Goatriders of the Apocalypse

My Midseason Top 15 Cubs Prospect List (Part 1)

It's June 29th, and I know 2 things for certain:
-The big league team is an absolute joke
-For me, it's a hell of a lot more fun to follow the minor league system

You know, the whole promise of something better on the way other than the overpaid, overanimated, underpeforming, often unlikable group of schmucks that dot the current big league roster. If you're like me - some of the guys you get the most joy out of watching include guys like Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol, and Tyler Colvin. So with those young guys in mind, and with the fact that we're roughly halfway through the minor league system, I figured I'd bust out my midseason Top 15 prospect list. I kinda compile this list on my own anyways, and since Kurt was so nice to give me an outlet for my fandom - I figured I'd share it. Feel free to comment on this, let me know who you think I have too high, too low, who you like that I don't have listed, etc.

Things that shape how my list looks:
*Andrew Cashner still "technically" has prospect status - but I'm leaving him out. He's a big leaguer.
*2010 draftees aren't included. We haven't seen what they've done against other pros with wood bats.
*Guys that haven't made their American debuts for whatever reason aren't included. No substantial data to go on. This includes recent $1.2M Korean bonus baby Kim Jin-Yeong. By his bonus alone and the little i've been able to glean from the net - he should be on this list somewhere - but for now I'm excluding him.

1. OF Brett Jackson (AA Tennessee) - Jackson was just promoted last weekend after a ridiculous month of June for Daytona. Before his promotion, he put up a line of .316/.420/.517, including 19 2B, 8 3B, 6 HR, and 12 SB in the toughest hitters league there is. He's 4 for 10 with 2 HR so far in AA. The hype surrounding this guy is swelling. I saw him play in Peoria last year - and he just looks like a baseball player. Reports on his defense are that he absolutely can stick in CF and be a plus defender. If you're not already - get familiar with this guy.

2. SP Jay Jackson (AAA Iowa) - Jackson had a great first month plus as a starter in Iowa, and then he was moved to the Iowa pen so he could be groomed for a potential big league bullpen job. The Cubs ultimately chose Cashner for that role, and now Jackson's back to starting. Just 24 months ago, Jackson was a non-descript 9th round pick with a little upside. Now he's the best pitching prospect in the system. He's sporting a 1.10 WHIP in Iowa, and though his strikeouts are down a bit, he's only allowing 2.3 BB/9. He's a very good prospect - and if things like service time weren't an issue, Jackson would spend September with the Cubs getting a cup of coffee. Because it is an issue, his future is undetermined.

3. 3B Josh Vitters (Tenn) - This guy is quite the mystery. He's having himself a carbon copy of his 2009 season in that he hit well (but not overwhelming) at his first stop (last year Peoria, this year Daytona), and then once promoted, he scuffled (last year in Daytona, this year in Tennessee). Vitters posted an OPS of .795 in Daytona, but that figure is just .665 in Tennesse. Still, he's just 20 years old. I believe in the bat. I dont know if he'll be able to stay at 3B or if he'll have to move to a less challenging position, but I think he's gonna be a hitter still.

4. SP Chris Archer (High-A Daytona) - Archer was the supposed "flyer" of the 3 prospects we received in the Mark DeRosa deal and it's starting to look like he could become the best player of the 3. He has always had a great arm, but he's always had trouble with his control, but that problem started to rectify itself last year - and is now looking like a thing of the past. After lowing his walk rate to 5.4 BB/9, this year it's 3.2 per 9. He's got a good fastball/curveball mix, and he's using it to strike out 10.2 batters per 9 for the D-Cubs. He's also just 21 years old. I'd LOVE to see what he can do against more advanced hitters in AA, but I also understand not rushing him and letting him build up confidence. It'll be interesting to see how the Cubs handle him as the season goes on.

5. SS Hak-Ju Lee (Low-A Peoria) - At first blush, his batting numbers look pedestrian (.273/.343/.342). However, he's just 19, and in his first full professional season. He's got 20 SB already this season, but he has a Starlin Castro-like error total of 23. I do like how he's showing such good plate discipline at a young age, and to be fair - the Midwest League is a tough place to hit early in the season, I just wish he showed a little more pop. There's time for that I suppose. I will say this for Lee - he's tremendously fun to watch in person. I've got the opportunity 3 times this year, and he looks great. Great range at short too - every bit as good as Starlin, I believe.

..This has got a bit lengthy. I'll bust it into 2 parts and post the 2nd half tomorrow. Go Cubs!

Ha - what do you know?

Ha - what do you know? Archer got promoted last night. Missed that when writing this article

Hak-Ju Lee

Regarding Hak-Ju Lee's 23 errors, that could partially be due to the fact that he's playing at Low-A ball. Lots of bad bounces in the low minor leagues.

absolutely. Some of them

absolutely. Some of them could be attributed to that. But not all. Logan Watkins, playing middle IF for the same team has only 8.

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