Six Cubs make cut on Top 100 Prospects list

January 30th, 2016

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have six players among's Top 100 prospects, including 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres and catcher Willson Contreras, who was the team's 2015 Minor League Player of the Year.

Torres, who batted .293 at Class A South Bend last season, was listed at No. 29 on the top 100 list, released Friday, while Contreras, 23, who hit .333 at Double-A Tennessee, checked in at No. 51. Torres was projected to start the 2016 season at Class A Myrtle Beach, while Contreras could be at Triple-A Iowa.

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Other Cubs prospects in the top 100 include infielder Ian Happ at No. 77, right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood at No. 78, and outfielders Albert Almora and Billy McKinney at Nos. 87 and 89, respectively.

Happ, 21, the Cubs' first-round pick in the 2015 Draft, batted .283 at short-season Eugene last year and .241 at South Bend. He's being converted from outfielder to second base, and the Cubs sent two staff members to work with Happ this month to help him make the transition.

MLB Pipeline's 2016 Top 100 Prospects list

Underwood, 21, a second-round selection in the 2012 Draft, was 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 games with Myrtle Beach, striking out 48 over 73 1/3 innings. He missed some time this past season because of soreness in his right elbow.

The Cubs' top pick in 2012, Almora, 21, batted .272 in 106 games at Tennessee last season, and spent the offseason working out at the University of Miami.

"He's in a really good place mentally and feels really good," Cubs player development director Jaron Madison said of Almora, who could open the season at Iowa. "He's really matured. Now, understanding where he is in his career and how close he is, I think he's going to take a big step forward this year."

McKinney, 21, acquired from the Athletics along with Addison Russell in the Jeff Samardzija deal in July 2014, batted .340 in 29 games at Myrtle Beach and .285 in 77 games at Tennessee.

The annual ranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects is assembled by Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2016 season are eligible for the list. The rankings follow the guidelines laid out by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in terms of who falls under the international pool money rules: Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.