Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects After Week 2

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects After Week 2

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    It was another tough week for the Chicago Cubs at the big league level, as they went 2-4 and remain in the No. 30 spot on this week's power rankings.

    As we make are way through what will likely be another long year on the North Side, more and more attention will be paid to a farm system that was ranked No. 4 in all of baseball by Baseball America entering the season.

    What follows is a look at the team's current top-10 prospects and how they performed at the minor league level over the past week. This series will be updated weekly, with a stock "up," "even" or "down" indication given to each prospect based upon what direction their performance is trending.

     

    Note: Prospects rankings according to Baseball America Prospect Handbook

    *No. 5 prospect RF Jorge Soler (hamstring) spent last week on the disabled list. He will not be included here until he is active. He is 1-for-1 with a double on the season at Double-A Tennessee.

    *No. 6 prospect SP Pierce Johnson (minor leg injury) has not yet begun his 2014 season, as he remains at extended spring training, according to Baseball America. He will not be included here until he is active.

No. 12 Prospect: SP Paul Blackburn, Single-A Kane County

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    2014 Stats

    2 GS, 0-0, 6.00 ERA, 2 BB, 7 K, 9.0 IP

     

    Overview

    Taken with the No. 56 overall pick in the 2012 draft out of high school, Paul Blackburn is making his full season debut this year with the Kane County Cougars.

    The 20-year-old has been brought along slowly to this point, logging just 66.2 innings of work over his first two pro seasons combined. The potential is there for him to be good, and his three-pitch repertoire could make him a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm.

    "Blackburn has one of the best combinations of stuff and feel among the system's mound prospects," said Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. "Though his control wavered after he opened 2013 with three scoreless starts, he still projects as a potential No. 3 starter with command of three average or better pitches."

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, ND, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 11 Prospect: SP Kyle Hendricks, Triple-A Iowa

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    Morry Gash

    2014 Stats

    2 GS, 1-1, 5.40 ERA, 3 BB, 10 K, 11.2 IP

     

    Overview

    After going 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A last year, Kyle Hendricks went from being outside the team's top-30 prospects last year to securing the No. 11 spot on the list entering this season.

    His stuff is not overpowering, by any means, but it's hard to argue with his results, and there's a good chance he sees Chicago at some point this year.

    He bounced back nicely from a rough first start of the season to go seven innings and pick up the win on Thursday.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 10 Prospect: RP Arodys Vizcaino, High-A Daytona

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    Morry Gash

    2014 Stats

    4 G, 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1 BB, 3 K, 4.0 IP

     

    Overview

    Sidelined the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Arodys Vizcaino finally appears to be 100 percent. And while he opened the season at High-A Daytona, it may not be long before he's in the big league bullpen.

    With Jose Veras already being lifted from the major league closer's role and the team likely to employ a closer-by-committee of sorts for the time being, it's not out of the realm of possibility to think Vizcaino could be closing games for the Cubs by midseason.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    3 G, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 9 Prospect: 1B Dan Vogelbach, High-A Daytona

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    2014 Stats

    10 G, .132/.195/.211, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R

     

    Overview

    Dan Vogelbach lost 30 pounds this offseason, as noted by Carrie Muscat of MLB.com, as he looks to shed the label of being a "bad body" guy and prove that he can be an everyday first baseman.

    His offensive skills have certainly never been in question, as he hit .284/.375/.449 with 19 home runs and 76 RBI in 483 at-bats while reaching High-A as a 20-year-old last year.

    He's off to a slow start this year, but he did pick up his first home run of the season on Wednesday off of Blue Jays prospect Justin Jackson 

     

    Last Week's Stats

    3-for-25, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 R

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 8 Prospect: 3B Jeimer Candelario, High-A Daytona

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    2014 Stats

    10 G, .222/.300/.361, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R

     

    Overview

    Still just 20 years old, Jeimer Candelario is still a work in progress at this point, but he has a chance to be an impact hitter down the line.

