Although we’re still not quite into the heart of prospect ranking season, multiple publications have been rolling out and/or updating their rankings now that the various Minor League seasons are over.
For example, MLB Pipeline just added each of Dylan Cease and Jeimer Candelario to their top 100 Prospect Ranking, after a series of graduations opened up some space.
Baseball America is one of the most popular prospect ranking/scouting publications out there, and although they’re not quite ready to roll out their full top 100, they have done some top 20 rankings by league. Most recently, they published their 2016 Northwest League Top 20 Prospects, and four Eugene Emeralds (the Cubs’ Minor League short-season Low-A affiliate) made the cut! I guess when your team breaks a bunch of records and wins the title you get noticed!
Hooray for notoriety!
Four Cubs prospects on the Eugene Emeralds were ranked among the league’s very best at season’s end. You can check out the full list (including stats and a short write-up on each player) here at Baseball America, (as well as a chat about the rankings with more on various Cubs prospects), but because it’s premium content, I can’t share too much more than the rankings for the Cubs prospects:
3. Dylan Cease, P
10. Wladimir Galindo, 3B
13. D.J. Wilson, OF
16. Chris Pieters, 1B/OF
There has been a ton of postseason love for Dylan Cease already this fall, which is great news for the Cubs. The potential in his arm continues to be among the highest in the Cubs’ entire Minor League system. If his command continues to be dialed in and he stays healthy, the Cubs might have a legitimate future MLB number 2 on his way up the ladder.
The other three prospects are far less well known than Cease, but each had a nice year in the Northwest League.
Wladimir Galindo, 19, may have hit only .243, but he got on base plenty (.337 OBP) and was one of the league’s better sluggers (.462 SLG). In fact, he led the league with 32 extra-base hits in what BA suggests is one of the Minor Leagues’ “least hitter-friendly venues.” Galindo was an IFA signing out of Venezuela back in 2013.
D.J. Wilson, 19, draws most of his value from his ability to stick in center field. According to BA, he has above-average speed, and “an effortless ability to run down balls in both gaps.” Wilson was the Cubs’ fourth round pick in 2015, and signed for a well-above-slot $1.3 million.
Lastly, Chris Pieters, 22, may seem a bit old for his league, but he’s actually a converted pitcher. Signed in 2011 as left-handed pitcher, the Cubs noticed his athleticism and put a bat back in his hands. He’s since split time between first base and the corner outfields, but don’t let that paint the wrong picture: he’s fast. In 23 attempts this season, Pieters successfully stole a base 20 times (fourth best in the league). His transition into a positional player may be a slow one, but some are even suggesting center field isn’t off the table. It might be a while before we see Pieters, but he could be a nice role-player down the line.