Top 25 supplemental, part 1: 15 guys who just missed

I recently did my top 25 Cubs prospects but that list was whittled down from a much larger one.  I decided to take some of that list and look at  guys who just missed and maybe one who should have made the list.  We’ll cover some sleepers later in the week.

Guys who just missed

  1. Starlin Peralta, 22, RHP: If I had to do the list over again, I probably would have chosen Peralta over Robert Whitenack, who has really struggled with his velocity and command since coming back from TJ surgery.  Not that I’ve given up on Whitenack, it’s just that he has become more of a risky option.  Peralta was recently returned to the Cubs after wowing the Arizona Diamondbacks with his raw stuff (mid to high 90s fastball, good slider) but was sent back because he is nowhere near a position to help a team that expects to take a shot at the playoffs.  Peralta has a long way to go and still needs to develop a change-up and be more consistent with his command.  Because of that he probably ends up a reliever, but he’ll get a chance this year as a starter and if he continues to progress, the Cubs won’t leave him unprotected again.
  2. Tim Saunders, 22, SS-2B-3B-OF:  Jason McLeod admits Saunders is a guy who slipped through the cracks and that he should have been picked  higher.  He’s an athletic player with a surprising bat who can play a number of positions — including SS.  He’s another guy with off-the-charts makeup.  I don’t know if Saunders will start at the MLB level, but I don’t think I’d bet against him making it to the big leagues in some capacity.
  3. Ben Wells, 20, RHP:  Like Whitenack, he has great stuff when healthy but hasn’t regained it since his injury. Wells works with a two-seamer that is consistently 92-94 and was said to have reached 97-98 last spring.  He compliments that pitch with a good, hard slider, a solid change and promising command.  That pitcher would have made the list easily but the last time I saw Well, he was more like 87-91.  His return to top prospect status will depend on a return of his velocity.
  4. Reggie Golden, 21, OF:  Golden is a potential 3 outcome offensive player (BBs, Ks, HRs) who has the bonus of playing a good defensive RF.  He takes a big rip at the plate and it’s often either feast or famine. He also shows the ability to take pitches (10.4% walk rate in 2011).  Golden has been held back in large part because of his inability to stay healthy.
  5. Matt Loosen, 23, RHP: Along with the next two on the list, Loosen is one of 3 Cubs pitchers who work with 4 pitches.  I like Loosen a bit better than the other two because he can dial his fastball up to 95 mph, though he most often works in the low 90s.  His also flashes a plus curve at times.  When he had good command and both pitches working, he looked dominant at Daytona.
  6. Barrett Loux, 23, RHP:  I like Loux’s 4 pitch repertoire and his ability to command his fastball, but he doesn’t have that one “out” pitch and that likely relegates him to either the bottom of the rotation or middle relief.
  7. Nick Struck, 23, RHP: Struck is similar to Loux in that he has 4 average pitches, but nothing to really put away hitters consistently.  He’ll likely compete with Loux for a spot over the next year or two.
  8. Josh Vitters, 23, 3B: Vitters has fallen off the top 25 as he has struggled to improve his defense and his approach.  The Cubs really wanted him to work on both, but Vitters was let go by his winter team and has been injured this spring.  He can still hit, especially against LHP, but without some combination of better defense, OBP, and/or power, he is looking like a part-time player.
  9. Lendy Castillo, 23, RHP: Castillo turned out to be much more raw than he looked last spring and will get a chance to rebuild his prospect status in the minors this year.  Athleticism and a fastball that can reach 97 (sits 92-94) are his biggest assets.  He’ll have to develop a consistent second pitch and better command to keep hitters honest.
  10. Marcus Hatley,25, RHP:  He is the Cubs 3rd hard throwing upper level reliever behind Zych and McNutt.  As  converted outfielder, he’s also the most raw.  Athleticism has a way of translating to sudden improvement and Hatley will need it as he’ll have to pitch with better command of his mid to high 90s fastball and hammer curve.
  11. Dallas Beeler, 23, RHP:  Two years ago, Beeler showed a lot of promise with a hard 91-93 mph two-seamer plus a slider and change which figured to be at least average MLB pitches.  Beeler, however, had a disappointing year, some of which may have have had to do with bad luck (.330 BABIP)
  12. Stephen Bruno, 22, 2B-3B-OF-C: Bruno consistently squares up the ball and can hit the ball all over the field (.361/.442/.496).  He’s an underrated athlete who can play all over the field.  He’s most likely to be a versatile utility player who can provide a solid bat off the bench.  If he proves he can catch, he becomes even more valuable.
  13. Eric Jokisch, LHP:  Jokisch is a lot like (14)  Chris Rusin and (15) Brooks Raley in terms of build, stuff, and long term potential.  All 3 received some consideration. Like those pitchers, his fastball is in the 88-92 range but plays that up with a plus change-up.  Breaking pitch is solid, but not special.  Rusin is the most advanced of the three and has the highest floor, while Raley has the best athleticism and the highest ceiling.  Jokisch is caught somewhere in between but has more time to develop.


