MLB.com Unleashes the First 2012 Post-Season Prospects Lists

Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com yesterday released his first post-2012 (minor league seasons) prospect lists – each team gets its own top 20, and there’s an overall top 100.

The Cubs’ list has already been discussed a bit by Luke this morning, and in the comments. For your viewing pleasure, here’s the top 20, according to Mayo:

1.) Javier Baez
2.) Albert Almora
3.) Brett Jackson
4.) Arodys Vizcaino
5.) Jorge Soler
6.) Matt Szczur
7.) Trey McNutt
8.) Junior Lake
9.) Pierce Johnson
10.) Josh Vitters
11.) Dillon Maples
12.) Robert Whitenack
13.) Dan Vogelbach
14.) Ben Wells
15.) Paul Blackburn
16.) Jeimer Candelario
17.) Gioskar Amaya
18.) Tony Zych
19.) Alberto Cabrera
20.) Marcus Hatley

You’ll notice some immediate and obvious omissions, including Duane Underwood, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, Ronald Torreyes, Juan Carlos Paniagua, Jae-Hoon Ha, Nicholas Struck, Eric Jokisch, Austin Kirk, among many others. It is as much a testament to the Cubs’ fringe top 10 depth as it is to the fact that compiling these lists for all 30 teams is a tough business. Given the task, I can’t give Mayo too much grief for his list. Yes, Villanueva would have made my top 10 (to say nothing of the top 20), and Torreyes and Paniagua would have easily made my top 10. But I can understand their omission (Torreyes’ slow start and small size, Paniagua’s lack of Stateside scouting reports and data, Villanueva’s … actually, no, I really can’t understand that one). And, yes, Szczur and McNutt could have been lower.

All in all, most of the names you’d expect to be there are there. As we get into the ranking season, I think we’ll find that the Cubs’ top five is pretty much a lock to include, in some order, Baez, Soler, Almora, Jackson, and Vizcaino. From there, you’re probably going to see wild swings. The Cubs will be regarded as a system strong at the top on the positional side, weak on the pitching side, and deep in fringe MLB talent.

Carrie Muskat also put together a write-up on the rankings, which included some Baez swooning from Cubs’ Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod.

“The bat speed and raw power he displays are second to none,” McLeod said. “He needs to work on consistency with his approach at the plate as he’ll get too aggressive trying to do too much and has a tough time staying under control. On the flip side of that, he plays very under control on defense and on the bases, which is an exceptional skill to have for a player of his age.”

Baez is one of five Cubs’ prospects that made the overall top 100 (putting the Cubs behind only the Blue Jays (seven), Pirates (six) and Padres (six), in terms of total players on the list). He ranks 24, Almora is 52, Jackson is 74, Vizcaino is 76, and Soler is 77. Having just one prospect in the top 24 isn’t great, but five in the top 77 is really something.

The rankings also include positional rankings, and the Cubs placed just two in the top 10 at the various positions: Javier Baez is the fifth best shortstop prospect, and Dan Vogelbach was the sixth best first base prospect (which, coupled with his 13th ranking in the Cubs’ system is either a statement of how strong the Cubs’ system is, or, more likely, a statement of just how poorly thought of first base prospects are).

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Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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