February 27, 2011; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Steve Tolleson (top) attempts a double play as Chicago Cubs center fielder Brett Jackson (59) slides into second base during the fifth inning of a spring training game at Hohokam Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

MLB.Com's Cubs Top Prospects

Another Cubs’ Top Prospects list arrived this week, this time courtesy of MLB.Com. As always, there are some surprises here. One thing that is remaining consistent across all the lists that we have seen is the general trend in favor of the younger players in the lower levels of the Cubs’ system. While the Cubs farm system remains thin at the top, and will likely stay thin at the top for another year or so, the lower levels are deep and feature a number of players who have the potential to explode up the prospect rankings. To provide a better sense of the depth of the Cubs farm system, let’s compare the MLB.Com rankings to other top prospect lists.

In this case, I’ll working with my own Cubbies Crib Top 21 and Baseball America’s Top 30 (only the Top 10 are on the website, but the rest can be found in the 2012 Prospect Handbook). Right away, we notice a few guys consistently at the top of the lists: Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez. After that, things get murkier. For example, six players ranked in the top 20 by Baseball America did not appear on the MLB.Com list at all. If we just compare the top 20 from each list, we have to include 28 players. It would take 17 names just to cover all three of the Top 10s. Once you get past the handful of players at the very top, there is not much agreement between the lists.

And that is a good thing.  That is a very strong indicator of the depth of the Cubs’ system.  Take Gioskar Amaya.  MLB.Com and I both rank him between 10 and 20, but Baseball America leaves him off.  However, if you read the Prospect Handbook entry for Marco Hernandez, they heap some praise on Amaya.  Meanwhile, I left off Hernandez even though I have referred to him as one of the most promising middle infield prospects the Cubs have.  When there are so many players worthy of consideration that it becomes difficult to sort out who should go where on the list, the farm system is in pretty good shape.

Player Name MLB.Com Baseball America Cubbies Crib
Anthony Rizzo 1 3 2
Brett Jackson 2 1 1
Javier Baez 3 2 5
Matt Szczur 4 4 3
Chris Carpenter 5 14 NR
Dillon Maples 6 6 20
Trey McNutt 7 5 4
Rafael Dolis 8 8 7
Robert Whitenack 9 20 6
Reggie Golden 10 18 NR
Junior Lake 11 9 11
Josh Vitters 12 10 10
Ronald Torreyes 13 Top 25 17
Ben Wells 14 26 NR
Dan Vogelbach 15 11 13
Jeimer Candelario 16 21 16
Gioskar Amaya 17 NR 19
Marco Hernandez 18 17 NR
Dave Sappelt 19 Top 25 22
Pin-Chieh Chen 20 32 15
Welington Castillo NR 7 8
Dae-Eun Rhee NR 12 12
Dallas Beeler NR 13 NR
Zeke DeVoss NR 15 14
Tony Zych NR 16 NR
Jae-Hoon Ha NR 19 21
Steve Clevenger NR 22 NR
Jose Rosario NR 23 NR
Logan Watkins NR 24 NR
Jeff Beliveau NR 25 9
Marcus Hatley NR 27 NR
Casey Weathers NR 28 NR
Taiwan Easterling NR 29 NR
Hayden Simpson NR 30 23
Shawon Dunston NR 31 NR
Luis Liria NR NR 18
Eric Jokisch NR NR 24

 

It will take some time for these players to rise through the system and populate the upper levels of the Cubs minors with premier talent, but it will happen.  Today, the Cubs have a farm system ranked solidly in the middle of the pack.  Twelve months from now, they could easily have a system that ranks among the best in the league.

Tags: Chicago Cubs Cubs Prospects Cubs Top Prospects Minor Leagues Prospect Rankings