Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (4) | 2013 (12) | 2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] NL Central
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [66-73] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [67-69] Florida State League – Daytona (2015 Myrtle Beach)
A: [91-49] Midwest League – Kane County (2015 South Bend)
A(ss): [41-35] Northwest League – Boise (2015 Eugene)

Graduated Prospects
Javier Baez, 2B | Arismendy Alcantara, OF | Mike Olt, 3B

The Gist
This is about as stacked as a system can get. There’s upside all over the field including the graduated prospects listed above. Granted, they are still prospects and where everybody ends up playing is a good question. Heading into 2015 we’ll all wait for the arrival of Kris Bryant and later in the year we’ll be chomping at the bit for Addison Russell’s debut. Meanwhile, Javier Baez might be one of the most polarizing players on this team and there’s a chance he could start the year in the minors. But that would just give fellow sophomore Arismendy Alcantara some more time at the keystone and he’s no slouch either. Even the rotation looks good with Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta one-two. Can the bespectacled one take this team to the promised land? *grabs popcorn*

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Arizona Fall League is over, but prospect season is in full swing. Razzball is posting fantasy-driven top ten prospect lists every Wednesday this offseason so be sure to check them out. While the AFL isn’t a long season, it features some of the better prospects in baseball and it’s worth looking back at a few of the top performers in the league this year. Moving forward, we’ll focus on the winter leagues. Big leaguers and prospects from many MLB organizations are still playing baseball! There are several leagues like this, but I tend to gravitate toward the Dominican Winter League the most. Players like Maikel Franco, Joc Pederson, and Rymer Liriano are just a few of the names you’ll find on the DWL rosters. Last year’s MVP, Gregory Polanco, created quite the buzz in 2014. The league runs until the end of December and I’ll check in on some of the performances there periodically in this Minor Accomplishments series. To follow along, you can live stream games here, here, and here. Just brush up on some Spanish first! Back to the AFL…here were this year’s top performers with some commentary:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (12) | 2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (27)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] NL Central
AAA: [66-78] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [76-62] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [75-51] Florida State League – Daytona
A: [55-80] Midwest League – Kane County
A(ss):  [41-35] Northwest League — Boise

Graduated Prospects
Junior Lake (OF); Chris Rusin (LHP); Hector Rondon (RHP); Blake Parker (RHP)

The Run Down
Twins and Astros fans might take umbrage with this statement, but from a fantasy perspective, the Cubs have the most exciting farm in the minors.  It starts with Javier Baez, of course, but the impact potential runs throughout this top ten, with every prospect bringing at least one high-end fantasy tool to the table.  And I could’ve gone deeper too, with upper-levels arms like Arodys Vizaino and Neil Ramirez set to surface this season, and top latin talent, Eloy Jimenez, lurking at the instructional level.  Plain and simple:  this system is stacked.  Some of you know that I was raised a Cardinals fan, and that the Redbirds are still my team.  As such, I should be taken seriously when I tell you that the future of the Cubs is really friggin’ bright, and it is near, and it scares the piss out of me.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the past few seasons, Jose Abreu has been regarded as Cuba’s best offensive talent. The 26-year-old slugger has spent the past decade playing pro ball in Cuba where he routinely was at the top of the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, RBI, and HR. Well, it now seems he’s played his last game in Cuba, as reports earlier this week explain that he has left his homeland and has begun the process of becoming a MLB free agent. At 6-3, 250, Abreu is a large man with next to zero defensive appeal. He’s a 1B/DH type, so he’d fit best with an AL club, but scouting reports suggest he has enough glove to get by at first, so don’t rule out the NL entirely. Wherever he signs, it’s gonna be for big money and an immediate big league opportunity. Abreu is an MLB-ready masher, and at age 26, there’ll be no reason to start him in the minors. If all goes as planned, he should be occupying a regular MLB role by Opening Day 2014. There’s upside here in the neighborhood of .300 AVG and 30+ HR. It’ll be interesting to see how early he’s off the board in mixed league drafts next spring.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (27) | 2008 (18)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [61-101] NL Central
AAA: [53-87] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [72-68] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [59-74] Florida State League – Daytona
A: [63-75] Midwest League – Peoria (Kane County beginning 2013)
A(ss): [37-39] Northwest League — Boise

Arizona Fall League PlayersMesa Solar Sox
Dae-Eun Rhee (RHP); Kevin Rhoderick (RHP); Nick Struck (RHP); Tony Zych (RHP); Logan Watkins (2B); Rubi Silva (OF); Matt Szczur (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Anthony Rizzo (1B); Steve Clevenger (C); Welington Castillo (C)

The Run Down
Since Theo and his gang arrived, it’s been evident that the Cubs are on a better track. They traded for Anthony Rizzo, they signed Jorge Soler, they drafted well (it seems that way, at least), and they’ve added much-needed depth to their farm system via deals with Atlanta and Texas. In just one year’s time, it’s quite impressive how improved this system is. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when 2011 draftees, Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach, break out with huge statistical years. Still, the bottom-up impact that the Epstein-Hoyer regime has had on this organization cannot be denied. If it’s lacking anywhere, it’s in the starting pitching department — there simply aren’t many high-impact arms coming up. But the Cubs have ample dough to work around that shortcoming with signings at the big league level. It might be a few more years until they’re contenders in the NL Central, but it’s clear that that they’re headed in that direction. Oh, and there’s quite a bit of fantasy impact in the names below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?