As the prospect ranking season continues to press on, the Chicago Cubs continue to come up short on most lists. However, as we’ve discussed many times before, that’s not necessarily an indictment of the organization as a whole.
After all, the team is still very young and talented …
On Opening Day 2018 …
Albert Almora will be 23 years, 11 months, & 13 days old
Ian Happ 23y, 7m, 17d
Addison Russell 24y, 2m, 6d
Kyle Schwarber 25y, 0m, 24d
Javy Baez will be 25y, 3m, 28d
Willson Contreras 25y, 10m, 16d
Kris Bryant 26 years, 2m, 25d
This team is plenty young.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) January 28, 2018
But it’s still not exactly what you want to see.
As a brief recap of where things stand, despite landing two prospects – Aramis Ademan and Adbert Alzolay – on Keith Law’s Top 100 rankings, by his own measure the Cubs overall Minor League system is probably among the bottom five in baseball. The Cubs also landed exactly zero prospects on MLB Pipeline’s recent set of rankings, as well as Baseball America’s Top 100.
The publication behind the latter-most list, Baseball America, recently paired their Top 100 Rankings with overall team-rankings. And, unfortunately (but expectedly), the Cubs are near the very bottom.
In fact, the Cubs Minor League system, according to Baseball America, is the third worst in baseball, ahead of only the Royals (#29) and Mariners (#30). For reference, here’s how they ranked the Cubs in recent years:
With Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Isaac Paredes, Jeimer Candelario, and others still in the system, the Cubs made a nice jump from 20th to 16th ahead of the 2017 season. But after some significant in-season trades (for Jose Quintana, Alex Avila, and Justin Wilson), the Cubs system took a big hit and moved back 12 spaces. But, as you can see, significant changes can be made year-to-year, so even though the Cubs system as a whole remains strong, we could see a quick, positive turnaround in the Minors if the right players are drafted, signed (in international free agency), or traded. In other words, fret not, my friends. There’ll be more prospects at some point, for now, enjoy the big-league winning.
Elsewhere on the list, the NL Central was well-represented:
Pirates: 16th (2017: 7th)
Cardinals: 13th (12th)
Brewers: 11th (8th)
Reds: 9th (13th)
But perhaps not as well as I initially feared.
To be sure, the Cardinals and Brewers have both traded prospects for significant Major Leaguers this winter (Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich), while the Pirates have traded away stars (Gerrit Cole, Andrew McCutchen), so there’s been some movement, but still – there’s only three prospects in BA’s Top 25 coming from this division (now that Lewis Brinson is a Marlin). It could be a lot worse, and it isn’t.