The Bleacher Nation Top 40: Full List, Cubs Farm System Wrap Up, Useful Links

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The Bleacher Nation Top 40: Full List, Cubs Farm System Wrap Up, Useful Links

Chicago Cubs

cubs prospect top 40The Cubs farm system does not have the same volume of elite talent as it did this time last year, but no farm system in the post-strike era has had the quantity of elite talent that the Cubs had last year. That was historic, and with a new CBA coming that will have unknown ramifications on talent acquisition, it is possible that what we saw last year will never be matched.

This year, though, the system is every bit as deep as it was a year ago, and probably deeper. The pre-season edition the Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List drove that home in a big way. Ranking players in the upper portions was not as tough as it has been in the past, but choosing the players to fill those final ten slots was harder than it has ever been.

This system is deep. This system is really deep.

And, for the first time since I started doing this, I think it is a pretty well-balanced system. One half of the Top 40 is pitching, including 7 of the Top 14. The very top of the list still slants towards bats, but on the whole the arms are arriving, moving up, and starting to take the spotlight. We’ve been waiting for a ‘Year of the Pitcher’ for awhile now; this may finally be it.

If there is an imbalance in the system, it is in the outfield. The Cubs have a lot of outfield prospects that range from pretty good to potentially excellent. Outfielders make up 22.5% of the Top 40; only right-handed pitchers have a larger slice of the pie at 40%.

That said, those outfielders come in every size and style. If you want huge power, the Cubs have it (Jimenez). Elite on base percentage? Check (Rademacher). Ridiculously good defense? Yep (Almora). Blazing speed on the basepaths? Gotcha (Wilson). And more besides. The Cubs have been an infielder factory for the past few seasons, but the outfield is about to get a turn. Jorge Soler and (sort of) Kyle Schwarber were the first to come off the assembly line, but there are a lot more on the way.

But now that we’ve ranked the Top 40, it is time to wrap this thing up. This was, I’m fairly certain, the biggest Top 40 from a writing perspective I’ve produced yet, and I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and commenting. [Brett: We DID enjoy it! Thanks for the great work, Luke. You are the man.]

The Top 40

Prelude to the Top 40 – Discussing the process of ranking prospects

Beyond the Top 40 – Seven prospects who missed the cut

Ranks 1 to 8
1. Willson Conteras, C
2. Gleyber Torres, SS
3. Ian Happ, 2B
4. Albert Almora, CF
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
6. Dylan Cease, RHP
7. Billy McKinney, OF
8. Pierce Johnson, RHP

Ranks 9 to 16
9. Jake Stinnett, RHP
10. Eloy Jimenez, OF
11. Bryan Hudson, LHP
12. Oscar De Le Cruz, RHP
13. Carl Edwards, RHP
14. Ryan Williams, RHP
15. Mark Zagunis, OF
16. Duane Underwood, RHP

Ranks 17 to 24
17. Trevor Clifton, RHP
18. Justin Steele, LHP
19. Dan Vogelbach, DH
20. Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
21. Bijan Rademacher, OF
22. Chesney Young, 2B
23. Rob Zastryzny, LHP
24. Brad Markey, RHP

Ranks 25 to 32
25. Dave Berg, RHP
26. Donny Dewees, OF
27. D.J. Wilson, OF
28. Carson Sands, LHP
29. Victor Caratini, C
30. Christian Villanueva, 3B
31. Paul Blackburn, RHP
32. Jacob Hannemann, OF

Ranks 33 to 40
33. Corey Black, RHP
34. Daury Torrez, RHP
35. Jason Vosler, 3B
36. Taylor Davis, C
37. Rashad Crawford, OF
38. Felix Pena, RHP
39. Josh Conway, RHP
40. Wladimir Galindo, 3B

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.