Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 1

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs' Top 10 Prospects for Week 1

0 of 10

    Chris Carlson

    The Chicago Cubs are likely headed for another long season at the major league level, as they enter their third year of rebuilding under Theo Epstein and Co.

    While the organization's major league product has been a poor one over the past few years, the team has quickly built up one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. In fact, Baseball America ranked it as the league's No. 4 system for 2014.

    What follows is a look at the team's current top-10 prospects and how they performed at the minor league level over the past week. This series will be updated weekly, with a stock "up," "even" or "down" indication given to each prospect based upon what direction their performance is trending.

     

    Note: Prospects rankings according to Baseball America Prospect Handbook

    *No. 6 prospect SP Pierce Johnson (minor leg injury) has not yet begun his 2014 season, as he remains at extended spring training, according to Baseball America. He will not be included here until he is active.

No. 11 Prospect: SP Kyle Hendricks, Triple-A Iowa

1 of 10

    Morry Gash

    2014 Stats

    1 GS, 0-1, 11.57 ERA, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster trade back in 2012, right-hander Kyle Hendricks was not even ranked among the Cubs' top-30 prospects last season, according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

    A big season last year changed that, though, as the 24-year-old went 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A. His doesn't have eye-popping stuff, but he is a proven winner with terrific command, and he should get a look in Chicago at some point this year.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 0-1, 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 10 Prospect: RP Arodys Vizcaino, High-A Daytona

2 of 10

    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    1 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 0 K, 1.0 IP

     

    Overview

    After spending the past two season on the sidelines recovering from Tommy John surgery, the electric arm of Arodys Vizcaino is finally back on the field. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Paul Maholm deal in 2012, the 23-year-old could make an impact out of the Chicago bullpen by midseason.

    Vizcaino has drawn rave reviews this spring from a number of people, including catcher Welington Castillo. “His stuff is so good,” Castillo told Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. “His ball is just jumping out of his hand so easily (and) his breaking ball is perfect. He’s a power pitcher and he can command all his pitches."

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 G, 0-0, 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 9 Prospect: 1B Dan Vogelbach, High-A Daytona

3 of 10

    2014 Stats

    .154/.214/.154, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    With some of the best raw power in all of minor league baseball and an advanced approach at the plate beyond just being a masher, Dan Vogelbach continues to climb the Cubs' organizational ladder.

    He hit .284/.375/.449 with 19 home runs and 76 RBI in 483 at-bats between Single-A and High-A last year, and he opens the 2014 season at High-A once again. He lost 30 pounds this offseason, according to Carrie Muscat of MLB.com, as he is looking to shed the label of being a "bad body" guy and prove that he can be an everyday first baseman.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2-for-13, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 8 Prospect: 3B Jeimer Candelario, High-A Daytona

4 of 10

    2014 Stats

    .200/.385/.500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    Still just 20 years old, Jeimer Candelario still has a good deal of developing to do before he makes a run at joining the Cubs roster, but there is a lot to like about what he has shown over his first three pro seasons.

    Chief among them is his .371 career on-base percentage, as he has a 147/186 BB/K for his career. That is tremendous plate discipline for someone so young, and it will be a huge positive moving forward. He also flashed some improved power last season, hitting 35 doubles and 11 home runs at the Single-A level.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2-for-10, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 7 Prospect: 2B Arismendy Alcantara, Triple-A Iowa

5 of 10

    Kathy Willens

    2014 Stats

    .231/.214/.462, 3 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    The breakout prospect of 2013 for the Chicago Cubs, Arismendy Alcantara opens the season in the No. 100 spot in this year's iteration of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list.

    That distinction comes after he hit .271/.352/.451 with 36 doubles, 15 home runs and 31 stolen bases as a 21-year-old in Double-A last year. He's made the move from shortstop to second base, and he could get a look down the stretch this year with an eye on potentially competing for the starting job in 2015.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    3-for-13, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K

     

    Stock

    Even

No. 5 Prospect: RF Jorge Soler, Double-A Tennessee

6 of 10

    Chris Carlson

    2014 Stats

    1.00/1.00/2.00, 1 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 41 prospect in baseball to open the year, Jorge Soler saw his 2013 season cut short by a stress fracture in his left tibia last June. He showed plenty of potential in the 55 games he did play, though, hitting .281/.343/.467 with 21 extra-base hits in 210 at-bats. 

    Unfortunately, Soler is injured again at the moment, as he was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Thursday after suffering a hamstring injury. He doubled off of a rehabbing Mat Latos in what his first and only at-bat of the season.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1-for-1, 1 2B

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 4 Prospect: CF Albert Almora, High-A Daytona

7 of 10

    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    .333/.333/.333, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

     

    Overview

    After starting the 2013 season late because of a broken hamate bone in his wrist, Albert Almora hit .329/.376/.466 over 249 Single-A at-bats before a groin injury ended his season.

    Almora played in the Arizona Fall League this winter in order to make up for lost time, and he enters the 2014 season as the No. 36 prospect in baseball. He turns 20 years old on April 16, but it's not out of the question to think he could finish the season in Double-A.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-15, 3 RBI, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 3 Prospect: SP C.J. Edwards, Double-A Tennessee

8 of 10

    2014 Stats

    1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 BB, 4 K, 4.0 IP

     

    Overview

    Acquired from the Texas Rangers as part of the Matt Garza haul last July, C.J. Edwards was perhaps the biggest breakout pitching prospect in all of minor league baseball last year. Ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the Texas Rangers system last year, according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, he opens the 2014 season as the No. 28 prospect in all of baseball.

    This is all after the former 48th-round pick in 2011 went 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings of work between Single-A and High-A in 2013. The Cubs have continued to advance him through the system aggressively, starting him in Double-A this season after just six High-A starts last year, but he looked good in his first outing of the year.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 0-0, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 2 Prospect: 3B Kris Bryant, Double-A Tennessee

9 of 10

    Rick Scuteri

    2014 Stats

    .231/.375/.692, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 2 pick in the draft last year, Kris Bryant hit .336/.390/.688 with 25 extra-base hits in 128 at-bats after signing last summer, and he followed that up by winning Arizona Fall League MVP honors during the offseason.

    With just 32 minor league games under his belt entering the year, the Cubs opted to start him off at Double-A Tennessee this season, and he already has a pair of home runs in his first 15 plate appearances. He's the No. 8 prospect in baseball to open the season, and another big year could put him in position for a 2015 debut.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    3-for-13, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 1 Prospect. SS Javier Baez, Triple-A Iowa

10 of 10

    Chris Carlson

    2014 Stats

    .091/.167/.364, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Overview

    The Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year last year and the No. 5 prospect in baseball heading into the season, Javier Baez certainly looks the part of a future superstar.

    The 21-year-old hit .282/.341/.578 with 34 doubles, 37 home runs and 111 RBI between High-A and Double-A last season. He then got a long look this spring, hitting .264/.278/.604 with five home runs in 53 at-bats.

    After going 0-for-9 with six strikeouts through his first three games of the new season and getting himself ejected for arguing a check swing call, Baez finally picked up his first hit of the season on Sunday when he took St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jorge Rondon deep.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1-for-11, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K

     

    Stock

    Even