Baseball America has released their annual top 100 prospects and 4 Cubs are on it. The prospect lists I always look forward to are those by Baseball America. It seems in recent years that a dozen people have tried to capitalize on the increasing interest in prospects and have come up with their own lists. I'm sure some of them are good, but Baseball America has been doing this for a long time and they've done it long before there was as much interest in prospects as there is today.
Brett Jackson is 32nd. He's quite obviously the best prospect in this system and I have an even more difficult time taking other lists seriously when they have someone higher than Jackson. Anthony Rizzo is 47th. I thought he'd be a bit lower. I was thinking closer to the 60s, but Baseball America most heavily weights production from last season and Rizzo had an outstanding year in AAA. Javier Baez is 61st and Matt Szczur is 64th. They have an ETA for Baez of 2014, which is ridiculous. Then again, they don't have any players with an ETA higher than 2014 so I doubt they really think that. He'll spend most of this season in rookie league and if he sees a full season league it probably won't be until the very end of the season. A more realistic ETA for Baez is probably 2016.
Baseball America is higher on Szczur that anyone else. If he has a strong year this season it's conceivable we could see him in September, but I doubt that. A more likely ETA for him is 2013, which is what BA has.
People have talked a lot about the improved farm system, but it's worth pointing out that 3 of the 4 top 100 prospects were already in the system prior to this offseason. They traded a former top 100 prospect in Andrew Cashner to acquire the one who wasn't in the system. The system has improved, but it's had little to nothing to do with the new front office. They've not even had a full year so that's not surprising. I expect it will continue to improve, but I just wanted to point this out before people start talking about how the new front office has already improved the farm system.