Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicago Cubs 2012 Pre-Season Top 15 Prospects

Here is my Top 15 Prospect list for the Chicago Cubs. The stats are from the 2011 season unless otherwise noted.

1. Brett Jackson, OF - 431 AB, .274/.379/.490, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 73 BB, 138 K, 21 SB 7 CS (AA/AAA)

Strikeouts are a slight problem, but he also draws a lot of walks and shows the ability to be a 25/25 Gold-Glove-caliber centerfielder. He is gonna return to AAA Iowa, but expect him to get a shot to stick in Chicago sometime in 2012. 

2. Javier Baez, SS/3B - 18 AB, .278/.278/.389, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 SB 0 CS (RK/SS)

I think Baez will definitely have to move to 3rd or a corner outfield spot, but he has incredible bat speed and should hit for a plus average and plus power. I can actually see him moving very quickly through the lower minors for a 19-year old.

3. Matt Szczur, OF - 447 AB, .293/.335/.423, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 26 BB, 48 K, 24 SB 5 CS (A+/AA)

Im a big believer in Szczur's ability to reach his potential, which is a 5-tool Gold Glove centerfielder. All he needs to do is improve his plate-discipline and continue to progress at the plate and he should be Major League ready by mid-2013.

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B - 356 AB, .331/.404/.652, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 43 BB, 89 K, 7 SB 6 CS (AAA)

Rizzo had a huge year in the hitter-friendly PCL, but really struggled in San Diego. He was recently sent down by the Cubs, but expect him to be back up soon if he tears up Iowa like he did Tucson.

5. Junior Lake, SS - 445 AB, .279/.316/.434, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 19 BB, 109 K, 38 SB 6 CS (A+AA)

Lake had a surprising 2011 and continued it in the Arizona Fall League, showcasing his power/speed ability and strong arm. However he rarely takes a walk, swings and misses a lot, and is very unreliable on defense. He could be #1 on this list after 2012 and he also could easily be outside of the Top 20.

6. Dillon Maples, RHP - 8-2, 0.95 ERA, 59 IP, 15 H, 28 BB, 117 K (HS)

An electric power/curve guy who runs his fastball up to the mid-90's, Maples still has projection in his frame and could add MPH's with a more refined delivery.

7. Welington Castillo, C - 227 AB, .286/.351/.524, 15 HR, 35 RBI, 20 BB, 57 K, 0 SB 0 CS (AAA)

Castillo is one of those guys who seems like he's right on the cusp of putting it all together. If he can put together a complete season at Iowa, we could see him starting on Opening Day in 2013.

8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B - 249 AB, .337/.443/.478, 5 HR, 53 RBI, 50 BB, 42 K, 4 SB 4 CS (DSL)

The Cubs have been raving about this young switch-hitter who has elite potential with the bat. DSL statistics are very unreliable but it is encouraging to see his BB/K ratio and hopefully he can play good enough defense to stick at 3B.

9. Dan Vogelbach, 1B - 92 AB, .467/.571/1.239, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 27 BB, 8 K, 5 SB 1 CS (HS)

Vogelbach is known for his huge size (6'1" 240 lbs.) and huge power and his overall hitting ability and athletic ability are very underrated and I don't think his size will hinder him as a hitter or a 1st Baseman.

10. Trey McNutt, RHP - 5-6, 4.55 ERA, 95 IP, 120 H, 39 BB, 65 K (AA)

This isn't where the Cubs thought McNutt would be after a breakout 2010 season and we will give him an injury mulligan but he still has a lot to prove in 2012.

11. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP - 8-7, 4.02 ERA, 127.2 IP, 131 H, 43 BB, 117 K (A+)

Rhee is gaining his stuff back after returning from Tommy John Surgery and may have even added a few MPH's on his fastball. He has the best change-up in the Cubs system and I think he could have a big year in AA.

12. Marco Hernandez, SS - 210 AB, .333/.375/.486, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 16 BB, 29 K, 9 SB 7 CS (RK)

He shows a good approach at the plate and a plus hitting ability. Hernandez looks like he should stay at the SS position and if he can add a little power to his game can really shoot up this list.

13. Benjamin Wells, RHP - 4-4, 4.66 ERA, 77.1 IP, 83 H, 19 BB, 53 K (SS)

A personal favorite from the 2010 Draft, the 19-year old has really impressed with his plus sinker and he has the upside of a durable #3 starter.

14. Josh Vitters, 3B - 449 AB, .283/.322/.448, 14 HR, 81 RBI, 22 BB, 54 K, 4 SB 10 CS (AA)

I just don't ever see Vitters developing any more than 15 HR power and I personally see him as a bench player at best. With that said he is still only 22 and he does control the strike-zone well so he still belongs on this list.

15. Rafael Dolis, RHP - 8-5, 3.22 ERA, 17 SV, 72.2 IP, 61 H, 35 BB, 48 K (AA)

Throws a power upper 90's sinker and he could be very valuable out of the pen for Chicago. It appears that he will make the team out of Spring Training and team up with Kerry Wood as the setup men.


Neftali Rosario, C - 102 AB, .294/.351/.490, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 6 BB, 28 K, 1 SB 0 CS (RK)

A 6th round pick last year out of Puerto Rico, the 18-year old more than held his own in the Arizona Rookie League. He shows decent power to go along with good actions and a plus arm behind the plate.

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