Right around the time the non-waiver trade deadline rolls around, every prospect website comes out with their mid-season top prospect list. (You can catch ours here). On Sunday, it was MLB.com that used an hour show on MLB Network to announce their Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects. As you would expect, the Cubs young stars were all over the rankings. Five Cubs made the top 50 list, with three more on the top 100.
As the program began, the MLB Network crew counted down from 50 to their number one prospect. First name mentioned for the Cubs was the recently promoted outfielder Albert Almora at number 41. The number six pick in the 2012 draft struggled early on at High-A Daytona, but really turned it on in July. Prior to his promotion to AA Tennessee, Almora was hitting .376 in 18 games this month including a cycle on July 14th. After his 1-18 with six strikeout start with the Smokies, the centerfielder had a magnificent day yesterday, going 4-6 with a double and two RBI's to go along with scoring three runs.
A quick turn around, as at number 37 is current Cub, Arismendy Alcantara. The second baseman and center fielder started this year in Triple-A Iowa. In the Pacific Coast League, Alcantara hit .307 with a .890 OPS in 89 games with the I-Cubs. The super utility man got called up on July 9th and never looked back. In 15 games with the big league club, the switch hitting Alcantara has a slash line of .258/.319/.468 with five doubles, two home runs, and four steals. While in the field, the rookie has played second and center with the ability to play shortstop and both corner outfield spots.
The Cubs prospects had a "long" drought, all the way up to number seven and newly acquired shortstop, Addison Russell. The prize return of the Jeff Samardzija deal, Russell is currently playing in AA Tennessee and performing quite well as of late. After a terrible 0-9 with four strikeout start in the Southern League, the 4th ranked shortstop on MLB.com's ranking is on fire. In his last ten games, Russell has hit .366 with a 409 OBP and .780 SLG to combine for a 1.190 OPS. To go along with those spectacular numbers, the shortstop has 15 hits, five home runs, 10 runs scored, and one of the most incredible defensive plays you'll ever see (here is a link, credit to MiLB.com). Also, one of those ten games, he went 0-5, so yeah, he's pretty good.
Right after Russell is the number six prospect, and that is Javier Baez. The power hitting shortstop has spent this season in Triple-A Iowa and after a slow start, has really heated up as the summer continues. Baez ended April by hitting .172/.238/.379 in only 15 games as he was sidelined with a wrist injury for half of the month. He has came a long, long way since April. The youngest player in the Pacific Coast League has raised his batting average to .258 and his OPS to .811. These number hikes are helped, in large part, to his July hitting barrage. In 25 games this month, Baez has hit .301/.352/.656 with nine doubles and eight home runs. The 21 year old has moved to second base this past few weeks to help his case to be called up to the big leagues as early as September. Baez has gotten help in the lineup with this next guy hitting behind him.
As you can probably guess the omission from this list thus far, the number four prospect in all of baseball is Kris Bryant. The 2nd pick in the 2013 draft is not only the top Cubs prospect on the list, but he is also the top third baseman on this list. Through only 68 games with Double-A Tennessee, Bryant hit an outstanding .355 with a 1.160 OPS with 20 doubles and 22 home runs, earning a promotion to Triple-A Iowa. In his first game with Iowa, the third baseman hit a 2-run home run to the opposite field, cementing his case for being on the fast track through the minors. In his first 37 games in Iowa, Bryant is hitting .303 with an OPS over 1.000 to go along with 10 more doubles and 11 more home runs. His 33 home runs are tops in all of the minors.
There were three Cubs that were in the 50-100 range. Jorge Soler (54th), C.J. Edwards (60), and Kyle Schwarber (79) all just missed the cut. The most surprising out of this list that didn't make the Top 50 was Jorge Soler. The outfielder has only played in 34 games, spread throughout the Arizona Cubs, Tennessee, and Iowa, due to hamstring issues. However in those 34 games Soler has hit .396 with a 1.270 OPS including 13 doubles and eight home runs. Health withstanding, he should be on the Top 50 list this off-season.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.