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Cubs Prospect Notes: Jimenez, Albertos, Cease, Candelario, Farm System Ranking

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Earlier today, we had some fun watching the videos from MLB Network’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days and dissecting some comments from Theo Epstein’s spot on ESPN radio.

But mixed into each of those posts were a number of other prospect bits that I’d like to discuss (among many others).

Indeed, various Cubs prospects have been featured in content at the Chicago Sun Times, ESPN, MLB Network, The Cub Reporter, and MiLB.com over the past couple days, and I’d like to discuss most of it.

Feel free to check out the links above for more detail; I’ll be hitting on the highlights with some of my own thoughts below.

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  • First, let’s take a look at one of those 30 Clubs in 30 Days videos. This one features MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reviewing the Cubs system as a whole, before getting into a few names in particular (Albert Almora, Eloy Jimenez, Jose Albertos):

  • If you can’t watch the video right now, Callis first discusses how Almora’s biggest contributions will come on defense, but that he may still add value with his bat. After that, he gushes over Jimenez (like everyone does), and adds that he’s not just a slugger – he’s a guy that can hit for average and power … if the Cubs can find a way to get him into the lineup. And finally, Callis closes by suggesting that the Cubs have one of the “most intriguing prospects in baseball” in pitcher Jose Albertos. It’s a quick video, so give it a watch.

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  • A few weeks ago, Jason McLeod went on 670 The Score to discuss a number of topics, including the proverbial “loosening of the reins” on starting pitcher prospect Dylan Cease:

  • And at the Chicago Sun Times, Gordon Wittenmyer explored those comments further. Discussing the prospect McLeod has labeled “unlike anyone that we’ve had in our system since we’ve been here,” Wittenmyer writes that the Cubs really are going to let Cease get a full season in this year, with his 100ish MPH fastball in tow and the singular goal of making all of his starts. When you read the way the prospectors of the organization talk about Cease, it’s hard not to get excited. He’s the first pitching prospect the Cubs have had in a very long time with the upside of some of their biggest positional prospects – which is saying A LOT.

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  • Of course, the funny thing about any of these Cubs prospects – well, on the positional side – is where the heck are they going to play? At ESPN, Jesse Rogers writes that the Cubs’ talented roster might be something of a road block for Chicago’s prospects. Although Ian Happ, Chesny Young, and Mark Zagunis all come in for quotes and discussion, it is Jeimer Candelario who may be getting the biggest shaft by the Cubs’ talent, given his big league ready bat, but not so versatile defense. Still, as a switch-hitting offensive threat who could play in the corners of the infield (and probably soon-to-be-outfield, if I had to wildly speculate), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Candelario on the Cubs bench sooner rather than later. Beyond that, however, his opportunities may be limited.

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  • Because here’s the thing, even if the Cubs suffer an injury at literally any position on the diamond, the versatility of Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber, etc., plus the existence and versatility of Javy Baez, will keep a long-term role from opening up any time soon. There’s just no room – which is great.
  • Arizona Phil has your 2017 Minor League Camp write-up, where he discusses prospects Zach Davis, Eddy Julio Martinez, and many others. Martinez, however, is one of the prospects I’m most interested in following this year, given his uneven reviews, but apparently solid upside. Unfortunately, Arizona Phil is reporting that he felt discomfort in his right elbow and was shut down as a precaution. Hopefully in a few months, this will be something we’ve completely forgotten about.
  • And finally, at MiLB.com is ranking the various farm systems according solely to prospects that will be 21 years or younger by Opening Day. The Chicago Cubs come in at number 12 overall, on the strength of their arms: Dylan Cease, Trevor Clifton, Jose Albertos, and Jose Paulino. Of course, Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs top prospect (#13 overall to Pipeline) helps carry them to this height. The St. Louis Cardinals (23rd), Milwaukee Brewers (20th), Cincinnati Reds (18th), and Pittsburgh Pirates (5th)  round out the rest of the NL Central. By this measure, the Chicago Cubs figure to be well sustained for years to come.

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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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