The Chicago Cubs have lost (or rather, cashed in on) several top prospects over the course of about a week.
First, they sent first baseman/DH Dan Vogelbach and pitcher Paul Blackburn to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery. Then they sent shortstop (and top overall prospect) Gleyber Torres and outfield prospects Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman.
While the Major League team has gotten a nice boost in the bullpen, then, the Minor League system has been shaken up quite a bit. Which is why the re-ranking of the Top 100 Prospects and New Cubs Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline couldn’t have come at a better time.
You can find the Cubs new top 30 prospects here, the MLB Top 100 rankings here (with scouting reports), and the associated article with greater detail on the re-ranking here. I’ll share the relevant Cubs information below, along with some thoughts of my own. Enjoy.
Upfront: Albert Almora lost his prospect status (ineligible for ranking) after playing in 34 games for the Cubs. Willson Contreras had not as of the time of the ranking (eligible).
Because Willson Contreras has yet to lose his prospect status, he is the Cubs’ top prospect overall. Given the likelihood of him losing his prospect status soon, too, you can bump everyone up a spot.
First thing’s first, here are the Cubs Top 100 Prospects according to MLB Pipeline:
23. Willson Contreras, C
31. Ian Happ, 2B
33. Eloy Jimenez
And that’s it. Three prospects in the top 100, one of which is not really even a prospect anymore (in case you were wondering, former Cub Gleyber Torres comes in at number 26). But even if the Cubs have a lack of top 100 types, they have two impact bats in Happ and Jimenez at the top, the latter of which was the biggest riser of anyone in baseball, after his breakout first half in 2016. For more on individual ranking decisions and other peculiarities of the top 100, check out Jim Callis’ article here.
Shifting to a Cubs focus, their top ten rank out like this (I included #11, so you can see the eventual Top 10 when Contreras loses eligibility; full top 30 here):
- Willson Contreras, C
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Eloy Jimenez, OF
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Dylan Cease, RHP
- Mark Zagunis, OF
- Duane Underwood, RHP
- Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
- Trevor Clifton, RHP
- Jose Albertos, RHP
- Bryan Hudson, LHP
To me that is a perfectly solid group of prospects, particularly at the top. Happ is polished college bat handling Double-A Pitching well: .297/.333/.432 (119 wRC+), Jimenez is a high upside breakout outfielder, meaning he’ll less likely be blocked by any one position player, Candelario has already tasted the majors, and Dylan Cease is a 100 MPH throwing lottery ticket. We’re a far cry from a top five of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez (just writing that feels ridiculous), but these guys can and will hold their own.
Even still, it’s possible that one or more of the players you see above will be included as part of a trade package today. But for now, they’re Cubs prospects, and good ones at that.