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.
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 MLB.com's Top 100 rankings.
With the 2014 season fast approaching, we compiled the top Cubs prospects from every major outlet — MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, MinorLeagueBall.com's John Sickels and ESPN's Law.
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.
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.