ESPN Insider, Keith Law, recently ranked all 30 MLB farm systems and he’s joining the Chicago Cubs hype train. Using a variety of factors, Law ranked the Chicago Cubs’ farm system number one in Major League Baseball, barely edging out the Minnesota Twins.
The Cubs’ draft strategy under the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer regime has been to grab a polished hitter in the first round and load up on arms later. That, along with the trade of Jeff Samardzijaand Jason Hammel that netted two more top hitting prospects, has produced a system that’s full of hitting prospects but still a bit light on the pitching side. The first wave of bats reached the majors in the middle of 2014, with more coming this year, but there won’t be enough at-bats forJavier Baez and Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara and Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber and Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo … and that’s not even everyone who might end up pushing for playing time. The Cubs are in prime position to flip a young hitter for a pitcher or even to swing a bigger deal, especially if they want to try to set themselves up to win the NL Central in 2016. There are young starting pitching prospects here to like, led by 20-year-old Duane Underwood, but they’re all a few years away.
The White Sox didn’t get as much love as the Cubs, but they were still ranked in the top 15 at #12.
Chicago White Sox
They’ve added four players within the top-120 range of prospects in the past 24 months, via the draft and one trade, and they didn’t give up any of those premium guys to add Jeff Samardzija this offseason. Although the system still isn’t deep in average prospects, it is in the best shape it has been since I started ranking organizations seven years ago.
Last year when Law did his rankings for 2014, the Cubs were #4 and the White Sox were #27, each showing a positive gain. When the teams hit the field in 2015, Chicago fans will have some pretty high expectations. Half of them have already picked the Cubs to win the World Series next year, while the Chicago Tribune says the White Sox will be the better team, baesd on the hype alone you’d think it’s going to be a Chicago vs. Chicago World Series.
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