Prospect News, Lists, Spring Training, and Section 6.6

Baseball Prospectus released its annual list of baseball’s Top 101 Prospects on Tuesday. Seven Cubs made the list, bookended by Javier Baez at #4 overall and Pierce Johnson at #91. The Cubs have more players on the list than any other team except the Twins, who placed eight players. Only the Cubs and Astros had as many as three in the top 25. The Cubs system is deep, but also top heavy. Here are the seven Cubs that made the list, with their Top 101 ranking in parentheses:

    1. Javier Baez (4)
    2. Kris Bryant (17)
    3. Albert Almora (25)
    4. Jorge Soler (45)
    5. C.J. Edwards (81)
    6. Arismendy Alcantara (83)
    7. Pierce Johnson (91)

As part of the same project that yielded the Top 101, Baseball Prospectus prospect maven Jason Parks released his Cubs Top 10 Prospects last week. No big surprises here for those who have been paying attention:

    1. Javier Baez
    2. Kris Bryant
    3. Albert Almora
    4. Jorge Soler
    5. C.J. Edwards
    6. Arismendy Alcantara
    7. Pierce Johnson
    8. Dan Vogelbach
    9. Christian Villanueva
    10. Jeimer Candelario

You need a Baseball Prospectus subscription to see the details on each player. Parks’ Cubs package included three additional interesting lists:

Prospects on the Rise

    1. RHP Paul Blackburn – a 20-year-old power arm with a 2/3 starter ceiling
    2. C Mark Malave – a 19-year-old converted former infielder from Venezuela
    3. LHP Rob Zastryzny – a second round pick in the 2013 draft with a 3/4 starter profile

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2014):

    1. 3B Mike Olt – needs a strong Spring Training to prove 2013 dip was a blip
    2. RHP Arodys Vizcaino – power arm for bullpen
    3. RHP Neil Ramirez – ditto

Top 10 Talents 25 and Under

    1. Javier Baez
    2. Starlin Castro
    3. Kris Bryant
    4. Anthony Rizzo
    5. Albert Amora
    6. Jorge Soler
    7. C.J Edwards
    8. Arismendy Alcantara
    9. Pierce Johnson
    10. Junior Lake

This latter list a good occasion for Cub fans to remember that Starlin Castro is still very young – and still very good. I think Castro is poised to have a nice bounce back year this year. In fact, I will go one better: Castro will be at Target Field in July for the 2014 All-Star game!

Spring Training

Spring Training non-roster invitations also came out last week, headlined by Baez, Almora, and Bryant. Soler will also be there – but he is already on the 40-man roster. The following non-roster players have been invited to big-league camp:

    • Pitchers: RHPs Marcus Hatley, Carlos Pimentel, Armando Rivero and Brian Schlitter; LHP Tommy Hottovy, Eric Jokisch, Jonathan Sanchez and Tsuyoshi Wada.
    • Infielders: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Ryan Roberts, Chris Valaika and Jeudy Valdez.
    • Outfielders: Albert Almora, Chris Coghlan, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Kalish, Mitch Maier, Darnell McDonald and Casper Wells.
    • Catchers: John Baker, Rafael Lopez and Eli Whiteside.

Cubs pitchers and catchers will report for Spring Training at the team’s new facility in Mesa, Arizona on Thursday, February 13. Position players are set to report on February 18, with new manager Rick Renteria’s first full squad workout scheduled for Wednesday, February 19.

Wrigley Renovation – Rooftop Dispute

David Kaplan provides us with an exclusive look at the Cubs’ rooftop contract. At first blush, the contractual language appears far more favorable to the Cubs than most anticipated. So favorable, in fact, it calls into question why the Cubs have been so conservative in moving forward with the renovations. The key provision is here:

6.6 The Cubs shall not erect windscreens or other barriers to obstruct the views of the Rooftops, provided however that temporary items such as banners, flags and decorations for special occasions, shall not be considered as having been erected to obstruct views of the Rooftops. Any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities shall not be a violation of this agreement, including this section.

If the Jumbotron in left field is considered an “expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities,” then the erection of the proposed video board does not violate the agreement with the rooftop owners. More important perhaps is the fact that the agreement appears to have a mandatory arbitration provision, which prevents the rooftop owners from filing a lawsuit against the Cubs. What does it all mean? Stay tuned to Wrigleyville Nation for more analysis of the rooftop dispute coming soon.