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Breaking down the Cubs' 2016 Top 30 Prospects

Torres headlines list; catcher Contreras makes biggest jump
MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

While the Cubs were rebounding from a last-place division finish in 2014 to the National League Championship Series last year, they added four rookies with All-Star potential to their lineup in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. That group was just the first wave of what might prove to the finest collection of position prospects in years.

Chicago has more quality hitters on the way, if not enough spots in the lineup to accommodate them all. Catcher Willson Contreras will be pushing for big league time by the end of this season. Former first-round Draft picks Albert Almora and Billy McKinney will be trying to squeeze into a crowded outfield in the near future. Shortstop Gleyber Torres, second baseman Ian Happ and third baseman Jeimer Candelario soon will add to an infield logjam.

While the Cubs were rebounding from a last-place division finish in 2014 to the National League Championship Series last year, they added four rookies with All-Star potential to their lineup in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. That group was just the first wave of what might prove to the finest collection of position prospects in years.

Chicago has more quality hitters on the way, if not enough spots in the lineup to accommodate them all. Catcher Willson Contreras will be pushing for big league time by the end of this season. Former first-round Draft picks Albert Almora and Billy McKinney will be trying to squeeze into a crowded outfield in the near future. Shortstop Gleyber Torres, second baseman Ian Happ and third baseman Jeimer Candelario soon will add to an infield logjam.

Cubs' 2016 Top 30 Prospects list

Cubs pitching prospects don't get nearly as much hype and probably won't make a significant impact at the big league level in 2016, but there are some intriguing arms in the system. Duane Underwood can flash three plus pitches, while Dylan Cease and Oscar De La Cruz opened eyes last summer and will make their much-anticipated full-season debut in April. Chicago has invested heavily in high school pitching in the last two Drafts, hauling in Cease, Bryan Hudson, Justin Steele and Carson Sands.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2015 preseason list to the 2016 preseason list.

Jump: Willson Contreras, C (2015: NR | 2016: 2)
Fall: Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP (2015: 11 | 2016: 24)

Team Top 30 Prospects lists

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.

Top 10 Farm Systems

Hit: Billy McKinney (60)
Power: Eloy Jimenez (60)
Run: D.J. Wilson (65)
Arm: Gleyber Torres (60)
Defense: Albert Almora (65)
Fastball: Dylan Cease (70)
Curveball: Bryan Hudson (60)
Slider: Jake Stinnett (55)
Changeup: Duane Underwood (55)
Control: Ryan Williams (60)

How they were built
Draft: 18
International: 7
Trade: 5

Breakdown by ETA
2016: 5
2017: 9
2018: 13
2019: 3

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 1
2B: 1
3B: 2
SS: 1
OF: 8
RHP: 12
LHP: 3

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago Cubs