We spent last week looking at the top prospects throughout the Milwaukee Brewers organization, now we turn our attention to their rivals in the National League Central as we begin our four-part Rival Rankings series where we’ll check in on some of the top prospects that may be battling against the Brew Crew for years to come.
First off are the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee’s neighbors to the South, the Cubs have built up their big league roster thanks to the promotions of several top prospects over the past couple of seasons and appear to be a good position to make several runs at a World Series title over the next few years.
1. Gleyber Torres (SS) – Signed by the Cubs out of Venezuela, the 19-year-old Torres hit .293 in 119 games at Class-A South Bend last season and is a consensus top 50 prospect.
2. Ian Happ (OF-2B) – The ninth overall pick in the first round of last year’s draft, Happ hit a combined .259 with nine home runs and 50 runs scored in 67 games between Eugene and South Bend in 2015.
3. Willson Contreras (C) – Ranked as the top catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Contreras spent last season with the Cubs Double-A affiliate Tennessee, hitting .333 with 75 runs batted in.
4. Duane Underwood (RHP) – A second round pick of the Cubs out of high school in 2012, Underwood went 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts for High-A Myrtle Beach in 2015.
5. Albert Almora (OF) – A talented but injury plagued outfielder, the 21-year-old Almora hit .272 in 106 games with Double-A Tennessee in 2015.
6. Billy McKinney (OF) – A first round pick by Oakland in 2013, McKinney was acquired as part of trade for Jeff Samardzija in 2014. He split last season between Myrtle Beach and Tennessee, hitting an even .300.
7. Oscar De La Cruz (RHP) – Signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic, De La Cruz spent his first two seasons in the DSL, then went 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 13 starts for Eugene last season.
8. Carl Edwards, Jr. (RHP) – Chicago acquired Edwards from Texas in 2013 as part of a trade for Matt Garza. He split last season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, making his big league debut in September.
9. Eloy Jimenez (OF) – A 19-year-old outfielder out of the Dominican Republic, Jimenez spent last season with the Cubs short-season team in Eugene, hitting .284 with seven home runs.
10. Dan Vogelbach (1B) – A second round pick by Chicago in 2011, Vogelbach has 93 doubles and 60 home runs in 411 career minor league games. Last season at Double-A Tennessee he hit .272 in 76 games.