The Rundown: Cubs Have Top Farm System, Addison Russell is’s No. 3 SS, Cubs Projected to Win 82 Games

The Cubs have the best overall farm system in baseball, according to ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider).

OK, I get it: The Cubs have a great minor-league system. But it really doesn’t get old hearing about how good it is.

The best part of this No. 1 ranking is that it doesn’t include Javier Baez or Arismendy Alcantara (who have amassed too much time in MLB to qualify). Jorge Soler was included as part of the farm system, along with other top guys like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell.

The praise for the Cubs’ system is great, but I’m sure we can all agree it will be nice once it begins to translate into major-league success. That should all begin in full force in 2015 (at least that’s the plan).

Bryant and Soler will be up. Russell likely won’t be up until 2016, but I suppose it’s not impossible to see him sooner. Kyle Schwarber will be soon behind.

But I also hope the Cubs will be able to keep the waves of prospects coming. It will be more difficult in future years, when, theoretically, they are not receiving top-10 draft picks, but I’m sure the front office will keep the farm system a priority.

Speaking of the farm system…

In keeping with the theme of the strong Cubs’ minor-league system, Addison Russell was named the No. 3 shortstop prospect on

Russell is in some good company, slotting behind the first overall pick from the 2012 draft, Houston’s Carlos Correa, and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor.

Cubs position players have been all over these MLB lists. The outfielders will be announced next, and I’d assume Jorge Soler will be making an appearance.

Other notes

* Baseball Prospectus is projecting the Cubs to go 82-80 in 2015, according to PECOTA data. This would have the Cubs finishing second in the NL Central…and narrowly missing the playoffs. I think 82 wins is a realistic possibility, and would make for a satisfying season (considering the past few years of losing). But I would very much like to avoid missing the playoffs by only one game, thanks. I really think a Wild Card birth is attainable for the 2015 Cubs. Probably not likely, but I think it can be done.

* Former Cubs catcher John Baker has signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners. Baker is definitely a guy who is easy to root for, so I wish him the best. He provided one of the best highlights of the 2014 season, when he came in to pitch relief in a record-long extra-inning game and then scored the winning run in the bottom half of the inning.

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