There’s only one semi-interesting rumor floating around in the ether today, which we’ll get to in a bit. So thankfully, Baseball America went and ranked its top ten prospects for the Cubs. First, Jim Callis gives us a rundown on the big moves in the Cubs organization in 2012.
The Cubs spent the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and $3.9 million in bonus money on center fielder Albert Almora, one of the most polished high school position players in recent memory. To restock an organization seriously bereft of pitching, they spent their next seven choices on arms, starting with Missouri State righthander Pierce Johnson.
A week after the draft, Chicago landed Cuban slugger Jorge Soler with the biggest deal for an amateur in franchise history.
At the trade deadline, the Cubs picked up righthander Arodys Vizcaino from the Braves in a deal for reliable veterans Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm.
Lest we forget, the Cubs signed a few international free agent pitchers, too.
The Cubs spent heavily on three international pitchers, with $1.5 million Dominican righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua generating positive reviews and $6 million Cuban lefthander Gerardo Concepcion getting shelled in low Class A and removed from the 40-man roster in December. They imported Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa from Japan in December for a two-year deal worth $9.5 million.
Concepcion could end up being the biggest waste of $6 dollars since Lee Majors. Rankings after the jump…
1. Javier Baez, ss 2. Albert Almora, of 3. Jorge Soler, of 4. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp 5. Brett Jackson, of 6. Pierce Johnson, rhp 7. Dan Vogelbach, 1b 8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b 9. Kyuji Fujikawa, rhp 10. Arismendy Alcantara, ss
The biggest surprise on the list is probably, Fujikawa, the 32-year-old Japanese reliever. But he’ll technically be a rookie, so I guess he counts as a prospect. The top 7 are all in Baseball Prospectus’ top 7 (in a slightly different order), so you figure those to be the elite talent in the organization. And, because we love lists, we’ll look at their projected lineup for 2016.
Catcher Welington Castillo First Base Anthony Rizzo Second Base Starlin Castro Third Base Jeimer Candelario Shortstop Javier Baez Left Field Brett Jackson Center Field Albert Almora Right Field Jorge Soler No. 1 Starter Jeff Samardzija No. 2 Starter Matt Garza No. 3 Starter Arodys Vizcaino No. 4 Starter Edwin Jackson No. 5 Starter Pierce Johnson Closer Juan Carlos Paniagua
We can wish in one hand and do something in the other, and see which fills up first, but at least the front office has things moving in the right direction. Now, to the rumor I teased at the top of this post. Carrie Muskat, take it away.
The Cubs are believed to be one of the teams expressing interest in Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz. Diaz, who turns 23 on Tuesday, is a free agent, and a team can sign him without that money counting against the cap for international bonuses.
A right-handed hitting infielder, Diaz defected from the Cuban National team during a tournament in the Netherlands and has been training in Mexico City. A showcase for him was not expected until the end of January.
The Cubs early success rate on Cuban signings is 50%, so I don’t know how to feel about this one.