Baseball Prospectus has released their version of the Cubs top 10 prospects.
1. OF Albert Almora
2. SS Javier Baez
3. OF Jorge Soler
4. RHP Arodys Vizcaino
5. 1B Dan Vogelbach
6. OF Brett Jackson
7. RHP Pierce Johnson
8. RHP Duane Underwood
9. 3B Christian Villanueva
10. RHP Dillon Maples
Jason Park is very high on Almora and Baez. He uses a 2-8 scouting scale, which is of course the same as the 20-80 scale we hear scouts talk about. He gives Amora a future potential of 6, which is a first division starter (above average). Baez is a 7, all-star level. Soler is also a 6 and Vizcaino is a 7, but as a late-inning reliever. Parks believes he'll be a very good late-inning, high leverage pitcher. He doesn't seem to think there's much chance he'll start though points out he'll almost certainly be used in the rotation when he gets back on the field in the minors this year to work on things.
Vogelbach is also a 6 and Brett Jackson a 5. The first starting pitcher on the list is Johnson and Parks rates his future potential as a high 5/low 6 (number 3 starter). He says Johnson has very high risk due to the injury history and is behind the developmental curve.
Duane Underwood is next and he appears to have the highest future potential for a starting pitcher (a high 6/low 7, number 2 starter) though he's thrown less than 10 professional innings. We may not see him in Boise until late in the season next year or it may even be in 2014. He's a long way from the big leagues.
Christian Villanueva is a solid 5, a major league average starter. Dillon Maples is next at a 6, a number 2 starter, but he also has so few innings at the professional level that he's a very high risk. Like Johnson, he has an injury history. The two best starting pitchers in the Cubs organization combine for less than 20 professional innings and neither project to be frontline starters.
The Cubs just aren’t very good right now. Coming off a 61-101 season, the team lacks high upside talent at or near the major-league level. Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Jackson are the only players on this list who appeared in big-league games in 2012. Castro and Rizzo are monsters, and Jackson could still become a solid contributor down the road. 2013 will be a great season for fans of the Daytona Cubs and Kane County Cougars, with multiple toolsy, high-upside bonus babies coming to town. The biggest thing for the Cubs next year will be the development of their lower-level talents. The big-league team will continue to suffer, but the Cubs have a valuable asset in the trade market with Matt Garza, who will be a free agent after the season. The high-upside talent at the bottom of the system should be supplemented with a nice package of prospects if and when Theo Epstein and company decide to pull the trigger on a Garza deal.
I don't think the Cubs will get much for Matt Garza because teams will only get half a season. The Cubs have a long way to go to build their minor league organization. They've started, but it's still a long time before we're going to see much produced from the system.