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.
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.