The Chicago Cubs are bad.
Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto, Darwin Barney and Brett Jackson form a formidable up-the-middle core around which to build, but oof, do Tom Ricketts and company have much building to do.
The team will win 75 or fewer games this season, as it did in 2010, and it might well do the same in 2012.
Help is not close at hand. The high minors have been a tale of disappointments this season, from Josh Vitters still not really figuring things out to Trey McNutt scuffling with injuries and command problems. The parent club's injury problems have intruded on the development of Casey Coleman, Tony Campana and D.J. LeMahieu with ugly results.
But in the low minors, on fields with no appreciable spectator space in remote locations like Boise and Mesa and the Dominican Republic, a blue storm is brewing.
The Cubs just completed a strong and aggressive draft that netted them at least four prospects of serious note. They did the same thing on a smaller scale with two 2010 draftees. Their reinvestment in Latin America is also beginning to bear fruit.
Suddenly, believe it or not, the Cubs have a top 10 farm system from short-season A-ball down. Here are the best 10 guys in that group.