    His approach at the plate is beyond his years, as he has a .368 career on-base percentage and a 148/191 BB/K ratio. He showed improved pop last season with 35 doubles and 11 home runs, and he has a chance to be a 20-homer guy once he reaches the majors.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    6-for-26, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 7 Prospect: 2B Arismendy Alcantara, Triple-A Iowa

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    Kathy Willens

    2014 Stats

    11 G, .278/.300/.417, 5 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R

     

    Overview

    A Futures Game participant last year and perhaps the breakout prospect of the year in the Cubs' organization, Arismendy Alcantara opened the season at No. 100 on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list.

    He made the move from shortstop to second base last season in an effort to get out from behind Javier Baez on the depth chart, and while it's still unclear exactly how the Cubs infield will look once all of their prospects arrive, Alcantara has a chance to be a piece of the everyday puzzle.

    He's not going to hit a ton of home runs, but he has legitimate gap power and decent wheels. He has the potential to be a .270 BA/12 HR/20 SB guy once he reaches the majors.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-23, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 8 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 4 Prospect: CF Albert Almora, High-A Daytona

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    2014 Stats

    10 G, .300/.333/.475, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft, Albert Almora is a level below the likes of Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler at this point playing at High-A Daytona, but if he keeps hitting like he has in the early-going he could join them soon enough.

    What was supposed to be his first full pro season last year ended up being cut short after 249 Single-A at-bats. He started the year on the sidelines with a broken hamate bone in his wrist, and a groin injury ended his season prematurely.

    He turns 20 years old on Wednesday and is already one of the more polished players in the entire system. Expect him to be patrolling center field in Chicago by 2016.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-25, 4 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 3 Prospect: SP C.J. Edwards, Double-A Tennessee

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    2014 Stats

    2 GS, 0-0, 0.93 ERA, 5 BB, 9 K, 9.2 IP

     

    Overview

    A 48th-round pick by the Texas Rangers in 2011, C.J. Edwards entered the season ranked as the No. 28 prospect in all of baseball and the 13th-ranked pitching prospect overall.

    This is after he went 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings of work between Single-A and High-A in 2013. He may wind up being the biggest piece of the Matt Garza deal, a trade that looks like a slam dunk win for the Cubs at this point.

    The 22-year-old has looked good through the first two Double-A starts of his career to open the year, and he could be making a play for a spot in the Cubs' rotation by the second half of next season if he keeps progressing like he has.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, ND, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 2 Prospect: 3B Kris Bryant, Double-A Tennessee

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    9 G, .276/.432/.621, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 9 R

     

    Overview

    Kris Bryant has some serious power, and that has been clear since the day the Cubs took him with the No. 2 pick in last June's draft.

    After hitting .336/.390/.688 with 25 extra-base hits in 128 at-bats after signing last summer, he went on to win Arizona Fall League MVP honors in the offseason.

    He already has a double and three home runs in his first 29 at-bats this season, and he could join Javier Baez in Triple-A Iowa before too long if he keeps it up. Look for him to have a serious chance at an everyday major league job, whether it's at third base or in the outfield, at some point early next season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

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

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 1 Prospect: SS Javier Baez, Triple-A Iowa

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    8 G, .154/.214/.423, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R

     

    Overview

    In our recent MLB Writer's Poll, one of the categories was "prospect you can't wait to see," and Javier Baez tied for the top spot with Minnesota Twins prospect Byron Buxton, receiving 15 percent of the vote.

    The Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year last year and the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball heading into the season, Baez has some serious raw power and the tools to be an absolute beast once he reaches the majors.

    The 21-year-old hit .282/.341/.578 with 34 doubles, 37 home runs and 111 RBI between High-A and Double-A last season. He then got a long look this spring, hitting .264/.278/.604 with five home runs in 53 at-bats.

    His progression has been halted for the time being, though, as a sprained left ankle has landed him on the seven-day disabled list, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    3-for-15, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K

     

    Stock

    Down

     

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