BA’s Cubs Top Prospects

Baseball America has released it's post-2006 "Top 10 Prospects," listing the top twenty prospects from each minor league. Here's how the Cubs fared... PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE (AAA): CF Felix Pie rated #11 LHP Rich Hill rated #16 SOUTHERN LEAGUE (AA): RHP Sean Gallagher rated #12 2B Eric Patterson rated #17 FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE (A+) LHP Donald Veal rated #5 RHP Sean Gallagher rated #11 MIDWEST LEAGUE (A) LHP Donald Veal rated #9 NORTHWEST LEAGUE (SS-A) OF Tyler Colvin rated #1 LHP Mark Pawelek rated #9 ARIZONA LEAGUE (R) RHP Jose Ceda rated #14 LHP Rich Hill (AAA), C Jake Fox (A+), and OF Tyler Colvin (SS-A) were named to the All-Star team from their respective levels. WHAT THIS MEANS: BA compiles its ratings by interviewing managers (both the player's manager and opposing managers) from each league as well as scouts who have actually seen the players. BA writers and editors then get together and give a subjective arbitrary ranking to the various players in each league. BA ranked Felix Pie as the #11 prospect in the Pacific Coast League, but also the #5 OF prospect in the PCL behind Matt Kemp (LAD), Chris Young (AZ), Adam Jones (SEA), and Carlos Quentin (AZ). Outfield prospects ranked in the Top 10 of the International League (the other AAA league) were Delmon Young (TB), Lastings Milledge (NYM), and Ryan Sweeney (CHW), so it would probably be somewhat likely that BA would rate Pie as the #8 OF prospect in AAA as of right now, and the #5 AAA CF prospect (behind Milledge, Young, Sweeney, and Jones), and the #2 AAA left-handed hitting OF prospect (behind only Sweeney). Although he was rated the #16 best prospect in the Pacific Coast League overall, Rich Hill was the 6th-highest rated pitcher in the PCL, behind Jered Weaver (LAA), Chad Billingsley (LAD), Jason Hirsh (HOU), Anthony Reyes (STL), and John Danks (TEX), and the #2 rated LHP prospect in the PCL (behind only Danks). Pitchers rated by BA in the Top 15 of the International League (AAA) are LHP Jeremy Sowers (CLE), LHP Tom Gorzelanny (PIT), RHP Hayden Penn (BAL), RHP Humberto Sanchez (DET), RHP Jamie Shields (TB), RHP Brandon League (TOR), RHP Jason Hammel (TB), and RHP Dustin McGowan (TOR), which would probably make Hill the #15-rated pitching prospect--and the #4-rated LHP prospect--in AAA (both leagues combined). Donald Veal had a higher ranking at A+ Daytona than he did at Class-A Peoria, and although he may well have improved during the course of the year and pitched somewhat better at a higher level (Daytona) than he did at one level lower (Peoria), the ranking was probably more a matter of the number of teams and prospects in each league. At Daytona, Veal was rated behind Homer Bailey (CIN), Yovanni Gallardo (MIL), and Scott Elbert (LAD), while at Peoria Veal was ranked behind four different pitchers--Nick Adenhart (LAA), Jacob McGee (TB), Jaime Garcia (STL), and Wade Davis (TB). Likewise, Sean Gallagher was ranked in the Top 20 in two different leagues, #11 in the Florida State League (FSL) and #12 in the Southern League (SL). The five pitchers rated ahead of Gallagher in the AA SL included three who were also rated ahead of Veal in the FSL--Bailey, Gallardo, and Elbert (each got a mid-season promotion to AA), plus also Jeff Niemann (TB) and Anibal Sanchez (FLA). In addition to Bailey, Gallardo, Elbert, and Veal, Mark Rogers (MIL) and Kevin Slowey (MIN) were the pitchers rated ahead of Gallagher in the FSL. Eric Patterson was rated the #17 prospect in the Southern League, but was also the #1 2B prospect in AA (all three leagues). Mark Pawelek was the #4 rated pitcher in the Northwest League, and Jose Ceda was the 4th-highest rated pitcher in the AZL. BA will not be releasing its individual club Top 10 lists until later in the year and early next year, but I think it's likely the BA Cubs Top 10 will look something like this: 1. Donald Veal, LHP 2. Felix Pie, CF 3. Sean Gallagher, RHP 4. Tyler Colvin, OF 5. Jeff Samardzija, RHP 6. Eric Patterson, 2B 7. Mark Pawelek, LHP 8. Scott Moore, 3B 9. Jae-kuk Ryu, RHP 10. Jake Fox, C Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, and Sean Marshall (who were on the BA Cubs Top 10 Prospects list last year) have pitched too many MLB innings to qualify for the new Cubs Top 10 Prospects list (BA has a 50 IP limit). NOTE: BA's Cubs post-2005 Top 10 Prospects were (1-10): Pie, Pawelek, Ronny Cedeno, Guzman, Hill, Marshall, Ricky Nolasco (traded to FLA in the Juan Pierre deal), Ryan Harvey, Brian Dopirak, and Eric Patterson. I would expect Veal, Pie, Gallagher, and Colvin to be among BA's 2007 pre-season Top 100 Prospects (which will be released during Spring Training).
Return to Homepage

