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Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 7

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 7

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    The Chicago Cubs have gone 13-12 since opening the season 5-13, and while contention is unlikely this season, it is at least nice to see a competitive club on the field.

    Even with the big league team playing better, the focus remains on the its future, as they eye a return to the postseason within the next couple years.

    When the return to legitimate contention hinges heavily on how their top prospects progress, and there is as much attention on the Cubs' minor league system as any in baseball.

    So here is an updated look at how the team's top prospects performed in the past week, and whether their stock is trending up or down.

     

    Top prospects according to Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

    *No. 2 prospect Albert Almora (broken hamate bone) and No. 4 prospect Arodys Vizcaino (Tommy John surgery recovery) are both out of action right now, and won't be included until they're playing.

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

    *No. 11 prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua will start his season in Short-Season Class-A Boise on June 14, and won't be included until then.

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

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    2013 Stats

    .304/.367/.386, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 26 RBI, 13 SB

     

    Overview

    When the Cubs took Matt Szczur in the fifth round back in 2010, he was fresh off a career as a two-sport star at Villanova. As a result of focusing so much of his time on football, he was a relatively raw prospect, but he has already improved a great deal as a baseball player in two years.

    In his first full season at Double-A, Szczur could be in line for a call-up to Iowa very soon. Over his last 10 games, he's hitting .417 and he's posted multiple hits in all but two of those games. If the Cubs opt to deal David DeJesus at the deadline, Szczur could get a look provided he keeps it up.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    11-for-29, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

     

    Stock

    Up 

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

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    2013 Stats

    8 GS, 3-1, 3.86 ERA, 17 BB, 46 K, 46.2 IP

     

    Overview

    After pitching out of the bullpen in 2012 and reaching the majors for 25 second-half appearances, the Cubs opted to start Cabrera in Double-A this season where they are stretching him out as a starter.

    So far, so good as he's turned in five quality starts in his eight appearances. He's coming off his longest outing of the season, as he made it seven innings in a no-decision against the Jackson Generals.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, ND

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .257/.323/.393, 13 2B, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 14 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 100 prospect on the Baseball America preseason top 100 list entering last season, Christian Villanueva was acquired in the deal that sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers at the deadline.

    After a slow start, he's hitting .385 with six doubles over his last 10 games. He hit his second home runs of the season last Tuesday, taking Mariners top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker deep. 

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-23, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .258/.320/.406, 8 2B, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 19 R, 13 SB

     

    Overview

    Brought along slowly since signing as a 17-year-old back in 2009, Arismendy Alcantara hit .302/.339/.447 with seven home runs, 51 RBI and 25 steals in a full season at High-A last year.

    He's been somewhat inconsistent this season, and will likely spend the year in Double-A, but he is coming of of a solid week and is hitting .316/.341/.500 over his last 10 games.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-24, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .248/.353/.372, 15 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 22 R

     

    Overview

    Still just 19 years old, Jeimer Candelario has already shown good plate discipline with a .385 on-base percentage over three minor league seasons.

    His power is still developing, but if he can turn some of his doubles into home runs it should play at the big league level, especially if he winds up moving to second base long-term. He has five doubles and is 7-for-16 over his last four games.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    9-for-27, 6 2B, 2 R

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .282/.350/.423, 7 2B, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 16 R

     

    Overview

    At 6'0" and 250-pounds, Dan Vogelbach is tough to miss in the batter's box, and he's done nothing but hit since being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft.

    He posted a 1.051 OPS with 17 home runs in 245 at-bats last season, and while he is not homering at quite the same pace in Low-A, he has held his own. He's slumped a bit of late, however, hitting just .250 with zero home runs and three RBI in his last 10 game.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-31, 2 2B, 2 RBI

     

    Stock

    Down

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

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    2013 Stats

    8 GS, 2-3, 3.32 ERA, 12 BB, 45 K, 40.2 IP

     

    Overview

    The No. 43 pick in last season's draft, Pierce Johnson immediately became one of the Cubs' top pitching prospects, and he is a relatively polished arm with a middle-of-the-rotation ceiling and a very high floor.

    After allowing eight earned runs in 10 innings over his previous two starts, Johnson threw a gem against Cedar Rapids on Saturday for his second win of the season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 6 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 5 Prospect: CF Brett Jackson, Iowa Cubs

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    2013 Stats

    .257/.333/.400, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 R, 4 SB

     

    Overview

    A first-round pick back in 2009, Brett Jackson has all the tools to be a 20/20 guy at the major league level. However, after striking out 217 times in 527 at-bats last season, it is clear he needs to improve his contact rate if he wants to make an impact at the big league level.

    He's hitting .317 over his last 10 games, and he's struck out just seven times in 41 at-bats over that span. He's managed just three RBI, zero home runs and one steal in that span, but the improved contract is what's important at this point.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    6-for-24, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock

    Even

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

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    2013 Stats

    .296/.366/.528, 9 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 25 R

     

    Overview

    Signed to a nine-year, $30 million deal after defecting from Cuba last June, Jorge Soler has as much raw offensive talent as any player in the minor leagues right now.

    The 21-year-old still has some maturing to do, evidenced by the five-game suspension he served earlier this year for wielding a bat in a confrontation with the opposing dugout. However, if he keeps hitting like he has, he'll continue on the fast track to Chicago.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    10-for-32, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R

     

    Stock

    Even

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

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    2013 Stats

    .256/.293/.475, 9 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 26 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 16 prospect in all of baseball entering the season, according to Baseball AmericaJavier Baez has some of the best bat speed in all of the minor leagues and profiles as an impact middle-of-the-order bat.

    While his batting average and on-base percentage are not all that impressive, he continues to pile up the extra-base hits, and has 76 total bases in 39 games.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    9-for-29, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 6 R

     

    Stock

    Up

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