Cubs Prospects

Here we go again, a full rundown of all the Cubs' prospect lists fit to print. Click on the "Prospect Listmania" tag at the bottom of the post for previous years or you can always visit Wiklifield.

If topics among major league teams trended like twitter, "building the farm system" would certainly be near the top. All the new GM's and some of the old ones alluded to it one way or another as the key to sustained success and of course, there's a lot of truth to it. But there's also a lot of truth to the famous phrase, "it's easier said than done".  For the new Cubs in charge, they'll be taking over a farm system that will likely rank in the lower third as an organization in overall talent that many of the self-proclaimed experts believe has lots of depth and marginal major league talent, but very light on the upper tier players. Unfortunately, it's those upper tier players that the Cubs are sorely in need of at that moment as they try to reverse a 3-year trend of losing while in the midst of saying goodbye to their aging core of players. Not only do the Cubs have to find(or soon find) replacements for the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Kosukue Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and so on, but they have to find players that are cumulatively better than those in order to improve. Just finding the equivalent isn't going to get the Cubs back into the division hunt. Personally, I don't see those players in the Cubs farm system right now and certainly not anyone ready in the next year or two. So to me that means having to dive into free agency and/or be willing to trade some of that depth for a few stars (much like the much aligned Garza trade last year) if the Cubs intend to compete next year and the subsequent years. Now if they want to go into a full 3-year rebuild, more power to them, but I don't see the Cubs taking that path. To me, it's identifying whom on this list and subsequent lists are going to be the average or above average major league contributors and not just roster filler, protecting those players and thus making everyone else expendable if a trade presents itself.

Before we get to the rankings, I like to share this bit of insight from Bill James via Joe Posnanski. Something to keep in mind that not all top 10 lists are the same.

A few years ago, Bill James told me something I had never thought about before but now think about all the time, especially after trades like this one: Every single baseball team has prospects. Every one. The best teams. The worst teams. The smartest teams. The dumbest teams. They all have prospects. Not only that — every team has enough prospects to fill out a Top 10 list. You never see a team’s “Top 7 Prospects” list because the team did not have enough to fill out 10. No. They all have 10.

To the list...

For the fifth year running I go through the various prospect lists. I'm trying to stick the more established ones and there are even more lists available at Wiklifield. Of course, many of them were made before the Matt Garza trade. Click on the image for the link to the original article.

UPDATE #2: Make it Archer, Guyer, Lee, Chirinos, Sam Fuld for Garza, Fernando Perez and and a minor league pitcher. Nothing is official yet according to Morosi.

 

UPDATE: Levine says it's Archer, Guyer, Lee, Chirinos, Sam Fuld for Garza, and a minor league outfielder and pitcher. I can't really evaluate the trade till we know the names the Cubs are getting.


Bruce Miles is reporting that the Cubs will send Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee and Robinson Chirinos for Matt Garza, with possible other pieces still being involved. I realize as a fan of the Cubs I'm probably a little bias towards their own prospects, but that sounds like as good or better package than what the Royals just got for Zack Greinke.

Now I realize Greinke costs more than Garza at the moment, but in terms of talents, it's not even close. I suppose there's the worries over Greinke's social anxiety issues and whether he would approve a trade to the Cubs, but he seemed to just be interested in trying to win.

On the other hand, they're just prospects and only Archer and maybe Lee have much of a chance of being better than league average players. Folks and myself have freaked out before on trade packages including prospects to eventually discover those prospects end doing nothing. But man, it's quite the stomach punch if they do end up being good.

BA put out it's top 10 Cubs' prospects today. I usually put together the compilation of all the major lists, but don't quite have the time today. I'll try put together something later this week. To the rankings...

  1. Chris Archer
  2. Brett Jackson
  3. Trey McNutt
  4. Hak-Ju Lee
  5. Josh Vitters
  6. Chris Carpenter
  7. Matt Szczur
  8. Hayden Simpson
  9. Rafael Dolis
  10. Brandon Guyer

I am amused that they don't think Alfonso Soriano will be with the team in 2014, but Carlos Zambrano will.

I'm more curious where guys like Archer, Jackson and McNutt will end up in the top 100 overall list, because you know, every team has to have a #1 prospect no matter how good or bad the system is.

Past lists can be found at Wiklified.

We've done this joke before (well Real Neal did), but Bruce Miles has written the 2010 sequel.

--As we wrote last week, the only prospects the Cubs won’t move are Brett Jackson and Chris Archer. All the others would be on the table in trade talks. That includes Josh Vitters and Jay Jackson.

