Today is really special guys. I'm going to give you an update on how the top 20 prospects in our organization are faring. (hint- not well!) All rankings come from John Sickels
1. Brett Jackson OF AAA – Jackson is sporting a slash line of .255/.357/.436 which is what a lot of people think he will do in the majors- hit for medium to lower average, get on base and slug a little bit. He has 2 HR and 4 SB's so far. He is still striking out in almost a third of his AB's which isn't great so I think there is some work to do yet but strikeouts will always be a part of his game.
2. Anthony Rizzo 1B AAA- Rizzo is destroying AAA for the 2nd year. His line is an ungodly .372/.422/.638. His OPS is over 1.000. If it weren't for LaHair's monster start in the bigs people would be clamoring for Rizzo and as it stand his performance already has the Cubs looking for ways to get both in the lineup. Coming into this year the knock on Rizzo is that his swing gets a bit long and he is always changing his swing mechanics and in his short stint in the big leagues both were exploited big time. So it will be much harder to say when Rizzo has made the right adjustments based on his stats because he killed AAA last year as well. But since stats are all I have to evaluate performance you have to be pleased with his first month in the system.
3. Javier Baez SS EXST – What he isn't giving shoutouts to his "n**a's" on twitter or telling opposing coaches he can do whatever the fuck he wants to Baez has done wellish in Arizona so far. But honestly it's not hard to see flaws in his game- he has stuck out 13 times in 44 ab's and hasn't drawn a single walk. One of the biggest knocks on him after the draft was his plate discipline and he has yet to draw a single walk in his career. So in a way he is the perfect capstone to Hendry's legacy. His defense at SS is pretty weak with 6 errors already and the aforementioned attitude issues all give us reason to curb our enthusiasm for now. Look for him to head to Boise once June rolls around.
4. Spellcheck Jr OF High A – Szczur started off really really slow but as of late has picked it up. What you like to see is the improved plate discipline but the power he showed is largely missing. He is still an AGGRESSIVE BASE RUNNER! so that should moistened Sveum's panties. Daytona is in a big time pitchers league so if Szczur can get his line up a bit you would really like to see him get to AA before the season ends.
5. Trey McNutt P AA – Well it hasn't been the glorious reclamation of top prospect status we wished for but it hasn't been DOOM yet either. McNutt has only allowed 1 ER in 14.2 IP which is great but he has walked 7 hitters which isn't great. He has struck out 13 which is great but he has never got past the 4th inning which is not great. He also spent 7 days on the DL with blister problems again which plagued him last year as well. It's hard to know what to think with this guy we know he has 2 plus pitches so he should get at least a B + on his bullpen test but I suppose with our system being what it is you should give him every chance to prove he isn't a SP. Let's take a wait and see approach.
6. Dillon Maples P EXST – Maples has yet to pitch this year as he is recovering from some kind of injury. He stated on twitter the other day that he should begin throwing sometime soon so there's that.
7. Dan Vogelbach 1B EXST – Vogelbach's line is not that impressive and his defense at 1B makes you really hope the DH gets here in the next year or so but its still EXST and its hard to make much of these numbers just yet. Vogelbach might go to Boise or he might stay in AZ for rookie ball.
8. Junior Lake SS AA- Lake hurt his back towards the end of ST and has just now started to play ball again in EXST. Look for him to head to AA in the next week or so barring a setback.
9. Wellington Castillo C AAA- Before Soto's injury Castillo was murdering AAA pitching to the tune of ..320/.435/.520. Soto's slow start has a lot of fans pining for a Castillo/Clevenger tandem behind the plate but I would like to see if Soto can heat up a bit and rebuild some trade value. The average starting catcher doesn't hit for as much power as Soto does so it would be nice to get a semi decent return before we cut bait but either way the future is in Castillo.
10. Dae Eun Rhee P AA – Well that stat line is pretty brutal but he seems to be facing a bit of bad luck. His strikeouts are there but this is definitely a make or break year for Rhee who does have a great changeup to go with a high 80's low 90's fastball.
11. Josh Vitters 3B AAA- Meh. Thats the best word to describe his season so far and his career in general.
12. Jeimer Candelario IF EXST- He is batting very well down in Arizona and should be in Boise in June. AZ Phil reports that his defense is pretty brutal in the IF and thinks a move to the OF is in his future.
13. Marco Hernandez SS A – The Cubs have a history of not being afraid to aggressively promote guys and after the season Hernandez had last year I wasn't totally surprised that he got the spot in Peoria vs Baez but its been brutal so far. There isn't much to say about a .314 OPS so I won't say much.
14. Chris Carpenter -Traded So lets make this spot for Adrian Cardenas IF AAA- Cardenas is ready for the big leagues. That much is pretty clear from his performance at Iowa. There is no way this kid can't do what Blake DeWitt is doing and do it better. He should be a nice utility player for the next several years.
15. Rafael Dolis RP – We all have seen Dolis walk a bunch of people as well as look good at times. Pretty much the life of a RP.
16. Zach Cates P High A- Sickels wrote that Cates was a possible breakthrough before the season and I think he has totally broken through his floor. Cates has been awful so far in a pitchers league. Somebody get this kid a bullpen test and fast.
17. Ben Wells P A- Wells is a favorite of mine. I like his frame and his sinker and think we could have a future 3 starter in him. Its been a mixed bag so far in Peoria but a few of his bad starts have been hindered by terrible IF defense. Look at his GO/FO ratio and that tells you right away he still has the big sinker. No HR's allowed helps as well. He has shown excellent command so far and I hope his secondary stuff improves to get more K's. Still really high on this kid.
18. Dave Sappelt OF AAA- Sappelt is struggling in Iowa so far but has enough of a minor league track record to suggest that things will turn around. Its going to be really hard to find a place in Chicago this year though so I would look for him to spend all year getting to know Des Moines.
19. Ronald Torreyes IF High A- Torreyes had been a hitting machine before he came over in the Marshall deal and really he was the best hope to get a star in that deal. So far its not happening for him in Daytona as he is hitting ..215/.286/..304. Its early though and his track record suggests he will be back at .300 before too long.
20. Reggie Golden OF A- Golden has always been more hype than substance as he has never really done much in the field to justify his 2nd round selection and that has stayed true in Peoria. Golden will probably be looking for a new job or a different organization before much longer.