Wrigley Rapport
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Wrigley Rapport

Road To Wrigley: Position Player Prospect List (11–20)

This is the first of two articles walking us through the top 20 Position Player prospects in the Cubs Minor League System

This post was written in collaboration with David Westergreen

Chicago Cubs Prospects (11–20)

Each and every season Chicago Cubs Nation, more than any other fan base in the country, becomes enthralled in the Minor League system and the prospect rankings that come with it. After years of watching an awful roster in Chicago, following Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, and Junior Lake became the most interesting thing for fans to do in their free time. Several years later and people still tune into the lists containing the most exciting players to look forward to in the coming seasons. With that being said, we want to welcome you to the very first edition of the Wrigley Rapport Prospect List!

This list is not like the others that you will see all over the internet. While most publications and blogs create a top 20 or 40 of all the prospects, we are doing it differently. Comparing pitchers and hitters as prospects is just not logical. With completely different skill sets and separate development processes, it is not fair to compare a guy destined to be a 4th outfielder with a middle reliever. It also makes the lists that much harder for the readers to follow.

So at Wrigley Rapport, we have set up our Prospect List as two separate categories. Over the next couple of days we will take a dive into the Top 20 Position Players the system has to offer and that will be followed by a list containing the Top 20 Pitchers of the farm system.

Each list will have the player listed with his position in addition to his stat line thanks to Fangraphs. Following that will be a write-up about the player’s strengths, weaknesses, career results, and future path to success.

Without further ado, here is the first part of the Top 20 Position Players list — Numbers 11–20:

20. Brandon Hughes (OF)

The first edition of the Wrigley Rapport Prospect List starts off with a 2017 draftee in Brandon Hughes. The 16th rounder out of Michigan State put up an absurd stat line in his last year with the Spartans hitting .330 and slugging .473. He is a centerfielder by trade, and led the Big Ten in steals this past year. His speed plays well on both sides of the ball and is the most important part of his game. Hughes also features a good amount of pop (hit three homers in one game against Illinois) and that comes from his lightning quick hands at the plate. Expect him to use his power/speed combo to get through the lower minors rather quickly.

19. Vimael Machin (IF)

A new name and an unfamiliar one to most Cubs fans will be left handed hitting 2B Vimael Machin. A low floor, low upside hitter, Machin has spent time at many levels, and has obliterated South Bend and now Myrtle Beach this year. Already nearly 24 years old, Machin shows off a quality hit tool, with a solid eye. The most intriguing thing about Machin is the power he suddenly displayed this year in South Bend. He drove 10 homers out early and earned himself a call up. If Machin can prove the power outburst wasn’t a fluke, he could make a quick rise through the system.

18. Bijan Rademacher (OF)

Bijan Rademacher is a favorite of ours at Wrigley Rapport. He has even appeared on the Sing Cubbie Blues Podcast! But beyond Bijan’s awesome personality and cool demeanor in the interview, he has some talent on the field as well. An excellent plate approach and fantastic bat-to-ball skills allow Bijan to be a quality pinch hitter as well as spot-starting corner outfielder. His glove is average in either corner, and he’s a smaller guy, so his power isn’t off the charts, but he can spray the ball all over the park. As a left handed hitter, he has never registered an OBP below .360 in any given full season. Bijan profiles as a fantastic 4th outfielder and I have no doubts he’ll make the next step, given his excellent season so far in 2017, sporting a 12% walk rate and .364 OBP in the highest level he’s played at.

17. David Bote (IF)

The 2016 season saw Bote as a true “organization player” as he spent time in Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, and Iowa. He has now legitimized his prospect status with a very solid year in Tennessee. With no tools that pop out at you, Bote has made a living doing just about everything well enough. He has a little bit of speed, puts together great at-bats with his plate discipline, and has a decent amount of pop, especially from gap to gap. In addition to all of the skills with the bat, Bote can play all four infield positions, so his versatility is very important.

