With four players arguably among the top 30 prospects in all of baseball the future looks bright for the Chicago Cubs. Of course it was just a decade ago that names like Mark Prior Angel Guzman and Juan Cruz littered top-100 lists. But as the saying goes there's no such thing as a pitching prospect so it's likely a good thing the current Cubs system is heavy in high-ceiling offensive talent. They don't possess an elite Archie Bradley-like arm but through bulk-drafting and some shrewd trades the Cubs have put together a solid group of pitchers many of whom project as solid mid-rotation candidates or slightly better. The fact is if the topic of the Cubs system is brought up in front of opposing talent evaluators one will quite often find oneself in a long conversation. Long gone are the days of people wondering who beyond one or two players has any real future impact in the Cubs system. In fact Brett Jackson who not so long ago sat atop the Cubs' prospect rankings would find himself among the back half of a Cubs top 10 even if he were still at his peak prospect value. A few things to remember here: This is not a top-10 list or even a ranking of any sort. It's just a quick glimpse at some players who range from superstar potential to role player. Trying to judge a minor league player on his statistics is a highly imperfect way of analyzing prospects. Minor league stats never tell the whole story. That's why as always much of the information provided here is gathered from discussions with scouts and front office members from around the league. Javier Baez Position: SS Age: 20 Highest level in 2013: Double-A Tennessee It's not often that broaching the topic of what a prospect could do at the major league level if everything goes right leads scouts to giggle with excitement but that's what Baez's bat does to people. After struggling early at High-A Daytona Baez quickly turned things around and forced a promotion by posting an .873 OPS with 17 home runs in 76 games in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League (FSL) then went on to terrorize opposing team's pitchers at Tennessee. Baez has easy 70 power (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and those who are bullish on him can squint and see a future 70 hit tool (though a 55-60 rating seems to be the industry consensus). Throw in his knack for coming up big late in close games and it's easy to see why the list is short of minor leaguers who have a higher ceiling with the bat.
Cubs' top prospects
ESPN | Sep 17