Boise dominates BA's NWL Top 20 Prospects list

Boise dominates BA's NWL Top 20 Prospects list

Updated 3:45

I don't think I've ever seen this many prospects on the same team, at least as far as the Cubs are concerned.  Baseball America just came out with it's top 20 prospects for the Northwest League, home to everyone's favorite minor league team, the Boise Hawks.  There were  7 Cubs prospects on the list, including 4 in the top 10.  They would have had at least one more had Albert Almora had enough ABs to qualify.  He may have even ranked first.

Here is how Cub prospects ranked on the list...

2: Dan Vogelbach

6. Marco Hernandez

7. Jeimer Candelario

9. Gioskar Amaya

15. Stephen Bruno

16. Trey Martin

17. Tayler Scott

There are scouting reports which are only available to subscribers. But here's the skinny...

  • Vogelbach was not just lauded for his power, but also for his ability as a hitter.  They also used the word "mash" as I can't help but do when I talk about Vogelbach.  It just fits, I guess.
  • Buckner considered Hernandez the most improved hitter by the end of the year.
  • Candelario was lauded for his all-around hitting ability, of course, but also for his good attitude.
  • Amaya profiles as a table setter and his defense is fine at 2B.
  • Buckner was amazed by Bruno's ability to make consistent hard contact.  Defense is solid at multiple positions.
  • Martin's CF defense is already MLB level.  Needs to shorten swing.
  • Scott profiles as a back of the rotation starter right now, but still has some projection left.  Could be more.

Also mentioned...

  • C Wilson Contreras nearly made the list too, which means the entire Boise lineup either made it, didn't have enough ABs (Almora), or just missed (Contreras).  Contreras was called raw but with "loud tools".
  • Speaking of Almora, it was said that he would have ranked 2nd had he qualified.
  • Bruno has a chance to skip Kane County and go to Daytona.  He can be either a starter or super utility guy long term.
  • Vogelbach will not make the top 100.
  • Jose Arias was at 93-95 but did not show much else.

So, hope to see some more of you at Kane County this year!  All of these guys should be there.

Filed under: prospects


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  • When a team in an 8 team league has their starting infield in the Top 9 Prospects, that's really impressive. Especially when they are justified and legitimate.

  • In reply to tim815:

    And they're all young for the league. The entire infield was 19 or younger.

    And if you count Almora, who would have made it, you'd have their playoff starting OF of Martin, Almora, and Bruno!

    That's their entire lineup in the top 20!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good add. I forgot to include that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, except for catcher, I guess.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Pitcher and catcher are the battery, but yeah.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Catcher is also in the lineup, no? At any rate, it was mentioned in the chat that C Wilson Contreras just missed the list too, so there you have it. An entire lineup of prospects.

  • I wonder how this list will look like next year after we draft 2 or 3
    in the draft and sign somemore international prospects. Not all of
    them will make it, but it's brings us much hope for the future.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks to the Rockies series, it's looking like 2.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The farm should get another boost after the next draft. And if they get an advanced college arm, who knows? Maybe he joins that Kane County team.

    I don't know if we'll get 7 or 8 of the league's best prospects again, though. That doesn't happen very often. But Boise should get some good players from AZ next year too, so they should be solid again.

  • If those seven plus Almora, Pierce Johnson and Juan Carlos Paniague all start at Kane County next year, I foresee a first-half division winner in Kane County and a second-half division winner in Daytona. If you want to see these guys in the Midwest League, start early.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I'll be there early and often!

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    In reply to cubsin:

    Second half could be odd, because some will excel and be promoted, while others will struggle a bit and stay behind, so this talent block is broken up a bit. What happens with Baez/Soler/Villaneuva will also have something to say about who goes where and how good each team is.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm doing all right, getting good grades
    The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:


  • With Theo/Jed changing the Cubs mindset and improving the
    instructors in the minors we should be in great shape. I'm looking
    forward to the next 3 months for:
    1) Baseball meeting meetings
    2) Rule V draft
    3) Maybe claiming some pitchers let go by other teams

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I see the 40 Man at 37 by the November deadline. Maybe 2 shots at Rule 5 guys. And lots of 40 Man Jenga.