16. Kevonte Mitchell (OF)

Kevonte Mitchell is an enigma of a hitter. The talent is obvious — Mitchell stands an imposing 6’4” and boasts prodigious power — but the bat hasn’t developed quite as well as the Cubs would have hoped. He’s currently crushing the ball at South Bend, to the tune of 10 homers on the year, and shows off his athleticism with 15 steals just past the halfway point. However, Mitchell’s eye at the plate and contact rate will plague him as he works his way through the Cubs’ system. In a system that lacks big names, Mitchell will get a chance to prove himself, but he’ll need to prove he can take more walks and strike out less before the athleticism and talent can sort themselves out.

15. Miguel Amaya (Catcher)

We have reached our first young stud. Guys like Amaya are so hard to rank on this list because it is all about projection when it comes to teenagers and you just do not really know what could go wrong (or right) over the next 4 seasons. As it stands right now, Amaya is an absolute wizard behind the plate. He has thrown out 42% (19–45) of baserunners attempting to steal on him so saying he has a plus arm is an understatement. His bat is why he is this low in the rankings. Right now the slash line is not pretty, but the strikeout rate is promising and at his age, Amaya still has a lot of growing to do at the plate both physically and mentally.

14. Carlos Sepulveda (2B)

While his batting average this season has not supported it, Sepulveda has very high upside when it comes to his hit tool, which he showed off last year with a .310 average. His .234 BABIP this season suggests he’s hitting into some bad luck, which is natural for a contact hitter. His quick hands and short stroke match his slight build and should help him turn into a very solid hitter as he continues through the system. A lack of deep power is nothing to worry about at this point, as he hits the gaps well. He should stick around at seconds base where he has shown ability to be a plus defender. After hitting well as an 18 year old in Eugene and a 19 year old in South Bend, he needs to prove that he can continue to hit as he climbs the organizational ladder.

13. PJ Higgins (Catcher)

Miguel Amaya might have the best arm in the system, but Higgins absolutely does not accept that statement. Higgins has thrown out 29% (20–70) of would-be base stealers this season after nailing 31% last season. While the arm is a plus tool, his other defensive abilities behind the plate lag behind the arm a little bit. Unlike Amaya, Higgins has shown the ability to hit so far in his professional career. With a low strikeout rate and a high walk rate, the plate discipline is clearly there, as is his hit tool. He will need to develop more power in order to have a shot at the big leagues but with a few plus tools in his arsenal, Higgins will continue to progress through the system.

12. Jacob Hannemann (OF)

The quick centerfielder already on the 40-man roster comes in at number twelve in the first edition of the Wrigley Rapport Top 20. Always on the older side for a prospect, Hannemann has two plus tools in arsenal: his speed and his elite fielding ability. After struggling mightily in his time in Tennessee to start the year after crushing 10 home runs in 2016, he got a promotion to Iowa anyways and has been somewhat successful so far. The former football star at BYU is nothing more than a future glove first 4th or 5th outfielder and will see some time in Chicago as a September call-up.

11. Zack Short (IF)

One of our favorites in the system, Short was taken all the way down in the 17th round of last year’s draft. Ever since then he has done nothing but get on base. If you think Mark Zagunis gets on base then you haven’t seen Short. The 18% walk rate he put up in South Bend this year is the LOWEST walk rate he has had at any stop as a pro. On top of his walk rate, short hasn’t been striking out much, and has seen a jump in his power in 2017, with 9 homers across Myrtle Beach and Tennessee. If Short can prove he isn’t simply a good eye, and prove he’s a threat by driving mistakes, he can easily become a valuable prospect and future major leaguer.

All stats are as of August 3rd.

Be on the lookout for the top ten position players tomorrow followed by the top 20 pitchers list in the following days!

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.

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Greg Huss

Greg Huss

Staff Writer — @WrigleyRapport. You can find me talking about the Cubs way too much on Twitter dot com @OutOfTheVines

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