The Albert Almora signing is official, as the Cubs struck a deal with the Boras client before the deadline. Both Almora and Soler will report to Mesa for training, before moving on to A-Ball.
Iowa Cubs – Same old story as AAA All-Star Josh Vitters continues to put up solid numbers as of late, sporting a ,300/.370/.450 line over his past ten games, while Brett Jackson continues to produce despite obvious contact issues. In Jackson’s last ten games, he has struck out sixteen times, but also drawn seven walks, and posted a .396 OBP, despite the .275 batting average, with an SLG identical to that of Vitters in the same stretch for a good .846 OPS. Michael Bowden may have turned a corner in Iowa, and if he can be anything, the Marlon Byrd trade becomes a huge win for the Cubs.
Tennessee Smokies – The most intriguing Tennessee position player prospect is easily Junior Lake, but he has been struggling as of late. With just a .275 OBP in the stretch, Lake has only managed a .564 OPS. As for pitching, Trey McNutt has been converted to a reliever, at least for the time being. It is uncertain as to whether or not he will stay there, and former top Cubs pitching prospects Jay Jackson and Andrew Cashner continued to switch between the two, but that was in the old, Hendry-led regime.
Daytona Cubs – Matthew Szczur started the season extremely slow, batting just .132 at one point, got hot, and then wound up on the Disabled List. Fresh off the DL, Szczur started off hot, but has seemingly faded off. With numbers worse than Lake in the last ten games, Szczur has posted a .158/.292/.237 line, with just a .529 OPS. The BA Top 100 Prospect still holds a .739 OPS and 30 stolen bases on the season.
Peoria Chiefs – Iowa’s Anthony Rizzo had moved near 20 in preliminary re-rankings before his call up, so how would the Cubs replace the graduated prospect at the top of their system? Javier Baez, who was recently ranked the 25th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Baez has been posting great numbers in the A-level Midwest League all season long, but has one-upped himself with his performance in his last ten games, with a line of .474/.487/.947. That is good for an OPS of 1.435, insanely good numbers at any level. His season OPS is a .980, which may be more impressive given the duration.
Boise Hawks – Jeimer Candelario has slowed down significantly as of late, much like Lake and Szczur. Still boasting a .34 average and .796 OPS for the short-season, Candelario has posted just a .243/.282/.297 line in his last ten games, “good” for just a .579 OPS.
Rookie-Level – In Mesa, the top prospect to watch for is first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, the Cubs second round pick in 2012. Vogelbach has posted a .367/.414/.759 line, good for a great 1.173 OPS, and six homers in his team-leading eighteen games. Vogelbach has also only committed one error in this span, but minor league defensive metrics to better analyze his defense are hard to come by.