Aggregate list of Cubs top 25 prospects

It's prospect season and not to be left out, MLB's Jonathon Mayo created his own list of top Cubs prospects.  It contains a few wrinkles we haven't seen in other lists.

  • Some players have video so you can get a quick look at players you may not have seen.  My favorite video was of Javier Baez, who has some of the bat speed you will ever see.
  • Chris Carpenter is ranked as the Cubs top pitching prospect and is ranked #5 overall.
  • Raw, but talented outfielder Reggie Golden is ranked 10th.  On talent alone, he probably deserves it, but he has a long way to go and a lot to work on.
  • Robert Whitenack also made the top 10 at #9.  Whitenack was certainly on his way to being a top 10 guy but TJ surgery will keep him out now until at least June of next season.
  • Gioskar Amaya and Pen Chieh Chen cracked the top 20.
  • Welington Castillo and Dae-Eun Rhee didn't make the list at all.

I'm not singling out Mayo, every prospect list has it's quirks and idiosyncracies, my own included.  That's why it's a good idea to check them all out.  They all have their sources, some use more scouts while others focus on statistics.  I thought that it might be a good idea to aggregate the top 20 lists of Mayo,  Jim Callis (Baseball America), Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus), Marc Hulet (Fangraphs), Keith Law*, and John Sickels.  I used a point system (20 pts for each #1 ranking, 19 pts. for each #2 ranking, and so on) and if there was a tie, I chose the player who had the highest ranking in any one list.

* UPDATE: I factored in some, but not all of the Keith Law rankings he released just after this list.  Because he had only ranked 10 players, it would have thrown off the top 20, but I put a revised top 10 list at the bottom of this article.

Here's how it shakes out...

The Aggregate Top 25

  1. Brett Jackson
  2. Javier Baez
  3. Anthony Rizzo
  4. Matt Szczur
  5. Dillon Maples
  6. Trey McNutt
  7. Welington Castillo
  8. Dan Vogelbach
  9. Josh Vitters
  10. Rafael Dolis
  11. Chris Carpenter
  12. Junior Lake
  13. Jeimer Candelario
  14. Marco Hernandez
  15. Ben Wells
  16. Jae Hoon Ha
  17. Dae Eun Rhee
  18. Tony Zych
  19. Reggie Golden
  20. Robert Whitenack
  21. Austin Kirk
  22. Ronald Torreyes
  23. Zeke DeVoss
  24. Dallas Beeler
  25. (tie) Zach Cates and Dave Sappelt

I didn't have full information as some writers made their list before trades.  I was able to find out where Rizzo would have ranked, but there was less information available on Torreyes, Cates, and Sappelt.  So those players may be a little low.  The prospect gurus seemed to be unanimous support for the top 3 players while 2 players (Austin Kirk and Dallas Beeler), only got support from one writer. As such, there were some gaps between groups of players.  If I had to break it off into tiers I'd break it down like this..

Tier 1: Jackson, Baez, Rizzo

Tier 2: Szczur, Maples, McNutt

Tier 3: Castillo, Vogelbach, Vitters, Carpenter, Dolis, Lake

In the end, it was interesting to me to see which prospects got support across the board and how they ranked when we took 5 of the major prospect lists (unfortunately, Law doesn't make team lists) .  No one prospect guru is going to get it right, but maybe we get a better idea by putting all their lists together.

* Revised Top 10 List with Law's Rankings included

  1. Brett Jackson
  2. Anthony Rizzo
  3. Javier Baez
  4. Matt Szczur
  5. Dillon Maples
  6. Trey McNutt
  7. Welington Castillo
  8. Josh Vitters
  9. Dan Vogelbach
  10. Rafael Dolis

The major difference with Law added is that Anthony Rizzo's top ranking was enough to vault him past Javier Baez for the 2nd spot and he broke the tie between Vitters and Vogelbach in favor of Vitters.  His high rankings of Zach Cates would probably move him into the top 20 range overall and his top 10 ranking for Reggie Golden would likely move him into the top 15 range.

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  • Got the insomnia tonight eh John?

    Very interesting article. Can't wait to see how Baez plays out in his first full season of pro ball.

    I expect Zeke DeVoss to be pretty high up on these rankings next year. I think he'll have a good year.

    BTW, where did you see video of Cespedes talking with media after meeting in Miami?

  • In reply to Still Love the Cubs:

    LOL..yep. Going to bed now, though...or will try anyway.

