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Bob's 2010 Top 10 Prospects

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  • Bob's 2010 Top 10 Prospects

    The minor league season has come and gone and it’s time to look at the top prospects in the system and how they progressed through the season. Some of the prospects have been considered bonafide since being drafted while others have quietly been preforming through the system and earning their stripes. Former 2003 fourth rounder, Jake Fox from the University of Michigan, burst onto the scene in the first half putting up dominating numbers in AAA Iowa before becoming one of Piniella’s favorite bats in the second half of the season. After spending only 43 games in Iowa, he was still the season leader for HR (17), RBI (53), Total Bases (138), along with posting a .409/.495/.841/1.336 in 164 at bats for the Iowa Cubs. If not for his callup, Fox would have graced this list although likely at the bottom. For the first time in two years we have a new overall prospect surpassing Josh Vitters. Keep reading to find my Top Ten…

    1) Starlin Castro SS 6-2 160lbs 3/24/90

    Without a doubt, the 19 year old Castro has become the Cubs’ top prospect. Last year, he was showcasing off as the shortstop for the Arizona Cubs in Rookie ball. Despite his age, the Cubs aggressively promoted him to start the season off at High A Daytona completely skipping Low A Peoria. The 19 year old has not disappointed. Sure he got off to a slow start, hitting just .200 in April but he stepped up his game and started to get more comfortable at the dish. For Daytona, in 358 at bats he had a line of .302/.340/.391/.731 with 22 stolen bases in 33 attempts all while playing shortstop and batting second. Starlin also started and was the MVP for the Florida State League All-Star Game. Castro distinguished himself enough that he was selected to the 2009 Future’s All-Star Game and in early August he was promoted to AA Tennessee. There he continued his hot streak with his bat, hitting .288/.347/.396/.744 in 111 at bats and in the playoffs he went 10 for 33 with 3 RBI, 1 BB, 5 KK batting leadoff and sixth in the order. Castro’s impressive season led the Cubs to selecting him to the Arizona Fall League against other top prospect competition. Starlin is the youngest player in the AFL and currently is fourth in batting average and third in hits, currently he is hitting 33 for 85 with a line of .388/.411/.494/.905 in 22 games with 6 for 9 stolen bases and was selected to the AFL’s Rising Stars Game where he started at short, hit second and went 2 for 3.

    Starlin has quick wrists, the ability to go to opposite field while swinging a line drive bat. Not only is Castro’s bat very advanced for his age but so is his glove, many analysts love his range and arm strength and think he’ll be able to stay at shortstop throughout his career even as he bulks up. At 6′1 and 160lbs, he is quiet lithe but should put on more muscle in the coming years which will add to his lacking power. Other than a lack of homerun power, Starlin still has facets of his game that he needs to work, such as his baserunning technique and everyday plays at shortstop. Still Castro is going to be a special player, Tim Wilken in the past as compared him to Tony Fernandez while others have called him a version of Derek Jeter. Nevertheless, Castro could be wearing a Chicago jersey by the end of 2010 and looks to be a cornerstone for the Cubs’ future. For the time being Starlin should star on a Cub prospect laden AA Tennessee to start 2010.


    2) Brett Jackson CF 6-2 210lbs 8/2/88


    Jackson was the 31st overall pick in this years draft and signed for slot money at 1.4M. He is a tremendous athlete and a physical specimen, showing the ability to be a five tool player if he hits his high ceiling. Without a doubt, Jackson is the Cubs’ top outfield prospect with the ability to make consistent contact, show good speed, a good eye, good power potential, decent range in CF, and a good arm. One of his biggest knocks coming out of the draft was his high strikeout rate, which many attributed to working deep counts and not possessing plus contact yet turned out to be Brett trying to do too much and improve his draft stock. After his signing, he first reported to the Rookie League in Arizona but was promoted to Boise after only three games. For the Short A Hawks, Brett batted third and played center where he posted a line of .330/.433/.398/.841 in 24 games. Afterwards he was promoted to Low A Peoria where his star shined even brighter. In 26 games, Brett hit with authority posting a line of .295/.383/.545/.927 in 111 at bats with 7 homeruns.

    Jackson has shown he’s a better draft pick than what he was and the Cubs got a bargain due to their scouting. Brett has the chance to start in AA Tennessee next year and climb the ladder quickly as the Cubs are looking for a centerfielder on the MLB level as soon as possible. Brett still has to show that he can hit offspeed pitches instead of just laying off of them. He has to continue to show good contact along with a good eye at the plate and power the further he develops. If he does show that 2009 was not a fluke, he could spend some of the late season of 2010 in Wrigley Field.

    3) Josh Vitters 3B 6-3 200lbs 8/27/89

    The cautious Cubs’ started Josh off in Low A Peoria for the 2009 year season. Vitters did not disappoint as in 70 games, he went 85 for 269, with 12 doubles, 15 homeruns, 46 rbi, and 42 runs scored. His line read .316/.351/.535/.886 while going 4/4 in stolen bases and was selected to the Midseason and Postseason Midwest League. Josh was promoted to High A Daytona and he floundered offensively with the change. In 50 games, he went 45 for 189, with 7 2B, 2 3B. 3 HR, 22 rbi, 21 runs with a line of .238/.260/.344/.604. With the Cubs wanting Vitters to put in more time to get use to the big league schedule, he has played in the Arizona Fall League and in 15 games, he has gone 23 for 64 with a line of .359/.388/.484/.872 while also being selected to the AFL Rising Stars Game with Starlin Castro.

    Josh’s defense is gradually improving due to constant work with improved footwork and stronger throws. Yet there are still some scouts who think he’s destined for firstbase or leftfield defensively. Vitter’s defensive isn’t only in question but his ablity to get on base frequently the higher he climbs. He has a free swinging way and makes contact often yet his ability to coax a walk is poor. Josh will most likely start the 2010 season in Daytona and could see time in AA Tennessee before the year is out.

    For the rest of the Top 10
    Last edited by Bob Sacamento; 11-17-2009, 08:34 PM.
    What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
    Line Drive: .356
    HBP: .342
    Non-Intentional Walk: .315
    Intentional Walk: .176
    Outfield Fly: .035
    Groundball: -.101
    Bunts: -.103
    Infield Fly: -.243
    Strikeout: -.287
    It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

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