Sickels Top 20 Cubs Prospects

Here's the latest Cubs prospects list from John Sickels.

  1. Starlin Castro (B+)
  2. Josh Vitters (B+)
  3. Brett Jackson (B)
  4. Jay Jackson (B)
  5. Andrew Cashner(B)
  6. Hak-Ju Lee (B)
  7. Chris Carpenter (B-)
  8. Kyler Burke (B-)
  9. Ryan Flaherty (B-)
  10. D.J. LeMahieu (C+)
  11. Brooks Raley (C+)
  12. Logan Watkins (C+)
  13. Esmailin Caridad (C+)
  14. Blake Parker (C+)
  15. John Gaub (C+)
  16. Matt Spencer (C+)
  17. Dae-Eun Rhee (C+)
  18. Casey Coleman (C+)
  19. Tyler Colvin (C)
  20. Jeff Beliveau (C)

You can view past lists by Sickels at Wiklifield. 

He has 9 of the same 10 names that Baseball America had in their top 10, although he's higher on Kyler Burke and dropped Logan Watkins to make the room. Arizona Phil's Top 15 shares most of the same names as well. There's still the Baseball Prospectus and Scout.com lists before another edition of Prospect Listmania.

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Comments

From the link: "Space limits are forcing me to cut back now...I've been doing 40 players per team..."

How do you end up with space limits on a web page? Did something happen to web technology that nobody told me about?

Overall, though, a somewhat encouraging report. Maybe Hendry can trade away the best ones for a nice journeyman outfielder.

EDIT: Ah, it's part of a book: http://www.johnsickels.net/

That explains the space limit thing. Never mind then.

If Kyler Burke hits the big time for the Cubs, we'll have Michael Barrett to blame.

Lol....good one Blue!!

Rebel Ridling snubbed or just not serious prospect material?

I wouldn't call it snubbed, but I also wouldn't say he's "not a serious prospect". There's enough worth watching there, but he also is old for Low A, and there's consistency issues that need to be addressed. Also, I could be wrong, but IIRC, he was better this year when he shortened his swing and didn't try to hammer it out each time.

He's a C prospect, and you can mix and match C prospects. John even notes him in his writeup, pointing to the age as the reason he was left off.

The bigger surprises to me where Antigua/Searle/Archer/Huseby all being C's. I thought at least one or two of them would be C+'s (if not all of them), but I can also understand why he has them as C's. While I have Antigua higher, Searle might've been more surprising as he had a fairly solid season in Daytona, tailing off at the end.

Thought it might be fun to try to put together the Cubs 2013 team using only Cubs prospects.

Batting order
1. Hak-Ju Lee-L-CF Position change to get on the field.
2. Castro-R-SS
3. Jackson-L-LF
4. Vitters-R-1B
5. Burk-L-RF
6. LeMahieu-R-2nd
7. Flaherty-L-3rd
8. Chirinos-R-C

Rotation
1. Cashner
2. J. Jackson
3. Raley
4. Carpenter
5. Antigue

Bullpen
Closer-Parker
Caridad-R
Dolis-R
Coleman-R
Gaub-L
Beliveau-L

Bench:
Barney-inf
Castillo-C
Colvin-OF
Watkins-inf
Spencer-inf,of

Interesting topic...but if Chirinos is the catcher in 2013..there are problems...

I have only read some things about Chirinos on message boards. Most have been very positive. What are some of his weaknesses? Seems like Castillo's stock had fallen some over the last year.

Chirinos is a nice story, but he's a failed middle infielder that the Cubs are semi-grooming to be a coach. He's 25 years old, and should tear up Hi-A Daytona.
His career #'s are .252/.342/.402.

He is not a prospect, in my extremely humble opinion.

There was actually some talk, by other people than VA Phil that he may get drafted in the Rule V. He didn't but I would say that he has some admirers in various scouting circles.

Castillo is the #1 catching prospect for the Cubs,and he's got warts as well. I would probably put Brenly as teh backup.

Agreed TRN...Brenly..hmm..Castillo really took a step back this season.

A big part of Castillo's luster came from some unsustainably hight BABIP numbers in 2008. Things evened out for him a good bit last year, and that's more in line with what I think you'd reasonably suspect.

Brenly hasn't put up any eye catching numbers, but I like his chances as a guy who just keeps 'holding his own', getting promoted once a year and eventually winds up in the majors.

Chirinos is a good leader/mentor type whose defense has reportedly improved leaps and bounds (I don't recall seeing him this year, but my memory is sucking these days). I don't think anyone really buys the bat, but if his defense is solid, he becomes a solid backup backstop option if he can hit enough to justify moving him up.

