Cubs Prospect Rankings

Rankings are updated constantly based on performance. Scouting grades are on a scale of 20-80. Check back soon for summary of every one of the Cubs' top 15 prospects.

1. Kris Bryant | Age 22 | 3B/OF | B/T: R/R | AAA | ETA 2015

Hit: 55 | Power: 75 | Run: 45 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70

The 2nd overall draft pick of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, Kris Bryant as progressed through the minors at an incredible pace, absolutely crushing all of the pitchers he faces. His power is obviously his best tool, graded at a 75. The only prospect in the game with better power is the Ranger's Joey Gallo and his true 80 grade power. There are questions as to whether or not Bryant can stay at third base in the long run, and an ever-increasing number of talented infield prospects in the farm system seems to be pointing towards an eventual move to the outfield where his arm profiles well, particularly in right field. Offensively, his only question mark is his dangerously high KO%. To become an effective hitter who can hit for average and power, Bryant will need to lower his KO% to the 23-24% range.

With the exception of his high KO numbers, Kris Bryant doesn't have anything left to prove in the minor leagues, but Theo & Co. won't bring him up this year and lose a year of Kris Bryant at a premium price. If Kris Bryant becomes everything that everyone projects him to be, he and super-agent Scott Boras will command a yearly salary north of $20m once he hits the open market. The Cubs are smart to let Bryant marinade for the rest of the year in AAA. Expect him to be hitting 4th on opening day next year.

2. Addison Russell | Age 20 | SS | B/T: R/R | AA | ETA 2015

Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 65

Recently acquired from the Oakland Athletics along with fellow prospect Billy McKinney for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Russell has consistently performed at a high level, despite his young age. The 20 year-old phenom is in his 3rd season at the professional level, and he has the pure offensive and defensive instincts and ability to remain at shortstop at be a force in the middle of any lineup. While he doesn't have the raw power of fellow prospects Kris Bryant or Javier Baez, Russell projects to hit for more average and be an impact player on both sides of the ball. Before he was traded to the Cubs this year, Russell was the owner of a 14.0% BB% as well as a 14.0% KO%. Despite the small sample size due to his hamstring injury to start the year, that is an incredible KO:BB ratio that will be welcomed with open arms in Wrigley in the coming years.

Expect the Cubs to push Russell through the system quickly so that he'll have time at AAA at the end of this year under the tutelage of Manny Ramirez with Bryant and Baez. Russell has always been one of the youngest players at his respective level, so a promotion to Iowa for their playoff run wouldn't be out of the question. Expect Russell to end the year at AAA so they can figure out how to play Baez, Russell, and Bryant at the same time. Russell will most likely be a mid-season call-up for the 2015 Cubs, as soon as the Super Two deadline.

3. Javier Baez | Age 21 | SS | B/T: R/R | AAA | ETA 2015

Hit: 60 | Power: 75 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

Towards the end of his tenure as Cubs' GM, Jim Hendry did very few good things; however, one of those things was choosing Javier Baez with the 9th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. Taken out of high school, Baez was an exceptionally raw player with absolutely unbelievable bat speed. You often hear scouts talk about this bat speed, and it's easy to take for granted what that means. Go watch videos of this kid hit. Nothing exemplifies Baez's bat speed better than his opposite field bomb of a HR off the end of his bat at Target Field in the 2014 Futures game. If you blinked, you missed his swing. The downside to Baez's bat speed is that it has worsened the mechanics of his swing. Because he has always had incredible bat swing, he never truly learned how to keep his hands inside and get his bat through the zone quickly. His bat speed is incredible, but his swing is long and uncontrolled. His upside draws comparisons to Gary Sheffield, and at a premium position like SS, that alone makes Baez a can't miss prospect. projects Baez to hit 46 HRs and drive in 120 RBI in his age 25 season. There have always been questions as to whether Baez would be able to stick at short because of Starlin Castro being thoroughly entrenched at SS in the majors. Now with the acquisition of fellow top prospect Addison Russell, Baez's chances at playing SS in the majors are virtually nonexistent. However, the good news for Cubs fan is that at Baez's first game as a 2B at AAA on July 17th, he had a HR and turned two double plays.

Baez has the highest upside of any prospect in the Cubs' system, but his severely mechanically-flawed swing gives cause of worry. Unlike Russell, do not expect Baez to be rushed to the next level. If Baez is promoted this year or is on the 2015 Opening Day roster, I will be incredibly surprised. Baez chases too many off-speed pitches and is too out of control with his swing to be an effective major league hitter. Hopefully the Cubs and Baez can work together to fix his swing, but that might take until mid-2015 where he should be promoted around the same time as Russell.

