Cubs Prospect Notes: AFL Rankings, Top System, Stinnett, Underwood, Soler, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: AFL Rankings, Top System, Stinnett, Underwood, Soler, More

Chicago Cubs

cubs azl spring training logoDid you catch Luke’s first Prospects Progress piece of the offseason? It’s on Kris Bryant, so, if you missed it, get yourself a slice of cake, a glass of milk, have a seat, and enjoy.

  • The Arizona Fall League has wrapped for the year, and Jim Callis looks at each team’s performance. Bijan Rademacher gets the nod as the best performing Cubs prospect in the AFL this year, which is fair given how much Rademacher killed it (indeed, he was recently added to’s top 20 Cubs prospect list). From there, Callis also ranked the top 25 prospects in the AFL this year, after the season, and Addison Russell (who didn’t show well in a brief stay in the AFL, but that doesn’t seem to have affected anyone’s opinion of him (nor should it)) is third, behind Byron Buxton and Francisco Lindor. C.J. Edwards was 10th, just behind Mark Appel, Archie Bradley, and Dalton Pompey.
  • The Baseball Prospectus Cubs prospect list came out last Friday, and it was so full of prospect-y goodness that it took some time to digest. I’m still enjoying it a week later. One thing I like? You get all the way down to number 8 on the list, Low-A shortstop Gleyber Torres, before you find a prospect who’s “realistic” future role is not at least that of a big league regular. And then Dan Vogelbach, at 9, gets that mark, too. More than that, the Cubs have four guys who rate with a realistic future role of above average big leaguer. Lest you fail to be impressed, the Reds’ list just came out today, and they have one such player. The highly-touted Pirates, out a couple days ago? They had just two.
  • In the piece, BP listed three prospects “on the rise,” outside the top 10, and the three are 2014 draftees: lefty Justin Steele, catcher/outfielder Mark Zagunis, and righty Jake Stinnett. I’ll tease you on one of the three, with a bit on Stinnett: “A relatively low-mileage arm, the Terrapins’ ace endured a long college season while maintaining his stuff late into starts, but showed significant signs of fatigue in his pro debut, including a sizeable velo dip and softer breaking ball. Stinnett throws with effort in generating his power stuff, leaving evaluators split as to whether he fits best as a power reliever or in a rotation where he could provide mid-rotation upside. The Cubs could ease him into full-season ball with a Low-A assignment in 2015, but if the fastball and slider return to form, he could quickly prove too advanced for Midwest League bats.” I can’t wait to see how Stinnett starts out next year.
  • In conjunction with the release of that list, BP’s Effectively Wild podcast was all about the Cubs’ stacked farm system, in case you didn’t catch it. It certainly sounds like the Cubs have a good shot at being considered the top system in baseball when all is said and done. Also, it tentatively sounded like number 11 on the Cubs’ list was pitcher Duane Underwood.
  • In the podcast, the BP guys noted that Jorge Soler’s big league debut wasn’t as impressive as we may have thought, as it was built in a huge first handful of games, and then a lot of struggles. I certainly remember the burst at the start, but I didn’t really notice as strong of a fade as was suggested … but there really was. After his first 7 games, Soler did this over the final 17 games: .222/.261/.397, .285 wOBA, 77 wRC+, 26.1% K rate, 5.8% BB rate. Oof. That said, I’m pointing this out solely because it is interesting, not because it is predictive of anything. The sample is almost nothing, you can’t just cut out the good stuff and act like it didn’t happen, and the season ended before Soler had a chance to adjust to various adjustments he was seeing. I suppose the point here is to reiterate that there will probably be growing pains for Soler next year.
  • An extensive and fascinating profile piece on outfielder Jacob Hannemann at, who has had a very unique path to being a 23-year-old prospect at High-A.
  • An ESPN profile piece on C.J. Edwards, newly added to the 40-man roster. He’s easy to root for.

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.