I might be the only person left that likes Castillo a fair amount. Okay, I'm not the only one, as AzPhil ranked him fairly high as well. Castillo's bat had some bad luck in the first half before having a strong 2nd half. He's never going to have elite discipline, but he's got some power. His defense, by most accounts, improved and was more consistent. He should be in AA/AAA next year. A big year and he may get a shot in 2011 if Soto struggles (if Soto is fine, I'd imagine that Castillo would be in the minors some more to fine-tune things, but that's a ways off).

I think I'd rearrange that a bit based on current projections of their defensive abilities:

Hak-Ju Lee plays 2nd, Brett Jackson plays CF, LeMahieu or Colvin starts in LF, in addition to Castillo being the starting C over Chirinos. Other than that, it's interesting that the Cubs finally have position player prospects who reasonably project as starting players, if things work out. Maybe some of that optimism has to do with the youth of many of these players, but it's still nice to see. If the Cubs were to blow up the team Marlins style after 2010 or 2011, the following year might look something like this, plus guys like Hoffpauir, Koyie Hill, Berg, Patton, Fuld, etc. (Of course, the Cubs will not blow up the team that way as long as they continue to make the sort of money they make now and have no excuse to do so.)

Also, while acknowledging this is just a fun thought exercise, I'd like to note that if Castro and Lee are both productive at AAA and/or the MLB level and are legit defensive SS, one of them gets traded to fill a need because the system has Theriot, LeMahieu, Flaherty, and possibly Watkins and/or Tony Thomas(real longshot) to play 2nd. Lee makes it to CF only if Jackson and Colvin both bust and the Cubs can't find anything useful via trade or free agency.

The newest issue of BA had an "All not top 10" prospect team for the NL - made of the best guys who didn't make the top 10 lists for their teams. The Cubs had the most players, Burke, Gaub and... I think the third guy was Beliveau, I'll double check at lunch.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2009/12/...

Two American League officials say the Cubs definitely are dangling Carlos Zambrano, but those same officials say Zambrano has no desire to waive his no-trade clause and leave Chicago. The Mets' pitching staff features three of Zambrano's friends from his native Venezuela in Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez and Kelvim Escobar.

Meanwhile, SI.com's Jon Heyman -- via Twitter -- calls the Zambrano reports a "time-waster," citing Big Z's no-trade clause. Zambrano's agent Barry Praver said recently that Zambrano wants to remain with the Cubs.

My 2010 Cubs predictions:

1. Hendry will be fired no later than 10/31/2010.
2. Pinella will not get a contract renewal after this season.
3. Zambrano (and Fukudome) will continue to have their contracts dangled for trade purposes to teams they will eventually approve waiving their NTC's.
4. D. Lee, Lilly, and Samardzija, will not be re-signed - taking $27+M off the 2011 books. Zambrano and Fukudome would save another $31M.
5. Although Ramirez will opt out, a new contract extension will be negotiated.
6. Core of the 2011 offense will be built around Ramirez, Castro, Soto, and Soriano (unfortunately). Unless Vitters, H. Lee, and Brett Jackson can be expected to adequately play while learning, 1-2 year FA's will be signed to fill in.
7. 2011 pitching will center around Dempster, Wells, Marmol, Guzman, Grabow, Cashner, J. Jackson, and 1 yr FA fill-ins.
8. The operative buzz word by the end of 2010 and into 2011 will be 'payroll flexibility'.
9. (Finally - God willing), a competent GM and player development staff will be hired before the 2011 season to separate the existing wheat from chaff and start building a real championship team.

OK.....part predictions, part hope.

With Castro and Vitters being B+ prospects, how many A prospects are there overall? Does this mean overall they are in the top 20, top 40?

I believe he does a top 50 pitchers and hitters list...past B+ prospects ranged anywhere from 20-40 the last two years...

as a side note, I believe Callis has joined with Keith Law suggesting Castro for top 20.

8/130 holliday to O's shot down by McPhaaaaaaaaaaail.

someone get him before STL...

I have to think the only team that really has a shot at pulling Holliday from St. Louis is Boston ... if they are willing to go beyond their limits (or can somehow clear a bunch of money). Doesn't look promising in that regards right now. They could definitely use a big bat. Youkilis/Ortiz/Martinez/Drew is a nice 3-6, but an upgrade could definitely help. It's odd - some folks inBoston have suggested Theo and Co. are biding their time, waiting for their top prospects to develop (like Westmoreland) and for some bad contracts to clear. If biding their time is Lackey and smart moves ... geesh, I wish the Cubs could bide their time.

