Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com just released a new set of rankings in advance of the trade deadline on July 31.
To preface this, one of the main goals of the new Cubs front office when Theo Epstein took over was to bolster the farm system to ensure that a steady pipeline of talent, including both impact talent and depth, would continue to bubble over into the major leagues such that the next crop of Cubs contenders (and beyond) would be home-grown. With the recent flurry of Cubs trades (including the Matt Garza trade and the just-completed transaction with Alfonso Soriano), the Cubs have made much headway towards this part of the rebuild plan. The draft and the international free agent market have also thrust some potential impact talent into the minor league system. While Mayo's rankings may be debated and there are numerous "experts" out there (read: probably smarter than me), it's very nice to see that several Cubs are now listed in the top 100.
While the Cubs only have five top-100 guys in the list, these five guys have tons of impact points based on Mayo's system, ranking Chicago (North) third right behind Houston and Minnesota, two teams that have more than five top-100 players. We would probably expect more top-100 Cubs in future lists as the farm continues to be built, although Mauricio has postulated that the Cubs may be done adding aggressively and may soon transition towards building a contender (won't that be nice?).
Looking individually, the top-100 list does not have any Cubs in the top 10. Javier Baez just misses the cut at #11. Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are in the next ten at #25 and #30, respectively. Kris Bryant, who just barely started his pro career after waiting until the deadline to officially sign, sits at #40. New Cub Mike Olt is #63. That's a pretty good set of guys, and four of the five were added in the post-Jim Hendry years (only Baez was drafted while Hendry was still overseeing the Cubs).
Mayo also set a top 20 for each team, including the Cubs. The five listed above, of course, and the top ten is rounded out by Arodys Vizcaino (who hopefully throws a pitch at some point), Pierce Johnson, Arismendy Alcantara (the Cubs' Futures Game representative), Junior Lake (now with the big league team), and Matt Szczur.
The second ten includes power dude Dan Vogelbach, new acquisition C.J. Edwards, Brett Jackson (please come back and stop sucking!), Christian Villanueva (from the Ryan Dempster trade), Jae-Hoon Ha, Jeimer Candelario, Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood, Gioskar Amaya and Alberto Cabrera. All of these guys at some time or other have been featured in various prospect lists and minor league recap highlights, so there are no major disagreements here.
The Cubs' system has a bright future, and here's hoping that they do bubble to the surface and play in Wrigley someday. Barring that, trade some of them for David Price or Giancarlo Stanton. It'll be fun.