Today Baseball America announced their top ten prospects in the Cubs minor league system and while the list is certainly a comedown from the lofty system of a couple of years ago, it still has some potential impact names on it.
- Eloy Jimenez, OF
- Ian Happ, 2B/OF
- Albert Almora, OF
- Dylan Cease, RHP
- Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
- Mark Zagunis, OF
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Trevor Clifton, RHP
- D.J. Wilson, OF
- Jose Albertos, RHP
The scouting reports are restricted to subscribers, although you can read the first one on Jimenez for free. In the report, John Manuel compares Jimenez to Jorge Soler and even Giancarlo Stanton, but in the chat he held later, someone asked him about a Matt Holliday comp and he thought that sounded like a very good one. There’s no room for Jimenez on the Cubs right now, but he may force the Cubs to make room for him in 2018 or 2019.
Happ is praised for his bat but knocked for his defense, both at second base and in the outfield. Almora is expected to be the Cubs everyday CF this year and while he doesn’t walk, he can do pretty much everything else, including some pretty terrific defense in center field.
Cease and de la Cruz battle it out for the top pitching prospect in the Cubs system. Both are a ways away (Cease pitched in Eugene and de la Cruz threw six games in South Bend) but both have some pretty terrific stuff. It’s hard to know at this point if they have the stamina to hold up as starters because they’ve logged so few innings, but even if they can’t, they could be elite closers.
Zagunis and Candelario are the “blocked” duo. Both are ready for the Show and neither one has a job waiting for them in Chicago. Start making up outlandish one-sided trade offers that include either or both of them now.
Clifton is someone we’ve discussed a lot around here. He certainly has big league potential and the size and stamina to hold up as a starter, but his raw stuff may keep him as no better than a #4 starter. Then again, they said similar things about Kyle Hendricks.
D.J. Wilson is just 19 and a terrific athlete who struggled early in Eugene, but improved as the season went on. He draws some Adam Eaton comparisons.
Jose Albertos is the one name that may be unfamiliar to you, but that won’t be true for long. The Cubs signed him out of Mexico in 2015 and he has electric stuff with three pitches, although the Cubs are babying his arm at this point. He’s the only one on the list I haven’t seen play, either in person on on MLB.tv. He only just turned 18 in November so he’s a long-term project.
I’ll be doing my annual list of my top 20 prospect next week, and a lot of these names will seem familiar then.