Maybe we can pry Ellsbury or Hermida from them to clear the room?

It probably wouldn't clear enough based off the last estimates that were out there.

Holliday to St. Louis looks likely to happen soon. I wonder if the Red Sox push harder on Adrian Gonzalez, though I don't expect Hoyer to deal him unless it's a great deal.

I hope they do get him. I look forward to a few years from now when they have $45 million locked into two guys with declining skills at premium power positions. As opposed to our one guy.

Or it could preclude them from re-signing Pujols at all if he suddenly decides he'd like to explore the market.

Here's a general break down of Sickels' grades.

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2009/10/15/108...

SI_JonHeyman: #cards offered holliday at least 6 years and $100-million-plus at some point. but he didnt accept and is still talking to multiple teams
---
hopefully one is the Fighting Hams

We'd be happy to take him.

Just heard on STL radio that the Cardinals will have a deal finalized with Holliday within the first week of 2010. Hearing a lot of talk, but the deal is supposed to be around $100 million. Wonder what kind of dollars Pujols will get. I think with this signing, it is a safe bet to put St. Louis in the driver's seat for the Central crown. As long as their 1-2 combo of Wainwright and Carpenter stay healthy. Missing out on Matt Capps is looking worse by the day.

pujols...6yr 150m, no trade, 5% ownership of team, a new studebaker avanti sports car, and a fancy pocket watch with his initials engraved in it.

No big deal. We'll be busy fixing up the park and watching the triangle building go up - the time's just gonna fly.

I wish we had landed Capps as well, but it was an understandable career decision on his part (likely closer there sets him up to be a possible midseason trade candidate and also potentially puts him on the market in a better year, with less pen options, in the future).

Why not Valverde?

for the Cubs? I'd imagine we don't have the money for that.

Why would Valverde take a set-up role if Matt Capps turned it down? And if he did, why in the world would you pay that kind of money to a set-up guy.

Submitted by thedirtbag on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 10:02am.
Why would Valverde take a set-up role if Matt Capps turned it down? And if he did, why in the world would you pay that kind of money to a set-up guy.

===================

DIRT BAG: If the Cubs were to sign Valverde, it would be for "closer money" and he would be the closer in 2010.

I think one way it could happen is if the Cubs don't sign Marlon Byrd, and have the money available to offer Valverde a one-year deal with a promise to not offer him arbitration if he qualifies as a Type "A" or a Type "B" FA post-2010.

Then Marmol would work as the 8th inning set-up man in 2010, and get the closer's job in 2011, or he could maybe be traded for a CF or 2B upgrade if the Cubs discover in Spring Training that they have the bullpen depth to make a move like that.

Personally, I would sign Valverde to be the closer (but only if it's for one year), and let CF and 2B work itself out later.

Submitted by jacos on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 8:39am.
Why not Valverde?

====================

JACOS: If the Cubs don't sign Marlon Byrd they could afford Valverde. It's just that I suspect the Cubs are planning on Carlos Marmol as closer, and are looking for a fall-back closer who can be the 8th inning set-up guy (like Matt Capps would have been) rather than a high-priced front-line closer like Valverde. While FA Kiko Calero was one of the top relievers in MLB last year, he's probably not really a fall-back option at closer.

Which is why the Cubs should have offered the Pirates a couple of minor leaguers for Capps before he was non-tendered (like the deal the Cubs made with Arizona for Aaron Heilman), giving the Pirates something rather than nothing for losing Capps (perhaps Jeff Stevens and Aaron Shafer), thus keeping Capps out of the FA market.

I think sometimes clubs mistakenly figure they can wait for a player to be non-tendered and then sign him without having to give up a player or players, but then there is no guarantee the player will sign with your club. And once the player is on the open market, the player's price goes up if more than one team has strong interest, as was the case with Capps.

I think the Cubs probably miscalulated the interest Capps would have once he was non-tendered.

I have been reading this blog for years Az Phil. Without a doubt,YOU could and should be the Cubs GM!

A Yankee writer's (Yes network) take on Marlon Byrd:

http://riveraveblues.com/2009/12/left-field-c...

...but there could be a team — say, the Cubs — who will pay him more than other teams are willing. That’s why I don’t expect the Yankees to get involved. At this point there is no reason to give a player like Byrd more than one year, and if really is the “preeminent” outfielder still available, he’ll probably get at least two.

Here's a comment from the linked thread:

Since no one has really said it…I agree Joe, I don’t want Marlon Byrd.

