Today, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy ranked the top 20 (expected) rookies for 2015. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs fared exceedingly well – landing 3 players in the top 18. Each player’s ranking comes along with “Credentials” and a “2015 Outlook,” providing some additional context behind their individual position within the list. Even though the article doesn’t offer much in the way of new information, it’s quite an interesting read. Take a look and see if you agree with what Eddy had to say.
Before we dive right into the list, though, I want to acknowledge something specific to the Cubs. Despite recognizing – in the article – that rookie pitchers (all pitchers, really) have had an easier time finding success in the major leagues over the past few seasons, the 2015 list is littered with position players (13 out of 20). Given this talented pool of position players and the currently low offensive environment, it’s especially encouraging to see some important, young (non-pitching) Cubs grab the top two spots – Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler – with Addison Russell just behind. (Insert debate about Bryant not having a full year in the big leagues in 2015.)
All that said, here are the rookies to watch for 2015, according to Baseball America:
- Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs (23)
- Jorge Soler, rf, Cubs (23)
- Joc Pederson, cf, Dodgers (23)
- Steven Souza, rf, Rays (26)
- Hector Olivera, 2b/3b, Free Agent (30)
- Rusney Castillo, cf, Red Sox (27)
- Daniel Norris, lhp, Blue Jays (22)
- Carlos Rodon, lhp, White Sox (22)
- Andrew Heaney, lhp, Angels (24)
- Yasmany Tomas, 3b/rf, Diamondbacks (24)
- Marco Gonzales, lhp, Cardinals (23)
- Noah Syndergaard, rhp, Mets (22)
- Francisco Lindor, ss, Indians (21)
- Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Blue Jays (22)
- Dalton Pompey, cf, Blue Jays (22)
- Maikel Franco, 3b, Phillies (22)
- Jake Lamb, 3b, Diamondbacks (24)
- Addison Russell, ss, Cubs (21)
- Alex Meyer, rhp, Twins (25)
- Jung-Ho Kang, ss, Pirates (28)
(For greater detail on each individual player, remember to check out the full article, here).
Immediately, Addison Russell’s “low” ranking may jump out to you, but before you get too upset, take a look at the talent loaded onto that list. Just being associated with these types of players is impressive, regardless of the order of the ranking.
Also, Russell is the youngest player on the list, just ahead of the higher ranked, Francisco Lindor. Hopefully both of these players make their debuts this year, so we can finally begin to put that debate to rest (my money is on Russell, for whatever that’s worth). Since Russell may not be a full-time player, if at all, until June or July of this year, it’s all the more understandable that he shows up low on the list.
Other interesting Cub-related tidbits include the (speculative) suggestion that Kris Bryant might see time in left field to alleviate the logjam created by Javier Baez, Starlin Castro and Russell, and that we should expect Jorge Soler to make the adjustments needed to support a “healthy average and on-base percentage,” to go along with his power. (Can you imagine if Soler and Bryant really have the best two rookie campaigns this year?)
There are some very impactful reinforcements are on their way to Wrigley Field in 2015; perhaps more than we’ve ever seen in any one season. Not everyone is going to reach their potential (especially right away), but having as much high-end, young talent as the Cubs is a luxury all teams strive for.
Eddy wasn’t the first to put the Cubs’ Bryant/Soler duo at the top of this kind of rookie ranking, by the way. If you missed it, Keith Law did the same in late February.