While we’re waiting on the Cubs to make official the Scott Hairston signing and send Tony Campana into exile, there’s not much else to report. Luckily for me, MLB.com decided to release their 100 top prospects last night. The Cubs managed to place three prospects on said list, the lowest of whom was ranked 42nd.
Shortstop Javier Baez was ranked 16th in the top 100, released late Tuesday, while outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler checked in at Nos. 39 and 42, respectively.
We’ve already heard about these three young men, but I’ll post some quotes in case you want to hear how great they’re going to be.
“Javy’s still so young,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ director of scouting and player development. “He’s only played really three months of a full season, and obviously, last year, he took the Midwest League by storm in a short time there and hit some bumps in Daytona. Being that he just turned 20 years old, obviously, he’s a talented young man, and he’s going to ultimately decide [his progression].”
Baez made great strides in showing that he can play both ways, too.
“All of us who saw [Baez] play last year every day on the field felt the same way, like, ‘Wow, this young man can really play short,’” McLeod said. “He plays the game really easy. He slows it down, anticipates, very good instincts. Right now, he’s a shortstop until he shows he can’t be. He’s a very good shortstop, and I see no reason why he won’t be playing there for a long time.”
As for Albert Almora…
Almora said Sveum told him, “You’re ready here in the outfield; we just want to get you more mature at the plate.”
Almora already has an impressive resume, having competed for Team USA since 2009. That year, he was ranked No. 1 in the world by USA Baseball.
“A big part of what we’re working with is his consistency in his approach at the plate,” McLeod said. “He’s competed in his at-bats, but at the same time, he was very aggressive and getting himself out early in counts.
“He has good hand-eye coordination, so he makes a lot of contact,” McLeod added. “We’re talking to him, telling him, ‘Look for that pitch to drive. You don’t have to swing at the first pitch.’ … He wants to go up there and swing the bat and make things happen early. It’s being patient, waiting for a pitch you can drive and being consistent with that approach.”
And on to Jorge Soler…
“What a great, athletic body,” Sveum said of Soler, whom he had seen before only on video. “Great hands — the ball comes off his bat to the pull side pretty nice without a lot of effort. That’s something to build on. When you have those kind of hands and that kind of hand speed, you can always work with that.”
I think the short of it is that we should expect to see these three leading the Cubs to a World Series victory this season.