•2007 H/A Splits:

Home OPS: .916
Away OPS: .715

•2008 H/A Splits:

Home OPS: .911
Away OPS: .772

•2009 H/A Splits:

Home OPS: .873
Away OPS: .740

•99 Career OPS+ (career OPS: .762, which is similar to his away numbers)

So, despite his 3 years in Texas, he is still barely below average as a hitter in his career.

Interesting note: You know who B-Ref lists as his most similar batter? Reed Johnson.

Hendry gets his man.

Cubs sign Byrd 3 yr contract back loaded

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

Coming off of "career year" in Texas.

Sound familiar?

Imagine all the people who are thinking about trying to get the Cubs GM job next off-season. I can almost hear their collective psychic cry of "GODDAMNIT" as they hear this announcement.

Hendry, of course thinks he's clever because he just got a $8 million dollar player to agree to a $5 million contract for three years!

At least the new GM will have his 4th outfielder slot nailed down.

"Byrd is a disciple of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo"

Which shows his OBP has been declining and his K's have gone up.

So Cubs back to one LH bat in lineup again?

depending on who is getting the start at 2B it would appear so.

Well....that's a good point TRN...3 years...oof.

We all got our wish...Anybody But Milton..now we can wait and see what happens in 2010.

Ken_Rosenthal: Marlon Byrd to Cubs - three-year deal. Announcement later today.

32 years old and a product of Arlington. Can't wait until he hits .235 through June 1st.

This is a terrible idea...count me in as one more vote for a "buy-high" disaster deal...

The .235 won't be the biggest problem.

The .255 OBP that goes along with his .235 BA will.

Cheaper than the Marquis and JJones 3 yr deals and half a Bradley unit...

(And backloaded like JH butt)

Any time you can get a tweener Outfielder with a career .762 OPS and no other known suitors locked up for 3 years, you absolutely gotta get that done!!!

Basically he is a right handed Fukudome at this point. Should probably be a 4th outfielder on a good team. At least it isn't 4/48 or some similar stupidly bloated Hendry contract.

Not the end of the world. Unless there is the Hendry NTC,or player option/buyout somewhere in this deal.

I for one hope there is a player option and a buyout in the deal, as early as possible.

I can't wait for the RBI guys to list his career high RBI numbers, so we can collectively scratch our heads at the gibbering idiocy known as Lou Hendry.

As a fan of this team, there are times that I want to use a nail gun to do enough damage to my brain so that all of the ridiculous contracts that this General Manager offers make sense to me.

EDIT: Apparently I've already done enough damage to destroy any ability to form a coherent, grammatically correct sentence.

Now wait a minute..we were supposed to drool all over Bradley's great avg/ops/slg numbers, and we know how that turned out.
Let's not crucify Byrd just yet. Byrd isn't exactly the guy we'd all prefer in the OF, but he can play all 3 positions, decent in RF and CF, pretty good in LF. He's coming off the dreaded career season in Texas, where he slugged .538 on the road, .419 at home. His 3 year average is .295/.352/.468. For $5 million a season, and noe of the bullshit of last season, I'd take that.

in fairness 2009 was the first year Byrd received at least 500 ABs, but with a .873 OPS at home compared to a .740 OPS away I think we know where this is headed. Arlington needs to be looked at like pre-humidor Coors like inflation. Not even necessarily the HR factor, but the infield is said to be "rock-hard" with a "perpetual wind-tunnel" to center and right field as described by Billy Sample.

1. He plays a shitty CF
2. His career OPS+ is exactly equal to the OPS that+ Bradley put up in his unbelievably bad season.
3. Corner outfielders who make outs 67% of the time in their "career years" aren't hard to come by.

We just signed Matt Murton to a thee year contract to play CF.

He doesn't play a shitty CF. He plays an average CF. He's not as slick as the best or as bad as shitty. He's average. He's not an OPS guy at all. He's average hitter who is a helluva better fielder than Murton. Relax. This could have fallen into the TCR mantral of "No good will come of this" and it didn't.

Murton is a MUCH better hitter than Byrd is.

Byrd is a much better defender.

Ok. He isn't a great CF. But he is better than shitty.

His career numbers are = Milton's last season. His last 3 are solid seasons Neal.

I posted his 3 year average, which is solid, but not great. If a certain idiot OF could have even posted those numbers while a Cub last season, and managed to not be an unbelievable jerk...he's still be here.

I was expecting 2/15 and hoping to not sign him at all. So I guess 3/15 is the compromise.

