Cubs Prospect Notes: Martinez, McKinney, Alzolay, Contreras, Farm System Rankings

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Martinez, McKinney, Alzolay, Contreras, Farm System Rankings

Chicago Cubs

willson contreras smokiesWe are deep into the preseason prospecting period, so there’s a bunch to get into …

  • Over at Baseball America, J.J. Cooper and John Manuel led a Top 100 Prospects Chat, with a series of interesting bits. Among the interesting non-Cubs related topics, Cooper addresses the Gurriel brothers. Although neither were eligible for the top 100, Cooper believes that Yulieski (the older brother) would slide into the top 30, while Lourdes would sneak into the back end of the top 100. Of course, there isn’t a ton of scouting information on either player, so those are just gut-reaction rankings. Like the Cubs’ own Eddy Julio Martinez, Lourdes is beginning to strike me as a player that could already be very talented, but a lack of information is suppressing an otherwise more exciting representation. If you recall, Lourdes is the only one that will make sense for the Cubs.
  • On the Cubs system, you’ll recall, Baseball America isn’t quite as high as other publications. Manuel doubles down by reiterating, “I am confident our ranking of the Cubs’ system is more accurate than one ranking I saw that had them No. 4.” Manuel “loves their young talent in short-season ball,” but doesn’t like that most of their high ceiling talent is that far away. He doesn’t believe that Billy McKinney has the glove for center field, the bat for left field, or the arm for right field. However, Manuel does like Albert Almora, and thinks that all of Oscar De La Cruz, Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez (plus several others) could break into the top 100 next season.
  • There is plenty more in the chat, including some love for Gleyber Torres (who Manuel sees as a first-division regular at the position), so check it out.
  • For what it’s worth, when Jeff Zimmerman (FanGraphs) tried to calculate the surplus WAR of organizational prospects (using the BA grading tools), the Cubs ranked out at 19 (one spot ahead of where BA placed them). Maybe they aren’t too far off, after all.
  • And, not a few hours after Zimmerman’s piece, Chris Mitchell released the KATOH Farm System Rankings, which also had the Cubs in the bottom half of the league and last in the central at 17, overall. The Brewers (1), interestingly, were at the top of the list, with the Pirates (10), Reds (12) and Cardinals (15) filing in ahead of the Cubs.
  • On the other end of Cubs prospect rankings, is Keith Law – who placed six Cubs in his Top 100 and just released his Top Ten Cubs Prospects list today. Apparently, the Cubs narrowly missed seven prospects in the Top 100, because Eddy Julio Martinez was number 101. There’s a nice write-up within, but it boils down to what we already know: Martinez “has the tools of a top 50  or even top-25 prospect,” but we just need to see it in action before making a call.
  • Carrie Muskat writes about six Cubs prospects to keep an eye on this Spring. The list includes write-ups on Carl Edwards Jr., Albert Almora, Jemier Candelario, Duane Underwood, Pierce Johnson and Willson Contreras – all of whom have invitations to bit league Spring Training.
  • Lastly, Epstein mentioned him in his season-ending presser – among other top organizational arms like Dylan Cease, Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Luke Hudson, and Oscar De La Cruz – so we thought we’d give him some pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay some love. As BN’er Tommy notes on Twitter, Alzolay allowed a mere 29 hits in his 53.0 innings of work in 2015. The 20-year-old righty pitched mostly in relief with the Eugene Emeralds, striking out 24.5% of the batters he faced, and walking 7.5%. He’ll be one to watch next year.
  • Willson Contreras shows up as BA’s second best catching prospect in its just-released catching rankings, though you could have already extrapolated that particular bit from the top 100 (and no other Cubs show up on the catching list).

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami