Last month Baseball America came out with their annual organizational top ten prospects rankings. Mostly this only serves as a tool for dumbass fans to overrate the prospects in their favorite team’s system. However, when you have a system as littered with talent as the Cubs do it’s hard to sound stupid when talking about how exciting the future is looking.
What prospects come to mind when the average Cubs fan wants to take a breath between beers and talk future players? Billy McKinney? Albert Amora? Great prospects with potentially a good future, but they don’t even crack the top five in the Cubs’ system. Obviously some of these prospects are going to miss, but I feel like we’ve been saying that for awhile now and to be honest the only “miss” that I see so far is that Jorge Soler isn’t hitting 40 dingers…yet.
Let me preface this by saying I don’t think Addison Russell is even close to hitting his ceiling. That being said, he might want to get their sooner than later. Torres, 18, sports an outstanding glove and plus speed. Once he learns how to use his wheels his base stealing percentage should improve. Expect him to develop average power but have the intangibles to be a wizard with the bat. Assuming Baez isn’t traded, the Cubs will soon have a logjam in the middle of the infield.
Contreras basically made AA his chew toy in 2015. He finished with an .891 OPS and still projects as a catcher, unlike Kyle Schwarber. Probably one of the most MLB-ready prospects in the system, Contreras would be drawing significant looks in spring training if not for Montero still being on the roster. I don’t think the Cubs will want him on the roster just to be a backup, so he’ll probably start the year in AA or AAA and be ready to fill in should anything happen to Montero.
Last year’s first round pick, Happ didn’t turn 21 until August of this past year. Projected as a bonafide hitter, it won’t be Happ’s bat that keeps him out of the big leagues for long. Where he will play is still up for debate, as he is just as comfortable at second base as he is in the outfield.
Underwood was hitting 97 MPH on the gun in high school, surely turning some varsity pants brown, and was drafted in the second round. He already has three “plus” pitches so his projection as a mid to top of the rotation starter isn’t far off. He had some success at high A last year but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit some bumps in the road before his eventual MLB leap.
This young pup won’t turn 21 for another year. The Cubs may have gotten a steal by drafting him in the 6th round. He may have been a first round pick if not for needing elbow surgery right as he was eligible for the draft. He boasted a 9.39 K/9 last year in rookie ball and has the potential to rocket through the minor leagues.
Oh, and then there is Albert Almora and Billy McKinney among other studs. You could argue that there is really no sense in ranking these guys. They all have a bright future. While some won’t work out, the sheer number of talented individuals the Cubs have will keep them in contention for the next decade.