Here’s the thing…
Baseball America’s rankings are all about the current talent levels of the prospects. It’s not about their potential, it’s who they are now. And who the Cubs have are a lot of prospects who have yet to bloom.
For the most part, the Cubs top prospects are relatively young. Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez would be entering their first season of baseball as college freshman. Trevor Clifton would be entering his junior year and be eligible for the draft in the summer of 2016. Dylan Cease, Justin Steele, and Carson Sands would all be sophomores. Looking into the future, those prospects, along with Bryan Hudson and Darryl Wilson will be the core of a group of prospects who in 2018 will be one of the top systems in the minors.
The top of the current Cubs system will be graduating into the pros in the next two years. Albert Almora (all of 21), Willson Contreras (in only his fourth year of catching), Duane Underwood, Pierce Johnson, and Carl Edwards could be part of the big league club in the next two years.
To me, that is what a minor league system is supposed to do – graduate players to help the big league club. In the past year and a half, Soler, Baez, Bryant, Schwarber and Russell are the template and the foundation of the franchise along with Rizzo and Heyward.
As far as the ranking of the Cubs at #20, there is really no need to be alarmed. When some of the current Cubs leave in the next two to three years, the system has enough redundancy to replace them as they go. This has been a great job of team and organizational building (along financial) that when a Jason Hammel leaves that there is a Pierce Johnson or Duane Underwood waiting. That when Chris Coghlan is gone, Billy McKinney or Mark Zagunis can slide in. When Montero and Ross leave, there will be Willson COntreras ready to go.
The system is fine. It is doing what it is supposed to do – provide fully developed players to accentuate the foundation of the team.
In two years, the top prospects in the organization will be developed, and if need be, ready to help the team win.