Did you think we were done with top prospect lists?
Well, there’s at least one more to discuss, because Eric Longenhagen (FanGraphs) just released his top 100 and it’s a really nice list.
Well, it’s not so “nice” to the Chicago Cubs, as just two prospects made the cut (and another two just missed), but there’s a lot to like about the list itself and their scouting reports in particular.
Before we get into each of the Cubs rankings, I’ll point out that each player on the list comes with his own short write-up as well as a collection of tool grades for both now and in the future.
As I’m sure you can easily guess, the two Chicago Cubs to make the cut were Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ. The former has definitely turned into a consensus top 20 (in MLB) prospect and the latter is a consensus top 75, who typically does a lot better than that. So really, we knew they’d be somewhere on the list, but where was the only question:
15. Eloy Jimenez, OF
51. Ian Happ, 2B
Okay, so Longenhagen is pretty lukewarm on the Cubs system. We’ve seen higher rankings for Jimenez and Happ before, as well as lists with roughly 5-6 Cubs prospects in the top 100. But this isn’t the end of the world, of course, because Jimenez and Happ are still very awesome prospects with very bright futures.
And to be perfectly fair, Longenhagen may be lukewarm on the Cubs system as whole, but he does seem to like the Cubs top two quite a bit. On Happ, for example, Longenhagen projects a .270 hitter with 18+ home runs in the Major Leagues. And by the write-up, you get the feeling that it’ll be sooner rather than later.
And as for Jimenez, well, that future raw power grade is pretty nasty:
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 13, 2017
And it’s not just that. Longenhagen is projecting a (future) 70 game power, adding that Jimenez is “going to have elite power in his mid-20s and there’s solid feel for contact here, too.”
As a partial aside, I’ve always enjoyed when the Cubs can blend prospects with pure upside (Jimenez) and high floors (Happ). The former may be further away from the Major Leagues, but he has a real chance to do something special, while the latter is probably going to impact the Major League team as soon as this season. You can’t pick and chose how these players turn out, but I think the Cubs are happy with where they are.
Just beyond the top 100, Longenhagen listed 30 prospects that were also in consideration for the top 100 (so you can basically call it a top 130ish), and two more Cubs made the cut:
- Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
- Jeimer Candelario, INF
De la Cruz has been considered one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects for a while now and usually fights for the top spot with Dylan Cease – who did not receive mention here. Candelario, similarly, moves in and out of these lists with a relatively high frequency. Of course, some scouts value certain skills more than others, so although he’s objectively a back-end/just over top 100 type, his actual, final ranking is more what’s-your-flavor-based.
All in all, the Cubs didn’t fare too well, but that’s okay. They have tons of very young talent at the Major League level and enough going on in the Minors to sustain them going forward. They’ll be just fine.