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Personal Top 15 Prospect Lists: Cubs, Reds, Astros

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Cubs' Prospect Brett Jackson

I'm not really the kind of guy that you should be basing your opinions off of- I don't have any experience scouting and my connections are pretty limited. But I do an awful lot of studying on these guys in my spare time, and it's something that I'm really interested in. No, I'm not Keith Law or Kevin Goldstein. But I think that I have a pretty good idea of what makes for a good prospect and what doesn't, and I thought I'd toss out some personal lists here.

Some people prefer raw upside and athleticism over floor and proximity to the majors, and vice versa. I think that we all try to find a solid balance within the spectrum, and figuring out that relation of risk versus reward is obviously an integral part of valuing prospects.

CHICAGO CUBS

1) RHP Trey McNutt

2) OF Brett Jackson

3) RHP Chris Carpenter

4) 3B Josh Vitters

5) RHP Jay Jackson

6) OF Matt Szczur

7) RHP Hayden Simpson

8) RHP Robinson Lopez

9) OF Reggie Golden

10) SS/3B Junior Lake

11) OF Michael Burgess

12) LHP Brooks Raley

13) IF Darwin Barney

14) IF D.J. LeMaheiu

15) RHP Rafael Dolis

This group was loaded before the Garza trade, and it's still decent. There's reason to believe that Brett Jackson can help Chicago to shake its bad luck with center fielders (Pie, Patterson, Harvey...), and McNutt has the makings of a good No. 2 starter. Carpenter and Vitters don't make for a great 3-4 combo, but there is still some depth in this system. Szczur, Golden and Burgess all have work to do before they're ready for the majors, but there could be an impact player in the bunch.

CINCINNATI REDS

1) LHP Aroldis Chapman

2) C Devin Mesoraco

3) SS Billy Hamilton

4) C Yasmani Grandal

5) 1B Yonder Alonso

6) OF Yorman Rodriguez

7) RHP Kyle Lotzkar

8) 3B Juan Francisco

9) LHP Ismael Guillon

10) SS Junior Arias

11) 3B/OF Todd Frazier

12) SS Zack Cozart

13) LHP Donnie Joseph

14) SS Didi Gregorius

15) RHP Brad Boxberger

Chapman is a stud at the top, and they have a nice mix of up-the-middle and corner bats to fill out the system. Mesoraco's breakout appears to be legitimate, and Grandal gives them two of the best catching prospects in the game. Hamilton has star-power even if he's somewhat raw, and his base-stealing ability could make him one of the most well-known players in the game. The system drops off a lot after the top 6, but there's a lot to like about this system.

HOUSTON ASTROS

1) RHP Jordan Lyles

2) 2B/OF Delino DeShields Jr.

3) RHP Mike Foltynewicz

4) OF Ariel Ovando

5) SS Jonathan Villar

6) SS Jiovannier Mier

7) OF Austin Wates

8) RHP Tanner Bushue

9) 2B Jimmy Paredes

10) OF J.D. Martinez

11) 2B Jose Altuve

12) OF Telvin Nash

13) 3B/OF Mike Kvasnicka

14) RHP Aneury Rodriguez

15) LHP Dallas Keuchel

This farm system is a good example of how long it can take to overhaul a farm system when you're MLB team is constantly in the middle of the pack, hesitates to sell off expensive veterans, and avoids spending big in the draft. Lyles is a really good pitcher but his upside is limited by a lack of top-end raw stuff, and there's not really another top-flight prospect in the system right now. DeShields and Ovando have big upside in the outfield, while Villar, Mier and Paredes all have the ability to be quality regulars in the middle infield, but there's no premium position player prospect in the system. It's not as bad as it was, but it's still a ways from being among the best in the league.

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