Power Ranking the Cubs' Prospects Based on Spring-Training Performances
Let the speculation end and the season begin. Now!
With only a few weeks left in spring training, we analyze who is ready for a shot at the big time, while others show that they still have some work to do.
Here we rank the top 10 Cubs prospects based on their spring training experience.
8. Zach Putnam
Although he has seen very little time this spring, I've liked what I've seen from him. In four appearances, he has allowed two hits and struck out two for an opponent average of .167.
He has looked confident on the bump, and I would like to see him with the mother club sometime this season.
7. Brett Jackson
Despite striking out five times in 12 at-bats, I see a tremendous improvement in Jackson's swing. I recommend that ESPN Insiders check out the breakdown. It's only a matter of time before that swing becomes lethal to pitchers. Most importantly, all three of his hits have been for extra bases, with two of them being triples.
Yes, the strikeouts are certainly unacceptable. However, I could certainly overlook the strikeouts while taking in the extra-base hits. Adam Dunn, anyone?
6. Kyuji Fujikawa
Despite being 32 years old and having extensive experience in Japan, Kyuji Fujikawa is a rookie and prospect by definition. We haven't seen much of him in spring training, but the little he has shown us has been promising.
Fujikawa has only pitched four innings, allowing just two hits, no walks and striking out five. He's hit his spots consistently and showed great composure in his four appearances.
5. Chris Rusin
Despite pitching 29.2 innings last season, Chris Rusin is still defined as a rookie prospect. Rusin has looked solid in his eight innings pitched this spring, only allowing seven hits and one earned run. He also hasn't walked anyone, which is always great to see out of a Cubs pitcher. Rusin has shown great command, and I am starting to buy into this kid.
4. Johermyn Chavez
Despite never progressing past AA ball, Johermyn Chavez has certainly made some statements this spring. Chavez is hitting .389 through 11 games with a home run and two batted in. He has also given some glimpses of his speed and smarts in the outfield.
The youngster flashed the leather on Saturday, snagging a diving catch in a loss to the Indians. Chavez has proven that he can steal bases and hit home runs in the minors, and I have seen traces of his true ability this spring.
Despite only being 24 years old, he does not receive much attention in terms of prospect potential. Don't expect to see Chavez starting with the Cubs, but I see a lot of potential in his future.
3. Junior Lake
Until recently, I wasn't sure how I felt about Junior Lake. Now that I know, I'm impressed.
Lake has played well this spring, hitting .304 with a double, a triple, a home run and a stolen base. He made a few early errors, but has since looked much more comfortable in the outfield. I would like to see him be a bit more patient at the plate (Lake has eight strikeouts in 23 at-bats with only one walk), but then again, walks won't get you a spot in the minors.
2. Jorge Soler
As expected, Soler has turned a lot of heads this spring, most memorably with his sniper shot of the A's Josh Reddick. Reddick was trying to go first to third and fell victim to the young outfielder's cannon.
Soler has also hit well at the plate, tallying a double, a triple and a home run while adding three walks to his stat line. My only complaint is his nine strikeouts, but a high strikeout total is not abnormal for a young kid in spring training, or for anyone in spring training for that matter.
1. Javier Baez
If you have been following spring training, this isn't much of a surprise. Baez, the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, has certainly done a Cracker Jack job of living up to the hype, hitting .360 and cranking two dingers out of the park. He has six RBI and 16 total bases.
With Baez's work ethic, he will only get better, and I'm excited to see just how good he can be.