Baseball America’s Midseason Prospect List Spurs Debate

Baseball America just released an update prospect list (subscription required to read profiles) and it was very interesting to see how John Manuel and the rest of the staff at BA viewed a reorganized collection of talent in the Cubs system. With Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Albert Almora Jr., and Ian Happ either gone from the organization or no longer prospects, it was obvious that there’d be a reshuffling of the roll.

New to the top 10 are a few young prospects like Jose Albertos, Isaac Paredes and Aramis Ademan. Falling out of January’s list are Trevor Clifton, Mark Zagunis, and DJ Wilson.

Here are the updated rankings (links are to Cubs Insider profiles).

  1. Victor Caratini, C
  2. Thomas Hatch, RHP
  3. Jose Albertos, RHP
  4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
  5. Isaac Paredes, SS
  6. Brendon Little, LHP
  7. Alex Lange, RHP
  8. Aramis Ademan, SS
  9. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
  10. Oscar de la Cruz, RHP

I guess this shouldn’t be all that surprising. Last week, I talked about the organizational shift from hitting to pitching. Even so, I didn’t think Lange and Little would be top 10 considerations without having thrown a professional pitch. There’s a lot to like about each of them, but pitching in the minors will require some adjustments from both of them.

While I agree with the overall restructuring of this list, I am not sure I would have put Caratini at No. 1 or Hatch right behind him. While all lists are subjective in nature, there are data and reports that sway decisions and evaluations. For instance, went with the tried and true Jeimer Candelario.

Caratini was likely selected based on his hitting performance this year, which has been spectacular (.342 avg, .919 OPS). On the other hand, everyone knows Caratini’s defense is his weakness and that there are other prospects in the Cubs’ system with far superior arms and defensive skills (Miguel Amaya and P.J. Higgins).

I, for one, think Albertos should be at the top based on his fastball command and poise at just 18 years old. I would have been okay with Alzolay going up to No. 1 or even Paredes, as Brendan Miller suggested, who seems to be developing some power in small bunches.

I was surprised to see Trevor Clifton drop all the way off the list. Clifton was outstanding in the early part of the year (1.84 ERA in May) at Tennessee but has struggled in June and July. Wilson missed most of the first half with a lower body injury after getting off to a poor start. Zagunis got a sneak peak in Chicago, but I don’t know how valuable he is. He hasn’t hit for average this year as he has in the past, but he still gets his walks and has hit 11 HRs in 74 games, which is pretty decent.

Come the offseason, there will be new lists and a new number one as Caratini does not look to be leaving the Cubs 25-man roster anytime soon. So we will get to debate again. And it will be fun, because that is what prospects lists are all about.

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