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2017 Midseason Cubs Prospect Rankings - Tier 3 and Just Missed

2017 Midseason Cubs Prospect Rankings - Tier 3 and Just Missed
Victor Caratini

Tier 3 - BOR | LIR | Average or Semi-Regular

 Charcer Burks | R | OF | 22 | 6'0" 185 | 2013 (9th) |

  Hit: 40/50, Disipline: 50/50, Power: 40/40, Run: 50/50, Defense: 50/60, Arm: 50/50
  • Added size and strength this year
  • Translated to increased extra base power and more consistent hard contact
  • Plate discipline has stabilized as average to a bit above
  • Consistently good at bats this season
  • Good defense in LF, getting some exposure in CF this season

 Victor Caratini | S | C/1B | 23 | 6'1" 215 | Trade |

  Hit: 50/60, Disipline: 50/50, Power: 40/40, Run: 30/30, Defense: 40/40, Arm: 50/50
  • Stout frame
  • Limited athlete with heavy feet
  • Hit tool has improved every season
  • Good plate discipline from each side and can surprise with some pop
  • Arm is good but slow footwork gives him trouble throwing out runners
  • Offense-first catcher with ability to fill in at 1B

 Jose Paulino | L | SP/RP | 22 | 6'2" 165 | 2011 IFA | 

  Fastball: 50/50, Slider: 50/60, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/50
  • Wiry build
  • On his best day shows three average or better pitches
  • Slider flashes sharp downward bite
  • Struggles to command all three pitches from game to game
  • Potential as LIR capable against both lefties and righties

 Michael Rucker | R | SP/RP | 23 | 6'1" 195 | 2016 (11th) |

  Fastball: 50/60, Slider: 50/50, Curveball: 40/40, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/60
  • Borderline size for a starter
  • Fly ball pitcher
  • Fastball sits in low-90s but can pump it up to 95-96 and maintain life
  • Slider is best secondary but doesn't jump out
  • Pitches off his fastball and needs to command it to be successful
  • Control is ahead of command right now but potential for above avg command

 Justin Steele | L | SP | 22 | 6'2" 195 | 2014 (5th) |

  Fastball: 50/50, Curveball: 50/60, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/50
  • Good size and athleticism
  • Dedicated himself to becoming more consistent this year and its paid off
  • Lacks a true wipeout pitch but can get swings and misses by mixing pitches
  • Tough on lefties, needs changeup to improve to help against righties
  • Command and control are improving
  • Keeps ball down

 Jen-Ho Tseng | R | SP | 22 | 6'1" 195 | 2013 IFA |

  Fastball: 40/40, Changeup: 60/60, Curveball: 50/50, Command: 50/60
  • Fully matured physically
  • Has improved strength and stamina in past year
  • Fastball is fringe-average, lacks life
  • Moves it in and out and keeps it out of middle of zone
  • Change is best pitch and does good throwing it at bottom or just below zone
  • Curve can get some whiffs and will freeze hitters at times
  • Future depends on whether MLB hitters feast on fastball or not

 Jason Vosler | L | 3B | 23 | 6'1" 200 | 2014 (16th) |

  Hit: 40/50, Disipline: 40/50, Power: 50/50, Run: 40/40, Defense: 50/50, Arm: 50/50
  • Average size, tools
  • Grinder that has improved offensively throughout career
  • Power increase has altered his profile from fringe-bench to fringe-starter
  • Limited to a corner so needs to reach full potential with bat

 Chesny Young | R | UT | 24 | 6'0" 170 | 2014 (14th) |

  Hit: 50/60, Disipline: 50/50, Power: 30/30, Run: 50/50, Defense: 60/60, Arm: 40/40
  • Thin frame with limited strength
  • Advanced bat control
  • Lives off line drives to right and grounders up the middle
  • Lacks power but can occasionally turn on a pitch
  • Classic high-contact, good field second baseman, but with instincts to play all over
  • Consistent defender with good hands but limited arm/range at premium positions
  • Speed is average, but a smart base runner that takes extra bases, can swipe a bag

 Mark Zagunis | R | LF/RF | 24 | 6'0" 205 | 2014 (3rd) |

  Hit: 40/50, Disipline: 70/70, Power: 40/50, Run: 50/50, Defense: 40/50, Arm: 50/50
  • Strong build if a bit stiff
  • Straight line athlete with average speed
  • Exceptional eye at the plate
  • Beginning to tap into average raw power
  • Hit tool is fringe-average at best but his pitch recognition can help it play up
  • Competent corner outfielder but won't wow you at either spot

