Chicago Cubs

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 19

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 19

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The big story of the week in the Chicago Cubs organization was the promotion of prized prospect Javier Baez, who appears to be slotted into the everyday second base role for the remainder of the season.

    With Kyle Hendricks and Arismendy Alcantara already making a big league impact after opening the season ranked among the team's top prospects, fans are finally starting to see the fruits of the team's rebuilding efforts, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    There will no doubt be at least a few more significant call-ups before the season is over, but for now, here's an updated 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 the direction in which his performance is trending over the past week.

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

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week

    4-for-25, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R

     

    Overview

    Ranked as the No. 4 first base prospect in the league by MLB.com's Prospect Watch, Dan Vogelbach has had an up-and-down season, but the tremendous raw power is still there.

    The 21-year-old still needs to figure out how to hit lefties, as he's batting just .194/.281/.302 in 129 at-bats on the year against southpaws, compared to .300/.392/.481 against righties. 

    A .782 OPS with 24 doubles and 13 home runs is still a solid season for someone his age playing at the High-A level, but he's capable of significantly more down the road.

     

    2014 Stats

    112 G, .267/.358/.425, 24 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 9 Prospect: SP Jen-Ho Tseng, Single-A Kane County

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    Last Week

    1 G, ND, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

     

    Overview

    The Chicago Cubs' Pitcher of the Month in July, Jen-Ho Tseng has turned in a terrific first pro season, and he could move quickly going forward.

    The 19-year-old Taiwanese right-hander was signed to a $1.625 million bonus as part of a big international prospect class last year, and in his first pro season this year, he has quickly emerged as one of the team's top pitching prospects.

    He has a 1.46 ERA with a sparkling .131 opponent batting average over his past six starts, and a couple of starts at the High-A level before the season is up seems like a reasonable next step in his progression.

     

    2014 Stats

    16 G, 14 GS, 6-1, 2.47 ERA, 67 H, 12 BB, 73 K, 87.1 IP

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 8 Prospect: RP Arodys Vizcaino, Triple-A Iowa

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Last Week

    1 G, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

     

    Overview

    After allowing three earned runs in three straight appearances heading into the Triple-A All-Star break, Arodys Vizcaino has now recorded six consecutive scoreless games. He finally looks to be getting comfortable with his new team.

    The team has brought the 23-year-old along slowly this season, despite the fact that he has climbed two minor league levels. He has yet to pitch in back-to-back games and has only pitched on one day's rest a handful of times.

    That being said, he's already on the 40-man roster, so there's no reason to think he won't get at least a cup of coffee in September when rosters expand. He'll likely be given every chance to break camp with the big league club next spring, and he still has the stuff to be a future closer.

     

    2014 Stats

    High-A: 9 G, 0-0, 9.0 IP, 1 SV, 1.00 ERA, 4 BB, 10 K
    Double-A: 14 G, 1-1, 13.2 IP, 1 SV, 2.63 ERA, 3 BB, 16 K
    Triple-A: 13 G, 0-0, 14.1 IP, 0 SV, 6.91 ERA, 8 BB, 12 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 7 Prospect: C/OF Kyle Schwarber, High-A Daytona

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Last Week

    5-for-20, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R

     

    Overview

    Kyle Schwarber has slowed down a bit since getting the call to High-A Daytona, but he's still hitting a combined .335/.441/.584 with 11 doubles and 11 home runs in 185 at-bats since signing with the team.

    The No. 4 pick in the June draft, Schwarber hit .358/.464/.659 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI for Indiana University this spring, and it was his advanced bat that made him such a high selection.

    He had a big game Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two walks, three RBI and two runs scored against the Philadelphia Phillies' High-A Clearwater affiliate.

    Schwarber is still catching occasionally, but he's been primarily playing left field since getting the call to High-A. It remains to be seen where he'll play long term, but his bat is what will carry him to the big leagues.

     

    2014 Stats

    Low-A: 5 G, .600/.625/1.350, 1 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
    Single-A: 23 G, .361/.448/.602, 8 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 17 R
    High-A: 24 G, .244/.393/.378, 2 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 16 R

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 6 Prospect: RF Jorge Soler, Triple-A Iowa

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week

    8-for-21, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R

     

    Overview

    After missing over two months with a hamstring injury this year and playing just 55 games last season, Jorge Soler fell a bit behind the rest of the "core four" prospects.

    He's been on fire since returning this season, though, hitting a combined .372/.472/.766 with 19 doubles and 12 home runs in just 145 at-bats.

    The 22-year-old signed a big nine-year, $30 million deal after defecting from Cuba, and he's on the 40-man roster as a result, so a September call-up seems like a very real possibility.

    Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney have been splitting time in right field since Nate Schierholtz was DFA, but the team could turn things over to Soler on an everyday basis down the stretch as an audition for next season.

     

    2014 Stats

    AZL: 7 G, .391/.500/.652, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R
    Double-A: 22 G, .415/.494/.862, 9 2B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 13 R
    Triple-A: 18 G, .309/.433/.709, 7 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 15 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 5 Prospect: CF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    Last Week

    2-for-18, 2 R

     

    Overview

    After a relatively disappointing start to the season, Albert Almora caught fire at the plate for High-A Daytona, hitting .391/.413/.644 with 12 extra-base hits and 16 RBI in his last 20 games at the level.

