Road To Wrigley: Position Player Prospect List (1–10)
Part two of our Top 20 Position Player List. We take a look at the Top 10 prospect.
This post was written in collaboration with David Westergreen
Now that you have had a day to process the brand new Wrigley Rapport Prospect List with numbers 11 through 20 of the position players list, it is time to move on to the big dogs.
Numbers 1–10 on the list feature players that have potentially smaller upside, but floors that would allow for the Cubs to use them as depth pieces in the future. Players like that always have great value to an organization and we start off at number ten that fits that mold perfectly.
10. Chesny Young (IF/OF)
Mr. Young is quickly becoming a fan favorite as far as prospects go and I think I have finally figured out the reason why. Chesny Young is Ryan Theriot. He has an exceptional hit tool, with high batting averages following him at each stop throughout the system. A little different from Theriot, he is also projected as a utility man in the field, not playing any position all that well but with the ability to play everywhere on the field except for catcher. At the plate, in addition to the hit tool, young strikes out very little and has walked at a very healthy rate up until this year. To round out the Theriot comparisons (seriously, look up their stat lines, it is pretty crazy) Young is absent of any and all power. Chesny’s lower rating is nearly all because of his poor 2017 in Triple-A where he has seen the strikeout rate rise and the walk rate fall. He will need to see that high walk rate return to him before he gets the chance, but Young is this high up in the rankings because he has real potential to be a Major League utility man off the bench.
9. Eddy Martinez (OF)
A highly regarded prospect as an international free agent signee before the 2016 season, Martinez just hasn’t really put it all together yet. He has several of the tools you want to see from an outfield prospect with good power (especially to the gaps) and decent enough speed to steal a base if need be and play centerfield when you need him to as well. On top of that, he has the best outfield arm in the system. At this point the batting average is not where you would like to see it because he is making a lot of weak contact and he does not get on base enough via the walk in order to get away with that lack of hitting. Once he can really put it all together, Martinez could be one of the best prospects in this system. Until then, he is just hovering around in “fringe” status.
8. Wladimir Galindo (3B)
Power potential is the name of the game for Galindo. While he has not developed the way that his international signing partners Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres have, Galindo still has put together decent numbers when he has been healthy. He is out for the year with a broken leg and will look to bounce back and make a name for himself next season. While his glove will get the job done at the hot corner, it is his bat that will advance him through the system. He will need to keep his strikeout numbers down as his power continues to develop. Still young, he is also still a ways away from Chicago.
7. Charcer Burks (OF)
One of the most underrated prospects in the entire system, Burks has finally reached the upper levels of the minors here in 2017. Not only has he made it there, but he is playing really well to boot. Still only 22 years old (although it feels like he should be about 36 by now), we can expect to see him continued to be moved up at a slow pace. He has plus speed, can play all three outfield positions, and has an advanced approach at the plate. If the power continues to play as well as it has this season, Burks could make a real impact in the Majors as a legitimate fourth outfielder.
6. Jason Vosler (3B)
Year number four in the system and Vosler has found his power stroke. He has hit more homers this season than all of his other professional seasons combined. Pair that with an admirable walk rate and you have yourself an all-around hitter that can play for a big league squad one day. Currently sitting at number six, Vosler has shot up this list because of his brand new plate approach. He could easily see his stock rise even more if he can prove that 2017 is not a fluke. He could also drop out of the top 20 if he fails to maintain this success into next year. Already 23 years old, Vosler figured it out at this right time and 2018 could end up being a huge factor into how he progresses as a professional. We had pegged Vosler as a surefire trade piece, and he may yet be moved by the Cubs if they look to upgrade in August.
5. Ian Rice (C/1B)
The catching position has gotten so much deeper over the past couple of seasons, and Rice is one of the reasons why. A power-first player, Rice has some serious work to do behind the plate. In the long run, I don’t see him sticking behind the plate, especially when his bat could potentially play at first base. While his on-base skills are also a major part of his game, I just don’t know if enough is there to be a Major League regular at first base, a position that is often home to the best bats in the game. If he can stick around behind the plate his value is much higher as a prospect. If he has to move to first base, then I still think he could make a run at the next level. What Rice does bring, however, is essentially the same exact talent level that Jason Vosler does. Both are powerful, get on base, hold high walk rates and medium strikeout rates, and generally play average defense. Rice is currently a catcher, but we would switch the two on this list if he was a full time first baseman.
4. Aramis Ademan (SS)
Yes, I realize that I have Ademan a little further down on my prospect list compared to other publications. There are just so many what-ifs in his game at this point. Still only 18 years old and down at Short Season Eugene, Ademan could very well end up number one on this list come next year. He is well beyond his years with his approach at the plate, he is already a plus defender, and the speed is what you would like to see from a middle infielder. His bat is where his ranking as a top prospect hinges as it projects to have more pop in it as he continues to fill out. If his ability to barrel the ball continues to improve as well then you are potentially looking at a five tool player. Worst case scenario is that Ademan’s body continues to fill out and it doesn’t help him at the plate. That would in turn hinder his speed on the base paths and in the field, and the five tools turn into one. I’ll bank on the former.
3. DJ Wilson (OF)
You want toolsy? I’ll give you toolsy. After being drafted in the fourth round in 2015, we knew that we were getting a whole lot of speed from Wilson. The little centerfielder had all the speed you could ever ask for and an incredible glove to boot. With those two plus tools, it was just a matter of if he could hit well enough to keep him rising through the system. While that question has still not been answered with a resounding “yes,” he has definitely shown that he has some serious pop in his bat. With solid gap to gap power and surprising ability to hit the ball over the fence for his size, Wilson has shown that he does not need to hit over .300 at each stop he makes in order to succeed at the plate. Still only 20 years old, expect him to keep steadily rising through the system. If he can develop into a plus hitter to go along with his other tools, then watch out because Wilson can be a very good prospect.
2. Victor Caratini (Catcher)
We have seen a decent amount of Vic this season, after the DFA of Montero and before the acquisition of Avila. I have viewed Caratini as a career backup catcher at the Major League level for quite a few years now and I stand firm with that assessment today. While he is having a very impressive year at the plate down at Iowa, he still grades out as a below average defensive catcher and with below average power numbers. His talent is raised up by his tremendous ability to hit and his advanced plate discipline. Those two tools alone and the ability to improve behind the plate just a little make him the perfect fit as a career backup. So why is he so high on this list? Well the combination of the fact that this system lacks any superstar prospect talent and the value of backup catchers, his fit in this list makes perfect sense. Teams are always looking for someone to fill that role and Vic can be just that.
1. Mark Zagunis (OF)
Another guy we have seen in Chicago already, Zagunis is Mr. OBP. His number one ranking on the top hitting prospects list comes because he has the highest floor of anyone in the system. Zagunis’ ability to get on base at an absolutely incredible rate as well as having a plus hit tool set his floor. As it stands though, I think that his floor might also be pretty close to his ceiling as he sports average to below average tools across the board besides the ones I already mentioned. He could not be a better fit as a fringe starter/fourth outfielder and I think he is already at that level now. Until some roster space opens up, we just have to wait for him to get more of an opportunity.
So there you have it! Mark Zagunis rounds out the Wrigley Rapport Prospect List of Top 20 Position Players. Check back in tomorrow as we start counting down the Top 20 Pitchers in the system!
Greg Huss is currently a student at Ball State University in Indiana. Born and raised in Central Illinois, he spends far too much of his free time following the entire Cubs organization. You can follow him on Twitter here.