 Rob Zastryzny | L | SP/RP | 25 | 6'3" 205 | 2013 (2nd) |

  Fastball: 50/50, Curveball: 40/50, Cutter: 50/50, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/40
  • Size and strength to hold up as a starter
  • Average four-pitch mix but inconsistent with execution and control
  • When at his best he looks like fifth starter
  • Tough on lefties, potential as versatile reliever
  • Command and Control are below average

 

Tier 3.5  - Raw, with Tier 3 upside

 Javier Assad | R | SP | 19 | 6'1" 200 | 2015 IFA |

  Fastball: 40/50, Curveball: 50/60, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/60
  • Little physical projection remaining despite his age
  • Clean arm action and simple, repeatable delivery
  • Similar to Jen-Ho Tseng with more potential life on fastball
  • Fastball sits 92-93, touches 95-96, but a little too true right now
  • Best pitch is an above average 12-6 curve in upper 70s
  • Developing circle change flashes as average and might become more
  • Control is ahead of command right now
  • Could surprise if he achieves potential plus command

 Bailey Clark | R | SP/RP | 22 | 6'4" 190 | 2016 (5th) |

  Fastball: 50/60Slider: 50/60, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 30/40
  • Good size and enough athleticism
  • Fastball in low-to-mid-90s with movement, touches higher in short stints
  • Inconsistent, but flashes bite as a potential swing and miss secondary
  • High effort delivery leads to inconsistent command/control/velocity

 Wladimir Galindo | R | 3B/1B | 20 | 6'3" 210 | 2013 IFA |

  Hit: 40/50, Disipline: 40/50, Power: 40/60, Run: 40/40, Defense: 40/40, Arm: 50/50
  • Stout build with room to grow even more
  • Plus bat speed with power potential, still more raw than in-game power
  • Hyper-aggressive approach in 2016, much improved in 2017
  • Showed flashes of average hit tool and even average plate discipline
  • Makes some nice plays on defense, but doesn't project well at 3B
  • Likely ends up at 1B
  • Enough offensive potential that could surprise even if 1B only

 P.J. Higgins | R | C | 24 | 5'10" 185 | 2015 (12th) |

  Hit: 40/50, Disipline: 50/60Power: 20/20, Run: 40/40, Defense: 40/50, Arm: 50/50
  • Slightly undersized for a catcher, but smooth athlete with enough arm
  • Very good plate discipline and contact skills
  • Doesn't make enough hard contact
  • Well below average power even when he does
  • Needs to achieve close to his full potential to make it

 Eddy Martinez | R | OF | 22 | 6'1" 195 | 2015 IFA |

  Hit: 30/50, Disipline: 40/50, Power: 50/60, Run: 60/50, Defense: 50/60, Arm: 60/60
  • Above average athlete, but not plus
  • Very good arm, as good as any in system
  • Good range in a corner OF spot but team has barely tried him in CF
  • If limited to COF his bat becomes a question
  • Approach is raw and inconsistent
  • Got too pull happy in 1st half of 2017, making strides in 2nd half
  • Offensive ceiling is pretty average across the board, maybe a tick above

 Dakota Mekkes | R | RP | 22 | 6'7" 252 | 2016 (10th) |

  Fastball: 50/50, Slider: 50/50, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 30/40
  • Huge frame
  • Fastball (88-92) and slider are both average but...
  • ...Deception allows them to play up
  • Shown extreme fly ball tendencies but rarely surrenders hard contact
  • Upper level hitters may not be fooled as often
  • Command and control are lacking

 Alec Mills | R | SP/RP | 25 | 6'4" 190 | Trade |

  Fastball: 50/60, Curveball: 40/50, Changeup: 40/50, Command: 40/50
  • Size and stamina necessary to be starter
  • Good plane and sink on low-to-mid 90s fastball
  • Commands fastball better than his secondaries and relies on it
  • Generally keeps the ball down and near the zone
  • Rarely hurts himself

 Erling Moreno | R | SP | 20 | 6'3" 200 | 2013 IFA |

  Fastball: 40/50, Changeup: 50/60, Curveball: 40/50, Command: 40/60
  • Above average frame with room to add additional size/strength
  • Gets very good plane and flashes plus command of fastball
  • Changeup is best current secondary with potential as out-pitch
  • Needs a jump in arm strength or to dial in command consistently

