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ZiPS Top 100 Prospects: Jimenez, Happ, Cease, Candelario, Caratini Make the Cut

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Another day, and another top 100 prospect list is out!

With Keith Law kicking off the “top 100” segment of prospect rankings season this past week, there’s another one to take a look at, also at ESPN: Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS top 100.

If you’re familiar with ZiPS (it’s a projection system), then you probably immediately wonder how the system comes up with a prospect list. Unlike traditional prospect rankings that are based on a variety of inputs and subjective evaluation, the ZiPS rankings are purely analytical and data-driven.

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So, as you would with any other prospect list, you can’t take this, on its own, as gospel. Instead, it’s merely another tool in the tool belt when evaluating prospects, and thinking about their possible future value.

You can see the explanation and more analysis in Szymborski’s write-up, as well as the full list of 100.

Some Cubs-related comments:

  • The same three Cubs prospects that appeared on Law’s top 100 appear here, and in the same order: Eloy Jimenez is ranked 36 (Law had him at 12), Ian Happ is ranked 55 (Law had him at 63), and Dylan Cease is ranked 59 (Law had him 86).
  • To me, these differences make perfect sense when you combine subjectivity and scouting into what we know about the risks and/or upside on these guys (because of his low level and low walk rate, ZiPS would see more risk in Jimenez, even though humans know the huge upside; Happ is limited by humans a bit because of the defensive questions; Cease is limited by humans a lot because of the injury questions).

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  • Two other Cubs make the ZiPS list: Jeimer Candelario is 66 after his enormous year at AAA, and Victor Caratini is 95 after continuing his steady ascent last year. I would guess that both of those players are dinged on traditional lists because of defensive questions (some don’t believe Candelario can play anywhere but third or first base, and is only passable there (though, interestingly, other scouts believe he can be above average at third base); Caratini is still developing in his defensive abilities behind the plate after starting his professional career at third base, and then splitting time behind the plate since then).
  • Candelario is in a bit of an odd spot right now, as the bat is probably ready for the big leagues, but there’s no obvious regular spot for him on the big league team. Caratini could be back-up catching depth for the Cubs as soon as the second half of this season (if absolutely necessary), but it’s more likely he’ll keep developing at AA/AAA in 2017. Caratini was just added to the 40-man roster this past November.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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