Position-by-Position Breakdown of Chicago Cubs Standout Prospects

Jason S. PariniCorrespondent IIAugust 13, 2013

Position-by-Position Breakdown of Chicago Cubs Standout Prospects

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    With a 52-66 record through Monday, the focus of the Cubs' 2013 season now turns to the future.  Prospects are beginning to be called up, and the phrase "wait 'til next year" has already been pulled out of the arsenal—or perhaps "wait 'til two to three years from now."

    The Cubs future looks bright, with many prospects lined up for the future.  Here we look at a position-by-position breakdown of Chicago Cubs prospects.

1. First Base

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    Although Anthony Rizzo has great potential at first base, they also have prospect Dan Vogelbach, current first baseman at Single-A Kane County.  At 6'0", 250 pounds, Vogelbach has been compared to Prince Fielder, the Tigers' large first-baseman.

    Both Rizzo and Vogelbach bring a large bat (and body) to the plate.     

2. Second Base

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    Of the Cubs' top 20 prospects according to MLB.com, only one of them is a second baseman.

    Gioskar Amaya, who is currently at Single-A Kane County, has hit .269 in 2013.  However, he holds a .344 OBP and three triples.  He also has 13 stolen bases, showing off his impressive speed.

    Amaya certainly could pan out to be a good backup (or replacement) to Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney. 

3. Third Base

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    If you haven't heard the name Kris Bryant by now, you have some homework to do.  The Cubs selected the 21-year old with the second-overall pick in 2013, who was given the largest signing bonus of the 2013 draft class at $6.7 million. 

    Bryant is quickly making his way through the ranks and was recently promoted to Advanced-A Daytona

    The Cubs also recently acquired former Rangers' top prospect Mike Olt in the Matt Garza trade.  Bryant and Olt are listed as the Cubs fourth- and fifth-overall prospects, respectively. 

    Christian Villanueva (Double-A Tennessee) and Jeimer Candelario (Single-A Kane County) are also in the ranks.  Villanueva has not performed to his potential this season, dropping from the Cubs' eighth-overall prospect to 14th. 

    Candelario (16th) has also struggled, but has upped his on-base percentage to .347. 

    Recently, Cubs manager Dale Sveum told Jesse Rogers of ESPN that he has "not ruled out" the possibility of infield/outfield prospect Junior Lake playing third base.

4. Shortstop

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    Despite having an All-Star as a regular starter at shortstop (Starlin Castro), the Cubs also have one of the top prospects in baseball in Javier Baez. 

    Baez was drafted ninth overall in 2011 and has quickly progressed through the minors.  He was promoted to Double-A Tennessee in July 2013.

    Jesse Rogers of ESPN recently reported that the Cubs are pondering a position change for Baez...but Castro may instead be switched from his position.

5. Outfield

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    The Cubs outfield is perhaps their strongest position.  With Junior Lake in the Majors and performing quite well, left field is already a strength.  His speed and arm are well-documented, and his bat has impressed thus far as well.

    Single-A outfielder Albert Almora looks to have great potential.  He currently platoons center field for the Kane County Cougars, and has great outfield insticnts.  Like Lake, he is a multi-tool player with a great bat.  He is hitting .329 with Kane County and is listed as the Cubs number two overall prospect.   

    As MLB.com mentions, Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler (Advanced-A Daytona) was one of three Cuban outfielders to enter the MLB in 2012.  You may have heard of the other two...Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics and Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.  Although Soler ran into some trouble with one of those little "I may or may not have swung a bat at him" incidents, he is still listed as the Cubs' third-overall prospect.

    Matt Szczur is the Cubs' 10th-overall prospect. He is a great threat on the basepaths.  Szczur has 21 stolen bases with Double-A Tennessee this season and has a .351 on-base percentage.

6. Catcher

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    The Cubs selected Cael Brockmeyer in the 16th round of the 2013 draft, and he has already made his way to Triple-A Iowa.  Standing at 6'5", 235 pounds, Brockmeyer brings good size to and behind the plate.  However, despite his size, he has yet to hit a home run in 87 at-bats. 

    Brockmeyer hit .309 with a .411 on-base percentage with Single-A Boise.  He was then promoted directly to Triple-A Iowa to split time with J.C. Boscan.

    Boscan is listed on the Cubs 40-man roster.  However, he has struggled thus far in 2013, with only a .312 on-base percentage.

7. Pitchers

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    Cubs pitching has been steadily improving.

    Arodys Vizcaino is the highest ranked Cubs pitching prospect at number six overall.  However, Vizcaino is a big risk after having Tommy John surgery in March 2012 and has yet to pitch in 2013 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in March of this year.

    Pierce Johnson is one of the the Cubs' most impressive active pitchers.  Ranked seventh overall, Johnson is 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA with Advanced-A Daytona.  He was 5-5 with a 3.10 with Single-A Kane County.

    Even more impressive is C.J. Edwards.  Edwards was picked up by the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade.  He was 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA before being traded and has posted a 2.79 ERA since then.

    The Cubs' two young studs are 19-year-old right-handers Paul Blackburn and Duane Underwood.  Although both have a losing record, they both have a WHIP below two.  Blackburn's ERA is an acceptable 3.38.