Comments

I am curious what others think - does the fact that Tyler Colvin rate as number 4 in the Cubs top ten prospects mean that he is that good after being drafted last year as teh Cubs #1 pick when everyone thought it was a reach? Or does it mean that the Cubs do not have much of a farm system if he is the #4 guy after a year in A ball?

Option A

he's not rated #4th yet, those are AZ Phil's guesses on who the top 10 will be.

But a #1 ranking in the league by an independant observer probably means he doesn't suck and that's being compared to his peers from other clubs.

But he's way down in the food chain, until I see some success in AA or AAA, I don't get too excited.

Thanks for the insight.

Any idea how the Cubs' organization would stack up in BA rankings against other organizations?

FWIW, I enjoy reading BA, but I've come to the view that they may emphasize "toolsiness" in evaluating prospects more than others would (although they are quick to praise elements such as command and strike zone judgment where they exist). Does anyone else have the same impression?

I would think it is more the idea that the minor league system is getting thinner and thinner. Our rankings by BA have dropped steadily since 2002. Not to take anything away from Colvin, he had a great first year and may be a stud, but the Cubs minor league system just aren't top notch like they were in the early 2000's.

**The Cubs rankings by BA have been:
2001- 2nd
2002- 1st
2003- 3rd
2004- 7th
2005- 10th
2006- 15th
2007- ??? (losing Cedeno, Guzman, Hill, Marshall and Nolasco, might move us down even more)

Of course BA is not the end all be all, but I haven't seen any other rankings have us in the top 10.

#3 of 3: By Dying Cub Fan (October 4, 2006 01:10 PM)
FWIW, I enjoy reading BA, but I've come to the view that they may emphasize "toolsiness" in evaluating prospects more than others would (although they are quick to praise elements such as command and strike zone judgment where they exist). Does anyone else have the same impression?

DYING CUB FAN: Absolutely. BA has always emphasized tools & ceiling over actual performance on the field. That's why a number of Cubs prospects appeared to be better than they really were (Kelton, Goldbach, Choi, Bobby Hill, Corey Patterson, et al), while others (like Rich Hlll, Michael Wuertz, and Ryan Theriot, for instance) flew under the radar and have turned out (so far) to be better than others who were thought to be better prospects.

The thing that bothers me about Colvin is I think he is old for his league. Isn't he basically playing with 18-19 year olds and he is about 21 or so and has played college ball. Shouldn't he have gone to a higher level? Most of the college players start at full season A ball, not short season. Also, his statistics were not great, he hit only in the .265 range. I have a wait and see approach to him.

Concerning Veal, his write-up did not sound very encouraging. He has an odd delivery (future arm problems?), telegraphs his pitches and really only throws a fast ball. This is our #1 prospect!

Veal isn't our #1 prospect

A's up 2-0 btw in the 5th

Most players who are drafted start out in short-season or the Arizona League since they both start right after the draft. But yeah, he's a bit old for the league. Maybe they'll bump him to Daytona next year or at the very least promote him aggressively if he starts in Peoria.