  • In reply to tim815:

    The key is what to do with LaHair, Stewart, Mather and other

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Stewart will probably be non-tendered. Mather could be too and LaHair will probably be traded or moved to a Japanese team.

  • So why did only Amaya make the league's all star roster?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Prospects are different from All Stars.

    A 22 year old mashing is an All Star. An 18 year old representing is a prospect.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I have no idea why Bruno and Vogelbach didn't make it. Perhaps Vogs didn't have enough ABs to qualify. Many of the other guys, like Candelario, Martin, Hernandez didn't put up all-star numbers but they did show a lot of ability -- and their numbers were actually good when you consider they were some of the youngest players in the league.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Thanks guys.

  • I think the Cubs have 2 PTBNL in a previous trade. Did I miss
    something or are going to get cash.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    They have up to 3 players coming back. Two for Jeff Baker and one (or cash) for Geo Soto.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, do we still owe a player for Hoyer? I don't remember giving up someone for him.

  • In reply to John57:

    Probably they took the cash option. The window on PTBNL is 6 months. That passed long ago.

  • Just having some fun, John, but have the Cubs ever had this many prospects at one time? Go new regime!

  • Not in my memory. Lansing once had a nice team that featured Corey Patterson, Dave Kelton, Hee Seop Choi, Carlos Zambrano, and Michael Weurtz. Most of those guys didn't make it big but the first 4 on the list were top 10 prospects.

    That's the closest I can think of at the top of my head!

  • john why is ben wells and tony zych in the cubs top 20 prospect list and no duane underwood? and ive heard so much talk about other prospects and nothing about underwood. where will he start next year and what pitches does he throw? thanks for answering the questions

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    Which top 20 list?

    I just don't think people have see enough of Underwood. He's raw. Can touch 97 mph but the curveball and command are very inconsistent. Lots to work with but a long way to go. He'll be on my top 2o list though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    he can touch 97 at 18.... wow maybe he will be able to touch 100 in a couple of years and im hoping he will show improvement with his stuff in the off season and that was mlb cubs top 20 prospects by the way

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Probably talking about the list.....which has some glaring issues. #1 is that Christian Villanueva isn't even on it, which is an oversight. Some other players on there are head-scratchers. I personally think it's a great list for photos and video, and not a credible prospect list. BA, Baseball Prospectus, even Fangraphs are all much better.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    They actually fixed the Villaneuva problem -- he's #7, which is about right.

  • fb_avatar

    Interesting to see Marco Hernandez ranking better than Candelario and Amaya. I have the impression those guys frequently get more attention and praise than Hernandez in prospect discussions.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    As hitters, those two are better. Positional value played a big role. Hernandez is a true SS and that's pretty rare in baseball. Not even MLB has 30 true shortstops right now. The fact that he can field, throw, run, hit, and should also hit for power at an average rate or better makes him a potentially rare player.

    If I were to bet, however, I'd put the order Amaya, Candelario, then Hernandez as to whom I think will reach their potential. But if Hernandez reaches his, he could have more value than all of them.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The way I rank them is on likelihood of hitters to get 3000 AB or pitchers to get 1000 innings. Candelario, Hernandez, Amaya for me, but they're close. And only Jeimer is likely to do it in Chicago, if any.

  • To change the topic, is the manager going to let LaHair start
    one final game just in case its his last ever.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm going to guess yes. I think he'll start at least one more game.

  • I was thinking how the Dodgers had their famous infield come up at the same time, and lasted 10 plus years together on the MLB level.

