2013 Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Javier Baez, ss
2. Albert Almora, of
3. Jorge Soler, of
4. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp
5. Brett Jackson, of
6. Pierce Johnson, rhp
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1b
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b
9. Kyuji Fujikawa, rhp
10. Arismendy Alcantara, ss
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Albert Almora
Best Power Hitter Dan Vogelbach
Best Strike Zone Discipline Logan Watkins
Fastest Baserunner Matt Szczur
Best Athlete Matt Szczur
Best Fastball Arodys Vizcaino
Best Curveball Arodys Vizcaino
Best Slider Alberto Cabrera
Best Changeup Brooks Raley
Best Control Kyle Hendricks
Best Defensive Catcher Chadd Krist
Best Defensive Infielder Javier Baez
Best Infield Arm Junior Lake
Best Defensive OF Albert Almora
Best Outfield Arm Jorge Soler
PROJECTED 2016
LINEUP
Catcher Welington Castillo
First Base Anthony Rizzo
Second Base Starlin Castro
Third Base Jeimer Candelario
Shortstop Javier Baez
Left Field Brett Jackson
Center Field Albert Almora
Right Field Jorge Soler
No. 1 Starter Jeff Samardzija
No. 2 Starter Matt Garza
No. 3 Starter Arodys Vizcaino
No. 4 Starter Edwin Jackson
No. 5 Starter Pierce Johnson
Closer Juan Carlos Paniagua
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Hee Seop Choi, 1b Kia (Korea)
2004 Angel Guzman, rhp Dodgers
2005 Brian Dopirak, 1b Out of baseball
2006 Felix Pie, of Braves
2007 Felix Pie, of Braves
2008 Josh Vitters, 3b Cubs
2009 Josh Vitters, 3b Cubs
2010 Starlin Castro, ss Cubs
2011 Chris Archer, rhp Rays
2012 Brett Jackson, of Cubs
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Ryan Harvey, OF Lancaster (Atlantic)
2004 Grant Johnson, RHP Out of baseball
2005 Mark Pawelek, LHP Out of baseball
2006 Tyler Colvin, OF Rockies
2007 Josh Vitters, 3B Cubs
2008 Andrew Cashner, RHP Padres
2009 Brett Jackson, OF Cubs
2010 Hayden Simpson, RHP Cubs
2011 Javier Baez, SS Cubs
2012 Albert Almora, OF Cubs
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Jorge Soler, 2012
$6,000,000
Mark Prior, 2001
$4,000,000
Kosuke Fukudome, 2007
$4,000,000
Albert Almora, 2012
$3,900,000
Corey Patterson, 1998 $3,700,000
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Chicago Cubs

Optimism reigned when the Cubs gave their a front office a full makeover last offseason. New president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod had built two World Series champions with the Red Sox. Hoyer and McLeod also had revitalized the Padres farm system when they went to San Diego.

Because Chicago had focused on the short term in the last years of GM Jim Hendry’s tenure and were left with an old and overpriced roster, fans understood that the club was going to have to get worse before it could get better.

That’s exactly what happened in 2012. Winning at the major league level wasn’t a priority—or a common occurrence. The Cubs’ victory total dropped for the fourth straight season, culminating with a 61-101 record that was their worst in 46 seasons.

For all the losses, there was plenty of good news. Chicago’s priority was to procure some impact talent, and they found some.

The Cubs spent the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and $3.9 million in bonus money on center fielder Albert Almora, one of the most polished high school position players in recent memory. To restock an organization seriously bereft of pitching, they spent their next seven choices on arms, starting with Missouri State righthander Pierce Johnson.

A week after the draft, Chicago landed Cuban slugger Jorge Soler with the biggest deal for an amateur in franchise history. Soler received a nine-year, $30 million big league contract that included a $6 million bonus, then teamed with Almora in the Rookie-level Arizona League.

At the trade deadline, the Cubs picked up righthander Arodys Vizcaino from the Braves in a deal for reliable veterans Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm. Vizcaino never would have been available if he hadn’t had Tommy John surgery in March, but Chicago was thrilled to grab someone who ranked among the game’s better pitching prospects before he got hurt.

Those were the headline moves, but there were several more. The Cubs spent heavily on three international pitchers, with $1.5 million Dominican righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua generating positive reviews and $6 million Cuban lefthander Gerardo Concepcion getting shelled in low Class A and removed from the 40-man roster in December. They imported Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa from Japan in December for a two-year deal worth $9.5 million.

Of the many trades Epstein and Hoyer made in their first 14 months on the job, with one of their best coming three months before the season began. They shipped Andrew Cashner, Chicago’s 2008 first-round pick, to the Padres for Anthony Rizzo, whom they had drafted in Boston. Rizzo was the biggest threat in the Cubs lineup after they called him up in late June, batting .285/.342/.463 at age 22.

There were more comings and goings in the front office, too. Vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita, who had been with the organization since 1995, was fired as part of a mid-August shakeup.

Minor league field coordinator Brandon Hyde was promoted to take over Fleita’s farm director duties. Padres scouting director Jaron Madison took the same job with the Cubs. He replaced Tim Wilken, who took an expanded role as a special assistant to Epstein.

That’s a lot of change in one year. But Chicago believes it was necessary and will be for the better.


Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects
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