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

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2014

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

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    The minor league season wraps up this week, and it's been an exciting season down on the farm for the Chicago Cubs and their bevy of high-upside prospects.

    Jorge Soler became the latest prospect to get the call this past week, joining Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks as key pieces of the future to debut here in 2014.

    With the season wrapping up, 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.

No. 10 Prospect: RF Billy McKinney, High-A Daytona

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Last Week

    5-for-20, 5 R

     

    Overview

    Billy McKinney was picked up as a secondary piece of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade, and while he may not have the upside of Addison Russell, he still looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.

    The No. 24 pick in the 2013 draft out of high school, the outfielder made a splash after signing last year when he hit .326/.387/.437 with 15 extra-base hits in 215 at-bats.

    The 20-year-old has shown good enough plate discipline since joining the Cubs organization that he should start the 2015 season at the Double-A level. The Cubs' long-term outfield picture is crowded, but he'll continue on the fast track as long as he's producing.

     

    2014 Stats

    High-A (OAK): 75 G, .241/.330/.400, 12 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 42 R, 5 SB
    High-A (CHC): 51 G, .301/.390/.432, 12 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 36 RBI, 30 R, 1 SB

     

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

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week

    5-for-18, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R

     

    Overview

    Ranked as the No. 4 first base prospect in the league by MLB.com's Prospect Watch, Dan Vogelbach has turned in a nice second half after struggling early.

    He's posted an .828 OPS with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 50 RBI in 67 games since the minor league All-Star break, and he too should make the jump to Double-A next season.

    The 21-year-old is ticketed for the Arizona Fall League, where he'll be playing alongside Oakland Athletics first base prospect Matt Olson, as he looks to further boost his prospect stock for the 2015 season.

     

    2014 Stats

    132 G, .268/.357/.429, 28 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 76 RBI, 71 R

     

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No. 8 Prospect: SP Jen-Ho Tseng, Single-A Kane County

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    Last Week

    1 GS, ND, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

     

    Overview

    Jen-Ho Tseng should have a decent shot at winning Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors for the Cubs this season, as the 19-year-old has enjoyed a terrific pro debut for Single-A Kane County.

    He was signed to a $1.625 million bonus during the international signing period last year, and he was one of the few known commodities of the class after appearing in the last World Baseball Classic for the Chinese Taipei team.

    He's pitched particularly well of late, going 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA and .138 batting average against in nine starts since the beginning of July, and he should shoot up prospect ranking lists heading into next season.

     

    2014 Stats

    19 G, 17 GS, 6-1, 2.40 ERA, 76 H, 15 BB, 85 K, 105.0 IP

     

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No. 7 Prospect: RP Arodys Vizcaino, Triple-A Iowa

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last Week

    2 G, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

     

    Overview

    After allowing 16 hits and 11 earned runs in his first 6.1 innings at the Triple-A level, Arodys Vizcaino has rattled off 10 straight scoreless appearances to close out the minor league season.

    That should put him in position for a September call-up, considering he is already on the 40-man roster, and the team will want to give him a chance to get his feet wet with an eye on him winning a spot out of camp next year.

    The 23-year-old has electric stuff that should play at the back of the bullpen long term, and alongside Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop the Cubs have built a solid core of late-inning relievers.

     

    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: 17 G, 0-0, 18.1 IP, 0 SV, 5.40 ERA, 11 BB, 16 K

     

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No. 6 Prospect: C/OF Kyle Schwarber, High-A Daytona

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week

    5-for-22, 1 RBI, 2 R

     

    Overview

    Kyle Schwarber entered last week riding a 12-game hitting streak, during which time he hit .457/.490/1.109 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 13 RBI.

    He ran that streak to 15 games before an 0-for-4 performance on Friday, and even with a down week, his performance at the High-A level this year was impressive just two months removed from being taken with the No. 4 pick in the June draft.

    After hitting .358/.464/.659 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI for Indiana University this spring, he's hit a combined .344/.428/.634 with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 262 at-bats over three levels as a pro.

    Expect him to continue moving quickly, as his advanced bat will determine when he reaches the big leagues. Where he plays defensively is still up in the air, but the organization will give him every chance to stick behind the plate long term.