    Looks like Kane County will be the hottest ticket in town next year.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Except that with Rizzo, Castro, and Baez ahead of them, they're going to have a much harder time pushing through to Wrigley. ;-)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What if these young guys were better than Rizzo, Castro and Baez?

    What would you say then?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    They start. That's what makes it harder, they don't have to be better than the average major league shortstop -- they have to be better than Starlin Castro.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    If Baez is better than Castro, he might also be better than Vitters. Or Barney. Or Logan Watkins.

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    In reply to tim815:

    I think the infield he was referencing was Candelario-Hernandez-Amaya-Vogelbach.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I think I may actually wind up at more Kane County games than Cubs games next year. Can't miss that opportunity.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    pass 'em around a few times and then send 'em on down to Daytona where me, Baez, & Soler are waiting for them.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Sounds good to me. If these guys are moving up, that's a good sign.

  • John

    What does "Volgelbach will not make the top 100." mean?


  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He's not going to be in the top 100 prospects in baseball. At least not the BA top 100. It's not surprising, though. It isn't easy for a 1B at the lowest levels to make that list.

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    John were do you think the cubs are ranked among all MLB farms now?

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    I'd have to guess they are in the upper half at least, maybe close to top 10. Two things hurt them...1) The upper levels are dry. They've graduated Rizzo, Castillo, Cabrera, Dolis...2) The SP is thin. Ask this question after next year and I'd say there's a good chance they are a top 10 system.

  • John,

    Have you heard anything new on the player development personnel front? When they made those wholesale changes a few weeks ago, Boise's staff was left in tact. Presumably, because they were still playing.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    No, just the 6 guys we heard of before.

    Reading about Buckner and his thoughts on his players, I was really impressed with his knowledge of the game. He looks like a keeper. One one hand, would love to see him move up, on the other, you have to like a guy like that getting to your good prospects early.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wonder if he would take a job too far away from his ranch. He's got it pretty sweet in Boise.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Good point. If he's happy there, then I'm happy. I like the idea of him getting a crack at our hitters early before they get into some bad habits.

  • John,
    Did your update for this story yesterday include anything from the BA's chat?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I did. I added some bullets. I'm disappointed nobody asked about Pierce Johnson, despite his limited appearances.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I saw the new bullet points, but I didn't know if that was from a subscriber only section of the article or the chat. Thanks.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Just the chat, for those who haven't read it. There's more in the chat but some of the questions seemed kind of redundant.

  • Nice article, as usual, John!

    Over the past few months the Cubs have cleaned house with their front office staff, player development staff, and scouting department. Now that the minor league seasons are over, how safe are the minor league managers and coaches?


  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    We'll see a few changes, maybe but I think for the most part they're pretty safe right now.

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    I've always considered myself to be a baseball purist, but with the new schedule having inter-league play every week of the season, is it time to consider having both leagues play by the same set of rules?

    If it were to happen, it would almost have to be the NL going to the DH. I don't ever see the MLPA ever agreeing to get rid of the DH. Even if MLB agreed to expand active rosters beyond the current 25, giving the MLBPA more members, I don't think the union would agree to it. The really good full time DH's make to much money. So even if AL owners would agree to it, getting rid of the DH is a dead end argument.

    However, it might not be all bad, especially for Cubs fans. As it stands now, sometime down the road, the Cubs may be faced with a choice between Vogelbach's bat and Vogelbach's defense. If the NL had the DH, there is no choice to make.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Well put Michael...and it probably will happen..It doesn't hurt knowing that the Cubs have a few guys who can't field real well but can hit the crap out of the ball like Vogelbach and Candelerio...after watching this teams anemic offense, I wouldn't mind seein some runs scored more oten.

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I'm not sure Candelario won't eventually be a decent defender, though it may not be at third base. I think the jury is out on him. He has the arm to stay at third, and right now, his range isn't terrible, but with the shortstops in the Cubs system, range at third base isn't a huge deal. He may also end up being one of those guys who plays multiple positions like Keith Moreland did.

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