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Cubs' Top 30 Prospects list reflects focus on pitching

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

In 2017, the Cubs squeezed the last drops out of what had been the best group of position prospects baseball had seen in years. Ian Happ hit 24 homers as a rookie as he joined fellow fully homegrown products Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber in Chicago's lineup. The Cubs also used elite outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to bolster their rotation, making him the centerpiece of a trade for Jose Quintana.

Cubs Top 30 Prospects list

In 2017, the Cubs squeezed the last drops out of what had been the best group of position prospects baseball had seen in years. Ian Happ hit 24 homers as a rookie as he joined fellow fully homegrown products Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber in Chicago's lineup. The Cubs also used elite outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to bolster their rotation, making him the centerpiece of a trade for Jose Quintana.

Cubs Top 30 Prospects list

In the three years since MLB Pipeline rated its farm system as the game's best, Chicago has made three consecutive National League Championship Series and ended a 108-year World Series title drought. They should continue to contend for a while but will do so without much immediate help from a system that now ranks near the bottom.

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

After graduating all those talented hitters to the big leagues -- and trading two of the top five prospects on MLB Pipeline's current Top 100 list in Jimenez and Gleyber Torres -- the Cubs are trying to develop some pitching. Three of their best four prospects are international right-handers: Adbert Alzolay, Oscar de la Cruz and Jose Albertos. They also took college arms with 13 of their first 14 Draft picks in 2016 and their top five in 2017, including first-rounders Brendon Little and Alex Lange last June. The Cubs have a whopping 21 pitchers on their Top 30 list, more than any other organization.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.

Jump: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (2017: NR | 2018: 1)
Fall: Trevor Clifton, RHP (2017: 8 | 2018: 28)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses also have the same grade.

Hit: 55 -- Victor Caratini (Aramis Ademan, Mark Zagunis)
Power: 55 -- Nelson Velazquez
Run: 65 -- D.J. Wilson
Arm: 55 -- Miguel Amaya (Aramis Ademan, Wladimir Galindo, Zack Short, Nelson Velazquez)
Defense: 60 -- Miguel Amaya
Fastball: 75 -- Dillon Maples
Curveball: 65 -- Alex Lange
Slider: 65 -- Dillon Maples
Changeup: 65 -- Jose Albertos
Control: 55 -- Michael Rucker (Adbert Alzolay, Oscar de la Cruz, Alec Mills, Keegan Thompson, Jen-Ho Tseng, Erich Uelmen)

How they were built
Draft: 18
International: 10
Trade: 2

Breakdown by ETA
2018: 7
2019: 7
2020: 11
2021: 5

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 0
2B: 1
3B: 1
SS: 2
OF: 3
RHP: 17
LHP: 4

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

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