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Six Cubs Make Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects List

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And for the first time, a Cub is listed at number one.

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The accolades keep coming for the Cubs farm system as tonight Baseball America, the oldest and generally most respected of such lists, named six Cubs to their top 100 prospects list, including the number one prospect in third baseman Kris Bryant and the number three prospect in shortstop Addison Russell. Four of those six prospects ranked in the top 20 of all of baseball.

It was the first time in the 25-year history of the list that the Cubs had the number one prospect in all of baseball. Previously, the highest-ranked prospects the Cubs ever had were Corey Patterson and Mark Prior, who were ranked number two in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

The six prospects named the to list were:

1. Third baseman Kris Bryant

3. Shortstop Addison Russell

13. Right fielder Jorge Soler

20. Catcher Kyle Schwarber

39. Right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards

84. Outfielder Billy McKinney

That the Cubs have four of the top 20 players and two of the top three prospects just speaks to how fantastic the system is right now.

(Note: the list on the website has Soler, Schwaber, Edwards and McKinney listed one spot higher. For some reason, they included Yoan Moncada on the show but not on their list at their site.)

Breaking down the six prospects, two of them were drafted number one by the Cubs (Bryant, Schwarber) and one was signed as an international free agent. (Soler) The other three came over in trades with Russell and McKinney being the return from Oakland for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and Edwards being the prize of the Matt Garza trade with Texas.

Some notes:

  • When asked why Bryant was number one over the Twins' Byron Buxton, BA's John Manuel said "power, power and more power."
  • Russell's makeup was the difference that elevated him over the other top shortstop prospects. They all loved his dedication and work ethic. They repeated the "Barry Larkin with power" description, but Ron Darling also said Russell reminded him of Miguel Tejada.
  • Darling called Soler the "Cuban Hawk" because he reminded him so much of Andre Dawson. Manuel thought that was a great comparison.
  • Baseball America admitted that there are a lot of questions about where Schwarber will play in the field. However, they noted that his bat was so special, that he'd play anywhere.

Over the years, I've generally tried to get my readers excited about the prospects in the Cubs system. These days, my job is more trying to temper expectations. Even top prospects fail to pan out sometimes. But it's hard not to be excited about the future. While I can't promise nothing but clear skies from now on, I can tell you that the Cubs future has never been brighter.