Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects in Week 22

Joel ReuterFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2016

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects in Week 22

0 of 10

    The minor league regular season wraps up this coming week, and while it's been a rough season at the major league level for the Chicago Cubs, there is plenty of reason for excitement down on the farm.

    Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com announced last week that the Cubs top four prospects in Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant would all be taking part in the Arizona Fall League, so the team's top young talents will still be in action after the season is over.

    For now, here is a look at how the team's top 10 active prospects fared over the past week and whether their stock is trending up or down.

     

    Top prospect rankings according to MLB.com Prospect Watch.

    *No. 2 prospect CF Albert Almora (groin) has been shut down for the season. He was hitting .329/.376/.466 with three home runs and 23 RBI at the time of the injury.

    *No. 3 prospect RF Jorge Soler (fractured left shin) has been shut down for the season. He was hitting .281/.343/.467 with eight homers and 35 RBI at the time of the injury.

    *No. 6 prospect SP Arodys Vizcaino (recovering from Tommy John surgery) is currently sidelined and will not be included until he's active.

    *No. 13 prospect CF Brett Jackson was demoted to Double-A upon returning from a strained quad and is hitting .218/.295/.341 with 90 strikeouts in 252 at-bats. He won't be included until he at least returns to Triple-A, as it's safe to assume his stock is down after being demoted.

No. 14 Prospect: 3B Christian Villanueva, Double-A Tennessee

1 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .261/.318/.465, 41 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 59 R

     

    Overview

    Next season will be a big year in determining where if at all Christian Villanueva fits into the Cubs' long-term plans or whether he will wind up being a trade chip at some point.

    By all accounts it's been a great season for the 22-year-old, who has flashed terrific power potential in his first season at the Double-A level, leading the Southern League with 41 doubles and tallying 61 extra-base hits total. However, with Mike Olt and Kris Bryant in the fold as third baseman, a move to second base may inevitably be how he fits into the big picture moving forward.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    6-for-19, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 12 Prospect: SP Neil Ramirez, Double-A Tennessee

2 of 10

    2013 Stats

    21 GS, 9-3, 3.84 ERA, 42 BB, 127 K, 130 IP at Double-A Frisco

    1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.2 IP at Double-A Tennessee

     

    Overview

    The Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Rangers on July 22, but the deal was not officially finished until August 23 when the Rangers sent Neil Ramirez to the Cubs as the "player to be named" when the deal was originally struck.

    Some health concerns are what kept him from being part of the original deal, but the 24-year-old was apparently cleared by the team, and he brings another high-upside arm to the system. Taken out of high school in the first round of the 2007 draft, he struggled to a 6.28 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season, but he's back on track this season and looks like a solid middle-of-the rotation arm with potential for more.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K, ND

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 11 Prospect: SP C.J. Edwards, High-A Daytona

3 of 10

    2013 Stats

    18 GS, 8-2, 1.83 ERA, 34 BB, 122 K, 93.1 IP at Low-A Hickory

    6 GS, 0-0, 1.96 ERA, 7 BB, 33 K, 23 IP at High-A Daytona

     

    Overview

    C.J. Edwards has already come a long way since being take in the 48th round of the 2011 draft, and while the Cubs have been careful not to tack too many more innings onto the 21-year-old's season total, he's been terrific so far since joining the team.

    Given how well he's pitched in limited High-A action, he could get a chance to open next season in Double-A, which if everything breaks right could put him in line to join the Cubs rotation by 2015. Granted that's best-case scenario, and 2016 seems like a more likely timetable for him to make a big league impact, but he looks to be a potential piece of the rebuilding puzzle.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K, ND

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 10 Prospect: 1B Dan Vogelbach, High-A Daytona

4 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .284/.364/.450, 21 2B, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 55 R at Low-A Kane County

    .280/.455/.440, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 13 R at High-A Daytona (Promoted on August 13)

     

    Overview

    Dan Vogelbach has continued to flash the impressive raw power that made him a second-round pick in the 2011 draft this season, and the 20-year-old has held his own since being bumped up to High-A Daytona a few weeks ago.

    He has just four extra-base hits in 50 at-bats since being promoted, but has an impressive 13/16 K/BB ratio, and he's drawn 13 walks over his last eight games. If his power can continue to develop and he maintains that level of plate discipline, he could be an absolute force at the plate a few years from now.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    4-for-12, 1 2B, 4 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 9 Prospect: CF Matt Szczur, Double-A Tennessee

5 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .281/.351/.367, 27 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 42 RBI, 78 R, 22 SB

     

    Overview

    A raw athlete with plus speed and a high ceiling when he was taken in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, Matt Szczur has progressed steadily through the Cubs' system and is enjoying a terrific season at the Double-A level this year.

