At some point, I expect Eloy Jimenez to say “You like me! You really like me!”
Pretty obviously, the four Cubs who made the list are the four that Baseball America ranked as the top four prospects in the Cubs system earlier this winter.
The Cubs on the list are:
14. Eloy Jimenez, OF
63. Ian Happ, 2B/OF
64. Albert Almora Jr., OF
97. Dylan Cease, RHP
Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi heads BA’s list, and Benintendi is pretty much the consensus best prospect in baseball this winter. Having watched Benintendi play against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Carolina League, I can attest he’s an impressive ballplayer. Yoan Moncada, the White Sox prize from the BoSox in the Chris Sale deal, comes in second and Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson is third. Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes, who pitched against the Cubs three times last fall, comes in at number four.
Fifth on BA’s list is Gleyber Torres. Watch the World Series victory parade again if this upsets you.
Meanwhile, over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels issued his Top 200 list of the best prospects in the game.
11. Eloy Jimenez, OF
60. Dylan Cease, RHP
73. Trevor Clifton, RHP
74. Ian Happ, 2B/OF
102. Albert Almora Jr., OF
134. Oscar de La Cruz, RHP
192. Mark Zagunis, OF
195. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Sickels’ top four are identical to Baseball America’s, but he drops Torres down to 7th while ranking Mets shortstop prospect Amed Rosario at 5.
Sickels’ list reflects his own idiosyncrasies, and that’s a good thing that we get a different point of view. He has Cease ranked higher than pretty much everyone else, although I don’t think anyone doubts that Cease has the talent to rank there or even higher. For the most part, Cease gets knocked down because of health concerns and his minimal minor league experience. Certainly I did that. But Sickels apparently doesn’t take off as much for that as others. He also has Trevor Clifton ranked far higher than anyone else, and I’m sure we all hope he’s correct about that.
Similarly, Sickels has Almora ranked much lower than others do. But if you have a more pessimistic opinion of Almora’s ability to hit major league pitching, this ranking is more than fair.
None of these opinions are right or wrong and the more information we get on the Cubs minor league players the better.
Normally this is the place where I say the future is bright for the Cubs but honestly, the present is pretty bright right now. But these rankings are a sign that this current Cubs team is one that is built to last.