New Cubs Prospect Lists Show Depth and Promise
It is that time of the year again. Baseball magazines, websites, and blogs began releasing their prospect lists for 2016. The names and rankings for the Cubs have changed drastically from a year ago when Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler dominated every list. Here is what some of those lists looked like just a short year ago:
Rise of Torres
With the ascension of the Big Four and the transition of CJ Edwards, starter, into Carl Edwards, Jr., reliever, everything shifted dramatically to accommodate a younger group with less high-end impact talent. At the beginning of 2015, if you would have said that Willson Contreras and Oscar De La Cruz would both be top 10 prospects by fall, people would have called you crazy. Yet, there they sit on most lists at the beginning of 2016.
2015 was really all about the rise of Gleyber Torres. The 18-year-old shortstop looked extremely polished at the plate at low-A South Bend. His natural RCF stroke looked beautiful as he lead the team in RBIs from the two spot. He still has some work to do in the field and on the basepaths, but the young Venezuelan was outstanding in being named the number one prospect in the Midwest League.
New Lists Released
Here are the most recent lists of the Cubs Top 10 prospects. Keith Law will release his shortly after the Super Bowl and Baseball Prospectus will release theirs in March.
I think the there will be several young prospects who make these rankings quite volatile over the course of the coming season. It is foreseeable that a player currently in the upper teens could easily be in top 8 by the end of the year. Some of those prospects include Darryl Wilson, Justin Steele, Donnie Dewees, Eddy Julio Martinez, and Bryan Hudson. And it would not surprise me to see Wladimir Galindo, Andruw Monasterio, or Carlos Sepulveda shoot onto a list or two later in the year.
A year from now Contreras, Johnson, Almora, Ryan Williams, Candelario, Vogelabch, and McKinney will be close to the Cubs or another major league team. Underwood, Zagunis, Chesny Young, and Caratini should be right behind them. This could leave an amazingly young top 10 in Torres, Cease, Jimenez, Happ, Wilson, De La Cruz, Hudson, Martinez, Dewees, and Steele in the not-too-distant future.
This summer should be an exciting time in the minor leagues as a new wave of prospects start their climb.