You already know Javier Baez is a top Cubs prospect. Now, Baseball America has put him at the top of its Cubs prospects list.
Top prospects lists are common these days, but one of the more respected versions is Baseball America's, which was released today:
1. Javier Baez, ss 2. Albert Almora, of 3. Jorge Soler, of 4. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp 5. Brett Jackson, of 6. Pierce Johnson, rhp 7. Dan Vogelbach, 1b 8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b 9. Kyuji Fujikawa, rhp 1O. Arismendy Alcantara, ss
I don't have many quibbles with this list, and I don't think you will either, though I somewhat question the inclusion of Fujikawa. Obviously, he's there because he has yet to play a major-league game, but I wonder if Japanese players really belong on "prospect" lists, because their previous experience is so different from anyone coming through the North American minor-league system.
Here's what Jim Callis writes about the system restocking, most of which is familiar to us:
The Cubs spent the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and $3.9 million in bonus money on center fielder Albert Almora, one of the most polished high school position players in recent memory. To restock an organization seriously bereft of pitching, they spent their next seven choices on arms, starting with Missouri State righthander Pierce Johnson. A week after the draft, Chicago landed Cuban slugger Jorge Soler with the biggest deal for an amateur in franchise history. Soler received a nine-year, $3O million big league contract that included a $6 million bonus, then teamed with Almora in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
BA also published this projected 2016 lineup, which doesn't take into account any possible trades or free-agent signings, but still seems somewhat realistic:
Catcher Welington Castillo First Base Anthony Rizzo Second Base Starlin Castro Third Base Jeimer Candelario Shortstop Javier Baez Left Field Brett Jackson Center Field Albert Almora Right Field Jorge Soler No. 1 Starter Jeff Samardzija No. 2 Starter Matt Garza No. 3 Starter Arodys Vizcaino No. 4 Starter Edwin Jackson No. 5 Starter Pierce Johnson Closer Juan Carlos Paniagua
The photo of Jackson with this post is because I didn't have any available pictures of Baez. In any case, have at it.