Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2013
The Top 10 Prospects for the 2013 Chicago Cubs
Theo Epstein was brought to Chicago to build this Chicago Cubs team from scratch. Even though the major league team is beyond bad, there's reason to be excited over developing talent in the minors. Here is a look at the Chicago Cubs top 10 prospects heading into 2013.
No. 10: RHP Ben Wells
Ben Wells has always been a high-upside kid. Featuring a heavy sinker in the low 90's, a decent slider, and a change-up that could be a plus pitch for Wells moving forward, Wells was expected to shoot up the Cubs system quickly. Unfortunately, a lack of command and Tommy John surgery has changed that plan a little bit. With that being said, Wells still has high upside assuming he comes back from surgery strong in 2013, and could hit Wrigley in 2014.
No. 9: OF Matt Szczur
Matt Szczur is one of those outstanding athletes you dream about. This kid was a D-1 wide receiver and chose baseball over football. Unfortunately, he hasn't developed as quickly as most would hope, but his speed and defense make him very attractive if he can figure out how to hit consistently. I don't think he's going to be a power hitter ever, but if he can start hitting the ball on a line to the opposite field, he's dangerous. I'd like to see him take that next step as a hitter and see if he can start making some waves. Not as high as I once was on him, but not ready to give up on his upside.
No. 8: OF Brett Jackson
Brett Jackson, what an enigma? I can be the first one to say that I love his power and speed, but I can't STAND his approach. I really worry that this guy is never going to live up to his potential, but there's been positive reports on his new swing this fall. With that being said, I've been hoping the Cubs flip Jackson for a young upside pitcher, but I don't think that's happening. Hopefully Jackson overcomes his shortcomings and turns into the player he can be.
No. 7: RHP Trey McNutt
Trey McNutt is still the best arm in the system. He's got that mid-90's fastball and snap dragon breaking ball that makes him dangerous. He needs (1) shave his beard, (2) develop a change up/splitter and (3) grow up. McNutt has a known history of being immature and easily flustered on the mound. If he can get over that, he can be a 2-3 starter at the big league level for a long time. 2013 is going to be a huge year for him and I expect him to make a run at a rotation spot out of spring training.
No. 6: 3B Christian Villanueva
Christian Villanueva came over from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster trade, and I loved it personally. This is a very quality right handed contact hitter with developing power. It's not out of the question he impresses the Cubs enough to make the roster out of spring training, but I would put those chances at slim. I'd like to see him improve his plate discipline even more and start hitting for more power, but he's got some high upside that I happen to like.
No. 5: RHP Arodys Vizcaino
Arodys Vizcaino came over to the Cubs via trade last year, even though he's been recovering from the famous Tommy John surgery. This guy has the potential of being a HUGE piece to the back end of the Cubs bullpen. He throws hard and has a nasty put away breaking ball that I love. Let's get this guy healthy and back to Wrigley.
No. 4: 1B Dan Vogelbach
This is going to shock, upset and anger a lot of people by putting this guy No. 4. He's got a bad body and is a first basemen, so there's no future right? Well, this kid has some of the biggest power in the minors. He's decently quick for a guy his size, and the Cubs are going to continue working on his conditioning. This kid is a hitter, pure and simple. He reminds me a little bit of Prince Fielder coming up through the Brewers system, but obviously has a long way to go to get put in that boat. The great thing about this kid is that he's still insanely young, so there's no pressure. I expect this guy to continue tearing it up through the minors and I look forward to him being at Wrigley in a few years.
No. 3: OF Albert Almora
First round pick last year. Albert Almora has some upside, but I don't want to make any predictions just yet. I want to see him perform, get stronger and continuing his development as a hitter. He's got a strong approach, but he's just not there yet. He's an outstanding defensive outfielder and an incredibly smart baseball player. He's got all the tools, but has to put them all together. Let's let this kid develop and hope 2015 is the year for Almora.
No. 2: OF Jorge Soler
Jorge Soler is the Cubs big sign out of Cuba. This kid can run, hit and is an outstanding defensive outfielder. He's learning how to hit professional pitching, but I expect this kid to make a move to Wrigley this season. I do envision a Soler/Almora outfield in a few years, so it's exciting. This guy has the chance to be a difference maker and would like to see him take the next step this season.
No. 1: IF Javier Baez
I love this kid. I frankly think he's a third or second basemen in the future due to Starlin Castro, but whatever. This kid is a hitter. He's got a good approach and I love the fact he hits a lot of balls hard. I expect him to have a big year in 2013 in AA, and could make a run at Wrigley this year. I'd like to see him find a spot in the order and work on that particular approach, but I think the Cubs are even still trying to figure out what he's going to be as a big league hitter, so we'll see. Castro and Baez in the infield with Rizzo? Yes, please.