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Jim Callis

Breaking down the Cubs' Top 30 Prospects

Despite recent graduations, Cubs still have top-tier talent in system

Breaking down the Cubs' Top 30 Prospects

After the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer regime came into power following the 2011 season, the Cubs used the Draft, international market and trades to assemble the best group of position prospects in recent memory. Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber all would go on to play key roles when Chicago ended its 108-year World Series championship drought last fall.

Because of graduations and trades, such as the one that sent elite shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman last summer, the Cubs farm system isn't nearly as strong as it was when it ranked as baseball's best two years ago. But that doesn't mean it's devoid of talent. Chicago has two more potential star hitters on the way in outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who had a coming-out party at last year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and second baseman/outfielder Ian Happ, who possesses 20-20 upside.

Chicago's 2017 Top 30 Prospects list

Top 30 Prospects lists
Division Release date
AL East BAL, BOS, NYYTB, TOR
NL East ATLMIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWSDET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHCCINMILPITSTL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARICOLLADSDSF

While the Cubs haven't been as successful at developing their own pitchers, they have a trio of high-ceiling right-handers Dylan Cease, Oscar de la Cruz and Jose Albertos. They're a few years away from Chicago as De la Cruz's six starts in low Class A make him the most advanced member of the group, but if they realize their potential, there may be no stopping a Cubs dynasty from happening

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.

Jump: Jose Albertos, RHP (2016: NR | 2017: 9)
Fall: Justin Steele, LHP (2016: 17 | 2017: NR)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Ian Happ (60)
Power: Eloy Jimenez (60)
Run: D.J. Wilson (65)
Arm: Eddy Martinez (65)
Defense: Albert Almora (65)
Fastball: Jose Rosario (75)
Curveball: Dylan Cease (60)
Slider: Thomas Hatch (55)
Changeup: Jose Albertos (65)
Control: Ryan Williams (60)

How they were built
Draft: 17
International: 11
Trade: 2

Breakdown by ETA
2017: 9
2018: 6
2019: 12
2020: 2
2021: 1

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 0
2B: 3
3B: 1
SS: 2
OF: 6
RHP: 13
LHP: 3

Here's a look at the Cubs' Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):

 

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.