Panic! Outrage! Denial! Bargaining! Snack! More Outrage!
These are the five or six stages of finding out, for the first time in years, that your favorite organization has exactly zero top 100 prospects, according to Baseball America, one of the stronger prospect evaluators out there. Perhaps you were hoping for another step, acceptance, but nope. This is Panic City, USA, and the population is us.
Okay, hopefully you can tell I’m kidding (well, about the outrage bit … the Cubs really don’t have any top 100 prospects). Fortunately, the Cubs’ overall organization is quite flush with young, talented players, who just happen to already be at the Major League level.
In fact, at least four of those players – Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Addison Russell, and Albert Almora – are all still WELL within the prospect-y age range. In other words, if they simply developed less quickly, they’d likely all still be top prospects right now, but it’s not like you want that, so …
But it’s also not nothing for the Cubs to be shut out of the list.
After all, not every one of the Cubs’ top prospects graduated to the Major League ball club, as some were traded for Major League help in the recent past. While some of that value is still there (Jose Quintana, Mike Montgomery, Justin Willson), plenty of it has come and gone (Alex Avila, Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis (sorta, since the Cubs get a compensatory draft pick)).
- Ronald Acuna, OF – Braves
- Shohei Ohtani, RHP – Angels
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B – Blue Jays
- Eloy Jimenez, OF – White Sox
- Victor Robles, OF – Nationals
- Gleyber Torres, SS – Yankees
- Nick Senzel, 3B – Reds
- Bo Bichette, SS – Blue Jays
- Fernando Tatis Jr, SS – Padres
- Forrest Whitley, RHP – Astros
Yep, that’s Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres retaining their top ten spots league-wide – though Torres has fallen a bit lately, as Jimenez continues to rise – and both will reach the Majors relatively soon. This year is not out of the question for either player, and it’ll sting a little to watch them elsewhere. (If you’re wondering, none of former Cubs prospects Dylan Cease, Billy McKinney, or Isaac Paredes made the list.)
Also painful: the volume of top 100 prospects enjoyed by other NL Central clubs, most notably the Brewers, who are positioning themselves for a run at the division as soon as this season:
- Brewers – 8 Top 100 prospects
- Reds – 5
- Cardinals – 4
- Pirates – 2
- Cubs – 0
If you’re looking for a little bit of a bright side on the Brew Crew, of their eight top 100 prospects, just one falls within the top 20 (Lewis Brinson, #18), and only one other falls within the top 50 (Keston Hiura, #47). The Majority of them, then, are back-end-of-the-top-100 types, which is still a great spot to be, but not nearly as scary as multiple top tens.
In fact, it’s the Reds’ third base prospect Nick Senzel (#7) who gets the highest ranking in the NL Central, and he’s followed by Pirates righty Mitch Keller (#12) and Cardinals righty Alex Reyes (#17).
So, in terms of impact minor league talent, are the other NL Central organizations in better shape than the Cubs. Yes. But in the grander scheme of things, I think it’s easy to believe the Cubs are the best top to bottom organization in the division – including the sheer number of quality young players.
[Brett: I also think it’s important to point out that the Cubs sure seem to have a very healthy volume of prospects who probably fall into that 101 to 200 range, many of whom would burst into the top 100 at midseason if they show health and productivity in the first half. There’s no chance that Adbert Alzolay, Oscar De La Cruz, Jose Albertos, Aramis Ademan, Brendon Little, and Alex Lange are not guys who *could* be top 100 types by midseason if they take a step forward. That’s something, right? Look, I know many organizations have guys like this, too. But I have a lot of confidence in the Cubs’ scouting and player development machine. I think we’ll see at least a couple consensus top 100 prospects in the organization by July.]