This post is the first in a series of top prospect trackers where the success and failures of our beloved future Cubs will be posted.
Iowa Cubs – The Big Three
Led by the Center Fielder Brett Jackson, the top prospect in the Cubs organization, First Baseman Anthony Rizzo, ranked #2, and Third Baseman Josh Vitters, ranked #7 before the Concepcion signing, the Iowa Cubs have jumped out to a good start, going 6-5 over their first eleven games. Rizzo has been the driving force behind the machine, as he has hit to a .391 average with five home runs in as he played in every I-Cubs game this season, but will see the bench tonight. Even more impressive are Rizzo’s .417 OBP and .739 SLG that combine for an outstanding 1.156 OPS. Jackson has played solid defense in Center, and has an OBP of .373 that is a full .100 points higher than his batting average. Jackson has also clubbed two homers in his last two games. Vitters hasn’t been as much of a power force as one would expect, with just two extra base hits – both doubles – in ten games this season. However, Vitters has managed a .395 OBP with an OPS of .807, making him a really effective player so far.
The I-Cubs sit 2 and a half games behind the Oklahoma City Storm Chasers, the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Tennesse Smokies – Winning Without The Benefit Of Star Power
The Smokies have not been as privileged as the I-Cubs have been, featuring no position players on the WSD Top 13 Prospects List. However, Tennessee does boast two of the Cubs top pitching prospects, Trey McNutt and Dae-Eun Rhee. McNutt has been perfect through his first two starts, not allowing a single run to score. Rhee has allowed just four runs over twelve innings for a solid 3.00 ERA. Another name to watch is rising start Nicholas Struck, who has a 2.65 ERA in this young season.
The Smokies sit just one game behind the division-leading Jackson Generals with a 6-5 record, AA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Daytona Cubs – A Dynasty Has Fallen
In the last four seasons, two teams have been champions of the Florida State League; the Daytona Cubs in 2008 and 2011, and the Tampa Yankees in 2009 and 2010.
This year has been a different story for the defending champions, as the Daytona Cubs have started the season with a dismal 2-8 record, good enough for last place in the division. Top Prospect Matt Szczur has struggled mightily, hitting just .135 with only one RBI. Meanwhile, Cuban pickup Rubi Silva and 2010 First Round Draft Pick Hayden Simpson have been performing and it would be wise to keep an eye on them.
Peoria Chiefs – Think the Cubs Would Stand a Chance Against Them?
Nobody on the team has more than one home run. Main player to watch for is Zeke DeVoss.