John Sickels Reveals His Top 21 Chicago Cubs Prospects for 2014

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John Sickels Reveals His Top 21 Chicago Cubs Prospects for 2014

Chicago Cubs

cj edwards daytona cubsAs teased earlier in the week, John Sickels released his top prospects list for the Chicago Cubs heading into 2014, and it’s a fun one to review. Sickels offers thoughts on each of the listed prospects, as well as an overall system breakdown. Give it a read.

The list:

1. Javier Baez – A

2. Kris Bryant – A

3. Albert Almora – A-

4. Jorge Soler – B+

5. C.J. Edwards –  B+

6. Arismendy Alcantara – B

7. Pierce Johnson – B

8. Jeimer Candelario – B

9. Dan Vogelbach – B

10. Christian Villanueva – B-

11. Arodys Vizcaino – C+

12. Mike Olt – C+

13. Neil Ramirez – C+

14. Matt Szczur – C+

15. Josh Vitters – C+

16. Kyle Hendricks – C+

17. Corey Black – C+

18. Rob Zastryzny – C+

19. Ivan Pineyro – C+

20. Paul Blackburn – C+

21. Kevin Encarnacion – C+

The “also ran” category includes several legitimate prospects: Gioskar Amaya, 2B; Yasiel Balaguert, OF; Dallas Beeler, RHP; Shawon Dunston Jr, OF; Jacob Hannemann, OF; Brett Jackson, OF; Eloy Jimenez, OF; Eric Jokisch, LHP; Dillon Maples, RHP; Brett Marshall, RHP; Jefferson Mejia, RHP; Armando Rivero, RHP; Gleyber Torres, SS; Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF; and Ben Wells, RHP.

We’re starting to see something akin to consensus on the top prospects in the Cubs’ system, by which I mean the next tier after the Big Four (plus Edwards). Baseball America’s list and Sickels’ each have the same nine players in the top nine slots for the Cubs, albeit with a slightly different order. From there, you could make a case for just about any of the next seven guys to be number 10 in the system, though I think Sickels probably gets it right with Villanueva. Just as they are with respect to the big league club, Olt and Vizcaino are wild cards, given the health issues coupled with considerable upside.

As for the grades, it’s amazing that the Cubs go 21 deep in C+ or better, with 3 A’s and 7 B’s. In Sickels’ system, “A” prospects are guys that have a “reasonable chance” of becoming stars or superstars in the bigs. At a minimum, virtually all of them become contributors in the big leagues. There aren’t many of them in the game. B’s are guys who could become stars, but few do. They tend, instead, to enjoy successful careers in the big leagues in a variety of roles. C’s are guys that are legitimate prospects – possibly with star-level upside – that come with a number of questions, or are simply too young/far away from the bigs to rank higher.

Here’s one of Sickels’ takes, which should entice you to want to read the rest:

Jeimer Candelario: Solid in Low-A at age 19, hit .256/.346/.396 for Kane County, although scouting reports were more enthusiastic than the pure numbers. Stands out for youth, switch-hitting power potential, a good measure of strike zone judgment, and a good arm.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.