Compiling the 2014 Cubs top prospect lists

Compiling the 2014 Cubs top prospect lists
March 19, 2014, 1:30 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Cubs are coming.

Theo Epstein said the organization's top prospects have used that as a rallying cry as they worked out over the winter.

Not a bad mantra. Especially because it's true.

[RELATED: Cubs prospects adjusting to life in the limelight]

Epstein and Co. are starting to wake the sleeping giant that is the Cubs, at least in the farm system, which is ranked among the Top 5 by both Baseball America and ESPN's Keith Law.

The Cubs still lack some impact pitching prospects, but they have arguably the best grouping of position players in baseball, led by the organization's last three first-round picks — Javier Baez (2011), Albert Almora (2012) and Kris Bryant (2013).

Baez and Bryant rank among the Top 10 prospects in the game and were included in the seven Cubs listed on Baseball America and's Top 100 rankings.

[MORE: Cubs can see Javier Baez is on a mission]

With the 2014 season fast approaching, we compiled the top Cubs prospects from every major outlet —, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs,'s John Sickels and ESPN's Law.


Player MLB BA BP FanGraphs Sickels Law
Javier Baez 1 1 1 1 1 1
Kris Bryant 2 2 2 2 2 2
Albert Almora 3 4 3 3 3 4
C.J. Edwards 4 3 5 7 5 5
Jorge Soler 5 5 4 4 4 3
Arismendy Alcantara 6 7 6 5 6 6
Pierce Johnson 7 6 7 6 7 7
Arodys Vizcaino 8 10 NR 9 11 10
Jeimer Candelario 9 8 10 11 8 8
Dan Vogelbach 10 9 8 8 9 NR
Christian Villanueva 11 NR 9 12 10 NR
Eloy Jimenez 12 NR NR 14 NR NR
Neil Ramirez 13 NR NR 15 13 NR
Mike Olt 14 NR NR NR 12 NR
Paul Blackburn 15 NR NR NR 20 NR
Kyle Hendricks 16 NR NR 10 16 NR
Corey Black 17 NR NR NR 17 9
Jacob Hannemann 18 NR NR NR NR NR
Tyler Skulina 19 NR NR NR NR NR
Gleyber Torres 20 NR NR NR NR NR
Matt Szczur NR NR NR NR 14 NR
Josh Vitters NR NR NR NR 15 NR
Rob Zastryzny NR NR NR NR 18 NR
Ivan Pineyro NR NR NR NR 19 NR
Duane Underwood NR NR NR 13 NR NR


While the rankings are top-heavy with position player prospects, the arms are coming along slowly but surely in the system. The emergence of Edwards and Johnson gives the Cubs a pair of legit arms that could wind up at the front of a big-league rotation.

Vizcaino showcased his velocity in spring training and could be up in the big leagues soon. Ramirez was the player to be named later in the Matt Garza deal with the Texas Rangers while Black and Pineyro served as the returns for Alfonso Soriano and Scott Hairston, respectively.

Hendricks is going to start the season at Triple-A and could arrive in Chicago sometime in 2014. Blackburn, Skulina, Zastryzny and Underwood are recent draft picks still finding their way in the lower levels of the organization.

[RELATED — It’s not just Baez and Bryant: Cubs building deep farm system]

Theo and Co. have really put their stamp on the farm system.

It's been a changing of the guard among the top prospect rankings, as Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters — the former 1-2 punch — have become the forgotten men in the system.

Meanwhile, of the 25 players listed above, Epstein's front office has acquired 19 of them — not including Anthony Rizzo and Travis Wood, two of the core pieces at the big-league level — since taking over the team in October 2011.

These lists will take a hit when a few of the high-ranked players hit the big leagues — led by Baez, Vizcaino and Olt — but the 2014 draft (the Cubs pick fourth) and potential trades of Jeff Samardzija and others during a mid-summer sell off should help replenish the farm system.