The Mid-Season 2017 Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List: All The Rankings And More

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The Mid-Season 2017 Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List: All The Rankings And More

Chicago Cubs

Last week, we wrapped up our post-Trade Deadline re-ranking of the Cubs’ top 40 prospects. If you missed any of the write ups on each and every one of these prospects, you can find there here:

From 40 through 33
From 32 through 25
From 24 through 17
From 16 through 9
From 8 thorough 1

Overall, the trend here is pretty clear. The Cubs have some potential impact talent, but it is very deep in the system and comes with a lot of risk. There are no elite prospects. There are only a handful of prospects with a shot at becoming elite prospects one day. By pretty much any measure you care to name, this is not a top tier farm system.

It is not a good farm system for all the right reasons, though. A lot of graduations and trades have depleted it, not a lot of injuries and chronic underperformance. If a team is going to have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, they would much prefer to deliberately have one than accidentally wind up there. Unfortunately, no matter how a team got there, the costs are quite real and cannot be ignored.

Prospect rankings are only one way to evaluate a farm system. Another way is to look at the impact that farm system can have at the major league level over the next year or so. If we look at the Cubs’ farm system that way, we get something like this.

Likely to be promoted next season: Not much. A couple relievers, maybe two or three back of the rotation starter candidates. A backup catcher, some bench outfielders, and a utility infielder or two. That’s pretty much it.

Valuable trade candidates: Not much here either. The best of the pitchers are either very deep in the system, have some concerning injury histories, or have a relatively limited upside that would reduce their trade value. The best of the bats are either deep in the system or look more likely to be role players than future regulars. There is not enough here to trade for another Jose Quintana. Or maybe even another Justin Wilson/Alex Avila combo. They might be able to swing a Mike Montgomery, but that’s about it.

Depth for the major league roster: Quite a lot of pitching, actually, but it is unproven. Catcher and outfield aren’t in bad shape. The infield is thin, though.

That means any roster improvements the Cubs make over the next eighteen months or so will almost certainly have to come from creative trades, trades involving players on the 40 man roster, or free agency. That is certainly a viable strategy, but it is a risky one. And one we’ll be talking about more over the winter.

On the good side, we now really get to see how the Cubs go about rebuilding a farm system while maintaining a contender. That will be a titanic challenge. Between the harsh restrictions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on the one hand and the need to maintain the major league contender on the other, the Cubs will probably have to continue to spend minor league talent faster than they can acquire and develop it. And since the CBA greatly reduces the value of draft picks from losing high end free agents as well as closes the international signing splurge strategy, even some of the methods of talent acquisition we are used to seeing will be gone. We’ll be talking quite a bit more about that over the winter as well.

Depleted as it is, the farm system isn’t entirely void of talent. Pitching in particular may actually be as strong as it has been since the current front office took over the system. We have should have plenty of to talk about as we watch this group of mostly very young talent develop, struggle, adapt, and hopefully thrive. It should be fun.

Pulling this list together was not as fun as it has been in the past – I didn’t have an excuse to watch someone like Bryant or Contreras or Jimenez smash baseballs for an exorbitant amount of time, for one thing – but it was interesting.  And hopefully it serves as a useful way to recalibrate any outdated expectations about the Cubs’ farm system.  The glory days are over; welcome to the Age of Replenishment.  In any event, thanks for reading.

Finally, all in one place for easy reference, here are the Cubs Top 40 Prospects, with a reminder that players with big league experience were considered graduated:

1. Jose Albertos
2. Oscar De La Cruz
3. Adbert Alzolay
4. Aramis Ademan
5. Tom Hatch
6. Jen-Ho Tseng
7. Brendan Little
8. Ian Rice
9. Alex Lange
10. Javier Assad
11. D.J. Wilson
12. Wladimir Galindo
13. Charcer Burks
14. Justin Steele
15. Dillon Maples
16. Jason Vosler
17. Eddy Martinez
18. Trevor Clifton
19. Jonathan Sierra
20. Michael Rucker
21. Jhonny Bethencourt
22. Chesny Young
23. Miguel Amaya
24. Vimael Machin
25. Dakota Mekkes
26. Erling Moreno
27. Jacob Hannemann
28. Bryan Hudson
29. Rafael Narea
30. Austin Upshaw
31. Trey Martin
32. Zack Short
33. Andruw Monasterio
34. Alec Mills
35. Carlos Sepulveda
36. Kevonte Mitchell
37. Jake Stinnett
38. Matt Carasiti
39. Yeiler Peguero
40. Brailyn Marquez

Author: Luke Blaize

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