cubs azl spring training logoJoining Baseball America, FanGraphs is the next publication to rank the Chicago Cubs’ top prospects heading into the 2016 season. If history repeats, we’ll also soon see rankings from Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law, as well as a revamped MLB Pipeline list. Our own top prospect list usually comes out a little closer to the start of the season.

As for the FanGraphs list, it is below. For context, though, I encourage you to read the full write-up on the players at FanGraphs, which comes with scouting reports, narrative evaluation, and video clips. I’ll offer some of my own thoughts, too.

First, the list:

  1. Gleyber Torres, SS
  2. Ian Happ, 2B/OF
  3. Duane Underwood, RHP
  4. Dylan Cease, RHP
  5. Billy McKinney, OF
  6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
  7. Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
  8. Mark Zagunis, OF
  9. Willson Contreras, C
  10. Albert Almora, OF
  11. Ryan Williams, RHP
  12. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
  13. Jake Stinnett, RHP
  14. Carl Edwards, Jr., RHP
  15. Pierce Johnson, RHP
  16. Rob Zastrzyzny, LHP
  17. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
  18. Bryan Hudson, LHP
  19. Eloy Jimenez, OF
  20. Darryl Wilson, OF
  21. Christian Villanueva, 3B
  22. Donnie Dewees, OF
  23. Justin Steele, LHP
  24. Chesny Young, UTL
  25. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
  26. Carson Sands, LHP
  27. Victor Caratini, C
  28. Corey Black, RHP
  29. Trevor Clifton, RHP
  30. Jacob Hannemann, OF



Up front, I want to say that one thing I love about observing this list is how credibly we could all argue about who belongs where, and it’s not because all of the prospects are so middling that we’re fighting about dreams. Instead, the upper tier of prospects could all fit in that top five group, and the huge middle tier (almost all the way to the end of the list) could arguably be anywhere in the 8 to 15 range. This is what quality depth looks like, and there are legitimately very interesting prospects, still, who didn’t even make the list.

Some things stand out, of course. Contreras is very low, relatively-speaking, and I suspect this will be an outlier list in that regard (for comparison sake, Contreras was number two to BA, and will almost certainly be top three when the BN list is updated (he was number one at midseason)).

Candelario also feels low, as do Steele and Sands. I think Vogelbach and Stinnett are higher than you’re going to see on most lists, which, again, is not necessarily a criticism of either player – it just speaks to the depth.

Again, you’ll have to read the whole thing to give the rankings some context, and I’ll also say again that this is a really tough group to rank, unlike in recent years (when it was either so obviously the super-elites and the not-so-elites, or so obviously the legit-prospects and the not-so-legit-prospects). Right now, the Cubs simply have a whole lot of really good prospects.






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