Chicago Cubs: Shortstop Gleyber Torres emerges as club’s top prospect
Over the previous two seasons, the Chicago Cubs had some of their top prospects make their big league debut, leaving a handful of soon-to-be stars to continue to work on their craft within their farm system.
Now, with the club preparing themselves for another quality off-season in an attempt to complete their World Series push for 2016, Baseball America released a list of their top 10 prospects. And no, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Addison Russell are not included.
Shortstop Gleyber Torres sits at the top of the list. Torres was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela back in 2013 and adds another option when it comes to both the shortstop and second base position for the future.
With guys like Russell, Starlin Castro, and Javier Baez all likely to be on the 25-man major league roster after camp breaks in March, Torres is still in the process of climbing through the minor league circuit as he finished the year with both Myrtle Beach and South Bend.
The 18-year-old who turns 19 in December had a breakout year in 2015 for the Cubs. Splitting between both affiliates mentioned above, Gleyber recorded 133 hits, 24 doubles, five triples, three home runs and 61 RBI while slashing .290/.350/.383.
Despite having over 130 hits, he did, however, manage to strikeout 106 times. This has been a problem for Chicago’s younger players, especially Bryant, who struck out 199 times which led the entire National League during the regular season.
Rounding out the rest of the list is another Venezuelan-born prospect, Willson Contreras who comes in at No. 2.
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Outfielder Ian Happ sits behind Contreras at the No. 3 spot and is a switch-hitter who has infield experience as well. A Pittsburgh-native who was drafted 9th overall and signed for $3 million at the age of 20-years.
Fellow outfielder’s Albert Almora, Billy McKinney, and Eloy Jimenez found themselves in the bottom half of the list in between several right-handed pitcher’s. Jimenez was once Chicago’s 16th best prospect after the 2013 season but dropped to No. 20 after 2014.
He wrapped up the season with seven homers, 33 RBI, 66 hits, and 36 runs while hitting .284/.328.418 in 232 at-bats with the Short-Season Eugene Emeralds.
McKinney was a piece that came over along with Russell in a trade that moved Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland last July. There’s a chance that all four men will represent the same organization if Samardzija signs with the Cubs over the winter.