Midseason Prospect Update: Cubs

The Midseason Top 10 Prospect lists are compiled from conversations with front office officials and scouts from all 30 teams. Players who have exhausted prospect eligibility or were in the Major Leagues as of June 22 are not eligible. Draftees from the 2016 draft and July 2, 2016 signees are also not eligible.

SEE ALSO: Midseason Top 100

Don't size the Cubs for World Series rings just yet.

Oh, the Cubs went into the all-star break at 53-35, with a seven-game lead over the Cardinals in the rugged National League Central. The Cubs had struggled heading into the break, losing eight of their last 10. The Cubs had 17 games left against the Cardinals and Pirates, but also 19 games left against the Brewers and Reds.

C Willson Contreras
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Javier Baez
3B Kris Bryant
SS Addison Russell
OF Jason Heyward
OF Albert Almora Jr.
OF Kyle Schwarber
SP Jake Arrieta
SP Jon Lester
SP Kyle Hendricks
SP Dylan Cease
SP Oscar de la Cruz
Closer Hector Rondon

If the Cubs play like they did before July, it won't matter who they play. Chicago was off to the best start in baseball thanks to the game's best roster in terms of depth and versatility. The Cubs led the majors in starter's ERA (3.09) and rank second in runs scored only to the Red Sox.

And that's with some adversity thrown in, such as a bullpen that has fallen off from its 2015 pace, injuries to corner outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler and a poor offensive season by big-money free-agent signee Jason Heyward.

There's room for improvement from Heyward and the bullpen, and the Cubs have had a strong year on the farm, with catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Albert Almora jumping to the majors as part-time contributors. Other prospects such as Eloy Jimenez and Mark Zagunis—a prime trade candidate considering the Cubs' big league outfield depth—have had strong years, but at the top levels, Chicago doesn't have much pitching help ready for the majors. The club's top pitching prospects are either at lower levels, hurt—or both. Thirteen of the first 14 picks the Cubs made in the draft were pitchers, hinting at the organization's own self-evaluation of its pitching prospects and this years's draft class.

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