    It'll be interesting to see if a lot of those guys move up. Right now people aren't rating their system highly because many of their high ceiling guys are at the lowest levels. If a few have big years, maybe the Cubs will move up.

    Here's the link for Cespedes...

  • Interesting list John, I don't agree with leaving Castillo off though, I'm more impressed by your stamina John. I'm waking up and you just went to bed, get some sleep John!

  • I think you can make an argument that Tier 2 goes about 15 players deep. I would personally rather have both Marco Hernandez and Candelario over Szczur.

  • In reply to Norm:

    I was going by the point totals I had aggregated so it's not so much my opinion but based on all the opinions out there.

    Tough to put Hernandez and Candelario over Szczur at this point because they really haven't faced any top competition, whereas Szczur has played in the pitcher friendly FSL and did reasonably well even though he was said to be exausted after a non-stop year that included football. I think he's an underrated prospect because Law and Goldstein are so down on him. Wouldn't be surprised if they missed on this guy. Not taking anything away from them but we know that McLeod and Wilken both like him, and that's a bigger endorsement to me than those guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well sure, but same could be said about having Baez in front of Szczur; Baez hasn't played top competition either, but he's higher ranked because of his skill/tools/potential.
    Of course it's all just personal opinion, but I'm not high on Szczur's future.

  • In reply to Norm:

    In my opinion, Baez has more tools than either Candelario or Hernandez. As does Szczur, the question with him isn't tools or potential, as it's likely higher than those guys. The question with Szczur is whether those tools translate to baseball skills. He's picked up a lot of that in just his first full season and if he makes a similar jump this year, I think you'll see quite a few of his detractors changing their minds.

  • I'm surprised Mayo would Carpenter as the Cubs' top pitching prospect (and fifth best prospect overall). He's 26 years old, and last year in the minors he walked 5.8 batters per game. I guess the Cubs better trade for some talented pitching prospects.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I was surprised as well. I disagree with Mayo on this one. I think maybe he fell in love with his AFL performance this year. Carpenter can be dominant when he's on, and he was on this fall. Overall, he's not consistent enough for me to be rated that highly.

  • Nice problem to have. Can't pick which prospects to put on a top 20
    (or 30) list

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The Cubs are building up some pretty good depth. Some nice prospects missed this cut: Amaya, Chen, Rosario, Watkins, Beliveau...

  • Thanks once again for doing all the leg work and compiling this list. As always, this is my one stop shop for Cubs info. I'm looking forward to my summer trips to see Tennessee and Peoria play. Looks like a lot of prospects at those two destinations. My only fear about this list sounds like the same fear that Theo and Jed identified...not enough guys at the upper levels. Obviously it is nice that two of your top three are close to MLB ready, but the rest of the list full of hope with guys who have very little to no track record of success in professional baseball. That would be my reasoning as well for placing Carpenter so high. I think he has shown success in the majors, while with the lower guys you are purely speculating until they show success at upper levels, or in the bigs. I certainly hope that some of the lower level arms turn out to be more than Carpenter, but at this point it is speculation.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Your welcome and thanks for that. Peoria and Tennessee should be fun teams this year. Will definitely want to see both as they should have some good prospects. Daytona might be the weakest link this year, but I expect some players to get promoted there halfway through the season.

    Could be right on Carpenter. He's a safe bet and a guy that you get lots of info on.

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    John, I like the way you averaged the different list to come up with your own aggregate list. It's probably more accurate, and you are right. Baez does have a sweet swing. Mechanically, there are no real hitches, and it just looks like he is generating some serious bat speed. Because of the changes in the front office that are already filtering down throughout the system, I think it is more likely he will reach his ceiling. I'm sure Baez and newly hired MLHC James Rowson will be spending a lot of time together. Speaking of Rowson, I hear good things about him.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks, one of those ideas that come up during my bouts of insomnia. Sometimes I do my best thinking then ;) I think there are positives and negatives to it. You smooth out some of the outlier opinions -- but sometimes those guys are on to something we don't know about. Fangraphs really loves Wells and Kirk, while Callis went out on a limb for Beeler. Will be fun to keep an eye on all those guys and see who is right.

    I think the Cubs are really lucky to have Rowson here while Baez is still so young. Really looking forward to seeing what he can do with Lake, Szczur, and Vitters. Those guys all need to work on their approach to varying degrees.

