Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

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    While the MLB trade deadline is still a few weeks away, the Cubs have already been active on the market, trading Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol and Scott Hairston.

    On top of that, they signed a trio of top international talents in outfielder Eloy Jimenez, shortstop Gleyber Torres and right-hander Erling Moreno, according to MLB.com.

    More moves are no doubt on the way, with Matt Garza likely to net the biggest return, as the Cubs' farm system continues to improve.

    As it stands, here is a look at how the organization's top 10 active prospects performed last week, and whether their stock is trending up or down.

     

    Note: Top prospects according to Baseball America Prospect Handbook

    *No. 3 prospect RF Jorge Soler (fractured left shin) is currently sidelined and will not be included until he's active. He was hitting .281/.343/.467 with 8 HR and 35 RBI at the time of the injury.

    *No. 4 prospect SP Arodys Vizcaino (Tommy John surgery recovery) is currently sidelined and will not be included until he's active.

    *No. 5 prospect CF Brett Jackson (strained quad) is currently sidelined and will not be included until he's active. He was hitting .223/.300/.367 with 6 HR and 23 RBI at the time of the injury.

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

    *No. 11 prospect SP Juan Carlos Paniagua is currently dealing with visa issues, according to Baseball America, and will not be included until he is stateside and playing.

No. 15 Prospect: IF/OF Junior Lake, Triple-A Iowa

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    2013 Stats

    .315/.362/.504, 8 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 25 R, 9 SB

     

    Summary

    With Jorge Soler and Brett Jackson both sidelined for the second straight week and nothing new to report as a result, they move off this list and Junior Lake cracks the stock watch for the first time this season.

    The 23-year-old has played in just 33 games this season, but he has looked sharp as he continues to move away from his natural shortstop position while seeing time at third base and in right field. He'll no doubt get a call-up at some point and will be auditioning for a spot on the Opening Day roster next year.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-27, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 7 R, 1 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .297/.366/.400, 19 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 47 R, 20 SB

     

    Overview

    We haven't taken a look at outfielder Matt Szczur since No. 2 overall prospect Albert Almora returned from a broken hamate bone on May 22, but injuries have moved Szczur back among the team's top 10 active prospects picture as well.

    The speedy former football player has put together a solid season so far in Double-A, as he continues to make the transition from football to baseball. He's flashed good on-base skills and speed on the basepaths once again this season, and he may well have passed Brett Jackson on the outfield depth chart.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-25, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 R, 3 SB

     

    Stock

    Even

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

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    2013 Stats

    17 GS, 8-3, 3.32 ERA, 38 BB, 104 K, 105.2 IP

     

    Overview

    If the minor league season were to end today, there is a good chance that Alberto Cabrera would be the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year given how well he has thrown the ball in Double-A this season.

    The converted reliever has been particularly good of late, recording five straight quality starts and going 5-2 with a 2.73 ERA in his last 10 starts. After spending the second half in the Cubs' bullpen last season, he could wind up getting a look in the rotation down the stretch this year, depending on those Cubs who will be coming and going via trades.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 K, W

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .259/.313/.455, 22 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 33 R

     

    Overview

    Ranked as the No. 100 prospect in baseball prior to last season, Christian Villanueva has gone through some ups and downs in his first season at Double-A, but he is still only 22 years old and has some time to put it all together.

    His 22 doubles are tied with teammate Arismendy Alcantara for the Southern League lead, and he has hit five home runs in his past 10 games after hitting just six in his first 259 at-bats. There is undeniable power potential there for the young third baseman.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    9-for-24, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock

    Up

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

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    2013 Stats

    .272/.349/.471, 22 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 42 R, 21 SB

     

    Overview

    Essentially an unknown prospect entering last season, Arismendy Alcantara hit .302 in a full season at High-A and found himself in the team's top-prospect picture for the first time this season as a result, cracking the top 10.

    The Dominican-born shortstop was named to the World Team in the upcoming Futures Game, and deservedly so as he's shown some of the best power/speed tools in minor league baseball this season. The future looks incredibly bright for the 21-year-old.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-23, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB

     

    Stock

    Even

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

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    2013 Stats

    .244/.329/.356, 23 2B, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 39 R

     

    Overview

    Still just 19 years old, Jeimer Candelario has endured his fair share of growing pains this season, but he remains a high-upside prospect with plate discipline beyond his years.

    He's hitting just .154/.233/.282 over his past 10 games, and will no doubt spend a full season at the Low-A level, but the Cubs are in no rush with him and his 57/40 K/BB ratio remains a promising indicator of future success at the plate.

     

    Last Week's Stats

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

     

    Stock

    Even

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

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    2013 Stats

    .280/.349/.452, 17 2B, 13 HR, 56 RBI, 38 R

     

    Overview 

    Coming off of a big week two weeks ago in which he went 11-for-24 at the plate and raised his average to .278, slugger Dan Vogelbach stayed hot this past week as his average continued to climb.

    Power is what is going to get Vogelbach to the next level though, and while he's hitting a solid .316/.386/.526 over his last 10 games, he has just four extra-base hits over that span. Still, there is plenty to like about the way the 20-year-old has progressed this season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 6 Prospect: SP Pierce Johnson, High-A Daytona (Promoted on June 20)

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    2013 Stats

    13 GS, 5-5, 3.10 ERA, 22 BB, 74 K, 69.2 IP at Low-A Kane County

    3 GS, 1-1, 3.38 ERA, 7 BB, 14 K, 16 IP at High-A Daytona 

     

    Overview

    Promoted to High-A Daytona on June 20 after 13 starts at the Low-A level, Pierce Johnson has moved quickly after being taken No. 43 overall in last year's draft, and he'll continue to progress if he keeps pitching like he has.

    After going 0-1 and allowing 11 hits and six runs in 11 innings over his first two starts at Daytona, he looked much better his last time out. With 85.2 innings already under his belt on the season, the team likely won't push the 22-year-old so expect five-inning starts to be the norm.

     

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 2 Prospect: CF Albert Almora, Low-A Kane County

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    2013 Stats

    .353/.387/.519, 11 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 30 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 6 overall pick in last year's draft, Albert Almora was sidelined to start the season with a broken hamate, but he's made up for lost time since returning to the field on May 22.

    The 19-year-old has been a catalyst in the Cougars' lineup, scoring 30 runs in just 38 games and piling up 81 total bases in the process. The Cubs won't rush him, but the polish that made him such a highly regarded prospect out of high school could make him a fast riser in the years ahead.

     

    Last Week's Stats

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

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 1 Prospect: SS Javier Baez, Double-A Tennessee (Promoted: July 6)

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    2013 Stats

    .274/.338/.535, 19 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 59 R, 12 SB at High-A

    .250/.250/1.00, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R at Double-A

     

    Overview

    After a fantastic month of June that saw him hit .300 with nine home runs and 28 RBI, the Cubs promoted top prospect Javier Baez to Double-A on July 6.

    The 20-year-old then proceeded to homer in his first game with the Tennessee club on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if he can position himself for a September call-up in the weeks ahead. Either way, the team has to be thrilled with how quickly that Baez has progressed through the system.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Stock

    Up