We’re deep in the middle of prospect ranking season, having seen a number of prospect lists roll out already (for example, the Minor League Ball top 20 Cubs prospect list, Baseball America’s league-specific prospect rankings, other team lists). Before Spring Training, we’ll see more team-specific lists, farm system rankings, and top 100 lists.
Until then, MLB Pipeline offered a different way of looking at prospect rankings, by going straight to many of the horses’ mouths: asking executives who they see as the top prospects in the game.
Twenty GMs and scouting executives voted on the top prospect in the game, and the top pitching prospect in the game. Although no Cubs prospects made either list, former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres received two votes as the top prospect in the game (clearly, the massive build-up of post-trade hype is not solely “hype”).
Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi took the top spot with 10 of the 20 votes. There were rumors at the time of the 2015 draft that the Cubs were targeting Benintendi, a breakout college outfielder, but the Red Sox plucked him at number seven, just two spots before the Cubs took Ian Happ.
The clear top pitching prospect of the game, according to the execs, will also be of note to Cubs fans, even though he’s not a Cub: it’s Cardinals righty Alex Reyes. (Second place – a distant second place – was also a young NL Central righty: Tyler Glasnow of the Pirates.)
The 22-year-old righty missed the start of 2016 because of a suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse, and had a mixed go at AAA before the Cardinals called him up in August. Pitching mostly out of the pen for the Cardinals, with a few starts mixed in down the stretch, Reyes dominated. He sports an elite fastball, a good curveball and changeup, and easy swing-and-miss stuff. The question with Reyes has always been about the control, and, it’s fair to wonder if the league adjusts to him in 2017 by simply swinging less often.
The Cubs will see plenty of Reyes in the coming years. Torres, they’ll see only sparingly, assuming he ultimately reaches the big leagues with the Yankees and spends the early part of his career in New York.
For more on those two prospects, and others who got votes, check out MLB Pipeline’s piece.