Keith Law has some serious balls. Why do I say that? One need only to look at his rankings this week to realize that he doesn’t view players/prospects in the same manner as everyone else. In fact, Law leans heavily to potential with some manifestation of performance and development. Other evaluators of talent tend to run more to the performance and development side rather than attention to the potential.
This week Law released his top 100 prospects and ranked all of 30 MiLB farm systems. Compared to other lists, it was kind of refreshing. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with his rankings, but I clearly understand Law’s potential argument. For the Cubs, Law has them as the number four system in minor league baseball. This was quite different from Baseball America, who I thought had the Cubs way too low at number 20. On the other hand, Law may have the Cubs higher than I think they are. I tend to think the Cubs system lies somewhere between 10-12 in MiLB. It is a system with a lot of prospects who have yet to blossom. The key, though, is that it is a deep system.
When it comes to his ranking of the top 100 prospects, Law showed his cojones by ranking Gleyber Torres 15th and then projecting Torres to possibly be in the top five by the end of the year if everything goes well.
That’s a big projection! I say that for the following reasons:
- I know that a lot of the top 20 players are going to end up in the major leagues by the end of the year. I don’t know if that justifies Gleyber Torres just automatically moving up, but it is an interesting thought.
- I think the biggest attributes that Gleyber has are his age, 19, and his right-center field stroke. I think if he shows a little more pop and the ability to drive the ball into the gap for doubles, he could be a top 20 prospect in my mind by year’s end. To get into the Top 10, it is going to take a lot of things to have to go right for Torres to get there.
Next for the Cubs was Willson Contreras at 27. I thought this was a nice spot for him. The Cubs’ best catching prospect is getting close to the majors. I think the Cubs would like to see the last year was not a fluke and that Willson can handle both the defensive and offensive aspects of the position.
I really like the insertion of Ian Happ at number 47. I say this because I love Happ’s swing. His hands coming through the zone are a thing of beauty and I think the higher he goes in the minors, the better he’s going to hit pitchers who will be around the plate more. This will allow him to take advantage of his good pitch selection. When it comes to prospect lists, I also think that his power profile gives him a little boost if he’s going to play second base
Billy McKinney came in at number 69. I understand his placement considering he’s not really a power hitting outfielder. Albert Almora came in at 88 and I think he could rise higher but it really doesn’t matter because he’s going to be in Chicago soon enough (2017).
Although it’s not a surprise, Dylan Cease made the list at number 91. There’s nobody else in the organization like him. The fact that he is ranked this high without command of a curveball and change up yet is amazing. If Cease can put things together in a nice little five inning packages this year, he is going to explode on the list.
I love the fact that Law thought takes risks with his lists. He’s not always right but I can appreciate the fact that he’s willing to lay it all out on the line. Baseball America’s pretty staid in their projections while Baseball Prospectus is a different kind of weird (They ranked Addison Russell over Bryant last year). Their 2016 list will come out in the next few weeks.
I said this on Cubs Insider yesterday, and I’ll say it again here: by the end of the year, it would not surprise me to see 8 Cubs in Law’s top 100 later in the year. I don’t think any of these Cubs in Law’s current top 100 are going to graduate this year. Although, other players in the top 100 will. Depending upon performance, several Cubs could shoot onto the list including Eddy Martinez, Eloy Jimenez, Jeimer Candelario, and even Duane Underwood. That would be a pretty ballsy thing to do, and I wouldn’t put it past Law to do so.
In fact, last night, Law released his top ten who just missed the Top 100. First on his list was Eddy Martinez. They are plenty of Cubs prospects right behind him.