Javier Baez, ss
The Chicago Cubs have something special with Javier Baez. Quite frankly, the kid is a beast. The 20 year-old shortstop has compiled a .275 batting average and slugged 14 home runs through 62 games with Daytona (the Cubs A+ team). He was selected to the FSL All-Star team and garnered two Player of the Week awards. The only knock on Baez would be his propensity to strike out due to his aggressiveness at the plate (64Ks in 62 games played).
Noah Syndergaard, rhp
It’s scary to think that there are some people who think Noah Syndergaard could turn out to be a better pitcher than both Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. His mechanics are effortless, and the ball explodes out of his hand with his high-90s fastball. His changeup is excellent, and while there have been some knocks on his curveball in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. He keeps hitters off-balance, and when he needs to, can blow a 96 mph fastball by the hitter.
Bubba Starling, of
The top prospect of the Kansas City Royals, Bubba Starling, is a true five tool talent. He is incredibly athletic, and had a scholarship on the table to play quarterback at the University of Nebraska before signing with Kansas City. Starling is a plus defender and a solid hitter who has yet to tap into his power tool. He tore up the Appalachian League last year hitting 10 homeruns and compiling 33 RBI in only 53 games played. Starling, like Baez, has a propensity to strikeout…a lot. He has struck out a total of 141 times in his 113 professional games played, which is definitely an area of concern for Starling moving forward.
Jorge Soler, of
Some consider Albert Almora the Cubs’ top outfield prospect, but Jorge Soler has the tools to eventually put him in the upper echelon of players. The Cuban defector signed a nine-year deal with the Cubs, for $30 million. That shows what the Cubs think about this kid. He has a great approach at the plate, ridiculous bat speed which translates to power to all fields, and projects to be a middle of the lineup hitter. He was recently selected, with fellow Cubs’ prospect Javier Baez, to the FSL All-Star game after compiling a .281 batting average and smacking eight homers.
Joe Panik, 2b
The native New Yorker and St. John’s University alumni, Joe Panik, won’t be listed on any traditional top prospect lists…but the kid can flat out play ball. He is what many would call a pure hitter, and his approach at the plate will be his ticket to The Show. One of the more impressive offensive statistics has been that he has walked more times than he has struck out at all three levels of pro ball he has played. For Richmond this year, he has 35 walks to only 26 strikeouts. With Marco Scutaro being hurt, there have been some rumblings that Panik may get the call-up, but it isn’t likely. Not to worry, he will be with the big boys soon enough.