Vogelbach, 1B. Tennessee.
20. Corey Black, RHP. Tennessee.
21. Justin Steele, LHP. Eugene.
22. Donnie Dewees, OF. Eugene.
23. Victor Caratini, C. Myrtle Beach.
24. Carson Sands, LHP. Eugene.
25.Dave Berg, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
26. Trevor Clifton, RHP. South Bend.
27. Oscar De La Cruz, RHP. Eugene.
28. Chesny Young, INF. Myrtle Beach.
29. Charcer Burks, OF. South Bend.
30. Jeremy Null, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
31. Cael Brockmeyer, C. Myrtle Beach.
32. Daury Torrez, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
33. Jacob Hannemann, OF. Tennessee.
34. Jeffrey Baez, OF. South Bend.
35. Wladimir Galindo, 3B. Arizona.
36. Brad Markey, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
37. Darryl Wilson, OF. Arizona.
38. Rob Zastryzny, LHP. Tennessee.
39. Jonathan Martinez, RHP. Myrtle Beach.
40. Felix Pena, RHP. Tennessee.