  • FYI; KLaw does have a organizational top 10 posted on ESPN.Com. No write-ups on each but it is available. The biggest surprise to me is Zach Cates at #5. I had not seen him as high anywhere else. (Szczur comes in at 10).

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Okay, so maybe I don't do some of my best thinking during insomnia bouts ;) I missed that one. That would definitely move Cates up the list, not sure it will change the rest of the list but maybe I will have to go back to my notes and re-calibrate to be sure.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it was just posted this morning...I like the composite ranking and think it is a good baseline for understanding what the more experience people think. It is good to get the varying opinions so we don't get too high or too down on certain prospects. No one is 100% at predicting these things, and if they were they would be in a front office somewhere, so some of these prospects will never make it and others that are not on the list will make an impact. It is still fun to read and learn about them and to get a better understanding of what people with scouting backgrounds see when they look at them. keep up the good work, but take a nap at some point...

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Ah..that would be why I missed it. I have renewed faith in my insomnia. I might put an edit on there but now that I think about it, it's too hard to do a top 20 list when Law left out guys like Lake, Vitters, Vogelbach, etc. because he did a shorter list. Will update maybe on Szczur and Cates since they're the only ones who will likely be affected. Wonder how Keith Law would feel about getting an asterisk ;)

  • Nice to be signing so many athletic prospects. Who are your top 5
    or 10.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'll give you 5 since I'lI do one more list once the Cubs have finished their offseason (don't want to give it all away yet!) I tend to lean more toward ceiling so right now, I'd go..

    Javier Baez...fell in love with that swing
    Brett Jackson
    Anthony Rizzo
    Matt Szczur
    Trey McNutt

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    In non-thread related news, former Cub Rich Harden will miss the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn capsule in his right shoulder. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jame Andrews.

    I know this news is not shocking. At least, it shouldn't be, but according to Harden, he's known he needed surgery since 2007. He says he sustained it while trying to field a ball up the middle. He did not say whether it was a grounder or a line drive, but basically he has been pitching with pain in the shoulder ever since.

    Harden went on to say that the lack of consistency in velocity the last several years had to do with his inability to keep the shoulder loose. When he could get it loose, his velocity was normal or close to normal, but it would often tighten up as the game wore on, especially when he had long layoffs between innings.

    You have to hand it to him. When he was with the Cubs, the word was that he was a lot like Kerry Wood. He was said to always be in the trainers room trying to get better so he could pitch. I hope his surgery and recovery are successful. He is only 30 years old, but you have to wonder what if he had chosen to have the injury surgically repaired when he first injured it.

    It won't surprise me if he makes it back. It also won't surprise me if, when he does, that, like Kerry Wood, it's as a reliever, not as a starter.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I've always liked Harden. I wish him well. Now we know why he couldn't do more, though he did have a nice run when the Cubs first acquired him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Really loved Harden, and if he was healthy at end of 08 things could have been different. If so he should have pitched in game one or two. I'm hoping that Rizzo ends up being the best player, a left handed impact bat is huge to me.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The bad thing about shoulder surgery, unlike elbow surgery, is that no one ever seems to come back as good or better than they were before. Harden was one of those rare combinations of pitchers who could throw hard but rarely walked anyone. It will be interesting to see how his recovery goes.

    Harden is one of the good guys in the game, and Epstein tried to trade for him early in his career, plus he already has a history with the Cubs. It wouldn't shock me, if his medical reports are positive and his rehab goes well, to see the Cubs take another flier on him by offering him a low guarantee with a lot of incentives. If his post-surgery velocity and control are even close to what they were before, on his good days, he could make a very cheap but reliable closer or setup man, which would give the Cubs options with their younger relievers. There is also the possibility of Harden becoming a potential trade chip himself.

    BTW, if he was hurt in 2007, then that means he was hurt with the A's and before Hendry traded for him. Either they knew and were willing to take the risk, or the medical staff missed it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Hendry told me he they knew and he was a calculated risk, and I didn't blame him one bit for rolling the dice at the time.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    No, I can't say I blame him. A lot of times, if the damage isn't bad enough, simply strengthening the muscles around the capsule will suffice, and it's possible the damage wasn't that bad at the time to allow for that.

  • Just looked up Carpenter on baseball-reference and I realized that both of them are named Christopher John Carpenter... wierd! Also, looking at his upper minors stats he seemed monumentally better as a starter in '09 and '10 than a reliever last year. His walk rates and ERA where drastically higher last year and his K rate was down a bit. WHIP was worse too. Why are the Cubs set on him as a reliever? Seems to me that with the lack of top MLB ready SP prospects they would be better served to have him start.

