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MLB Pipeline Reveals Cubs Top 30 Prospects for 2017

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Earlier this offseason, MLB Pipeline released it’s Top 100 Prospect Rankings, and the Cubs fared quite well.

Indeed, five names – Eloy Jimenez, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Dylan Cease, and Jeimer Candelario – made the cut, spanning from 14th to 96th overall.

Today, MLB Pipeline revealed their Cubs-only top 30 prospect rankings, so I’ll encourage you to take a look. Because in addition to the list itself, each player comes with his own scouting report, complete with tool grades, a short write-up, and an estimated time of arrival. You will be like a Cubs prospect hipster in a candy store. (Do hipsters eat candy?)

And in conjunction with the newly released top 30, MLB.com’s Jim Callis breaks down the Cubs top 30 prospects. Take a moment, and give it a read.

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As for the Cubs top 30, here’s how things broke down:

  1. Eloy Jimenez, OF
  2. Ian Happ, 2B/OF
  3. Albert Almora, OF
  4. Dylan Cease, RHP
  5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B/1B
  6. Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
  7. Mark Zagunis, OF
  8. Trevor Clifton, RHP
  9. Jose Albertos, RHP
  10. D.J. Wilson, OF
  11. Eddy Martinez, OF
  12. Thomas Hatch, RHP
  13. Victor Caratini, C/1B
  14. Chesny Young, INF
  15. Jose Paulino, LHP
  16. Duane Underwood Jr., RHP
  17. Aramis Ademan, SS
  18. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B
  19. Isaac Paredes, SS
  20. Jose Rosario, RHP
  21. Felix Pena, RHP
  22. Alec Mills, RHP
  23. Rob Zastryzny, LHP
  24. Pierce Johnson, RHP
  25. Bryan Hudson, LHP
  26. Jacob Hanneman, OF
  27. Ryan Williams, RHP
  28. Bailey Clark, RHO
  29. P.J. Higgins, C/1B
  30. Preston Morrison, RHP

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Okay, usually, I reserve my immediate comments after a list like that for who’s on top, who rose, who fell, etc., but today something else stands out too much: the amount of pitching. Starting with Dylan Cease at No. 4 in the system, more than half of the Cubs top 30 prospects on the list are pitchers.

I suppose it’s not much of a surprise given the dedication towards targeting, signing, drafting, and acquiring pitchers by any means necessary, but it is encouraging to see their names begin to populate the majority of the list. At some point, I promise you, one of these pitchers is going to take a big step forward and become the prospect for which the Cubs have been searching for years.

Perhaps, it’ll even be one of the following pitchers, with qualities that Callis identifies as the best in the system:

Fastball: Jose Rosario (75)
Curveball: Dylan Cease (60)
Slider: Thomas Hatch (55)
Changeup: Jose Albertos (65)
Control: Ryan Williams (60)

You should be particularly impressed, by the way, that Dylan Cease’s fastball (which grades out as a 70) isn’t the best in the Cubs system. Reports have suggested that Cease could hit 100 with regularity, so Rosario’s post-TJS conversion to the bullpen must have really wowed scouts with new fastball to earn the best marks in the class.


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All in all, the Cubs’ list features two catchers, three second basemen, one third basemen, two shortstops, six outfielders, and sixteen pitchers.

For other breakdowns, such as more of the best tools, the biggest risers/fallers, and where each player came from, head over to Callis’ article at MLB.com. It’s a nice, foundational approach to exploring the Cubs system.

And finally, how cool is this?


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With the chart embedded into that tweet, you can go backwards through the years to the time when Anthony Rizzo was the Cubs’ number one prospect – which especially fun, because now that Travis Wood has moved on, Rizzo is the longest tenured member of the Major League team.

At the same time, names like Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Reggie Golden, and Christopher Carpenter* will serve to remind you that for the most part prospects fail – even the most highly touted ones.

Be sure to keep that in mind as you dream on the sixteen pitchers in the Cubs top 30 at MLB Pipeline.


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*(Bonus fun fact: remember why you remember Christopher Carpenter’s name? Here’s why.)


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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.

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