Occupy Chicago: 3.3% of the Teams Might Have 30% of the Top Ten Prospects

I didn’t make any posts last week. I even missed the weekend Sharing is Caring. I’d feel worse about this if I had readers.

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus, aka Professor Parks, aka the guy responsible for this piece of fashion gave a small preview of BP’s next top 101 prospects list today on Twitter. It’s good news for Cubs fans.
https://twitter.com/ProfessorParks/status/394862537109299200

He didn’t say all of Albert Almora, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant will end up being in the top 10, but they’re in consideration. Here are some more thoughts he shared.

Almora could be the Cubs best prospect.Almora profiles as a legit CF at the highest level, with the chance to be a .300 hitter with power.” He also said the ETA on Almora, who is still just 19, is 2015.

Other than Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton, who is the game’s consensus top prospect, Javier Baez and Nationals pitcher Lucas Giolito figure to have the highest upside.Baez has the best bat speed in the minors; could be an elite hitter if everything clicks.” Most alarmingly is that Parks said Baez can be mentioned in the same sentence as Miguel Cabrera. (Obligatory caution: that’s upside alone. The vast majority of guys don’t reach their upside but that’s the sort of ceiling Baez has, elite hitting at the major league level).

On Kris Bryant, he says he sees him as a right fielder and not a third baseman, but calls him “One of the safest prospects in the minors.” This is more or less what we’ve heard all along, but it’s always encouraging to hear a prospect described as safe.

There wasn’t much talk on Jorge Soler or Arismendy Alcantara, two other Cubs who figure to crack the list, but Parks did say Dan Vogelbach and C.J. Edwards both have a chance to make it.

So if you add it all up, the Cubs could have seven of the top 101. With 30 teams, that leaves an average of 3.37 spots for each. The Cubs could have over double that with three of them possibly in the top 10 and four of them possibly (probably?) in the top 30. I haven’t gotten a good feel for how far Soler’s stock has fallen after missing much of last season to injuries, but I have to figure he’s not too far down the list.

(By the way, how cool is it that a knowledgeable guy like Parks can make one comment and then answer readers’ questions and it basically amounts to a short interview? Twitter is awesome sometimes.)

Enthusiasm in the Cubs rebuild has started to dissipate, at least among some. Everybody’s thrilled the Cubs have gotten so much young talent in such a short amount of time, but it’s not going to mean anything if it doesn’t translate to success at the big league level, either by the prospects directly or by other players acquired through trade of the prospects.

Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue wrote a piece last June that was about, among other things, cautioning Cubs fans on their prospects. It didn’t seem to be a very popular piece, but there’s truth to it. Even the best prospects can fail. Nobody denies that to be true. You can throw some dice and hope to get your number, but the odds are against you. But the more dice you throw, the more likely it is you get a winner. What’s more is some of those dice are Kris Bryant, and are weighted a bit in your favor. Others are Javier Baez. These might be more likely to miss, but the payday is huge if you hit it right.

The Cubs have four prospects with very obvious high upside. That’s not even counting Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, who still have high upsides themselves despite their struggles this last year. It’s very unlikely all six of them reach their impressive ceilings, but it’s also pretty unlikely all six of them fail.

So yes, this is going to mean nothing if it doesn’t lead to success in Chicago and not just Daytona, Boise and Tennessee. But holding major league talent constant, I would much rather be a rebuilding team with top prospects than one without.

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