FanShot

Top 100 Fantasy Prospects (kind to the Cubs)

Kevin Goldstein ranks several Cubs on this list (I am guessing more for the likelihood of significant PT in the event the Cubs move several regulars). Note: to be eligible for this list you must be eligible for rookie of the year honors (thus no LaHair): 14. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs Background: Where Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod go, Rizzo goes. Drafted by the Red Sox and then traded to the Padres, Hoyer made him the Cubs' first baseman of the future by trading Andrew Cashner for him. Rizzo's 2011 campaign was among the strangest in baseball; he had arguably the best numbers in the minor leagues, then hit a disturbing .141/.281/.242 in 128 at bats for the Padres. What he can do: Rizzo can hit for average and power, and until his disastrous stint in San Diego, he was doing both for the first time at Triple-A. At the same time, the offensive environment at Triple-A Reno produced some bad swing habits that will need to be corrected; he needs to focus more on contact and allow his strength to help him, as opposed to looking to hit home runs. Playing-time situation: The Cubs have made it clear that Bryan LaHair is their Opening Day first baseman. As such, Rizzo will begin 2012 working out the kinks in a more neutral environment at Triple-A Iowa. But he could be ready by midseason, and his arrival likely would kick LaHair to the outfield. Long-term value: Rizzo projects as an above-average first baseman, which gives him plenty of value, though not everyone is convinced he'll be a star. 21. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs Background: Jackson, the 31st overall pick in the 2009 draft, entered professional baseball with the reputation of an outstanding tools player who strikes out too much. Now on the verge of the big leagues, he is generally seen by scouts as an outstanding tools player … who still strikes out too much. What he can do: Jackson provides plenty of excitement both on the field and on a fantasy level. He had 20 home runs and 21 stolen bases last year in just 115 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. The question is just how much he's going to hit. His .297/.388/.551 line in 48 Triple-A games last year created quite a stir, but with 64 whiffs in 185 at-bats, there are indications that there was a lot of luck involved and that high a batting average is unsustainable. Playing-time situation: While the Cubs were tempted to bring up Jackson last year, they want him to work on his contact issues at Triple-A Iowa, and there is currently no room for him on the big league roster. A Marlon Byrd trade could change that, but if Jackson makes strides during the first half of the season, the Cubs will bring him up regardless of their outfield situation. Long-term value: While he'll never compete for a batting title, power/speed combinations are fantasy gold, and Jackson's 20/20 season in 2011 shouldn't be his last. 26. Welington Castillo, C, Cubs Background: Castillo has been in the Cubs' system for six years, and his development has been slowed by injuries. But he has made slow and steady progress over the years, and finally broke out in 2011 with a .287/.359/.516 line at Triple-A Iowa. What he can do: Castillo offers more offense at catcher than your average bear. His aggressive approach and tendency to strike out will keep his average down, and he runs, well, like a catcher, but he has above-average power for the position and could hit 15-20 home runs per season in a full-time role. Playing-time situation: Castillo will open the year as a backup to Geovany Soto, but with the Cubs in rebuilding mode and Soto heading to free agency in two years, a trade that provides Castillo with more at-bats is a distinct possibility, and it would up his value significantly. Long-term value: Castillo holds the title of Cubs catcher of the future for now, but that's almost by default. 49. Dave Sappelt, OF, Cubs Background: Ever since he was picked in the ninth round of the 2008 draft, all Sappelt has done is hit. He's a career .309/.362/.459 hitter in the minors. He wasn't able to duplicate that success in his big league debut in 2011, however; he often looked overmatched in his 107 at-bats. What he can do: While he's hardly a physical specimen at 5-foot-9, Sappelt is an advanced hitter with outstanding hand-eye coordination and bat speed. He doesn't offer much in the way of power, but he's an above-average runner and should steal a few bases, while his ability to play all three outfield positions helps his value. Playing-time situation: Sappelt is battling for a bench outfield job this spring, and his primary competition besides Reed Johnson is Tony Campana, who brings nothing to the table other than speed. Long-term value: Sappelt might never be a long-term starter in the big leagues, but he belongs in the majors. 67. Adrian Cardenas, IF, Cubs 94. Rafael Dolis, RP, Cubs

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