    As a member of the 40-man roster he would seem like a candidate for a September call-up, but the Cubs may use the final month to get a better look at Brian Bogusevic and Ryan Sweeney in the outfield, both of whom have played well but have missed time due to injury. That said, he could get a look for the everyday center field job come spring training next season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-20, 1 RBI, 6 R, 1 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 8 Prospect: 2B/SS Arismendy Alcantara, Double-A Tennessee

6 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .273/.355/.455, 36 2B, 4 3B, 15 HR, 69 RBI, 69 R, 31 SB

     

    Overview

    Top prospect Javier Baez has been the Cubs' most productive prospect this season, but the 21-year-old earns the title of breakout prospect, as he has taken a big step forward in his first season at the Double-A level.

    With a nice mix of power and speed, it looks as though he'll be a marked upgrade over Darwin Barney at the plate if he can smoothly make the move to second base from shortstop, a move that has already begun this season. He'll open next season in the minors, but should get a chance to play for everyday at-bats by the second half of the season if he can repeat this year's performance.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    8-for-21, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R, 1 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 7 Prospect: SP Pierce Johnson, High-A Daytona

7 of 10

    2013 Stats

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

    10 G, 8 GS, 6-1, 2.22 ERA, 21 BB, 50 K, 48.2 IP at High-A Daytona (Promoted on June 20)

     

    Overview

    Selected No. 43 overall in the 2012 draft, Pierce Johnson ranks as the Cubs' top pitching prospect right now with Arodys Vizcaino still sidelined, and he has pitched well over two levels in his first full season in the minors.

    He'll likely open next season in Double-A, and while the Cubs will likely have no reason to rush him next season, he may very well play his way into the big league rotation before the season is over. Johnson may not have ace upside, but he has a high floor and looks like a solid bet to be part of the team's long-term rotation.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, ND

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 5 Prospect: 3B Mike Olt, Triple-A Iowa

8 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .333/.333/.750, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R at Double-A Frisco

    .213/.317/.422, 15 2B, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 37 R at Triple-A Round Rock 

    .171/.270/.279, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 11 R at Triple-A Iowa

     

    Overview

    It's been a long season for Mike Olt, as he entered the season poised to make a significant impact in the Texas lineup, but instead struggled found himself struggling with vision issues early on, and he was never able to get his season on track.

    The slugger posted a .977 OPS with 28 home runs and 82 RBI in Double-A last year, and after acquiring him from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, the Cubs are hoping he can return to that form moving forward. He's gone 12-for-42 (.286 BA) over the past two weeks, as he looks to finish things strong.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-20, 2 RBI, 1 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 4 Prospect: 3B Kris Bryant, High-A Daytona

9 of 10

    2013 Stats

    .167/.143/.333, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 R at AZL Cubs

    .354/.416/.692, 8 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 13 R at short-season Boise

    .333/.387/.719, 5 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 9 R at High-A Daytona (Promoted on August 12)

     

    Overview

    All told between college and his brief time in the minors so far, Kris Bryant has hit 40 home runs and driven in 94 runs this season, and he has not missed a beat since being promoted over Low-A Kane County right to High-A Daytona in mid-August.

    The No. 2 pick in this year's draft, Bryant hit .329/.493/.820 with an NCAA-high 31 home runs and 62 RBI in 62 games at the University of San Diego this year. What he's shown in 36 games this season since signing may be enough for him to start next year in Double-A, and if he continues to pile up the extra-base hits it won't be long before he's in Chicago.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    4-for-16, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

     

    Stock 

    Even

No. 1 Prospect: SS Javier Baez, Double-A Tennessee

10 of 10

    2013 Stats

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

    .299/.352/.650, 15 2B, 0 3B, 20 HR, 54 RBI, 39 R, 8 SB at Double-A Tennessee (Promoted on July 6)

     

    Overview

    Add three more home runs and 10 more RBI to the already fantastic season totals of Javier Baez this past week, as he continues to destroy Double-A pitching since his promotion in early July.

    He's hit a combined .285/.344/.583 with 37 home runs and 111 RBI this season, and if not for Astros' prospect George Springer he would likely be the odds-on favorite for Minor League Player of the Year honors. There are still some things that need to be ironed out, evidenced by his 144/40 K/BB mark, but he has all the makings of a future superstar in the middle of the Cubs' lineup.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    6-for-28, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R

     

    Stock

    Up