#6 of 8: By TJ (October 4, 2006 01:25 PM)
The thing that bothers me about Colvin is I think he is old for his league. Isn't he basically playing with 18-19 year olds and he is about 21 or so and has played college ball. Shouldn't he have gone to a higher level?

--

TJ: No. The Northwest League has a lot of college players making their pro debut, and also players with a year or two of rookie ball experience. It is the AZL Mesa Cubs who are mostly kids coming straight out of high school or JC and teenagers from Latin America.

As for Colvin, he just turned 21 a month ago, and 21 is a typical age for most players in the NWL, and 20 (which Colvin was while playing at Boise) is actually a bit younger than average for the NWL.

BTW, I do not necessarily buy into the "too old for a league" thing. Sometimes that might be true, but what matters more to me is how many years of professional experience a player has, not how old he is. And when a position player stalls and has to repeat a certain level, that matters. Not continuing to progress at a steady rate is a problem, especially for position players. Pitchers (especially lefties) are a bit different, though, because the light can suddenly go on at anytime.

#7 of 8: By Rob G. (October 4, 2006 01:31 PM)
Veal isn't our #1 prospect

-

ROB G: I agree with you, because personally I rate Felix Pie #1 and Sean Gallagher #2, but I believe Baseball America will rank Donald Veal #1 when the BA Cubs Top 10 list comes out later this off-season.

#4 of 9: By mannytrillo (October 4, 2006 01:16 PM)
I would think it is more the idea that the minor league system is getting thinner and thinner. Our rankings by BA have dropped steadily since 2002. Not to take anything away from Colvin, he had a great first year and may be a stud, but the Cubs minor league system just aren't top notch like they were in the early 2000's.

----

MANNY T: I agree with you. The Cub farm system has gradually degraded over the past few years, although I believe the Top 5 guys (Pie, Gallagher, Veal, Colvin, and Eric Patterson) are all definite major league prospects.

It would help if the Cubs would go stronger into Latin America and get back into the Pacific Rim (Japan, Korea, and Taiwan).

BTW, Team China (which is playing in the Arizona Instructional League) is a joke. There is no such thing as a routine play for the PRC fellows. I've seen little leaguers with more baseball acumen. They must be learning baseball by reading Quotations from Chairman Mao.

yeah, that's more of what I was thinking, my own rankings would probably be:

Felix Pie
Sean Gallagher
Donald Veal
Eric Patterson
Mark Pawelek
Tyler Colvin
Jake Fox
Scott Moore
Jae-kuk Ryu
Jeff Samardzija

Ceda's got a lot of potential but a long way to go, but he'd probably be #11.

shuffling the deck basically....

Honorable mentions to Sam Fuld, Randy Wells, Chris Huseby, Grant Johnson (falling fast though), Ryan Harvey, Brian Dopirak (about to be a bust though), Miguel Negron, Clay Rapada, Chris Shaver, Josh Lansford

Dodger uber-prospect Andy Laroche is having labrum surgery if anyone cares

Thank Arizona Phil, I feel better about Colvin. I liked what they said about his quick hands. What do you think of Mitch Atkins? Have you ever seen him pitch? Is he another Sean Gallagher type, i.e., not a history of great stuff, but gets people out. Or does he have better stuff. I don't know anything about him, but he had great stats this year.

ROB G: I don't know if Sam Fuld is going to need back surgery, but if and when he is 100%, he is a left-handed version of Ryan Theriot. I'm not kidding. If you were to hit Fuld/Theriot 1-2 in a batting order, several pitchers around the league would have to be institutionalized. One cockroach crawling over your sandwich is bad enough, but having to deal with two will drive a sane man to lithium.

BTW, besides Jose Ceda (who must throw methane gas, because he gives opposing hitters the shits), there is another pitcher I really like that I've seen pitch quite a bit down here (AZL Mesa and now Instructional League), and that is Miguel Cuevas. He throws hard (though not as hard as Ceda) and he throws strikes, and he sort of looks like Lee Smith, only taller (I think he's supposed to be 6'9).

