Cubs Prospect Notes: Bryant's Power, Schwarber's Catching, McKinney, McLeod, Much More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Bryant’s Power, Schwarber’s Catching, McKinney, McLeod, Much More

Chicago Cubs

cubs azl spring training logoThanks to a rush of virtually simultaneous rankings information and prospect updates, there have been a ton of items that I wanted to share over the last couple weeks, but hadn’t had a chance. And then the list of prospect-related things just kept building and building. So now you get a big pile of Cubs prospect stuff dumped on you. Enjoy.

  • Following the release of its top 100 list, the MLB Pipeline crew at also looked at the top tools in the minors, and, although he wasn’t ranked as the top prospect in the game, Kris Bryant did get the nod as having the top power. Jorge Soler was also in the running there.
  • Speaking of which, why was Byron Buxton ranked ahead of Bryant, anyway? Well, Jonathan Mayo offered an explanation, which essentially amounted to Buxton being the better overall player, and his injuries not being a recurring concern. Whether I’d make the same decision is not really the issue – I can’t argue with’s explanation. It’s reasonable.
  • Based on a points approach using prospects in the top 100, the Cubs’ farm system would fall just behind the Twins in MLB Pipeline’s list. That’s not quite a true farm system ranking, since it counts only the players in the top 100, and all other farm rankings so far have had the Cubs on top. I’m sure this is the province of most fans, but it just seems like the Cubs have a huge amount of talent that falls into the 100 to 200 range in baseball.
  • Somewhat relatedly, Jim Callis offered his own personal next 20 prospects – not ranked in any order – who didn’t make’s top 100, and outfielder Billy McKinney is on the list.
  • And here’s a great interview with McKinney over at
  • After Keith Law’s rankings week, he held a chat on ESPN to get into some more details. Among his thoughts: (1) Albert Almora didn’t deserve serious consideration for the top 100, in Law’s opinion, and he suggests that the primary reason is Almora’s failure to see many pitches in his plate appearances thus far; (2) Law falls into the camp of folks who think C.J. Edwards is too slight to be a big league starter; and (3) Law isn’t really aware of anyone who believes Kyle Schwarber can catch long-term.
  • Although not strictly prospect-oriented, Law was asked about the Cubs’ middle infield surplus at The Score, and indicated the ideal approach would be for Arismendy Alcantara to keep playing center (he doesn’t say, but perhaps by way of sliding Dexter Fowler around), Javy Baez to play second and see if the strikeouts come down, Addison Russell to be the eventual shortstop, and then trade Starlin Castro.
  • If he had to choose between Starlin Castro and Addison Russell, Jim Callis would choose Russell. That says a fair bit, given that Castro is already an established big leaguer.
  • Tony Andracki writes about Kyle Schwarber, and his drive to stick at catcher. Andracki follows up with a piece on the Cubs’ overall strength behind the plate in the system – or at least, strength relative to where it was just a year ago.
  • Here’s a BP chat on their recently-released, and heavily-debated top 101 list.
  • Jason McLeod was on WSBT with South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin to discuss the new affiliation and a handful of prospects. It’s long, but it’s a great listen, especially if you’re into getting a sense of some of the broader, organizational development-type things. There’s also a lot of completely deserved Gleyber Torres gushing, and a hey-don’t-forget-about-Carlos-Penalver‘ing (he’s a 20-year-old glove-first shortstop prospect who probably doesn’t get enough love because the bat hasn’t come along yet).

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.