If you've purchased the Bleed Cubbie Blue 2013 Annual (and at only $2.99, why haven't you?), you got my list of the Top 20 Cubs minor league prospects, along with my thoughts, for what they're worth, on each one of them. It's thirteen pages of prospect goodness. Heck, even Baseball America only has eleven pages on the Cubs in their Prospect Handbook, although they do use a smaller font. But I can read mine without my glasses.
But now that the season has begun, I thought it would be best to do an update as to where all 20 of these players are now. That means that those of you who haven't purchased the Annual get a taste of the list and what's inside.
This update simply lists where each player is right now. No one's ranking has changed after only one game.
1. Javier Baez, SS. Baez wowed everyone in spring training with his massive home runs. Especially Al, who wrote this article wondering if Baez shouldn't be in the majors already. Since Theo Epstein isn't Larry Beinfest, Baez is starting where he left off. That's Daytona, where he's the fifth-youngest player in the Florida State League.
2. Albert Almora, OF. Almora broke his hamate bone in Spring Training and is on the disabled list, probably until the end of May. The good news is that this shouldn't have any long-term health effects. For example, Pablo Sandoval has had both of his hamate bones removed and he still hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series.
3. Jorge Soler, OF. Promoted to Daytona. Got two hits in the season opener.
4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP. Technically Vizcaino is in the majors with the Cubs, but he's on the 60-day DL. When he's ready to pitch, the Cubs will send him on a rehab assignment, which can last as long as thirty days and won't take up a roster spot for the minor league team. I assume when the rehab assignment is over he'll be sent down to Iowa, but I suppose if he does well enough in rehab he could go straight to the majors. I doubt that will happen, although I still expect him to see some time in Wrigley this year.
5. Brett Jackson, OF. Trying to re-build his swing in Iowa.
6. Christian Villanueva, 3B. Villanueva made his Double-A debut for Tennessee on Thursday.
7. Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP. Paniagua's problems with his documents continue, although this time the issue is the U.S. State Department and not MLB. He's still stuck in the Dominican Republic. It's not a concern yet, but if it goes on until May or June, I'm going to start to get worried.
8. Dan Vogelbach, 1B. Had two hits for Low-A Kane County on opening night.
9. Pierce Johnson, RHP. Got the opening night start for Kane County. Looked strong in the first inning but got rocked for five runs in the second.
11. Logan Watkins, 2B. The Cubs Minor League Player of the Year for 2012 was promoted to Iowa.
12. Duane Underwood, RHP. Underwood is in extended spring training. He'll either stay in Arizona for rookie ball or head to Boise, depending on how he progresses in extended spring.
13. Josh Vitters, 3B. I still haven't given up on him. He's back in Iowa. He's missed the first two games with back spasms. He's "day to day" like the rest of us.
14. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF. Back in Tennessee for another season to start the year.
15. Matt Szczur, OF. Ditto. Had three hits on opening night.
16. Dillon Maples, RHP. He's in extended spring training as well, in the same boat with Underwood.
17. Stephen Bruno, INF. Bruno jumped Kane County and went straight from Boise to Daytona. I like the aggressive placement.
18. Arismendy Alcantara, SS. I really liked what I saw out of him on Opening Night for the Smokies. I may have ranked him too low. I still question his glove, though.
19. Marco Hernandez, SS. I hope the Midwest League treats Hernandez better this year with Kane County than it did last season with Peoria.
20. Gioskar Amaya, 2B. In Kane County as well.
Here are the four players I wanted to put on the list but couldn't find room. They're in alphabetical order.
Jose Arias, RHP: Kane County
Michael Jensen, RHP: If anyone knows where Michael Jensen is, please contact me. He's not on any roster.
Trey Martin, OF: Kane County
Tim Saunders, SS: Daytona