    That earned him a call-up to Double-A Tennessee July 24, but the 20-year-old has been overmatched to this point. He's gone hitless in 10 of his 17 games since the call-up, posting a 2/11 BB/K ratio over 66 at-bats, but some growing pains were to be expected with the team pushing him so aggressively.

    He has just 106 minor league games under his belt since being taken with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft, as he dealt with some injuries last season, but there is still a chance he's the team's everyday center fielder by 2016.

     

    2014 Stats

    High-A: 89 G, .283/.306/.406, 20 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 55 R, 6 SB
    Double-A: 17 G, .182/.217/.258, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 10 R

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 4 Prospect: SP C.J. Edwards, Double-A Tennessee

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    Last Week

    1 GS, L, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

     

    Overview

    The centerpiece of the Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers last July, C.J. Edwards went 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings in 2013.

    A former 48th-round pick back in 2011, Edwards missed over three months with a shoulder injury earlier this year, but he is back healthy and pitching for Double-A Tennessee once again.

    Questions remain about whether or not the undersized right-hander (6'2", 155-pounds) can remain in the starting rotation, but watching Marcus Stroman thrive in Toronto this year certainly gives reason for hope that he can stick as a starter.

    He hasn't thrown more than four innings in his four starts (two in the Arizona Rookie League) since returning from injury, and the team will likely continue to be careful with him the remainder of this season.

     

    2014 Stats

    Double-A: 6 GS, 1-1, 3.21 ERA, 19 H, 12 BB, 29 K, 28.0 IP
    AZL: 2 GS, 0-0, 1.59 ERA, 2 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 5.2 IP

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 3 Prospect: SS Addison Russell, Double-A Tennessee

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week

    7-for-16, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R

     

    Overview

    Addison Russell hit just .216/.273/.412 with four extra-base hits in his first 14 games after joining the Cubs organization, but he's caught fire since, hitting .379/.423/.667 with nine extra-base hits in his last 17 games.

    The 20-year-old hit .269/.369/.495 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs and 21 steals playing at the High-A level for the Oakland A's last year, and there was some hope that he could step in as a replacement for Jed Lowrie next season.

    He could wind up moving to second base long term, but he has the glove to stick at shortstop. One way or another, he'll be in the majors soon, and he has all the tools to be a bona fide star.

     

    2014 Stats

    High-A (OAK): 5 G, .188/.278/.188, 0 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 R, 1 SB
    Double-A (OAK): 13 G, .333/.439/.500, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R, 3 SB
    Double-A (CHC): 31 G, .308/.357/.556, 5 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 18 R, 1 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 2 Prospect: 2B Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week

    8-for-29, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB, 12 K

     

    Overview

    After a slow start to the season, Javier Baez hit .303/.365/.584 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 45 RBI in his last 47 games at Triple-A Iowa before earning the call-up to Chicago last Monday.

    He kicked off his big league career with a bang, hitting the game-winning home run in the 12th inning of his debut. He followed that up with his first multi-homer game two days later, flashing the raw power and bat speed that made him such a highly regarded prospect.

    "He thrives on the big stage," Cubs starter and former Iowa teammate Kyle Hendricks said, via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. "Every time we had a big game, he played well. He's fun to watch, and I'm glad he's up here. He deserves it."

    There is still a lot of swing-and-miss to the 21-year-old's game, evidenced by his 12 strikeouts in 29 at-bats so far, but the experience he's gaining now will only help him for 2015 and beyond.

    If nothing else, his call-up has given Cubs fans a reason to be excited about a team that's headed for another last-place finish.

     

    2014 Stats (Futures Game Selection)

    Triple-A: 104 G, .260/.323/.510, 24 2B, 2 3B, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 64 R, 16 SB
    MLB: 6 G, .276/.276/.621, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 1 Prospect: 3B Kris Bryant, Triple-A Iowa

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week

    6-for-15, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 8 R

     

    Overview

    After an 11-game homerless streak in which he hit .194/.326/.278 with 11 strikeouts in 36 at-bats, Kris Bryant is right back to putting up eye-popping offensive numbers. He's hitting .381/.559/.810 with three doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in his last 13 games since that brief slump.

    That puts him at a combined .341/.450/.690 with 33 doubles, 38 home runs and 98 RBI through 422 at-bats this season between Double-A and Triple-A.

    He's not on the 40-man roster, so a September call-up is not a foregone conclusion. He'll get every chance to secure an everyday job in 2015, though, and should make an immediate impact as a middle-of-the-order run producer.

     

    2014 Stats (Southern League All-StarFutures Game Selection)

    Double-A: 68 G, .355/.458/.702, 20 2B, 22 HR, 58 RBI, 61 R, 8 SB
    Triple-A: 50 G, .322/.438/.672, 13 2B, 16 HR, 40 RBI, 45 R, 7 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

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