 Jose Rosario | R | RP | 26 | 6'1" 170 | 2007 IFA |

  Fastball: 60/70Curveball: 50/60, Command: 30/40
  • Not a big guy, but a big arm
  • Has touched 99 but more often in mid-90s
  • Curve can get slurvy but also flashes plus depth
  • At his best has two plus pitches
  • Command has never been good
  • Control abandoned him early this year, but battling back

 Carlos Sepulveda | L | 2B | 20 | 5'10" 170 | 2014 IFA |

  Hit: 50/60, Disipline: 40/50, Power: 20/30, Run: 50/50, Defense: 50/50, Arm: 50/50
  • Undersized, with little power
  • Grinder with good hand-eye coordination
  • But understands hitting and shows advanced feel for barrel at young age
  • Sprays ball from foul line to foul line
  • If you are going to bet on one tool to carry a player, bet on the hit tool

 Ryan Williams | R | SP/RP | 25 | 6'4" 220 | 2014 (10th) | Injury

  Fastball: 60/60, Curveball: 40/50, Slider: 40/40, Changeup: 40/40, Command: 50/60
  • Polished prior to injury, but shoulder surgery clouds his future
  • Possesses the size and showed the stamina to hold up in rotation
  • Fastball has average velo but tremendous late sink to make it true plus pitch
  • Tons of weak contact off the sinker, difficult to barrel up
  • Secondaries are all fringe-average but he commands them all well
  • Missed majority of 2016 and 2017 with shoulder injury

 

Caveats and Just Missed

Just as with the previous rankings, I have not considered any 2017 draft picks (Kyle Abbott, Jeremiah Estrada, Keegan Thompson, Erich Uelman, Austin Upshaw, etc) or recent IFA signings that have not advanced beyond rookie ball (Jose Gutierrez, Brailyn MarquezJonathan Sierra, Christopher Morel, Fernando Kelli, Henderson Perez, etc.) due to my lack of first hand viewings.

Jacob Hannemann (too much swing-and-miss), Zack Hedges (intriguing sinker/slider but inconsistent command), Ian Rice (defensive/hit tool questions), Carson Sands (injury), Zack Short (infield version of John Andreoli) drew consideration but came up just short in my mind. Kwang-Min KwonKevonte Mitchell and Chris Pieters are raw, above average athletes with physical traits but very questionable hit tools. The Cubs also have some intriguing young infielders like Yeiler PegueroRafael Narea and Jhonny Bethencourt in the lower levels that could one day surprise.

A number of relievers with swing-and-miss stuff but who struggle with command/control or consistency including Pedro Araujo, Craig Brooks, Pierce Johnson, Chad Hockin, Ryan McNeil, Felix Pena, and Jake Stinnett among others are also worth keeping an eye on.

 

Comments

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  • Why isnt Daury Torrez ever listed on prospect lists?

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    There doesn't seem to be a lot here. We could be surprised but I'm sure that every system has players like these. This is a lot of work Michael--you're a Tier 1 writer. Thanks again.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I can just about guarantee that every system has guys like this.

  • Michael, you have done a great job with these two articles. We appreciate all you do in here. Have a great vacation.

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    Ryan williams fb 60/60?? Is that a typo?because on his best day his fb barely broke 90mph

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    The movement and late sink I would guess is why Michael gave that rating.

    He would have been a "just missed" for me until he returns to health and show he can regain form. Disappointing he got injured.

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    Given the difficulty in coming back from shoulder issues, I'm surprised Williams is still listed.

  • Would it be better to give a chance to 1 of: Alzolay, Tseng, Williams, Zastryzny, Rucker, Steele, Paulino, De La Cruz, Clifton, Hudson, Underwood Jr.
    to see if they can turn into that controllable starter, rather than trading them and other prospects for someone else's potential controllable starter?

  • These 2 lists are great Michael. Thank you for putting them together & the great work you do on the recaps.

  • Watch-out. The Hanne Man will surprise.

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    Couple surprises here, Michael, and that is always fun.

    I have usually seen Zagunis "Hit" tool rated at better than average, but I am guessing that had to do with including his "Discipline" into his "Hit" tool.

    Chesny Young gets a 60 on defense. You have been writing about his versatility but I am surprised that he wasn't listed as a "50" in that category. GREAT. Limited power certainly limits his potential ceiling but if he can play even adequate at SS as a back-up his value goes up dramatically over not being able to play SS.

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