Filed under: prospects


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  • Thanks John. I was missing my cubs den fix.

  • In reply to Gerald:

    Your welcome! Busy day for me yesterday!

  • Thank you for the list. These are guys you seldom hear about, but usually a couple become much better prospects. I am especially intriged by Bruno and Saunders. I forgot where you said you thought they would play this year. With the Cubs having many 2B and SS prospects at the AA and below levels it might be hard for them to get a bats. Where do you think they will pay and get their at bats?

  • In reply to cubman:

    Bruno is due to go to Kane but may skip it and both may play at Daytona.

  • Nice follow up John!

    If Matt Loosen ever makes the majors, he's be a perfect spokesman for Metamucil. There, got it out of my system!

    Has it ever been disclosed why Vitters was sent home after only a game or two last winter?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Haha! Thanks Toby.

    He was in the minor league version of the winter leagues and he reportedly did not play well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But getting sent down after a single day?? I'm waiting for Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think it had more to do with his play in the minors before he was called up. He had only 7 ABs with the major league team, but they don't owe him or the Cubs anything. His team was in it to win a title, not have patience and develop players.

  • Amazingly hard to limit these lists. Zeke DeVoss, DunstonJr, Shoulders... So many names we could toss in here.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    It is, but I have a sleeper list coming too, you may see one or more of those guys on the list. No matter how you do it, though, interesting guys will get left out.

  • John, one question. Has Hayden Simpson shown any life or is he about ready to be written off?

  • In reply to Gerald:

    Don't like to say it, but he's probably done. Consistent velo has never returned and he should be fully healthy by now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't remember where on twitter I saw it, but someone had reported his hammer curve was lights out in at least one appearance earlier this ST. He's going to need that FB back into the mid 90's though. I was hoping he might creep back into the mix for Daytona or Tennessee... anything other than a completely wasted 1st round pick.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He did show an occasional good curve last year too but that velo and command really hurt his chances of putting consistently good performances together. He got his fastball to 91 last year but it needs to sit low 90s and for him to have a shot.

  • John, completely off topic, but how many jaws would drop if next Monday it was leaked that the new facility in Mesa were to be called "Donald Stephens Memorial Park"?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think all our jaws would drop.

  • Nice to see Ben Wells in there!

  • In reply to RipRyanFreel:

    I'm a big fan of Wells but I'm cautious because of that decreased velo. If he's back at the mid 90s, he could shoot up the list because he has the ability to dominate the lower levels.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. Nice list though.

  • In reply to RipRyanFreel:


  • The biggest difference between Jokisch and the other lefties is consistant results at every level so far.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Results-oriented analysis can be misleading and I especially don't get too excited about lower level minor league stats. Jokisch's numbers at AA, where I start to pay more attention to numbers, were rather ordinary when you look past won-loss record and ERA. His peripherals were not as impressive as either Raley's or Rusin's at the same level.

  • I have added trips to four levels of the Cubs farm teams this summer. The wealth of knowledge of the players and how those talents are accessed on this site has really enhanced my overall enjoyment as a Cub and baseball fan.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Thanks and that is awesome. I'm trying to talk my wife into some road trips too. It shouldn't be tooo hard because she has family in IA and TN -- and she likes minor league ball.

  • John, thanks for the piece. Being a sucker for the player type I guess, I just love the good hitting positionally versatile, Bruno's and Saunders'. Now all I need is Andreoli on your sleeper list to make my day.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:'ll have to wait and see on Andreoli ;)

  • i have a quick question about third base propects in the MLB who has the biggest upside olt from rangers sano from twins or arendano from the rockies?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I'd give Sano the highest upside though Olt and Arenado are more likely to reach their ceilings.

  • Hey John. I've been reading your blog for about 6 months now. I was looking for a place to learn more about scouting/evaluating, particularly in regards to Cubs prospects. Fortunately, SVAZCUB suggested that I check out Cubs Den. I visit your site daily. Whenever I see an article like this, I get giddy over reading it. I truly believe that you provide the best analysis on talent evaluation and development among all Cubs blogs. (And I've visited many other blogs.) I agree with the sentiments of other readers here that one day you'll be scooped up by a front office, if you're interested in abandoning Cubs Den. Thank you for the thorough research that you conduct and work that you do in maintaining this blog.

    Now for a shameless fantasy league still has 7 spots left if anyone is interested in joining a public ESPN free rotisserie league with 10 teams. The league is designed for 25 man rosters. I tried to design the league to reward a complete, well-rounded team. For batters, points are earned for avg, HR, RBI, SB, net SB, OPS, outfield assists, and double plays turned. For pitchers, points are earned for K, W, saves, save %, saves plus holds, ERA, WHIP, K/9, and K/BB. The live draft is this Saturday at 4pm eastern time. The league name is "Papi Was a Rolen Stone." It would be cool to have some Cub fans in our league. If anyone's interested, feel free to join.

  • In reply to unccubsfan:

    Thanks unccubsfan. I appreciate the kind words. I'm glad you found us.

    Hope you find guys for your fantasy league too I dig the league name!

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