  • In reply to Puma0821:

    That is strange.

    Carpenter as a relief guy isn't universal, but it's the most common view. The feeling is that his command isn't consistent enough to get through the order a couple of times. He mostly got by with two pitches (fastball, slider) and he won't be able to get away with that in the majors, though he does have a change-up.

    He also had a significant injury history prior to getting drafted and perhaps the Cubs are also being cautious. He's been relatively healthy as a pro, however. It wouldn't surprise me if he switched roles at some point, but for now people seem to like him as a reliever.

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    John and/or Tom, are you guys hearing anything about the Royals possibly having interest in Soto?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Haven't heard anything. Is that a rumor?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    No, just some conjecture at this point, I think.

  • Please excuse the late reply, but just read the red sox "homer" Guy's article about compensation and if I were T/J, they would get none of the above.

    I tried real hard to view this as quality gamesmanship on Boston's part, but I just keep reverting to getting pissed off! should have extended him

  • In reply to socalcub:

    They'll get none of those guys. I think he mentioned Carpenter. They have an outside shot for him if Selig caves but they should get someone like Clevenger or a C grade Class A prospect

  • Excuse also issues with posting above, should have read if they want.Ted him/so much for him they should have extended him.

    My only hope is that Bud will see this as what it really is (as John pointed out earlier), simply an attempt by Boston to gain an edge and obtain talent without having to pay for it. To hell with the whole city, I never liked them anyway...

  • In reply to socalcub:

    The word around baseball has been that the Red Sox front office, with the exception of Ben Cherington has been very difficult to with this offseason.

  • John, I appreciate your efforts putting this list together. Nicely done.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    Thanks Cliffy!

  • John
    Nice list. I noticed that a few relief pitchers such as Jeff Stevens, Justin Berg, and Thomas Diamond are not on the list. Same with Scott Maine and Marcos Mateo. Are they no longer considered prospects and / or are they no longer in the Cubs organization and / or have they fallen out of the top 20?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Thanks. The first 3 aren't prospects anymore and I'm not even sure they're even with the team. Mateo no longer has rookie status. Maine is the only prospect and I imagine he's somewhere in the top 40.

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    "A team has made a bigger bid for Cespedes. Cubs? Sox? Will he take more money than Marlins offer?" ~ George Ofman, WBBM via Twitter

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I saw that. Wouldn't surprise me if it were true.

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    Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this, but does it seem that the writers and analyst scouting Jackson missed the fact that he injured his wrist in AA this year and that's why he hit poorly prior to his promotion to AAA? I haven't seen anyone mention this but they all point out his lower average in AA.

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    In reply to Northside Neuman:

    Northside, if it we're an East Coast prospect recovering from a wrist injury..say a Yankee or BoSox prospect he'd be villified for playing thru his injury..Jackson gets put down cause of it but they'll all eat crow when he makes it

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    I think most analysts like Jackson a lot but have concerns about his contact rate. If it doesn't improve, he probably won't hit .300, but even if that happens he can be a good player baed on everything else he does.

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    Mike and John...I haven't lived in Chicago since 1992 so i'm not going to profess that I know or trust George Ofman as well as say Dave Kaplan (who I really trust) but is he reliable as a source??...It wouldn't surprise me if Kenny Williams blew his wad trying to get Cespedes though he's desperate and on thin ice to boot..But in my estimation the Cubs future appears much brighter than the Sox future and the Marlins if that factors into Cespedes decision

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Honestly LZ, I don't really know. I don't live in Chicago either. In fact, I never have. The only time I've ever been to the city was for Farm Bureau Annual Meetings, and those are in December. I've never even seen a game at Wrigley. I grew up in rural Southern Illinois as far away from Chicago as you can possibly be and not actually be in Kentucky. When I still lived in Illinois, I saw the Cubs in St. Louis. Now that I live in Southern Indiana, I see them in Cincinnati. I became a Cubs fan by accident.

