Six weeks can provide a pretty good sample size. However for some prospects, two months is time just to get warmed up. These two statements sum up what is happening in the Cubs minor league system. While many prospects are off to great start, there are some who are not and I find the latter pretty puzzling so far. I find it equally puzzling to see who some of the prospects not on the top 21 list making a run to be on the list. This is the second month that I have done a prospect stock watch list. Last month’s list focused on a lot of pitchers who are making noise in the system. The same is true of this month; although, it happens to be reliever heavy.
↑ Bull Market
Dan Vogelbach, Ryan Williams, Eloy Jimenez, Victor Caratini, Mark Zagunis, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Willson Contreras, Gleyber Torres, and Donnie Dewees
Albert Almora, Willson Contreras, and Dan Vogelbach have been the most consistent prospects this year. Victor Caratini started off poorly but has been doing well the last three weeks. The same is true of Mark Zagunis while Ian Happ and Donnie Dewees have been up-and-down. Gleyber Torres finally seems to be in a good groove this month and already has surpassed his home run total from last year.
– Holding Pattern
Bryan Hudson, Dylan Cease, Darryl Wilson, Justin Steele, Oscar de la Cruz, Duane Underwood, and Eddy Julio Martinez
Several of these players are, or have been, in extended spring training. They only have to wait one more month before they begin play. Justin Steele has had two good starts in a row after a horrible April and Duane Underwood has made four appearances in Tennessee; he should start to see some improvement shortly. Eddy Martinez could go on a run at anytime as he has been up-and-down this year. He’s better at home than he is on the road, where the Cubs currently are.
↓ Bear Market
Chesny Young, Pierce Johnson, Jeimer Candelario, and Billy McKinney
These four players just have not got it going this year. Although Young is hitting .300 for the year, he is hitting under .150 for the first two weeks of May. Jeimer had two hits yesterday to get his average over .200.
Noisemakers Off the List
Trevor Clifton, Wladimir Galindo, Gerardo Concepción, Carl Edwards, Giovanni Soto, Paul Blackburn, Jason Vosler, James Farris, Zach Hedges, Jose Rosario, Daniel Spingola, Tyler Alamo, Craig Brooks, Adbert Alzolay, and Casey Bloomquist
When I started to assemble this month’s list, I was stunned at the number of relievers I put on here at seven. In addition, just three starting pitchers made it along with only three hitters.
If I had to select three or four players who could make it on the top 20 list after the draft next month, I honestly don’t know if any of the relievers would make it on the list. I tend not to place relievers on the Top 21 list unless they might have 100 mph gas. None of these do, but some do have some serious heat in Brooks and Edwards.
When it comes to starting pitching, that might be a different story. Zach Hedges has shown that he is a workhorse, and a solid pitcher, his development as a pitcher is striking in just one year. He’s gained mph on his fastball and his slider is still a plus pitch. When it comes Trevor Clifton, it is clear on this web site that I have an affinity for his talent. He’s just now beginning to put it together. Paul Blackburn has been on many prospect lists in the past. At the rate he’s going, he stands a good chance as Clifton and Hedges to make it.
When it comes to the hitting, the potential to hit for power is something missing in the Cubs system. In my opinion though, this is the summer Wladimir Galindo, if healthy, could do that. He can hit for average and power. At this stage of the season, I think those prospects that are in a holding pattern are the ones who stand the best chance of moving up in onto the prospect list later this summer. Unfortunately, they don’t begin play until the middle of June at Eugene.
There will be some movement next month on the Top 21 list, but not a lot. There might be one or two draft picks and a pitcher or two added on the list. Based on upon the year everyone is having, there will be some fluctuation in the rankings and I think I will be more surprises in the next month on who that might be.