Jake Renshaw has also pitched really well (outstanding straight-change), but he has one of those arm-injury-waiting-to-happen herky-jerky deliveries that makes me cringe.

And Mark Pawelek has looked very good. When he is going good, his mechanics look real smooth. I only hope he can keep throwing year-round so he won't come to minor league camp with his delivery all fouled up again, as happened last March.

#12 of 13: By TJ (October 4, 2006 02:11 PM)
Thank Arizona Phil, I feel better about Colvin. I liked what they said about his quick hands. What do you think of Mitch Atkins? Have you ever seen him pitch? Is he another Sean Gallagher type, i.e., not a history of great stuff, but gets people out. Or does he have better stuff. I don't know anything about him, but he had great stats this year.

--

TJ: Mitch Atkins is a Sean Gallager-type pitcher, but to tell you the truth, I have never been impressed with Atkins. I know he had a really fine year at Peoria, and I am happy to see him maybe turn the corner, but I haven't seen him pitch since Spring Training, so I will wait to say anything further about him until I can watch him in action next ST. His stuff always seemed a bit "short" (like not quite good enough) to me.

Pawelek admitted himself that he came into camp this year out of shape and unprepared and said that won't happen again. Hopefully he's a man of his word.

Was Cuevas one of the big Latin American signings the Cubs made this year? I thought I recall them signing a couple of guys that were quite the coup.

Thanks again Arizona Phil. The most important stat I look at for minor league pitchers is hits per innnings pitched. If minor leaguers are hitting a pitcher, major laeguers certainly are going to have problems with him. I was always excited about Rich Hill in the minors, because he always had a lot less hits than IP's. Now he appears to added command (another important ingrediant, which usually comes later for a lot of pitchers) to his arsenal. Hitters only hit .217 against Atkins which is very good, but I suspected what you confirmed.

#15 of 16: By Rob G. (October 4, 2006 02:47 PM)
Was Cuevas one of the big Latin American signings the Cubs made this year? I thought I recall them signing a couple of guys that were quite the coup.

--

ROB G: No, you're probably thinking of Larry Suarez, and I haven't seen him pitch yet.

Cuevas is Dominican, but he was selected in a 30-something round in the June draft out of a California JC. He speaks English very well. How a Domnican kid got to Southern California (basketball or football, maybe?), I don't know, but I guess if Albert Pujols went to high school in Kansas City, Cuevas could attend a J. C. in L. A.

Cuevas looks like he could play right tackle for the Bears. He has really long arms, and he throws with a real easy and fluid (almost effortless) motion.

AZ Phil wrote:

BTW, Team China (which is playing in the Arizona Instructional League) is a joke. There is no such thing as a routine play for the PRC fellows. I've seen little leaguers with more baseball acumen. They must be learning baseball by reading Quotations from Chairman Mao.
-

"Opposite field power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

"In waking a Tiger, use a long Kyle Farnsworth."

(Well, that last one was really my alternative-reality 8th inning last night).

Actually BA thinks Chris Huseby is better than Jose Ceda. During the AZL chat they said that Huseby would have been Top 10 in the league if he picked up enough innings.

Is Larry Suarez really in instructs so soon after signing as a 16-year old?

Anyone else impress you in Mesa?

Thanks for the writeups!

#20 of 20: By Nick (October 4, 2006 07:38 PM)
Is Larry Suarez really in instructs so soon after signing as a 16-year old?

Anyone else impress you in Mesa?

Thanks for the writeups!

--

NICK: I believe Suarez is 18.

As for who has been impressive down here, I mentioned most of them already.

Certainly Tyler Colvin has imprssed me the most. I had seen him play on TV in the CWS, but not in person. Seeing him play, I can see the comparisons to a young Shawn Green. Also, Colvin has been playing all three OF positions out here, and although he may not have the arm of a Ryan Harvey or Felix Pie, he has a stronger arm than Matt Murton (for example).

Ceda, Cuevas, Pawelek, and Renshaw have been the most-imprssive Cubs pitchers I have seen in the Instructional League. I talked about them in an earlier post, so I won't repeat myself, but they have all loooked good so far.

