It has been a wild month for the Cubs farm including the departure of the top two prospects still in the minors. Here’s a look at what the top prospects are up to and who is on the rise. Rankings are from my preseason Cubs Top 50 Prospects list.
- Eloy Jimenez (#1, OF) was a key piece in a deal with the White Sox that brought Jose Quintana to the north side. Jimenez immediately became one of the top prospects in a loaded White Sox farm system. Since being traded, Jimenez has hit .400/.471/.733 for High-A Winston-Salem. The move to the AL is also important to note for fantasy dynasty owners as Jimenez now has the option to DH and not be quite as limited by his glove.
- Ian Happ (#2, 2B/OF) has been up in the big leagues since May 13th and is not a prospect anymore. He’s hitting a solid rookie line of .249/.320/.498 with 13 home runs over 221 at-bats.
- Dylan Cease (#3, RHP) was the other big piece along with Jimenez in the Cubs’ deal for Jose Quintana. Cease is now in Single-A Kannapolis where he has made two starts. Cease will rise through the minors with many other top prospects and figures to be part of a great White Sox rotation in the future.
- Jeimer Candelario (#4, 3B) is now seen as the Cubs top prospect with the departure of Jimenez and Cease as well as Happ doing his damage in the majors. Candelario had a five-game cup of coffee in the majors at the end of June where he clubbed his first major league home run, but there still isn’t much room for him on the Cubs roster. Candelario is still a good prospect, but he hasn’t been able to match his start to the year before he was first called up. The Cubs have made some trades already, but there is also still a chance that by the time you read this the Candy Man could be dealt as well.
- Trevor Clifton (#6, RHP) has had a rough July in Double-A and his ERA on the year has risen to 4.45. Clifton only made it through one inning in his most recent start where he gave up five runs to the Biscuits. After a strong start, Clifton has taken a step back, but he should be alright in the long run.
- Oscar De La Cruz (#7, RHP) is still out with a tender throwing arm and has no timetable for return. De La Cruz had a 3.42 ERA over 47 1/3 innings in High-A before the injury. Despite the injury, with Cease gone, De La Cruz could be the best pitcher in the Cubs farm system.
- Mark Zagunis (#8, OF) made his major league debut at the end of June and had eighteen plate appearances across seven games but did not record a hit. However, he did take four walks and stole two bases. Since returning to Triple-A to start July, Zagunis has hit .313/.395/.433. The Cubs still have a full outfield in the bigs, but Zagunis is now the top outfield prospect with Jimenez gone from the Cubs system.
- Victor Caratini (#17, C/1B) has been up with the major league roster since the Cubs parted ways with Miguel Montero at the end of June. Caratini has started just four games behind the plate since being called up, but he has collected 24 plate appearances with four hits. The Cubs have been rumored to be seeking a veteran catcher before the looming trade deadline, so Caratini’s time up in the bigs for the year could come to an end very soon.
- Jen-Ho Tseng (#40, RHP) was promoted to Triple-A in early July and has been rapidly increasing his stock. Tseng has been excellent in his first three starts in Triple-A, earning the win in each appearance.
- Adbert Alzolay (NR, RHP) was promoted to Double-A in early July and has been doing well so far giving up just three runs over his first three Double-A starts.
- Justin Steele (#38, LHP) continues to plug away in High-A and has a 2.99 ERA over nineteen starts and 96 1/3 innings.
- Duncan Robinson (NR, RHP) made the move up to High-A in early July and has a 2.84 ERA over his first four starts at the new level.
- Michael Rucker (#37, RHP) transitioned into a starter role in High-A after starting the year in relief. Since then Rucker has made ten starts and thrown 54 2/3 innings for a 1.98 ERA.
Article featured image of Jen-Ho Tseng – courtesy Baseball America/Bill Mitchell