ESPN Insider Keith Law compiled a complete ranking of the top farm systems in baseball Monday and the Cubs surprisingly found their way into the No. 5 spot. (Link is Insider only)
"The Cubs' rebuilding process isn't much further along than the Twins' or the Astros' in terms of time, but they spent extravagantly in the international market before the new CBA's restrictions went into effect last summer, landing the Cuban toolshed Jorge Soler (and the Cuban flop Gerardo Concepcion, but we're not going to talk about him), then later using their international pool money on the Dominican pitcher with an electric arm currently known as Juan Carlos Paniagua, who has gone through more names than the thief known as Parker," Law writes. "The Cubs also scored big in last year's draft, addressing the system's lack of starting pitching candidates while also bulking up its depth in outfield prospects."
So, while the No. 5 ranking may come as a bit of a surprise to some, Law's reasoning makes sense. The Cubs' trio of top prospects -- Javier Baez, Soler, Albert Almora -- have received nothing but high marks from those around the game and the front office has continued to stockpile pitching, led by Arodys Vizcaino, acquired last summer in the deal that sent Paul Maholm to Atlanta.
The bad news for the Cubs is division rival St. Louis came in at No. 1 on Law's rankings, which shouldn't come to a shock to anybody who's watched any Cubs-Cardinals game over the past couple of years. Guys like Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter are part of the system and have done some damage against the Cubs.
The Twins, Rays and Astros rounded out the Top 5. The Pirates were seventh, the Reds came in at No. 12 and the Brewers were all the way down at No. 29.