Despite all the young stars currently playing in Chicago, the Cubs farm system continues to develop the next generation of baseball talent. Last week, Baseball America released their midseason Cubs prospect rankings and you can see for yourself that there is still a lot to be happy about in the minor leagues.
You can compare BA’s list to the one that I published a week ago. The two lists are fairly similar, as to be expected. Their rules are the same as mine: the player had to have rookie eligibility left and had to be in the minor leagues over the All-Star Break. Also, no 2016 draftees were eligible.
Baseball America’s list is:
- SS Gleyber Torres
- 2B/OF Ian Happ
- OF Eloy Jimenez
- OF Mark Zagunis
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
- RHP Oscar De La Cruz
- RHP Dylan Cease
- RHP Trevor Clifton
- RHP Duane Underwood
- OF Eddy Martinez
Additionally, BA listed RHP Rob Zastryzny and the dear, departed DH Dan Vogelbach as "risers" and OF Billy McKinney and RHP Pierce Johnson as "falling."
A few thoughts on where Baseball America’s list disagrees with mine. They have Zagunis a lot higher than I did, although I did say in the comments on last week’s article that Zagunis was my 11th ranked prospect. I don’t disagree with anything they wrote about Zagunis and I like him very much. I simply wonder whether his high-OBP, low-power approach plays at a corner OF position, especially since he doesn’t seem to be stealing bases like he used to.
In the case of de la Cruz, this is simply a matter of them having better information than I did. When I wrote my list, de la Cruz hadn’t pitched yet all season after dealing with "forearm soreness." For all I knew, de la Cruz wasn’t going to pitch at all this year and was facing the possibility of surgery. But they have better sources and shortly after my list was published, de la Cruz made his season debut. Had I known he was going to pitch this season, de la Cruz would have definitely made my list.
Underwood didn’t make my list although he made theirs. I don’t know that there is a lot of disagreement between us: I would have ranked Underwood in the 12-14 range had I carried my list out that far. I’m concerned about Underwood’s health and control issues when he does pitch, but so are they. It’s just a matter of how much you knock him down for that.
All in all, it looks like things are still bright on the farm to me, and this list simply reinforces that. These are also the players that teams will be asking about when the Cubs call to make a deal over the next few weeks.