Cubs Prospect Watch: Bryant, Baez, Russell updated rankings

Cubs Prospect Watch: Bryant, Baez, Russell updated rankings
July 7, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

In the wake of the Cubs-A's trade, Monday has been something of a reflection day around the baseball world.

We're not going to discuss Saturday's ludicrous New York Daily News column that picked up steam Monday morning, but rather focus on the midseason top prospect rankings from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

Baseball America has made their midseason rankings free to the public and they have some kind news for the Cubs - three of the Top 7 prospects in baseball are in the Cubs system.

BA has Kris Bryant second, Addison Russell fifth and Javier Baez seventh.

[RELATED - Epstein bets on Addison Russell and where game is heading]

Baseball Prospectus went a step further, ranking the three in the Top 6 - Bryant third, Baez fifth, Russell sixth.

Arismendy Alcantara was ranked 18th in BP's list and 33rd in BA's rankings. Albert Almora came in at No. 37 on Baseball Prospectus, but was unranked on Baseball America's midseason update.

Prior to the season, here is how Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus ranked the five players:

Baseball America

Baez - 5
Bryant - 8
Russell - 14
Almora - 36
Alcantara - 100

Baseball Prospectus

Baez - 4
Russell - 7
Bryant - 17
Almora - 25
Alcantara - 83

Notably absent from both lists is Jorge Soler, who was ranked 45th on BP's preseason list and 41st on BA's. Soler has missed most of the season with hamstring injuries, but is back on the field and hit his first home run with Double-A Tennessee Sunday night.

C.J. Edwards, the Cubs' top pitching prospect, was 28th on Baseball America's preseason list and fell out of the Top 50 due in large part to a shoulder issue that has sidelined him for almost the entire year.

Of note, the guys at Baseball Prospectus gave a special shout-out to 2014 No. 4 pick Kyle Schwarber and said they would rank him around No. 45 right now and he could debut in the Top 60 on the 2015 preseason rankings.

[ALSO: What Addison Russell trade means for Starlin Castro]

For those that don't have access to view the scouting reports, we've included them below:

Bryant

Baseball America:
Power has been just as advertised, while his defense has been better than expected.

Baseball Prospectus:
Bryant continues to launch home runs, rack up strikeouts, rake at an eye-popping clip, and show a discerning eye at the plate. Through 371 plate appearances between Double A and Triple A, Bryant is slashing .357/.453/.717 and finds himself knocking on Wrigley’s door. He has proven himself without question to be the loudest bat in the minors and a potential impact mainstay in the middle of the Cubs order for the foreseeable future. –Nick Faleris

Baez

Baseball America:
Long-term potential is still as an elite regular, but he has to moderate his swing-from-the-heels approach.

Baseball Prospectus:
Baez has the best bat speed in the minors, and it’s not even close for me; a lethal weapon that could make him the premium power bat in the game. But his approach is below average, and he routinely puts himself in bad hitter’s counts and conditions. With more refinement, the ceiling is cathedral but the risk is still quite high despite the fact that the 21-year-old is more than holding his own at the Triple-A level. –Jason Parks

Russell

Baseball America:
Missed half the year with a hamstring problem; remains an elite all-around shortstop prospect with his new team.

Baseball Prospectus:
From a skill-set perspective, Addison Russell has the most well-rounded profile at the shortstop position in the minors, with above-average chops in the field (including double-plus hands), and impact potential with both the hit and power tools. Russell has lost half a season to injury, but could challenge for the top spot in the minors with a strong second half. The ultimate upside is a perennial all-star at a premium spot, and the future could start as early as 2015. –Jason Parks

Alcantara

Baseball America:
Hard not to like an athletic middle infielder who can play short in a pinch and has power and speed.

Baseball Prospectus:
I’ve always liked Alcantara, but I was too low on him coming into the season, despite a skill set that has three-way impact potential at the highest level (hit/glove/run). Now that the 22-year-old has taken his talents to Triple-A, and exceeded expectations at the plate and on base, the future first-division player has jumped the list and emerged as a top 20 prospect in the game. –Jason Parks

Almora

Baseball Prospectus:
Almora’s had a rough start to his season. His lack of production in half a season at High-A as a 20-year-old shouldn’t obfuscate the tools he still has. Almora makes loud, consistent contact and plays a very good center field due to his ability to make early reads off the bat. The baseball IQ is high and it helps the other tools play up. He’s not the sexy name in the Cubs system, but don’t forget about him. –Mauricio Rubio