The deal is done. The Cubs get Aroldis Chapman while the Yankees get Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney, and Rashad Crawford. The Cubs get a reliever for two and a half months while the Yankees get one of their own back, the Cubs top prospect, a hitter built for Yankee Stadium in McKinney, and an up and coming prospect in Crawford. It’s a deal tilted towards the Yankees for now, and in the future.
The Cubs’ minor league system looks quite different than it did a week ago. I remember back in the spring when Baseball America ranked it as the #20 farm system in the majors, I thought that it was too low. I thought the Cubs should have been ranked somewhere between 12 and 15. Now 20 looks a more reasonable denotation.
In the past week, five names have come off MLB.com’s Top 30 list and my own Top 21 list, including three on the top five. Gone to the Yankees are Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney. Dan Vogelbach went to the Mariners, while Albert Almora and Willson Contreras graduated from prospect status.
Depth has always been the key to the Cubs rankings in the past. What is left of the Cubs system after these trades is basically a lot of very young players. There’s hope, but it is going to take two years to rebuild. Next year, the Cubs should have a first round pick and possibly a compensatory pick for a free agent from the Cubs who signs elsewhere (Dexter). However, they will not be able to sign any high value international free agents until 2018.
The Cubs only have a couple of hitters who have the ability to hit for average and for power. Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ fit that description for hitters. After them, the pickings are slim. Jeimer Candelario would be next, but his odds of staying with the club are similar to what Vogelbach’s were. Eddy Martinez has the potential for power, but he is just figuring out how to hit at his level.
When it comes to pitchers, Dylan Cease and Oscar de la Cruz fit that bill. Trevor Clifton and Tom Hatch could be while Duane Underwood was before injuries put his starting career on the backburner. The Cubs do have several good young arms down in the lower levels of the system with definite out pitches . They are still, at the least, a year away from becoming top prospects.
The Cubs used to have a lot of high valued hitting prospects, but most of them are now at the major league level. The Cubs still have yet to develop a starting pitcher from the draft in Theo’s tenure. But after this trade, the Cubs could have five of their top ten prospects be pitchers.
There are a lot of young players (18-19) who could develop into high impact players, but a lot of things have to go right for that to happen over the next two years.
Some names to consider in two years
Pitchers: Javier Assad, Jose Albertos, Jesus Castillo, Manny Rondon, Erling Moreno, Jose Paulino, Preston Morrison, Kyle Miller, Brailyn Marquez, and Faustino Carrera
The Cubs system is not down, but it will take some time to rebuild into one of MLB’s best. The maturation of some of the names above will be substantial enough for the Cubs to be a top ten system. For now, there’s a huge gap in talent after their first ten. And that will show.
The Cubs will still be producing MLB talent until the next wave is ready in 2018-19. Along with Candelario, Mark Zagunis is close, and if he were healthy, Ryan Williams would be knocking on the door.
As for Mr. Chapman, it’s going to take me some time to wrap my brain about him being on the Cubs.