The latest top overall prospect list is out, and Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs took things to another level by ranking the top 200 prospects in the game, complete with writeups on the top 142, and tiers for all players based on Future Value grades. You should read McDaniel’s introduction here before digesting the list.
As for the top 200 list, itself, you can see here that the Chicago Cubs are well-represented, with 11 players making the cut:
1. Kris Bryant
3. Addison Russell
13. Jorge Soler
21. Kyle Schwarber
64. C.J. Edwards
92. Albert Almora
124. Duane Underwood
125. Pierce Johnson
Somewhere in 143 to 200. Dan Vogelbach, Billy McKinney, Gleyber Torres
With six in the top 100, the Cubs generally look to be in the same range to McDaniel as the other rankings services, though obviously McDaniel is higher on Schwarber than most. Schwarber falls in the 60 FV group, which starts up at number 9 (Red Sox catching prospect Blake Swihart) and ends at number 28 (Rockies pitching prospect Jonathan Gray). You might assume this ranking means McDaniel believes Schwarber can stick at catcher; not so. Like most others, McDaniel sees part-time catching duties, at best, and is ranking Schwarber this high mostly on the bat. That’s actually quite a compliment.
You should read the list for the full writeups on the guys ranked before number 143. If you’re wondering about that group, those are the guys who fell into the 45 to 50 FV range, and aren’t ranked in any particular order. It’s nice to see Torres getting some ranking love, and it’s also nice to see that Vogelbach hasn’t fallen off the map just yet.
Once again, Duane Underwood is up there, as he’s now officially the consensus low minors breakout pitching target for the Cubs in 2015. The Cubs have a bunch of them, though.
Albert Almora remains on the top-ish prospect radar for McDaniel, despite the down half year at AA. The defensive skills and the between-the-ears skills aren’t going anywhere, and it’s just matter of working on the aggressive approach. As we’ve said before, this is a huge year for Almora, who is still only 20 years old.
I could go into so much more, as this is just a bounty of prospecting goodness. Russell at three makes him the top shortstop prospect in the game, according to McDaniel. Soler is the second-highest outfield prospect on the list, behind only Joc Pederson of the Dodgers.