Addison Russell, Kris Bryant headline top 100 prospects list


Just in case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs topped ESPN Insiders’ Keith Law’s list of the league’s best farm systems entering the 2015 Major League Baseball season.

Now that we all know where the Cubs and their farm stand, it’s time to see which and how many of their young studs will find themselves on MLB Pipeline’s Top-100 Prospects list. To no surprise, third baseman Kris Bryant crushed his way into the number two spot behind the Minnesota Twins’ own Byron Buxtonan outfielder who, for the second consecutive year, claimed the top spot in the rankings.

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With the Cubs shipping veteran Luis Valbuena to the Houston Astros, fans can officially begin counting down the days until the young slugger receives his call to the Show. Some could argue that Bryant deserves the top spot on this list after shattering numerous offensive benchmarks – as he finished the year with a total of 43 home runs and 110 RBI – but, things just didn’t shake out that way.

Three spots behind Chicago’s future hot corner mainstay is a man who was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Addison Russell, 21, joined the organization mid-way through the 2014 season and showed why he’s one of, if not the best, shortstop prospects in the game today.

In 50 games with the Tennessee Smokies, Russell slugged 12 home runs, drove in 36 runs and smacked 11 doubles and 57 total hits with a .294/.332/.536 clip.

Having two bats in the top-10 of such a massive list is huge for this franchise. But I’m sure they would prefer to have a couple arms up there as well.

With others such as Jorge Soler (22), Kyle Schwarber (49) and Albert Almora (57) joining Bryant and Russell on this list, C.J. Edwards was the teams only pitcher who made the cut.

Edwards, 23 years old and No. 47 on the list, picked up 10 starts with the Tennessee Smokies last season. The young righty posted a solid 2.44 ERA in those 10 starts with a 46/21 strikeout-to-walk measure while giving up only one long-ball and 30 hits in 48 frames.

This season, the Cubs – who have the No. 9 pick in the draft behind the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox – should consider finding themselves another arm to compliment Edwards.

Don’t get me wrong, it feels great knowing that this team has a handful of potential nightmares in the batters box hoping to make an impact with this team, but they still need to load up on young arms. But as we’ve seen in recent years, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer remain perfectly content with taking the best overall player on the board – pitcher or position player.

And thus far, it’s worked pretty well.

Next: ESPN Insiders Rank Cubs Farm System No. 1