Chicago Cubs Prospects: Josh Vitters Top Minor League Third Baseman

Neil FinnellCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2009

Keith Law from Scouts Inc. has been focusing on baseball's top prospects the last few days on Law broke down each organization and ranked them from first to worst on Wednesday....the Cubs minor league system came in at number twenty-seven.

Keith Law also ranked the top 100 prospects in the minors as well as position-by-position rankings. Josh Vitters remains the top Cubs prospect according to Keith Law. Vitters is listed as the top third base prospect in all of baseball and came in at number 14 in Law's top 100.

Josh Vitters moved up a few slots from 2008....Keith Law ranked him the 17th best minor league prospect a year ago. Law described Vitters' swing as:

"Easy, smooth, quick swing that would be the classic 'sweet; left-hander's swing if it wasn't for the fact he hits right-handed. He doesn't have great loft in his swing, but is strong and makes extremely hard contact."

On his defense:

"He's fringe-average at third base; he has plenty of arm and his footwork is improving, although he's not likely to ever be a plus over there."

On his potential:

"If the patience comes, he's a potential no. 3 hitter who'll hit plenty of doubles and 25-plus home runs with a high average."

The Cubs featured one other prospect in Keith Law's top 100 prospects...right handed pitcher Jay Jackson. Law thinks Jackson "may end up a starter" but if they leave him in a reliever's role, he "could shoot to the majors this year or early next year." Law ranked Jackson the 98th best prospect in the minors.

Jay Jackson has a low 90s fastball with a slider in the mid-80s "with good tilt and a very sharp, late break." Law called the Cubs pick of Jackson in the 9th round of last year's draft "grand larceny".

Keith Law's Top 5 Cubs' Prospects:

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jay Jackson
  3. Jeff Samardzija
  4. Andrew Cashner
  5. Esmailin Caridad

Keith Law described the Cubs' farm system as "Josh Vitters and a few hard throwing relievers." The Cubs bad drafts early in the decade have taken the toll on the farm system and if Donald Veal makes the Pirates 25-man roster out of Spring Training, he will be the only prospect from the Cubs' 2005 draft to make the big leagues.

Baseball America's 2009 Prospect Handbook is scheduled for release on February 10th.

More on the Cubs' Top Prospects: