We’re a little over a month into the minor league seasons, which is not enough time to change opinions wildly about prospects, but it’s enough time to start making observations, especially if you have the benefit of talking to teams and scouts about what they’re seeing.
To that end, Baseball America has updated its preseason top 100 rankings with some subtle tweaks, and you can check out the new list here.
Of Cubs-specific note, Eloy Jimenez moves up to number 11 from number 14, which may strike out as odd given that he hasn’t appeared in a minor league game this season and is still only just getting back into things in extended Spring Training in Mesa. For one thing, until and unless there was a reason to drop Jimenez in the rankings – if the injury lasted muuuuch longer, and created real risk of inhibited future performance, for example – there’s no reason for him to fall unless scouts had changed their tune since late last year (apparently opinions did change on Phillies shortstop prospect JP Crawford, though, as he fell from ahead of Jimenez to behind him). And, since there have since been graduations on the list ahead of Jimenez (Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson), that’s why’re seeing him bump up a few spots.
Ian Happ figured to pop up given how well he immediately took to AAA, and sure enough, he’s now up at 55 (previously 63).
Albert Almora was previously just behind Happ at 64, but has since graduated off of prospect lists.
Dylan Cease, at 97, was the only other Cub on the original top 100 list, and he now shows up at number 90 after a very warm start to the year, which saw him win pitcher of the month honors.
I’d have liked Jeimer Candelario to sneak onto the list, as I think he merits it. But perhaps he’ll stick with the big league team for a while and graduate anyway. I think you could also have made an argument for Trevor Clifton, who was the Cubs’ pitcher of the year last year, and has had a strong start to his AA season (2.25 ERA, 3.33 FIP) after dominating High-A last year.
All in all, though, I think this is about what I would have expected: slight movements northward for the Cubs’ top few prospects, and time needed before we see some of the Cubs’ very young depth break out as potential top 100 types.
Random: seeing these lists – and Luke’s work on the farm system this morning – reminds me that we are just a month away from the Draft, in which the Cubs will have TWO late first round picks this time around. I can’t tell you how geeked I am to have the Cubs back in the first round of the draft after last year not picking until the third round.