The problem is, even taking what I may say about the young pitchers as something positive, they aren't THAT good. I mean, I haven't seen too much else to write TCR about. There is a dearth of talent in the lower levels of the Cubs farm system, probably the weakest I've seen in many years.

For the last few years, the Cubs have had a deep farm system without a real super hot-shot (as Corey Patterson was at one time) in their Top 5 (although I think Pie is an elite prospect, although many others disagree). Now I would say the Cubs Top 5 (Pie, Gallagher, Veal, Colvin, and E. Patterson) are probably better, but the depth is lacking. Instead, guys like Rich Hill and Ryan Theriot have traveled under the radar and are in the process of establishing themselves as major leaguers.

As I said, the Cubs need to go stronger into Latin America, and re-establish themselves in the Pacific Rim.

Where did you find the Southern League Top 20? you mention that Scott Moore didn't make BA's Southern League rankings. His K rate is a concern, but he's not adverse to BBs and his power numbers seem respectable for the Southern League. I had always heard his defense was suspect, but then BA named him the best defensive 3Bman in the league.

What's your impression of Moore as a prospect and what's your take of BA's impression? Thanks!

According to cubs.com, Larry Suarez was 16 when he signed:

The Cubs also announced they have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan pitcher Larry Suarez.

"We feel like we signed the top pitcher out of Latin America," said Oneri Fleita, Cubs player development director.

Thanks for your info.

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.js...

#22 of 22: By Blue-Eyed Monster (October 5, 2006 01:48 PM)
Where did you find the Southern League Top 20? you mention that Scott Moore didn't make BA's Southern League rankings. His K rate is a concern, but he's not adverse to BBs and his power numbers seem respectable for the Southern League. I had always heard his defense was suspect, but then BA named him the best defensive 3Bman in the league.

What's your impression of Moore as a prospect and what's your take of BA's impression? Thanks!

----

BLUE EYED MONSTER: The Minor League Top 10s are in the current issue of Baseball America. I don't know where you can buy one in your area, but I have been a BA subscriber for almost 20 years and get mine in the mail. Before I discovered BA in 1987, I had subscribed to The Sporting News for 25 years. Once known as the "Baseball Bible," TSN was really good in its coverage of the minor leagues back in the 1960's (they printed all of the current minor league stats and box scores from the previous week, which was pretty good for the 60's!), but TSN gradually lost its focus.

As for Scott Moore, I have no idea why BA did not include Moore in its SL Top 20. Maybe that topic will be addressed when BA has its Southern League "chat" on-line.

As for my impression of Moore, I like Moore's power a lot and he runs pretty well, too, but he is just not a very good hitter at this point. Defensively, I have seen him make outstanding plays at 3B, but I have also seen him boot really easy ones. That said, I think he is an MLB prospect, and will probably be among BA's Top Ten Cubs Prospects (probably #8 or #9) when that list is released.

If Hendry re-signs Ramirez to a contact extention, either Moore becomes a trading chip for a more-useful piece, or the Cubs move him to another position or positions, and try to make him into a SS (again) or possibly a corner OF, or maybe a Geoff Blum-type bench guy who can play 3B-1B-LF-RF and PH.

Moore has been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL (which begins play soon), and with Pat Listach as the manager (it was the Cubs turn to supply the Solar Sox manager this year), I wouldn't be surprised to see Moore play a number of different positions in the AFL, prepping him for a career as a corner IF-OF utlity guy and lefty bat off the bench.

NICK: There is some question about how old Larry Suarez really is. I don't know that his true DOB has been published anywhere, but if and when I find out what it is for sure, I will post it somewhere here at TCR. So be alert! Anyway, he is either 16, 17, or 18.

Thanks! I'm an online-only BA subscriber and it doesn't look like they make the league lists available online until the day of the chat.

Miguel Cuevas played at LA Pierce in Woodland Hills, Ca the same JC that Barry Zito and Coco Crisp played at. Iam the coach and also have worked for the Cubs for the past 25 years---Cuevas is 6'9", throws 88-92, and has the making of a plus change-up.

Thanks, Arizona Phil!

Thanks, Arizona Phil.

