Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects After Week 1
It's only a week into the regular season in major league and minor league baseball, but the Cubs' top 10 prospects have all changed their stock in some way. It could be minor or major (no pun intended), but many are either moving closer or further from the major leagues.
Based on how they've performed in spring training and the minor leagues so far, here is how the stock of each of the club's top 10 prospects has changed.
10. RHP Arodys Vizcaino: Stock Up
Vizcaino, who could be in the big leagues sooner rather than later, has shown flashes of dominance early in his Cubs' career. He appeared in five games during the spring, pitching five innings while giving up just three hits and no runs. He continued that run in his first relief appearance in High-A Daytona when he pitched a scoreless inning allowing one hit.
The only reason Vizcaino is starting at such a low level in the minor leagues is because of his injury history. As long as he keeps showing he's healthy and has dominant stuff, he will keep moving up in the minor league system. Should he continue to dominate, it wouldn't be a surprise if he's in Chicago within a couple of months.
9. 1B Dan Vogelbach: Stock Even
It would be impossible to say if Vogelbach's stock has gone up or down because he went 4-for-13 in spring training and he has played only one game at High-A Daytona this season, going 1-for-3 with a walk. While that walk shows more of the plate discipline that has impressed scouts, it's not possible to determine where his stock has gone with such a small sample size.
The young slugger will continue to progress this season and could possibly reach Double-A if he shows considerable development. Given the fact he's 6' 0", 250 pounds and a left-hander, it's unlikely Vogelbach will ever play a game for the Cubs. The more likely scenario is that he will be included in a trade to an American League team where he could serve as a designated hitter.
8. 3B Jeimer Candelario: Stock Even
Just like Vogelbach, Candelario hasn't had a big enough sample size to formulate an opinion on his change of stock. He has gone 1-for-6 in two games for High-A Daytona. He hit 11 home runs last season and will look to build on his power to rise through the minor leagues.
While there's a chance Candelario could reach the major leagues within the next couple years, there would have to be quite a few players who don't pan out for him to get his shot in Chicago. Like Vogelbach, he could be included in a package of prospects for a player later down the road.
7. 2B Arismendy Alcantara: Stock Up
Alcantara, who may fit into the Cubs' future plans as a utility infielder, has shown that he's almost major league ready. He played well in spring training, showing his versatility. Alcantara has played two games for Triple-A Iowa this season, smacking a double.
With another top prospect, Javier Baez, seemingly set to take over for the Cubs at second base (or shortstop which would move Starlin Castro to second base), Alcantara is looking at a utility role in the future for now. But if he could reach the majors before Baez, he could change the club's plans for him with a solid performance.
6. RHP Pierce Johnson: Stock Even
Johnson, one of the club's few top pitching prospects, hasn't done anything to change his stock since last season. That's due to the fact that he didn't pitch for the Cubs in spring training and hasn't pitched in the minor leagues this season.
Once he gets going, Johnson will look to show the club that he could be in the rotation by next season. While he would have to play really well to convince the Cubs of that, it's not out of the question. If the Cubs trade ace Jeff Samardzija, several young players could get looks in 2015 as the team decides what it wants to do in the future.
5. Outfielder Jorge Soler: Stock Down
Even though he hit a double in his only at-bat at Double-A Tennessee this season, Soler has still been largely disappointing to this point in his career. He has been slow to progress because of injury and as a result, his ETA in Chicago has been repeatedly pushed back. This spring, he went 2-for-9 and didn't look particularly comfortable at the plate.
Soler is still very much part of the Cubs' future plans, but he's going to have to stay healthy so he can make solid progress. If he's able to do that, he'll get back on track in his development. But for now, injuries and a disappointing spring have made Soler's stock go down slightly.
4. Outfielder Albert Almora: Stock Up
Almora has gone 0-for-9 at High-A Daytona, but his stock is still up. He went 6-for-14 in spring training and showed flashes of what made him a first-round pick out of high school. Something that isn't measurable on a stat sheet is leadership and Almora has a lot of that. The fact that he's a natural-born leader could go a long way toward getting him to Chicago faster.
Since he's still very young, Almora likely won't be on the team by Opening Day of next season. But he could be up at some point in 2015 and will almost surely be the team's starting center fielder by 2016.
3. RHP C.J. Edwards: Stock Down
In his lone spring training start, Edwards went 2.2 innings while giving up three earned runs. In his first start at Double-A Tennessee, Edwards pitched four strong innings of one-hit ball. What Edwards needs most is to add weight to his 6' 2", 155-pound frame. While he could be a very solid No. 3 starter in the majors someday, it seems unlikely he will ever develop into an ace.
The rating here is more about Edwards being a bit overhyped than the fact he's done anything on the field to send his stock way down. A better idea of how he's doing will come in a couple of months when he has several minor league starts under his belt.
2. 3B Kris Bryant: Stock Even
Bryant has caught headlines for some of his dramatic play already this season, but he still has plenty to work on before reaching the big leagues. He went just 2-for-18 this spring with both of those hits long balls. In fact, his first ever spring training at-bat was a home run.
Then again, he hit a home run in his first ever at-bat in Double-A off of Reds starter Mat Latos who was making a rehab start. Even with the raw power, Bryant needs to cut down majorly on his strikeouts. He has shown the ability to put the bat on the ball, but he also has gone long stretches where he strikes out at a high clip. He projects as the future No. 3 hitter for the Cubs, but only if he can cut down on his strikeouts.
1. SS Javier Baez: Stock Up
Baez had what was possibly the best spring performance of any major leaguer. He batted .264 with five home runs and two doubles, with one of his home runs going an insane 450 feet. While he could stand to raise his average slightly, Baez showed off the unreal bat speed that has made him a top prospect. He displayed power to all fields during the course of spring.
If not for the fact that the Cubs want an extra year of team control on Baez, he would be in Chicago right now. He actually played well enough in spring training to prove that he's major league ready. Barring injury or severe underperformance, Baez will almost surely be in Chicago at some point this season, which will provide excitement for a fanbase that hasn't had much to cheer about the last few seasons.