Future Alert: Mid-Season Top 13 Prospect Rankings… With a Look Back at the Past; Cubs Sign Jimenez

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In this edition of the Future Alert, I’d like to update the WSD Top 13 Prospect List, compare our farm system today to it at various points over the past year and a half, and catch up on the latest news across the Cubs system.

Eloy Jimenez – The Cubs made their long-awaited signing of #1 international prospect Eloy Jimenez, and outfielder from the Dominican Republic.  The Cubs did quite well in this year’s international market, also netting the #2 international prospect, Gleyber Torres (SS, Venezuela), #16 Erling Moreno (RHP, Colombia), and #23 Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP, Taiwan).  The Cubs also netted Jefferson Meija and Yohan Matos, thus blowing past their cap space, and will not be allowed to sign any international prospect for more than $250K next year.  Most of these players are quite young, many just sixteen years of age, so while many have great potential, they are simply too far away to rank on the Top 13 Prospects List, and thus have been left off.  Last year, the Cubs landed Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion under much looser signing restrictions.

Kyle Hendricks – The emergent Kyle Hendricks seems to have been called up to AAA Iowa, as many friends and family members have tweeted him their congratulations.  Follow @kyle_hendricks9.

Javier Baez – Baez has been going insane with the bat, You know, only a 1.090 OPS in his last ten games with seven home runs.  Baez had hit seventeen in seventy-six games with Advanced-A Daytona, but has already hit eleven in twenty-four games at AA Tennessee.  Baez is only batting .222 in Tennessee, but his OPS remains a constant .873 at each level.  Only Ryan Rua of Texas’s farm system and George Springer of Houston’s best Baez’s twenty-eight combined home runs.

The Rankings – Here we go…

  1. SS Javier Baez – Tennessee Smokies
  2. OF Jorge Soler – Daytona Cubs (DL)
  3. OF Albert Almora – Kane County Cougars
  4. 3B Kris Bryant – Boise Hawks
  5. 3B Mike Olt – Iowa Cubs
  6. 2B Arismendy Alcantara – Tennessee Smokies
  7. RHP C.J. Edwards – Daytona Cubs
  8. RHP Pierce Johnson – Daytona Cubs
  9. 1B Daniel Vogelbach – Kane County Cougars
  10. LHP Rob Zastryzny – Boise Hawks
  11. RHP Kyle Hendricks – Tennessee Smokies
  12. RHP Dillon Maples – Boise Hawks
  13. 3B Christian Villanueva – Tennessee Smokies

Seeing this list, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something along the lines of “Where’s Lake? Or Vizcaino? Or Candelario? Or [Insert Prospect Here]?”.  And while I asked myself the very same questions, the answer is just that this is really good farm system with a lot of depth.  There is not one player on this list that is undeserving, yet there are many deserving players left off the list.  The top seven or nine is obvious, though not necessarily in order.  A case could be made for any player in the top four to be the number one prospect, or any player in the next five to be ranked number five.  Six top hundred prospects for 2014 (at the absolute minimum) are on this list, and cases could be made for as many as nine, which would just be overkill.

Compare this to my first list when I first came to World Series Dreaming in 2012.

  1. OF Brett Jackson
  2. 1B Anthony Rizzo
  3. SS Javier Baez
  4. RHP Trey McNutt
  5. OF Matt Szczur
  6. RHP Dillon Maples
  7. 3B Josh Vitters
  8. 1B Dan Vogelbach
  9. 3B Jeimer Candelario
  10. RHP Rafael Dolis
  11. C Welington Castillo
  12. SS Junior Lake
  13. RHP Dae-Eun Rhee

Just about all of those players are still in the Cubs farm system, or have made it to the major leagues.  Yet Jackson, McNutt, Szczur, Vitters, Candelario, Dolis, Lake, and Rhee have all fallen off the list.  In Lake’s case, it definitely isn’t due to lost stock.  The system has simply improved exponentially.  The most important thing may be that the players are Cubs are now pouring into the system have less major concerns such as Jackson’s inability to make consistent contact.  Sure, Baez and Soler aren’t known for taking walks (though Baez has really improved in this category recently), but it is a much smaller question mark and the potential remains through the roof.

Even since the beginning of this year, the farm system looks extremely improved.

  1. SS Javier Baez
  2. OF Jorge Soler
  3. OF Albert Almora
  4. RHP Arodys Vizcaino
  5. OF Brett Jackson
  6. 1B Dan Vogelbach
  7. 3B Jeimer Candelario
  8. RHP Pierce Johnson
  9. 3B Christian Villanueva
  10. RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua
  11. RHP Duane Underwood
  12. SS Arismendy Alcantara
  13. 3B Josh Vitters

Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks, and most notably Arismendy Alcantara, have made major strides since then.  Between the draft and trading season, the Cubs managed to add Bryant, Olt, Edwards and Zastrynzny to bolster an already solid core.  The Cubs farm system used to barren of any top pitching prospects, but the teams now has several interesting arms, including likely top hundred prospects C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson to go along with a stacked offensive core of prospects.

About Jackson Scofield

I cover the minor leagues for World Series Dreaming. You probably don't read my articles. Also have been doing Chicago Fire coverage, press pass and all, for ChiCitySports. Studying Journalism with a focus in sports at Columbia College Chicago. Go Hawks (The hockey team, but go Boise too)!

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