clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chicago Cubs Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

New, 19 comments

We’re well past mid-season now so I’m working as fast as I can on these reviews...here’s the Cubs.

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Chicago Cubs Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published November 26th 2016 and revised on February 9th, 2017.

1) Eloy Jimenez, OF, Grade A-: Age 20, traded to the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline in Jose Quintana deal; excellent season in High-A with .299/.375/.551 combined for the two systems; meeting or exceeding all expectations.

2) Dylan Cease, RHP, Grade B+: Age 21, sixth round pick in 2014 although would have been first-rounder if not for Tommy John surgery; fully recovered now; traded to the White Sox along with Jimenez, 3.07 ERA in 70 innings in Low-A, 99/36 K/BB, blistering stuff with command questions.

3) Trevor Clifton, RHP, Grade B+/B: Age 21, 12th round pick in 2013 from high school in Tennessee; 4.75 ERA in 95 innings in Double-A, 79/42 K/BB, 98 hits; decline in K-rate compared to 2016 in High-A concerning, along with large deterioration in all statistics since the beginning of June.

4) Ian Happ, 2B-OF, Grade B+/B: Age 22, first round pick in 2015; hitting .244/.318/.487 with 14 homers, 24 walks, 80 strikeouts in 238 at-bats in the majors; some contact issues but overall ability obvious; I should have ranked him ahead of Clifton.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Albert Almora Jr
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

5) Albert Almora, Jr, OF, Grade B: Age 23; hitting .275/.327/.391 in 207 major league at-bats; hitting very much as expected, handling center field; no real surprises here.

6) Oscar De La Cruz, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; 3.42 ERA with 42/11 K/BB in 47 innings in High-A; went on disabled list in June with a sore arm; I still like him if healthy.

7) Mark Zagunis, OF, Grade B-: Age 24, third round pick from Virginia Tech in 2014; hitting .265/.402/.450 with 65 walks, 12 homers in 313 at-bats in Triple-A; strong plate discipline with occasional power is the profile here, no changes.

8) Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Grade B-: Age 23, traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline in Justin Wilson and Alex Avila deal; hitting .260/.350/.497 in Triple-A, nothing left to prove in the minors, promoted to majors by the Tigers yesterday. I like him a lot and he should be a very productive regular once he gets settled in.

MLB: Chicago Cubs- Workouts
Duane Underwood
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

9) Duane Underwood, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, 4.42 ERA in 108 innings in Double-A, 81/41 K/BB; remains frustrating but promising; when he’s right he’s dominant with plus fastball and solid secondaries but consistency from start-to-start remains problematic; has been better lately with 7-1 record and 3.40 ERA in last 10 starts.

10) Victor Caratini, C-1B, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, hitting .346/.386/.556 with 10 homers, 21 walks, 44 strikeouts in 266 at-bats in Triple-A; .192 in 26 major league at-bats; ripping up the Pacific Coast League, should find a spot as a role player.

11) Jose Albertos, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 18, signed out of Mexico in 2015; still just getting his career going but solid results so far, 3.24 ERA in 17 innings in Northwest League with 18/8 K/BB, might be a breakthrough guy for 2018.

12) Thomas Hatch, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, Chicago’s top pick in 2016 draft (third round) from Oklahoma State; can hit 94-96, has 4.14 ERA in 100 innings in High-A with 102/42 K/BB; like Albertos, Hatch should be watched for breakthrough in ‘18.

13) Wladimir Galindo, 3B, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Venezuela in 2013, injured much of the year with various shoulder and leg miseries but has hit well when healthy, .290/.350/.452 in Low-A over 162 at-bats; another guy on the ‘18 watch list.

14) Rob Zastryzny, LHP, Grade C+: Age 25, second round pick in 2013, has fought injuries this year, currently holds 6.67 ERA in 27 innings in Triple-A with 21/12 K/BB; lefties with pulses live forever.

15) Alec Mills, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 22nd round pick in 2012 from University of Tennessee-Martin by the Royals, acquired in February for Donnie Dewees, has missed almost the entire season with injuries, throwing just 14 innings over three starts in Triple-A.

16) Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2015 from Arizona State; finesse guy coming out of college; I thought his velocity would pick up but this has not happened and he’s having problems getting the ball past High-A hitters; 5.49 ERA in 80 innings, 102 hits, 43 walks, 19 strikeouts; throws strikes but not enough stuff right now.

17) Erling Moreno, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Colombia for $650,000 in 2013; 3.92 ERA in 39 innings in Low-A, 36/21 K/BB, 3.60 GO/AO; sinker/curve combination remains intriguing but has been on the DL twice.

18) Zach Hedges, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 26th round pick in 2014 from Azusa Pacific, decent in Double-A (3.77 ERA in 100 innings, 60/21 K/BB) but was hammered in brief promotion to Triple-A (11.94, 5/10 K/BB, 36 hits in 17 innings) probably better-off in bullpen long-term, another sinker type.

19) Jose Paulino, LHP, Grade C+: Age 22, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2011; slow developer until 2016 ; 4.85 ERA in 95 innings in Low-A, 71/38 K/BB, 93 hits, can hit 94-96 but secondary pitches, command remain erratic.

20) D.J. Wilson, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, fourth round pick in 2015 from high school in Ohio, hitting .242/.322/.447 in 219 at-bats in Low-A, starting to show more power this year to go with above-average speed.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Bryan Hudson, LHP: 3.92 ERA in 96 innings in Low-A, 61/38 K/BB, 3.00 GO/AO, another ‘18 breakthrough chance.
Chad Hockin, RHP: 4.57 ERA in Low-A, 49/14 K/BB in 45 innings.
Preston Morrison, RHP: 5.47 ERA in 102 innings in Double-A, 68/34 K/BB, 109 hits; big difference between A-ball dominance and AA this year.

Isaac Paredes, INF: Traded to the Tigers; hitting .272/.353/.416 on the season in Low-A at age 18, stock up considerably.
Jose Rosario, RHP: Another injured arm.
Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: Hitting .196/.272/.214 in 112 at-bats in High-A before going on DL.

Jake Stinnett, RHP: Just recently activated off DL; 1.80 ERA in 10 innings between rehab work and Double-A, 13/3 K/BB.
Ryan Williams, RHP: Injured.
Chesny Young, INF: Hitting .271/.321/.320 in 345 at-bats in Triple-A.

With the trades and the rash of injuries, a current list would look much different than this review of the pre-season list. Let’s discuss in the comments.