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Chicago Cubs Top 20 2016 PRE-SEASON prospects in review

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Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our pre-season prospect list reviews, we turn our attention to the Chicago Cubs.

Please remember, this is the PRE-SEASON LIST.

This is not a new list.

These are pre-season grades.

Discuss 2016 Cubs prospect events in the comments section.

This list was originally published January 20, 2016

1) Gleyber Torres, SS, Grade B+: Age 19, traded to New York Yankees in Aroldis Chapman deal; hitting combined .261/.351/.414 on the season in High-A with 28 doubles, 10 homers, 20 steals, 56 walks in 454 at-bats while playing shortstop, extremely credible numbers given age/level, could be a star.

2) Ian Happ, OF-2B, Grade B
: Age 22, 2015 first round pick from University of Cincinnati, hit .296/.410/.475 in High-A then .260/.313/.389 after moving up to Double-A, combined 28 doubles, 12 homers, 15 steals, 64 walks; Double-A has been more of a challenge but broad skills are evident.

3) Billy McKinney, OF, Grade B:
Traded to Yankees in Chapman deal, hitting combined .240/.336/.318 in Double-A between the two systems; just three homers; 53 walks in 387 at-bats is a nice marker but otherwise disappointing, particularly lack of power. Stock down a peg.

4) Willson Contreras, C, Grade B-/B:
Crushed Triple-A at .353/.442/.593; promoted to majors and has performed well at .270/.352/.455 while catching and playing outfield too; wish I had gone with a higher grade as 2015 breakout has been sustained. 

5) Duane Underwood, RHP, Grade B-:
Fighting injuries again; 4.45 ERA in 65 innings between Double-A and lower level rehab work; 55/33 K/BB; inconsistent, excellent at times but can get hammered when command is spotty; needs health/innings. 

6) Carl Edwards Jr, RHP, Grade B-:
Very solid in major league pen, 3.52 ERA in 23 innings, 31/9 K/BB, seems sustainable to me and could take larger role in time.

7) Oscar De La Cruz, RHP, Grade B-:
Eight starts in short-season ball and Low-A since being activated from extended spring training, 2.65 ERA in 34 innings, 48/9 K/BB, 26 hits; reports on both stuff and command are quite positive, stock rising.

8) Eloy Jimenez, OF, Grade B-:
Outstanding season in Low-A, hitting .335/.375/.542 with 40 doubles, 14 homers, 25/90 BB/K in 424 at-bats; power developing nicely along with general hitting skills, elite prospect at this point with performance now matching tools and still just 19 years old.

9) Albert Almora, OF, Grade B-:
Hit .309/.323/.429 in Triple-A, .265/.291/.422 in the majors; MLB slash line seems like his true level of ability despite small 83 at-bat sample size, can improve from here.

10) Pierce Johnson, RHP, Grade B-:
Horrendous season in Triple-A, 6.87 ERA in 56 innings, 66/40 K/BB while fighting injuries and control problems; strong K/IP ratio gives hope that he can rebound next year; likely fits best in relief.

11) Dylan Cease, RHP, Grade B-/C+:
35 innings in the Northwest League, 2.86 ERA, 48/21 K/BB; command needs work but reports on stuff are excellent and he has the strikeouts to back it up; breakout candidate for 2017.

12) Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Grade B-/C+:
Hitting combined .270/.366/.446 between Double-A and Triple-A, 32 doubles, 12 homers, 64 walks in 433 at-bats; blocked by other players here but still just 22 years old and hitting well in the high minors.

13) Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Grade B-/C+: Traded to Seattle Mariners in mid-July, hitting .296/.417/.505 with 20 homers, 87 walks in 426 at-bats in Triple-A; power/patience combination ready for an MLB trial soon.

14) Ryan Williams, RHP, Grade C+:
Sleeper prospect made nine starts in Triple-A (3.27, 30/12 K/BB in 44 innings) before going on disabled list in late May with "undisclosed but minor injury" but hasn't returned.

15) Victor Caratini, C, Grade C+:
Hitting .294/.378/.409 in Double-A with six homers, 52 walks in 401 at-bats in Double-A; has thrown out 25% of runners but glove is otherwise reliable; can also play first base, good strike zone judgment a positive but more power would be nice.

16) Donnie Dewees, OF, Grade C+:
Age 22, second round pick from University of North Florida hitting .281/.337/.412 between Low-A and High-A with 21 doubles,13 triples, five homers, 29 steals; speed and gap power are large positives but may be a tweener long-term.

17) Trevor Clifton, RHP, Grade C+:
Age 21, impressive season in High-A with 2.87 ERA in 113 innings, 122/41 K/BB; 94 hits, can hit 95 and curveball is plus, command has improved, stock up.

18) Carson Sands, LHP, Grade C+:
Difficult season in Low-A, 5.91 ERA in 75 innings with 51/42 K/BB; has spent time on disabled list and went on "temporarily inactive" list yesterday. still just 21.

19) Bryan Hudson, LHP, Grade C+:
Age 19, huge 6-8 lefty from Illinois high school drafted in third round in 2015, 11 starts in Northwest League with 4.62 ERA in 49 innings, weak 31/38 K/BB; was supposed to be raw and he is.

20) Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Grade C+:
Age 22, Canadian lefty was fifth round pick out of Arizona State, I felt his fastball would take a large leap forward this year. That hasn't really happened but he has been solid in Low-A with 3.23 ERA in 120 innings, 95/26 K/BB and plenty of polish.

OTHER GRADE C+ (more or less interchangeable with spots 14-20): Corey Black, RHP; Eddy Martinez, OF; Justin Steele, LHP; Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP; Mark Zagunis, OF

OTHERS OF NOTE: Pedro Araujo, RHP; David Berg, RHP; Paul Blackburn, RHP; Wladimir Galdino, 3B; Preston Morrison, RHP; Jake Stinnett, RHP; Kyle Twomey, LHP; Christian Villanueva, INF; Darryl Wilson, OF; Chesny Young, 2B

Discuss the Cubs system 2016 events in the comments section.