    As for the tweet, I saw the tweet and simply passed it along.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That's ok Mike...I've been in Arizona for 20 years and have been out of the loop myself... I know guys like Kap from all his posts and from listening to WGN radio via the internet so I know he's connected and I trust John, Tom and Brett from Bleacher Nation..everyone else is a question mark to me and i've never heard George come up with anything substantial..You gotta get to Wrigley Michael...I tried last summer..we were supposed to leave Phoenix at 5:45 am into Chicago by like 11:00 but were delayed by bad weather in Chicago..The game started that Saturday at like 12:30 for FOX and we didn't get in till 12:15 by the time we got our rent a car and drove the 13 or so miles to Wrigley (horrible on the Kennedy) we parked and saw it was already top of the 9th and a few minutes later we were greeted to "Go Cubs Go" that pissed me and my wife off because we had plans for Sunday and the All Star Break was Monday followed by a road trip...Hopefully this summer!!! I'm grateful at least we have Spring Training here and they play the D'Backs but I enjoy going to Petco in San Diego to see them..It's my 2nd fav park and the fans are cool considering they're outnumbered by Cubbie Blue gear!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    He's not one of the bigger names out there, but I think he has legit sources.

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    Like I told Michael, if it's not you, Tom, Kap or Brett..I'll believe it after it happens!!! John this is my fav Cub site bro..You guys have done well and it's good talking Cubs baseball with people who have a clue about the Cubs.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Thanks Luigi!

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    I can't speak to the accuracy of Ofman's tweet, but I do believe that, if Cespedes doesn't not end up with the Marlins, he will end up with the Cubs, and I think that, if the Cubs are willing to ante up for Cespedes, they won't hesitate to do it for Soler either.

    They wanted Concepcion, and they made sure they got him. In fact, if rumors are to be believed, the next highest bid for Concepion was $2.5M. That was per Kevin Goldstein, though he didn't name the team.

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    John, this is a little off topic but is it conceivable that maybe the Cubs could move Matt Garza to the Pirates?? I know it may seem far fetched and that they are in our division but over the last week there have been rumblings about them going after Oswalt (got rebuffed), Joe Blanton (per Jayson Starks current blog) and now AJ Burnett but won't include Garrett Olson in the deal...Heck Theo and Jed moved Marshall to the Reds..Garza would come way cheaper than Burnett is better and the Pirates have good starting pitching in the minors and obviously want an impact pitcher now...I for one would have no problem doing so cause realistically the Cubs are at least 2 years away and the haul would be substantial.. Why not??? You get a bit more trading within your division..Just a thought and maybe a stupid one at that but if the Bucs want to add an arm and got the goods to give the Cubs why not?? Even if the Yankees eat 1/2 of Burnetts deal he's like 34 and inconsistent..Garza's 28 and entering his prime..What do you guys think??

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    LZ, it's not a good match. The Pirates don't have the high end prospects to get Garza.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael, Johnathan Mayo seemed impressed by some of their arms and 2 of their outfielders saying there is "a buzz" around the organization over their last 2 #1 picks Cole and Janiesson....

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Oh, there is no doubt they have some high end guys, but they're system is a lot like that of the Cubs. Years of poor drafts, poor player development and injuries has left it thin. Garza wouldn't be enough to get them over the hump, and to get him, they would have to give up what little they do have. They'd be cutting their nose off to spite their face.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I don't think the Pirates are out of the question. They heavily pursued Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt. It's a matter of whether they can afford an extension that will determine what they want to offer. I don't think they see themselves as win-now, so they'll want him for more than two years.

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    Interesting story on Dempster by Pat Mooney. I don't know if Dempster has a future with the Cubs as a player past this season, but it won't surprise me if he ends up back here after his playing days are done, and my guess is that he will be welcomed.

    There are circumstances where I could see him continuing to pitch for the Cubs beyond this season, but it would involve a very team friendly deal. However, I could see him doing that for several personal reasons.

    I could also see Team Theo wanting him back because he is such a high character guy and a good leader. This pitching staff is young, and Dempster makes an excellent stable pony.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Would be nice to deal him if he's pitching good and then resigning him at a very favorable deal unlike that 14 million dollar albatross that Hendry burdened the organization with..Great guy, good pitcher but not worth #1 or #2 money..not even close

  • This is probably not the best post to complain about this on, but I'm going to do it anyways.

    I was just reading this article about the Bulls which included some quotes from Jerry Reinsdorf.

    That guy is a complete moron. Not only is he screwing up the baseball draft by being in bed with Bud the Dud, but now he is talking complete nonsense about why he doesn't want the Bulls to have an All Star game at the UC. I am SOOOOOOOO happy that he owns the White Sox and not the Cubs. I'm not sure I could be a fan of the Cubs if he were the owner.

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