Gone are the days of five Cubs prospects in
any every publication’s top twenty overall rankings. After Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber all lost their prospect eligibility at approximately the same time (Baez technically a little earlier), there was a void to fill and I, for one, didn’t know if the Cubs could pull it off.
But Baseball Prospectus released its Top 101 Prospects of 2016 and the Chicago Cubs landed six players on the list!*
Now, of course, the six the Cubs that landed on the list don’t rate nearly as highly as some of the players mentioned above did, but it’s impressive nonetheless. After graduating five top 100 prospects, the Cubs still have six more on the list, not one full season later. Depth, my friends – the Cubs have it in spades.
41. Gleyber Torres, SS
57. Wilson Contreras, C
67. Ian Happ, OF/2B
74. Billy McKinney, OF
83. Albert Almora, OF
97. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
First off, there seems to be somewhat of a consensus growing around a top four of Torres, Contreras, Happ and McKinney. And, from there, Contreras and Torres are the apparent top two in the system – all of which I’d agree with.
Also, it’s nice to see Almora continue to keep his prospect value up; he has plenty of upside and a huge year still ahead of him. At just 21 years old, Almora will probably head to AAA Iowa to be the primary center fielder in 2016. If all goes well, and depending on the needs of the big club, he could see the Major Leagues before the season is over.
Cubs fans haven’t been entirely patient with Almora, but that’s not necessarily fair. He was the first prospect of “The Plan,” drafted all the way back in 2012 out of high school. Then, the two subsequent top picks (Bryant and Schwarber) and a pricey IFA (Jorge Soler) took a direct path to the majors, leaving Almora in their rearview mirror. But consider their relative ages/level. Almora is reaching AAA for the first time at 21 years old. All of Bryant, Soler and Schwarber didn’t reach AAA until they were 22 and they were the best of the best.
This is a great showing for the Cubs, who continue to hold up their promise of acquiring as much young, impact talent as possible, even after the first wave of that talent reached the big leagues.
MLB Pipeline is releasing its Top 100 tonight, so keep an eye out for that, as well. I suspect you will see many similar names on the list.
*In case you were wondering, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager grabbed the top spot, followed by the Twins’ Byron Buxton and the Nationals Lucas Giolito. The Pirates were very well-represented at six fairly-high-up prospects, but the Cardinals had just one player on the list – Alex Reyes at 10.