Over the past few days, Cubbies Crib has reviewed a trio of Cubs players that made Jonathan Mayo’s Top 10 prospect lists for their respective positions. MLB.com’s draft and prospect expert released late yesterday the Top 100 prospects list in all of baseball, regardless of position. Two of the three Cubs players that made the positional short lists were also a part of this league wide honor roll. That pair is shortstop Javier Baez and Albert Almora, being ranked number 16 and number 39 overall, respectively.
Those of you whom have been keeping up with the short series by the Crib will recognize that Dan Vogelbach is the one positional Top 10 honoree that did not make the Top 100 cut. This should not be considered a knock against Vogelbach, as the young first baseman still possess the potential to become a Major League player. Our very own Andrew Denny did a nice write up on Vogelbach last month, where you will find that the hefty Vogelbach still has a couple areas in which he needs to improve to the level of his offensive abilities to be considered a top tier prospect.
Vogelbach’s void on the Top 100 list also is a reflection of the depth in quality and quantity at some of the other position designations, notably in the outfield as mentioned in my piece on Almora, as well as on the mound. Further evidence of this is the fact that the Cubs Jorge Soler was registered as number 42 out of 100. This puts the Cuban just a couple of steps behind Almora in the rankings and shows that Soler just missed the Top 10 cut by outfield position.
On one hand, Cubs fans should be excited that the farm system is gaining accolades from sources other than from within the organization. While none of the honorees may have achieved potential can’t miss status by being a Top 10 overall member, the fact that this trio has made it within the Top 50 is something to step back and enjoy for a moment, considering the disappointing state the Cubs system had reached under the prior front office and ownership. Remember, the Cubs staff regarding drafting and prospect development was a fraction of that of teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. A fraction!
But at the same time, North Side fans also need avoid drinking too much of the blue Kool Aid. While these honors and the potential of these prospects are promising, they are also no guarantees to translate at Wrigley Field one day. That is just the nature of drafting and projecting young kids, an inexact science no matter what team or even sport for that matter. The saving grace is that Theo Epstein and Company are bringing their vision, thinking, and a revamped front office staff that will work towards limiting the mistakes and busts while developing the future stars they do get their hands on.
With good news like this regarding the Cubs system being on its way back up, combined with the reality that 2013 may not be much better on the field as 2012, one thing to look forward to is the June 2013 amateur draft, through which Jed Hoyer and staff will look to further build on the praise of the current batch of Cubs prospects.