Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 6

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 6

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    It was a rare successful week for the big league club, as the Chicago Cubs went 4-2 and recorded a series win against the Washington Nationals, while also recording victories against the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.

    That pulled them to 15-22 on the season, putting them just a game away from passing the sliding Milwaukee Brewers and climbing out of the cellar.

    Looking at the big picture, however, the rebuild continues, and with that, here is our weekly look at how the team's top 10 prospects performed over the past week.

     

    Top prospects according to Baseball America.

    *No. 2 prospect Albert Almora and No. 11 prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua will start their seasons in Short-Season Class-A Boise on June 17, so until then they won't be included.

    *No. 4 prospect Arodys Vizcaino is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and will not be included until he returns.

    *No. 9 prospect RP Kyuji Fujikawa was not included since he is currently playing at the major league level.

No. 14 Prospect: CF Matt Szczur, Double-A Tennessee

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    2013 Stats

    .287/.365/.372, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 24 R, 12 SB

     

    Player Summary

    With each at-bat he takes and each game he plays, former two-sport star Matt Szczur becomes a more polished baseball player. He played both baseball and football during his time at Villanova.

    He took a big step forward last year when he posted a .750 OPS and stole 42 bases, and he has more than held his own in his first full season of Double-A action. The 23-year-old is coming off his best week of the season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    9-for-21, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R, 3 SB

     

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No. 13 Prospect: SP Alberto Cabrera, Double-A Tennessee

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    2013 Stats

    7 GS, 3-1, 4.31 ERA, 16 BB, 39 K, 39.2 IP

     

    Player Summary

    After making 25 appearances out of the Chicago bullpen last year, the Cubs opted to ship Alberto Cabrera to Double-A and stretch him out as a starter this season. He has the repertoire to start—it's just a matter of him continuing to develop his game.

    He was hit hard his last time out after back-to-back terrific starts, allowing 13 hits and six earned runs in 4.1 innings of work.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 0-0, 12.46 ERA, 3 BB, 5 K, 4.1 IP

     

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No. 12 Prospect: 3B Christian Villanueva, Double-A Tennessee

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    2013 Stats

    .235/.302/.339, 10 2B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 11 R

     

    Player Summary

    The third base position remains a question for the Cubs long term, but they added another potential option to the mix at the deadline last year when the acquired Christian Villanueva from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal.

    Ranked No. 100 on the Baseball America preseason top 100 list entering last season, he hit 14 home runs and posted a .780 OPS in High-A, and he could set himself up for a late-season audition if he produces in his first taste of Double-A this year.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-18, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R

     

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No. 10 Prospect: SS Arismendy Alcantara, Double-A Tenessee

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    2013 Stats

    .244/.313/.374, 5 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 16 R, 13 SB

     

    Player Summary

    The 21-year-old Arismendy Alcantara has been brought along slowly since signing out of the Dominican Republic as a 17-year-old. He has improved every step of the way, though, and is coming off the best season of his pro career.

    In a full season at High-A last year, he hit .302/.339/.447 with seven home runs, 51 RBI and 25 steals. His game has come a long way, and while it's still unclear where he fits into the Cubs' long-term plans, that's a problem that will work itself out when the time comes.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    6-for-21, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB

     

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No. 8 Prospect: 3B Jeimer Candelario, Low-A Kane County

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    2013 Stats

    .229/.352/.331, 9 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 20 R

     

    Player Summary

    Still an incredibly raw prospect at just 19 years old, Jeimer Candelario has an advanced approach at the plate that should allow his offensive skills to develop more quickly.

    The power is still coming along, as he just hit his first home run of the season on Sunday, but he has a .384 career on-base percentage in three minor league seasons. Long term he may wind up at second base, but he's still a ways from that decision needing to be made.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-23, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R

     

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No. 7 Prospect: 1B Dan Vogelbach, Low-A Kane County

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    2013 Stats

    .288/.366/.448, 5 2B, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 16 R

     

    Player Summary

    Concerns about his 6'0", 250-pound frame aside, slugger Dan Vogelbach has done nothing but crush the baseball since being selected in the second round back in 2011.

    He had a 1.051 OPS and 17 home runs in 245 at-bats last season, and he already has 10 extra-base hits in his first 125 at-bats this year. He may end up being a trade chip with Anthony Rizzo entrenched at first base, and if that's the case, his value continues to rise.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-22, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R

     

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No. 6 Prospect: SP Pierce Johnson, Low-A Kane County

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    2013 Stats

    6 GS, 1-2, 3.77 ERA, 10 BB, 30 K, 28.2 IP

     

    Player Summary

    Pierce Johnson was taken with the No. 43 pick in last year's draft, and he immediately become one of the Cubs' top pitching prospect. His ceiling isn't ace-caliber, but he's as safe a bet as any to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy.

    He had allowed just one earned runs in 17.1 innings of work over his previous three starts before being hit hard on Wednesday and lasting just four innings. Still, plenty to like about the way he's pitched in his first full pro season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 3 BB, 5 K, 4 IP

     

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No. 5 Prospect: CF Brett Jackson, Triple-A Iowa

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    2013 Stats

    .259/.341/.432, 4 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R, 4 SB

     

    Player Summary

    Inability to make consistent contact continues to hold Brett Jackson back, as he has the tools to be a 20/20 player at the big league level if he could just cut down his strikeouts. Last season, he whiffed a whopping 217 times in 527 at-bats between the minors and majors.

    It was a good week for Jackson, as he raised his average 40 points, but perhaps more importantly, he struck out just twice in 17 at-bats. That after fanning 24 times in his first 64 at-bats of the season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-17, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 K

     

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No. 3 Prospect: RF Jorge Soler, High-A Daytona

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    2013 Stats

    .290/.374/.559, 8 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 19 R

     

    Player Summary

    The Cubs took a big chance when they signed Jorge Soler to a nine-year, $30 million deal last June, and the Cuban defector has looked every bit the part of a future superstar in the early stages of his pro career.

    After enduring a mini-slump of sorts following his five-game suspension for wielding a bat while approaching the other team's dugout, the young slugger appears to have gotten things back on track after a big week.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-15, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R

     

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No. 1 Prospect: SS Javier Baez, High-A Daytona

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    2013 Stats

    .244/.280/.489, 8 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 20 R

     

    Player Summary

    The No. 16 prospect in all of baseball entering the season, according to Baseball AmericaJavier Baez continues to put up terrific power numbers in his first taste of High-A ball.

    His average has steadily dropped since he got off to a hot start to open the season, but he has continued to rack up extra-base hits, and there is a good chance he earns a promotion to Double-A by midseason at the rate he's going.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    4-for-17, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R

     

    Stock

    Even