Chicago Cubs Farm System Ranking at Baseball America: Surprisingly Mediocre
The early farm system rankings this year had the Chicago Cubs right around the number 10 mark, which is what I’ve widely expected to be a pretty fair rankings range for an exceptionally deep system, but one that is lacking a significant volume of top-tier impact talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the rankings has the Cubs closer to the top five, but I do think 10-ish is going to be their 50th percentile outcome in the rankings, so to speak.
I suppose, though, if you expect one outlier to the high side, you should also expect at an outlier to the low side:
For Baseball America, the Chicago Cubs’ farm system currently ranks just 16th right now. It’s just one ranking, and the difference between 9/10/11 and 15/16/17 is really not all that pronounced. However, you can’t deny that, after a multi-year rebuilding process, it would be mighty disappointing to know that the Cubs had merely lifted themselves to average.
That would be especially the case when you see that the Cardinals (9) and Brewers (13) rank higher than the Cubs, and have definitely NOT been rebuilding. Do they get an assist in the draft and in the international market because of the CBA? Yes. Enough to make up the difference between a couple competitive teams and one that has been explicitly devoted to building back up the farm system? Nope. If you buy these rankings right now as the best reflection of farm talent in baseball, it tells a pretty damning story.
Me? I think the Cubs’ system is probably better than 16th in baseball, but we all know that I’m biased. I love the extreme, quality depth in the system, and I think that has more value than it seems like BA is according it. But I also recognize that the Cubs have loads of prospects who COULD be top 100 types, but only a few that are even close to consensus top 100 types. Is it really that much of a stretch to describe such a system as “average”?
Ultimately, the Cubs’ farm system could be in a very different place come July, thanks to so many prospects who could break out in the interim. In some sense, the rankings as of this moment matter a little less for an organization with this much prospect variance. But, yeah, safe to say it would be nice to see the Cubs as a consensus top ten system by midseason.