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2014 Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects


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TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Javier Baez, ss
2. Kris Bryant, 3b
3. C.J. Edwards, rhp
4. Albert Almora, of
5. Jorge Soler, of
6. Pierce Johnson, rhp
7. Arismendy Alcantara, 2b/ss
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b
9. Dan Vogelbach, 1b
10. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Albert Almora
Best Power Hitter Javier Baez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jeimer Candelario
Fastest Baserunner Jacob Hannemann
Best Athlete Jacob Hannemann
Best Fastball C.J. Edwards
Best Curveball C.J. Edwards
Best Slider Pierce Johnson
Best Changeup Kyle Hendricks
Best Control Kyle Hendricks
Best Defensive Catcher Will Remillard
Best Defensive Infielder Christian Villanueva
Best Infield Arm Kris Bryant
Best Defensive Outfielder Albert Almora
Best Outfield Arm Jorge Soler
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1 Javier Baez, ss (21) Double-A
2 Kris Bryant, 3b (22) High Class A
3 Starlin Castro, ss (24) Majors
4 Anthony Rizzo, 1b (24) Majors
5 C.J. Edwards, rhp (22) High Class A
6 Albert Almora, of (19) Low Class A
7 Jorge Soler, of (22) High Class A
8 Pierce Johnson, rhp (22) High Class A
9 Arismendy Alcantara, 2b/ss (22) Double-A
10 Jeimer Candelario, 3b (20) Low Class A
11 Dan Vogelbach, 1b (21) High Class A
12 Arodys Vizcaino, rhp (23) Majors
13 Junior Lake, of (24) Majors
14 Justin Grimm, rhp (25) Majors
15 Kyle Hendricks, rhp (24) Triple-A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Angel Guzman, rhp Out of baseball
2005 Brian Dopirak, 1b Out of baseball
2006 Felix Pie, of Pirates
2007 Felix Pie, of Pirates
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
2013 Javier Baez, ss Cubs
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Grant Johnson, rhp (2nd round) 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 So. Illinois (Frontier)
2011 Javier Baez, ss Cubs
2012 Albert Almora, of Cubs
2013 Kris Bryant, 3b Cubs
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Kris Bryant, 2013 $6,708,400
Jorge Soler, 2012 $6,000,000
Mark Prior, 2001 $4,000,000
Kosuke Fukudome, 2007 $4,000,000
Albert Almora, 2012 $3,900,000
Cubs Team Page
Last Year’s Cubs Top 10 Prospects
2013 Draft: Cubs
2013 Draft Report Cards: Chicago CubsPremium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

Expectations for the 2013 edition of the Cubs remained low entering the season. And the North Siders did their best to live down to them.

Not only did the Cubs improve by just five games over the 101-loss 2012 campaign, but the perceived stalwarts of the team stalled significantly on their way to being first-division starters for a contender.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo played in 160 games but hit .233/.323/.419, and his inability to hit lefthanders (.617 OPS in 320 career at-bats) remains alarming. Righthander Jeff Samardzija had his moments but also allowed 25 home runs, and veteran Edwin Jackson, brought in on a four-year deal to provide stability, lost 18 games with an ugly 4.98 ERA. Most concerning was 23-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro, who frequently lost focus and became an out machine during a disastrous .245/.284/.347 season.
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Poor seasons by those core Cubs contributed to manager Dale Sveum being let go after two seasons, though communication issues and 197 losses helped grease the skids. Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer selected Padres bench coach Rick Renteria as Sveum’s replacement in early November.

Getting the best out of the likes of Castro, Rizzo and Samardzija will be crucial for Renteria, and Castro’s 2014 performance also will affect the farm system. The Cubs have quickly built farm depth and boast an impressive array of talent, particularly among their young hitters.

Shortstop Javier Baez ranked second in the minors with 37 home runs, and the 2011 first-round pick hit 20 of them in 54 games at Double-A Tennessee. The system’s top prospect could move off short if Castro, signed through 2019 for $60 million, bounces back. But if Castro doesn’t and Baez tones down his errors, the Cubs will have a crunch on their hands.

Baez could move to second, though the Cubs like Arismendy Alcantara, a power/speed middle infielder who moved to second in 2013. Baez could shift to third, but that’s also where 2013 first-rounder Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick and BA College Player of the Year, plays.

Bryant could move to right, but that’s where Cuban import Jorge Soler, signed for $30 million in June 2012, profiles best. Baez, Bryant and Soler will have to work out where to play, but the trio gives the Cubs a unique collection of 80-power righthanded bats that other organizations envy.

Developing pitchers has been harder for Chicago, but 2012 supplemental first-rounder Pierce Johnson had a strong season, finishing at high Class A Daytona. He was joined in the second-half rotation by three trade imports, chief among them righthander C.J. Edwards. The centerpiece of the Matt Garza deal with the Rangers, the 165-pound Edwards allowed only one hit and no runs in two starts as Daytona swept to the Florida State League title, with Bryant providing the postseason thump for one of the minors’ most talented teams.

Chicago added more talent in the July 2 international signing period, signing the top two prospects available, Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres, for a combined $4.5 million. The organization spent more than $7.6 million on its top five international signings, blowing past its international bonus pool of more than $5.5 million.