This morning, the prospect team over at the main site released their Midseason Top 50 Prospects List. Three Cubs feature. We hope you enjoy this preview.
Let’s make a couple things clear right up top:
1) There are no recent draftees or international prospect signings in this ranking. That means no Kevin Maitan or Corey Ray.
2) There are no prospect-eligible players who are currently in the majors in this ranking. This means no Lucas Giolito (pitching today for the Nationals) but yes Julio Urias (probably throwing one inning at a time for a while in Glendale to stay fresh/limit workload).
Another thing that has been made clear throughout this process is that the prospect landscape has flattened considerably. We might be exiting the long summer a golden age of prospects (going back to… let’s say Stephen Strasburg) but that doesn’t mean Winter is here, or even that it is coming. Talking to those who have been doing this long enough to know, the current landscape appears much as it did before the recent glut of immediate-superstar prospects graduated; meaning that the distribution of talent is either flatter, or there’s more of it located in the lower levels, making the risk associated with that premium talent that much higher. As it pertains to ordinal rankings this means that the gaps between the players might not be as big as they seem, even in the upper echelons.
This bore itself out as our team discussed and debated the prospects below, including those at the very top. Nothing was a given, and the discussion for the top spot spread to the top four players on the list; beyond that it got even messier. Ultimately, this list is my own, informed and influenced heavily by the in-person views that our team supplied, as well as those provided by industry contacts. Enough preface: Below you will find the Baseball Prospectus Midseason Top 50 Prospects, along with the most compelling reason they’ll succeed as well as what might cause them not to live up to expectations. —Craig Goldstein
1. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Why He’ll Succeed: He has the broadest base of skills in the minors, and one of those skills is plus defense at shortstop. Couple that with a strong hit tool and approach, note the double-digit home run potential, and you may be looking at a perennial all-star at shortstop.
Why He’ll Fail: Crawford hasn’t hit as much against upper-minors competition as you’d like to see from your top prospect, the glove and approach give him a very high floor, but if he is more of a .260/.350/.350 hitter, he may just be a solid, everyday guy.
To read the remainder of the article, please head on over to the main site.