Prospect ranking season is winding down, but it’s not quite up yet.
Baseball Prospectus has just released its Top Ten Chicago Cubs Prospects for 2016 for your perusal and enjoyment.
In addition to the list, itself, each player comes with a pretty comprehensive bio, describing their recent stats, previous rankings, current scouting reports, future expectations, estimated times of arrival, and more.
But, there’s actually even a good deal more than that.
In addition to the top ten list and detailed scouting reports, Baseball Prospectus includes five additional prospects to keep an eye on, a list of top 10 talents under 25 (including a detailed write-up on that very list) and a short bit on the Cubs front office executives, including what they mean to the team.
- Gleyber Torres, SS
- Wilson Contreras, C
- Ian Happ, OF/2B
- Billy McKinney, OF
- Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
- Dylan Cease, RHP
- Albert Almora, OF
- Duane Underwood, RHP
- Eloy Jimenez, OF
- Carl Edwards, Jr., RHP
Of course, we already knew BP’s order at the top, having previously seen the Cubs land six prospects on their top 101, but I just wanted to reaffirm that the Cubs clear-cut top three is Torres, Contreras, Happ, and I think they’re an excellent, versatile top three to have. I’ve gone over this before, but I think it’s important that, among the Cubs’ best prospects, you have a young shortstop with a very high ceiling, a catcher on the verge of the majors and a 2B/outfield type with a polished college bat. That sort of internal variety, allows the Cubs to have options for the big league team, of course, but also makes them an extraordinarily attractive trade target. With the exception of big-league ready starting pithing, the Cubs have what you’re looking for.
As far as the individual scouting reports go, I’d like to call your attention to Eddy Julio Martinez. Because of his very short time in the states and limited exposure to scouts, Christopher Crawford and the BP staff admit that the above ranking is probably a bit aggressive. Still, he comes in for exceptionally high praise. With plus-plus bat speed, Martinez now has the highest upside bat in the Cubs system – even over Torres.
While there will be some swing and miss potential – and a need to refine his entire approach at the plate – his strong, quick wrists and elite bat speed make him an extremely dangerous hitter. Moreover, BP believes that Martinez is a lock to stick in center (with “easy plus speed”), but could be an even greater asset in a corner spot, due to his plus arm. To be certain, these reviews sound eerily similar to the past scouting reports on Javier Baez. And, while those types of players can be risky, I’ll remind you that Baez still offers plenty of value because of his glove and overall versatility. I’m tentatively expecting Matinez to carve up the lower minors, before possibly slowing down once he faces tougher pitching in AA and above.
For more on each individual player, make sure you check out BP’s article here. As for the five additional prospects to keep an eye on and the top ten players under 25, you can see the full list below. Still, each player comes with their own write-up at BP, and I encourage you to check them out.
Five Other Prospects:
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B
- Oscar De la Cruz, RHP
- Bryan Hudson, LHP
- Donnie Dewees, OF
- Justin Steele, LHP
- Kris Bryant
- Addison Russell
- Kyle Schwarber
- Jorge Soler
- Javier Baez
- Gleyber Torres
- Wilson Contreras
- Ian Happ
- Billy McKinney
- Eddy Julio Martinez
I suppose it’s interesting to see Russell ranked above Schwarber, above, but that speaks much more to his upside, than to Schwarber’s drawbacks. We sometimes sleep on Russell’s offensive upside (which, don’t), but even without realizing his full potential at the plate, he can still be a perennial Gold Glove candidate at one of the most important positions on the field. If Schwarber does ever successfully make the permanent move behind the plate, though, he could quickly become one of the most valuable players in baseball. It’s a good time to be a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
There is still so, so much more in the piece, including a nice, long write-up on the Top 10 Talents Under 25 by our friend, Rian Watt. If you were looking for cliff notes to the young players in Chicago Cubs system, this is it.
Aside from the BN Top 40, this may be the final pre-season prospect list as we draw closer to Opening Day. Get to know the players now, because real games are starting very soon and you might see these guys even sooner than you think.
*That sad moment when you realize Anthony Rizzo isn’t 25 years old anymore.