4. Albert Almora | Age 20 | CF/OF | B/T: R/R | A+ | ETA 2016

Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 65 | Field: 75 | Overall: 65

20 year old center fielder Albert Almora was the first draft pick of the Theo Epstein era, being taken 6th overall in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft. Despite being taken right out of high school, Almora was considered one of the more polished players available in the draft. While in high school, he play for 8 different national teams and was named USA Baseball's Athlete of the Year. Almora's makeup is absolutely off the charts, certainly worthy of an '80-grade' if that intangible element was given a rating, and that's why Albert Almora is above the likes of Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber on this list. He has great instincts and reactions off the bat so despite not being the most fleet-footed outfielder, he can cover a lot of ground. He'll never be a great power hitter, but his intelligence and strong hit tool point towards a future offensive contributor. As previously stated; however, his true worth to the Cubs lies on the defensive side, where he has the potential to be a perennial Gold Glove Award winner. Offensively, he needs to walk significantly more. His instincts and natural hitting ability profile incredibly for a lead-off hitter, but his 3.0% BB rate at A+ Daytona (Fangraphs) at the midway point of this year causes some concern.

If he can correct his BB% over the next season and a half, there's no reason why he won't be on the Cubs 2016 Opening Day roster. Because of his all-around ability and incredible intangibles, Almora has the potential to become a perennial All-Star while captaining the outfield.

5. Jorge Soler | Age 22 | RF/OF | B/T: R/R | AA | ETA 2014

Hit: 55 | Power: 70 | Run: 55 | Arm: 70 | Field: 55 | Overall: 65

Signed for $30m/9 years after defecting from Cuba, 22 year-old Jorge Soler had his progression halted after sustaining various injuries to his lower body. During his most recent rehab stint, Cubs trainers discovered an error in his running mechanics, leading to more injuries. Now that this problem has been corrected, Soler has been showcasing his potential and exceptional 5-tool ability at AA Tennessee. Soler has plus raw power that doesn't match that of Kris Bryant or Javier Baez, but he uses his strong 6'3" 225 lbs. frame to generate a lot of power. Despite being 6'3", Soler still has plenty of mobility for running the bases and playing right field. His best tool defensively, however, is his arm. Like fellow Cuban defectors Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, Soler's arm strength will have him racking up plenty of outfield assists. The only glaring weakness prevalent in his game is his lack of durability. If he were to keep sustaining minor injuries to his lower half, his source of power offensively, his current 70 power could decrease to closer to 55, just because of a weakened lower half. However, I think it's best to trust Cubs management on this issue and hope that they corrected his mechanical flaw.

This is my boldest prediction as far as ETA go, but expect him on the Cubs' Opening Day 2015 lineup for a couple of reasons. Soler has absolutely destroyed AA pitching to this point of the year (with better numbers than Kris Bryant), and it's only a matter of time before Soler joins his fellow top prospects at AAA. Assuming he puts up solid numbers at AAA, why not start him opening day? Many top prospects are being kept in the minors for longer due to their front office's reluctance to start their MLB service clocks. The sooner a player joins the big leagues, the sooner that player starts collecting ludicrous sums of money from their teams. With Soler's $30m/9 year deal already in place, his contract and any subsequent contracts will not be affected by his arrival at the MLB. It may be a long shot, but expect Soler to be manning RF come 2015.
6. Kyle Schwarber | Age 21 | C/OF | B/T: L/R | A+ | ETA 2016

Hit: 60 | Power: 70 | Run: 35 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 60

7. CJ Edwards* | Age 22 | SP | B/T: R/R | AA | ETA 2015

Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 60

8. Arismendy Alcantara | Age 22 | 2B/SS/OF | B/T: S/R | MLB | ETA 2014

Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 65 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

9. Billy McKinney | Age 22 | CF/OF | B/T: L/L | A+ | ETA 2016

Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

10. Eloy Jimenez | Age 17 | OF | B/T: R/R | Rookie | ETA 2018

Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

11. Pierce Johnson | Age 23 | SP | B/T: R/R | AA | ETA 2015

Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

12. Arodys Vizcaino | Age 23 | RP/SP | B/T: R/R | AAA | ETA 2014

Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 65 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

13. Gleyber Torres | Age 17 | SS | B/T: R/R | Rookie | ETA 2018

Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

14. Jen-Ho Tseng | Age 19 | SP | B/T: R/R | A- | ETA 2016

Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

15. Dan Vogelbach | Age 21 | 1B/DH | B/T: L/R | A+ | ETA 2016

Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 20 | Arm: 40 | Field: 30 | Overall: 50

*On the Disabled List

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