I can take some prospect lists better than I can others. MLB.com’s is one of those. Going into the show, Evan expected at least four Cubs prospects would be named when the top 100 were revealed on MLB Network. As it turns out, the 2017 list hewed pretty closely to 2016’s year-end roll.
At the end of last year, the Cubs had five prospects on the list: Ian Happ (21), Eloy Jimenez (23), Albert Almora (82), Dylan Cease (96), and Jeimer Candelario (100). Going in, I thought that maybe Oscar de la Cruz or Trevor Clifton could sneak into the 90’s. I also thought Jimenez would rise above Happ and make it into the top 15, while Happ would fall a little based on his lackluster second half.
Here’s how it broke down:
96. Jeimer Candelario – No surprise here. He is still a valuable prospect based on his switch-hitting abilities and the depth he provides at 1B and 3B. While some still see him as a trade chip, I think you might want to pump the brakes on that idea until summer.
77. Dylan Cease – I was actually surprised to see him this high because he has yet to play full-season ball. What I saw him do last year at Eugene, however, explains why he is here. With upper-90’s heat and developing secondaries, he will jump another 50 spots if he has a good season at South Bend.
75. Albert Almora – He is just a few at-bats from losing prospect status and he’s ready to take over as the everyday centerfielder for the world champion Chicago Cubs.
28. Ian Happ – In his first full season of pro ball, Happ slumped quite a bit in the second half. I think he will be fine in 2017, when he will start the year at Tennessee. I think 2016 taught him that he needs to take care of his body a little better. It’s important to note that he still kept getting his walks while going through his slump. That’s a good sign.
14. Eloy Jimenez – By the end of May, several of the top 10 prospects in the list will be in the majors. That means Jimenez moving into single digits by mid-summer. He should start at Myrtle Beach this year and advance to Tennessee, hopefully by the end of June. It will be at Tennessee where I think his power will really bloom. The wind tends to blow in at Myrtle Beach most every day. At Tennessee, not so much.
Overall, I think the list is pretty fair. If we revisit it around July, there could be several more Cubs in the top 100. Right now, most of the Cubs top position talent is still very young, while there is a cache of pitchers who could vault onto the list. Keep the following names in mind: Oscar de la Cruz, Trevor Clifton, DJ Wilson, Jose Albertos, and Mark Zagunis.