Another question for you based on your guess of BA's Cubs' Top 10 (and an aside, I agree that Felix should be rated ahead of Veal): you don't think Mateo will crack the top-10 list?

#29 of 29: By Nick (October 7, 2006 09:14 AM)
Thanks, Arizona Phil.

Another question for you based on your guess of BA's Cubs' Top 10 (and an aside, I agree that Felix should be rated ahead of Veal): you don't think Mateo will crack the top-10 list?

-

NICK: First of all, you are correct that Juan Mateo still qualifies as a "prospect" by BA standards (less than MLB 50 IP). However, if he had pitched six innings or more in his last start, he would not have.

I don't know what the writers & editors at BA will ultimately decide (the whole process is very arbitrary), but I think Mateo is not considered as good a prospect as Jae-kuk Ryu (for instance) because Ryu has better pure stuff and thus a higher ceiling.

#27 of 30: By Bob (October 6, 2006 03:50 PM)
Miguel Cuevas played at LA Pierce in Woodland Hills, Ca the same JC that Barry Zito and Coco Crisp played at. Iam the coach and also have worked for the Cubs for the past 25 years---Cuevas is 6'9", throws 88-92, and has the making of a plus change-up.

-

BOB: Thanks for the additional info!

Cuevas is one of the best pitchers I have seen here in Mesa this Summer, both in the AZL and now in the Instructional League. He seems more polished than the typical pitcher you see down here, especially in the AZL. It's amazing to me that he wasn't picked in a higher round of the June Draft.

How did a Dominican kid end up in Woodland Hills? He looks like he could be a power-forward on a basketball team or maybe an offensive tackle on a football team. Was baseball his only sport at Pierce?

azphil----Cuevas came to Pierce by way of agent Gus Dominguez, who lives in Woodland Hills and has been bringing many Cuban defectors to Pierce College to work out for the last 15 years---the Cubans never have played at the college, they get ready for signing with ML team (ie Beneacourt)---Cuevas played only baseball, and he is every bit of 6'9"---prior to the draft BA had in rated as high as 10th round---lets hope he follows the path of Zito, from Pierce to the big leagues

#32 of 32: By Bob (October 7, 2006 12:37 PM)
azphil----Cuevas came to Pierce by way of agent Gus Dominguez, who lives in Woodland Hills and has been bringing many Cuban defectors to Pierce College to work out for the last 15 years---the Cubans never have played at the college, they get ready for signing with ML team (ie Beneacourt)---Cuevas played only baseball, and he is every bit of 6'9"---prior to the draft BA had in rated as high as 10th round---lets hope he follows the path of Zito, from Pierce to the big leagues

--

BOB: Thanks for the background on Miguel Cuevas.

BTW, another outstanding two inning outing by Cuevas today versus the A's Instructional League team at Fitch.

Any idea as to why Cuevas slipped in the draft? Sore arm? Signed an LOI with a Div 1 school?

FWIW, for anyone interested, Casey Kopitzke is now an organization catching instructor. If he has the ability to impart his knowledge to others, he should be a pretty good instructor, because he was one heckuva defensive catcher.

Another question for you, ArizonaPhil (again, thanks for answering my questions).

Do you know if Billy Petrick is back at full health? I know he went on the DL after 3 starts in Daytona with a sore shoulder. I was wondering how serious that was. I was pretty impressed at his success and quick return to Boise, especially when compared to the Blasko and Hagertys of the world.

#34 of 34: By Nick (October 10, 2006 05:48 PM)
Another question for you, ArizonaPhil (again, thanks for answering my questions).

Do you know if Billy Petrick is back at full health? I know he went on the DL after 3 starts in Daytona with a sore shoulder. I was wondering how serious that was. I was pretty impressed at his success and quick return to Boise, especially when compared to the Blasko and Hagertys of the world.

NICK: I haven't heard anything new about Billy Petrick. I know he was shut-down at Daytona for the rest of the 2006 season, but I don't know what his medical prognosis is or how that will affect 2007. Hopefully, he was shut-down only for precautionary reasons and will come out strong & healthy in 2007.

I hope so too. He's kid I really like. Thanks.

X
  • Sign in with Twitter