Is being deemed untouchable by the Cubs brass pretty much the kiss of death for your baseball career? I wouldn't take any fishing trips out on the lake if I were them.

For the fourth year running I go through the various prospect lists. I'm trying to stick the more established ones and there are even more lists available at Wiklifield. Scout.com didn't seem to put out a Cubs list this year or has yet to and I'm not waiting any longer. Click on the image for the link to the original article.

    ''5-Star Prospects''

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Starlin Castro

    ''4-Star Prospects''
  3. Hak-Ju Lee
  4. Brett Jackson

    ''3-Star Prospects''
  5. Andrew Cashner
  6. Jay Jackson
  7. Chris Carpenter
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Kyler Burke
  10. Ryan Flaherty
  11. John Gaub

Kevin Goldstein puts Chris Huseby, Logan Watkins, Dae-Eun Rhee and Darwin Barney as 12-15. You can see past lists at Wiklified.

- The Hardball Times has put up their top 10 Cubs' Prospects:

  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Brett Jackson
  4. Jay Jackson
  5. Hak-Ju Lee
  6. Kyler Burke
  7. Andrew Cashner
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Chris Carpenter
  10. Ryan Flaherty

Archer's not a name you see on a lot of Top 10 or even Top 20 lists so far.

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.

For the third year running, I go through the various prospect lists. I've also started compiling them at Wiklifield.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Josh Vitters, 3B

Four-Star Prospects
2. Jeff Samardzjia,RHP

3. Jose Ceda, RHP

Three-Star Prospects
4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
5. Andrew Cashner, RHP
6. Tyler Colvin, OF
7. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
8. Ryan Flaherty, SS
Two-Star Prospects
9. Welington Castilo, C

10. Donald Veal, LHP

11. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B

Just Missing: Matt Cerda, INF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF

Sleeper: Kyler Burke

What They Say: The Cubs are a very tough team to rank. That said, the top three prospects on my initial snapshot never moved, and you see them exactly where they started. Everything after that is a bit of a mess however, as one could jumble up the players ranked fourth through eleventh in any order and make some kind of reasonable argument for all.

The BA Top 10 came out yesterday...and surprise! Josh Vitters is #1.

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Dae-Eun Rhee
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. Kevin Hart
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Ryan Flaherty
  9. Jay Jackson
  10. Hak-Ju Lee 

You can view every BA Top 10 list since 1992 (sans 1997 and 1998) at this incredible new site started by some really smart people.

UPDATE: Arizona Phil's much anticipated top 15 list was kind of lost in the shuffle yesterday with the Kevin Gregg trade, so I'm putting it up top for the weekend. Obviously it was done before Ceda got traded, so Phil will have to drop by with #16 and you can move everyone else up one.

I also wanted to add, and sorry if it's a repeat, that the Cubs 6th round pick of 2006 Joshua Lansford has moved from third base to the pitcher's mound as of Instructionals last month. Word comes from friend of TCR, Steve Holley at Inside the Ivy. (Rob G.)


 

Using the criteria Baseball America uses to rate their Top Ten prospects (50 MLB IP and 130 MLB AB limit, but not concerned with MLB service time), here are my Top 15 Cubs prospects pre-2009. It's just my opinion,and I'm sure many of you have your own idea of who should be where. I probably tend to place greater weight on players at the higher levels, although I do consider players further down the pipeline as well...    

Last year we did 19 questions with Inside the Ivy's Steve Holley. Due to budget cuts and the recession, we paired it down to 10 this year. You can find a list of their top 20 Cubs prospects either here or here.


1. Let's start right at the top, you named Tyler Colvin as the Cubs top prospect. What position do you think he'll end up playing in the majors and how worried should I be about that Ryan Harvey-esque 4:875:1 K/BB ratio

There has always been a good deal of emphasis placed on the strikeouts totals of low to mid-level minor league players. But if you want a player to develop into the type of hitter that Colvin projects as (lets say 20-25 HR potential), you are more often than not going to have to accept that strikeouts come with the territory. That doesn’t mean that Colvin is content with striking out. Working to lower them has always been at the top of his priority list, and toward the end of last season, he made a few adjustments in his approach that seemed to help him see more pitches and get into some good counts.

I believe he’s capable of playing any of the three outfield positions (though center is most ideal), but where he ends up may depend a lot on what Felix Pie does, or perhaps what the organization decides to do with Pie. On an unrelated note, Colvin got a little behind the eight-ball in spring training with a nagging elbow problem toward the end of his stint in big league camp. That could explain his slow start this season.

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