The Chicago Cubs’ farm system has been ranked among the very worst in baseball.
That’s a lede I never quite thought I’d see so soon after dominating the prospect rankings for the past three(ish) years, but it’s where we are today.
Indeed, Baseball America has re-ranked the overall Minor League systems of every team in baseball now that the trade deadline has passed, and the Cubs group of prospects comes in at third to worst (only the Royals and Marlins rank lower).
Moreover, the BA team separated the various organizations into groups (Best of the Best, Elite, Near-Elite, Middle of the Pack, Bottom Third, Bottom of the Barrel), and the Cubs get the the ugly “Bottom of the Barrel” distinction.
“Trades of Eloy Jimenez, Isaac Paredes and Jeimer Candelario leave Cubs with a very pitching-heavy Top 10,” writes Baseball America, though they could’ve probably included the trade of Gleyber Torres and the promotions of Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Albert Almora Jr., as part of the “problem.”
Of course, we all know that the Cubs organization has lost many great prospects over the past few years (either to graduation or trade), but that’s not the only issue, as BA hints. With a predominantly pitching-heavy top ten list, the Cubs group also (inherently) comes with a lot more risk than other groups. It’s not surprising, then, to see that a simultaneous loss of top and positional prospects has dropped the Cubs organization, as a whole, way down.
The full rankings and write-ups (which can be seen here) require a BA subscription, so I can’t share everything, but I can share some broad strokes.
For example, the Braves and White Sox are alone at the top in the “best of the best” category, which makes a good deal of sense (especially for the White Sox, who’ve cultivated a 2014-Cub-like group of prospects over the past two years). And as for the NL Central, the Brewers and Reds are the highest two rankings members (they fall in the “Near-Elite” category), while the Cardinals and Pirates trail just behind in the “Middle of the Pack.”
I still wouldn’t trade the Cubs overall (as in, including Major League pieces) talent for almost any organization in baseball, but it’s clear that the Minor Leagues have been ransacked. The state of the organization looks strong for the next 4-5 years, at least, but the front office will have to try hard to restock the farm system with the next “wave” of talent.
Meanwhile, if you want more Cubs prospect goodness, Luke has been re-ranking the farm system …