Yay 81 wins.

Of the "Big Three", Ankiel, Byrd, and Pods, all of whom I would have eagerly passed on, I "liked" Ankiel the best.

He is the most athletic, youngest, best arm of the three, and still has some potential I would like to think at the plate. Plus he could have pitched in mop-up situations.

I will be counting the days until Hendry is gone, regardless of what happens in 2010, where I am not too optimistic to begin with.

EDIT: The plus side for some of you is that it will be easy to get tickets this year. For us Season folks, we will be cursing many times more...

Levine has a new blog post up. Confirms the terms of Byrd, and says that negotiations with Pods and Ankiel went down to the wire. Adds continued talks with Contreras and with Rockies for Spillborghs, and talks with Blue Jays for bullpen help, with Jason Frasor highlighted.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog?name=...

Thanks Seam.

Well, it looks like speedy Ryan Theriot will be leading off in 2010?

So - whoever wants to take a crack at this:

Whom were the players signed by Hendry that had career years just prior to signing, and how did they do with the Cubs since?

Hmm..Theriot leading off...

How about Fukudome? At least until he disintegrates in September?

So the lineup will be

9 Fuku
6 Theriot
3 Lee
5 ARam
7 Sori
2 Soto
8 Byrd
4 Baker/Font

Maybe Soto fifth and Sori sixth? Maybe Soto and Byrd switch places? I can't see Sori lower than 6 and I can't see Byrd higher than 6. I don't see many variations unless you want to swap Fukudome and Theriot

Levine said at noon today we're looking at Contreras, which literally sickens me. Any number of minor leaguers could outperform him for virtually zero dollars. Contreras shouldn't command much money but what's the point?

to give a small break in the l/r matchup I would expect

Theriot, Fuku, Lee, Aram, Byrd, Soriano, Soto, Baker/Font

the 5-8 spots being determined by spring training performance

"the 5-8 spots being determined by spring training performance"

Even if Sori strikes out every time in ST, Lou will not be batting him lower than 5.

yeah, sorry about the laziness, just meant those spots could be juggled a little, not necessarily interchangeable...

If Fontenot has a strong spring training, I could see him bat 7th and Soto or Byrd 8th, Soriano could move up to 5th if he's hot, etc, etc...

Theriot and Fukudome could flip too..

Me thinks Cubs fans will see many different lineups in 2010.

Either or as far as I'm concerned.

They need to bat 1-2. Theriot has the better speed, so he likely leads off.

Theriot
Kfuk
Lee
Ramirez
Soriano
Byrd
Soto
Fontenot

Should be a middle of the pack (5-7ish) NL offense. Could be a 3rd-5thish offense with rebounds/health from Ramirez,Soriano and Soto.

88 wins is my prediction

The only other option in the free agent market was Pods, and that it is one washed up player, I think.

I've always been a big believer in a plate setting lineup and I can't say this one qualifies. But I don't see any answers out there.

I'd be interested in seeing how many great leadoff men are developed within a team's system. That would be a great stat to see. I looked up two, Jimmy Rollins and Tim Raines, and sure enough they were both in their parent team's minor league system when they came up.

Bob Dernier was traded to the Cubs but he had a .288 (!) OBP the year before he was traded to us. In 412 PAs for the Phillies!

As much as Hendry is pissing me off lately, it's unfair to ask him to pull a rabbit of his hat like that.

It IS fair to ask him where the position players are, but it's also fair to say there are indications that Tim Wilkens and company are starting to show some progress. The draft choices have not panned out but a lot of the rest seems to be doing okay.

Hendry rolled the dice with Soriano and Fukodome and Bradley in the hopes of getting us cranky fans a pennant.

I really don't hate the guy for that. The dice didn't roll his way, or our way. FUCK! Let's hang the bastard.

Not only that..Podsednik cannot play CF....he can barely play LF.

"Us season folks"....sweet.

you forgot to improperly capitalize "Season":)

I bet we could go back to the thread the day Hendry signed DeRosa and it would look eerily similar to today. While I'm not particularly happy about this signing, I'm going to hold off on the gnashing of teeth until at least May.

I liked the DeRosa signing and said so at the time.

I deplored his trade, but was willing to give MB a chance.

See how well Bradley responded?

Well your crystal ball works a bit better than mine, I guess. I know at the time I thought the DeRosa signing wasn't great. I thought he was coming off a career year in Texas and Hendry was pulling his usual routine of overpaying for mediocrity.

I tend to feel the same way about Byrd, but this time I'm going to hold off on judgment until about 150 ABs.

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