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Chicago Cubs 2011 PRE-SEASON Top 20 Prospects in Review

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Chicago Cubs Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Chicago Cubs. This list was originally published January 13, 2011. On Wednesday we will review the Texas Rangers, on Thursday we'll look at the Milwaukee Brewers, and on Friday we'll examine the Minnesota Twins.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Brett Jackson, OF, Grade B+: .256/.373/.443 with 15 steals, 10 homers, 45 walks in 246 at-bats for Double-A Tennessee, .175/.298/.374 since promotion to Triple-A Iowa. Broad skills base.

2) Trey McNutt, RHP, Grade B+: 4.33 ERA with 32/20 K/BB in 52 innings for Tennessee, 63 hits. Huge decline in strikeout rate is worrisome.

3) Chris Carpenter, RHP, Grade B: 5.11 ERA combined between Tennessee and Iowa, 30/24 K/BB in 38 innings, 35 hits. 9.2 major league innings with 12 hits, three runs. I felt he was capable of better.

4) Jay Jackson, RHP, Grade B:   6.18 ERA with 59/30 K/BB in 95 innings for Iowa, 122 hits. Ugly numbers, reports on declining stuff quality are disturbing. I have liked him a lot in the past but his stock has taken a big hit.

5) Hayden Simpson, RHP, Grade B-:   5.72 ERA, 46/27 K/BB in 61 innings for Low-A Peoria, 76 hits. Unimpressive performance, was sent back to Arizona Rookie League and has been hit hard in four starts. Right now the gamble doesn't look too good.

6) Reggie Golden, OF, Grade B-:  .254/.370/.377 with 20 walks, five steals in 114 at-bats for Boise in the Northwest League. Decent on-base skills with speed so far, strikeout rate is high.

7) Josh Vitters, 3B, Grade B-.   .272/.307/.429 with 13 walks, nine homers in 312 at-bats for Tennessee. It was controversial to rank him this low. He's done better than some of the guys ahead of him on this list, but this is still very mediocre production.

8) Robinson Lopez, RHP, Grade C+:   5.89 ERA with 27/25 K/BB in 55 innings for Peoria, 66 hits. Nothing very good here, though he's quite young at 20.

9) Austin Reed, RHP, Grade C+:  7.06 ERA with 17/14 K/BB in 29 innings for Boise, 36 hits. More ugly numbers, though at least he's getting grounders with a 2.25 GO/AO. Just 19.

10) Alberto Cabrera, RHP, Grade C+:   5.36 ERA with 34/21 K/BB in 49 innings for Tennessee, 60 hits.  6.47 ERA with 41/37 K/BB in 57 innings for Iowa, 77 hits. More ugly numbers with few signs of progress.

11) Marquez Smith, 3B, Grade C+:   Hitting .283/.353/.448 for Iowa before going on the DL in late June. Older guy at age 26, could still be useful.

12) D.J. LeMahieu, INF, Grade C+: Hitting .348/.378/.462 combined between Tennessee and Iowa, went 9-for-39 (.243) with one double in the majors. Pre-season, I wrote "I think people are a bit too down on him; he could surprise this year" and he's been pretty solid.

13) Rafael Dolis, RHP, Grade C+:   3.86 ERA with 41/27 K/BB, 2.07 GO/AO in 56 innings for Tennessee, 53 hits.

14) Brett Wallach, RHP, Grade C+:  5.82 ERA, 65/31 K/BB in 82 innings, 97 hits. Would he even be considered a prospect if he wasn't Tim's son?

15) Brooks Raley, LHP, Grade C+: 4.23 ERA with 52/36 K/BB in 100 innings, 118 hits for Tennessee. He hasn't been awful but the components aren't impressive.

16) Su-Min Jung, RHP, Grade C+:   5.36 ERA with 19/24 K/BB in 44 innings for Peoria, sent down to Boise and has walked seven in six innings. Command issues apparent.

17) Austin Kirk, LHP, Grade C+: Rated as a breakthrough candidate, 3.63 ERA with 92/25 K/BB in 107 innings for Peoria, 88 hits. Looks good, will have to see if stuff holds up at higher levels.

18) Jin-Young Kim, RHP, Grade C+:   6.97 ERA with 12/13 K/BB in 21 innings for Boise, 30 hits. Poor numbers, but just 19.

19) Ben Wells, RHP, Grade C:   4.46 ERA with 24/13 K/BB in 36 innings for Boise, 39 hits, 2.40 GO/AO. Just 18 years old.

20) Welington Castillo, C, Grade C: Hitting .318/.380/.595 in 52 games for Iowa, has caught 27% of runners.

The only people more disappointed in this list than I am, are Cubs fans.