     

    2014 Stats

    Low-A: 5 G, .600/.625/1.350, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
    Single-A: 23 G, .361/.448/.602, 8 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 17 R
    High-A: 44 G, .302/.393/.560, 9 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 28 RBI, 31 R

     

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No. 5 Prospect: SP C.J. Edwards, Double-A Tennessee

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    Last Week

    2 GS, 2 ND, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 9 K

     

    Overview

    C.J. Edwards missed over three months with a shoulder injury earlier this year, and he has been playing catch-up ever since, but he finally seems to be hitting his stride for Double-A Tennessee.

    In his last four starts, he's posted a 1.35 ERA and .164 batting average against, as he's once again looked like the pitcher that turned in a breakout 2013 campaign.

    The former 48th-round pick was acquired as the centerpiece of the Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers last July, and all told, he went 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings in 2013.

    He'll join Dan Vogelbach, Addison Russell and a handful of other Cubs prospects in the Arizona Fall League, which should help him make up for lost time.

     

    2014 Stats

    Double-A: 10 GS, 1-2, 2.44 ERA, 30 H, 21 BB, 46 K, 48.0 IP
    AZL: 2 GS, 0-0, 1.59 ERA, 2 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 5.2 IP

     

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No. 4 Prospect: RF Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week (MLB only)

    8-for-15, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R

     

    Overview

    Jorge Soler made his big league debut on Aug. 27, and he kicked things off with a bang, homering in his first big league at-bat.

    From there, he became the first player to record an extra-base hit and an RBI in each of his first four major league games.

    He missed over two months to a hamstring injury early on this season, and the team will be careful to rest him down the stretch to keep him healthy, but he's been on an absolute tear for the past month or so.

    All signs point to the slugger being the everyday right fielder and a middle-of-the-order run producer next season, as the Cubs will finally start to get a return on the nine-year, $30 million deal they signed him to in 2012.

     

    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, 1 3B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 13 R
    Triple-A: 32 G, .282/.378/.618, 11 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 22 R
    MLB: 4 G, .533/.563/1.267, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R

     

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No. 3 Prospect: CF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    Last Week

    4-for-24, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    Albert Almora finally seemed to be hitting his stride at the Double-A level heading into last week, as he had hit .362/.362/.553 with six extra-base hits in a 12-game span.

    He took a step back again last week, but the 20-year-old is still well ahead of the developmental curve, as he remains the likely long-term center fielder.

    He's hit a combined .272/.294/.396 with 27 doubles, nine home runs and 60 RBI in 503 at-bats between High-A and Double-A this year, and he'll likely be back with Double-A Tennessee to kick off the 2015 season.

     

    2014 Stats

    High-A: 89 G, .283/.306/.406, 20 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 55 R, 6 SB
    Double-A: 35 G, .243/.259/.368, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 20 R

     

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No. 2 Prospect: SS Addison Russell, Double-A Tennessee

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week

    3-for-16, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    Addison Russell came to the Cubs with no shortage of hype, as he was the centerpiece of the Jeff Samardzija deal and one of the most highly regarded prospects in all of baseball, and he has not disappointed.

    The 20-year-old has more than held his own at the Double-A level this season, hitting a combined .297/.351/.523 with 13 doubles, 13 home runs and 44 RBI on the year.

    A debut at some point in 2015 is not out of the question, as he is not all that far behind the rest of the team's top prospects as far as his development is concerned. It remains to be seen where he'll play defensively, but many consider him to be the best option at shortstop long term.

     

    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): 49 G, .288/.327/.529, 10 2B, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 32 R, 2 SB

     

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

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week

    4-for-22, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 R

     

    Overview

    Kris Bryant will put the finishing touches on a phenomenal minor league season this week, as he has hit a combined .326/.438/.664 with 34 doubles, 43 home runs and 109 RBI in 488 at-bats on the year.

    That could be enough to earn him Minor League Player of the Year honors, and he'll no doubt be in the running for the No. 1 prospect spot in all of baseball heading into the 2015 season.

    Despite all of that success, he won't be joining the big league club in September, according to a report from Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago.

    "Nothing’s changed on that front. He’s not on the roster, so right away that would knock another player off the roster,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We’re going to be really tight on the roster (this winter). We feel like in his first full season, he’s going to get 140-plus games. He’s played exceptionally well."

    There is still some swing-and-miss to his game, as he has 161 strikeouts on the year, and there is still a chance he opens the 2015 season in the minors. Even if that's the case, expect him to be up early and play a significant role in the middle of the big league lineup.

     

    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: 69 G, .296/.418/.625, 14 2B, 1 3B, 21 HR, 51 RBI, 54 R, 7 SB

     

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