The Chicago Cubs are loaded with impressive young talent throughout the minor leagues. In fact, with their recent addition of shortstop Addison Russell, they are commonly considered to have the best minor league system in all of baseball.
While Russell and fellow SS Javier Baez could certainly make their claim for the top spot, power-hitting 3rd baseman Kris Bryant is considered by most to be the top prospect in the Cubs’ loaded system. But wait, there is more. After an incredible first half of the 2014 season, two reputable prospect websites have recently named Bryant as the best prospect in all of baseball on their mid-season lists.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball and the staff at FanGraphs have both recently ranked Bryant as the top prospect in the game. Sickels ranked 75 prospects, and moved Bryant to the top after ranking him 12th coming into this season. He also has Russell ranked fifth, Baez 15th, outfielder Jorge Soler 24th, infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara 34th and outfielder Albert Almora 57th. Obviously an incredible showing for the Cubs.
FanGraphs only ranked 25 prospects, and also topped their list with Bryant after ranking him sixth in the pre-season. Their description of Bryant (quoted below) will certainly get Cubs’ fans excited for the near future.
Bryant headlines perhaps the top minor league system in baseball and could be playing in the big leagues right now for some organizations. There isn’t much that this former second-overall draft pick hasn’t done; he’s hit for average and power while producing impressive on-base rates. Bryant should be one of the premier power hitters in the Majors for years to come while hitting in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup.
Russell (4th) and Baez (8th) also made FanGraphs' list.
Bryant has been incredible since the Cubs drafted him last season. He dominated the lower levels of the minor leagues, before finishing last season at the Advanced-A level. After win the MVP award of the Arizona Fall League, and making a short, but impressive showing at MLB Spring Training, the Cubs sent Bryant Double-A to start the 2014 season.
He was clearly the best player at the level, as Bryant continued his incredible play posting a .355/.458/.702 slash line with 22 homeruns in 242 Double-A at-bats. He was then sent to Triple-A where he has continued his stellar play (.322/.404/.701 in 87 Triple-A at-bats).
The 22-year-old slugger could probably hold his own at the MLB level right now. That said, with the Cubs not being competitive, there is no reason to rush him. With elite-level power, good contact skills and great plate discipline, Bryant is one of the best young players in baseball, and has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.