Late last week, Baseball Prospectus released their Top Ten Cubs Prospects list. BP's prospect maven Jason Parks ranked ten players and listed three more players "On The Rise" and three more that could contribute at the major league level in 2014. In addition, Bret Sayre gives his take the fantasy baseball impact that each of the Cubs top ten prospects might have.
The article itself is insider-only, but I know that many of you are Baseball Prospectus subscribers. So while you can't read the writeups unless you shell out the $40 for a BP subscription (and you should), I can give you the list of names that Parks puts in his top ten.
Parks' list is pretty familiar to anyone around here and there really isn't much disagreement among prospect writers about who the top eight prospects are. In fact, you'll find the top eight to be very similar to my "top 20 plus" list, which will come out on this site starting on Tuesday.
Parks' top ten Cubs prospects are:
1. Javier Baez
2. Kris Bryant
3. Albert Almora
4. Jorge Soler
5. C.J. Edwards
6. Arismendy Alcantara
7. Pierce Johnson
8. Dan Vogelbach
9. Christian Villanueva
10. Jeimer Candelario
Prospects on the rise: Paul Blackburn, Mark Malave, Rob Zastryzny.
Factors on the Farm (players expected to contribute in 2014): Mike Olt, Arodys Vizcaino, Neil Ramirez.
- Parks ranked Almora number one last season and he's always been a big fan of Almora's all-around skills as opposed to Baez's raw talent. His dropping of Almora to number three doesn't reflect any re-appraisal of Almora (although he is worried he might be injury-prone) as it is that he's finally convinced that Baez is a special talent. He says that Baez "might have the highest offensive ceiling of any player in the minors." While he does see a fair amount of risk in Baez, he no longer sees him as a "boom or bust" type player. That is, there's a floor to Baez's talents that will at leave him at least as a major league player.
- Parks settles the "Edwards v. Johnson" debate by going with the higher upside of Edwards over the safer Johnson. Despite this, Parks still seems to think that Edwards is destined for the bullpen. He adds that a lot of his sources prefer Johnson to Edwards and that Edwards' stats are better than his scouting reports. Parks got his start in the business writing about Texas Rangers prospects, so he's quite familiar with Edwards.
- While I wouldn't call him "upset" about the Garza trade, he does call it "[now] one-sided."
- He feels that while Bryant can play a "passable" third base, he's ultimately ticketed for right field.
- Parks agrees with everyone else that says that Vogelbach is a DH-only, but he thinks that AL teams will be lining up to acquire him if he has a successful 2014 season.