Cubs

Baseball America reveals Cubs Top 10 prospects following 2015 season

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Baseball America reveals Cubs Top 10 prospects following 2015 season

The Cubs may be competitive on the big-league level now, but that doesn't mean anybody is ignoring what is still considered one of the top farm systems in the game.

In 2015, the Cubs graduated their top four prospects - Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber Jorge Soler and Addison Russell - off prospect rankings, but there is plenty of talent left in the minor league system.

[RELATED - South Bend Cubs win minor league baseball's top honor]

On Friday, Baseball America ranked that talent, releasing an updated Top 10 prospects list following the 2015 season:

1. Gleyber Torres - SS
2. Willson Contreras - C
3. Ian Happ - OF
4. Duane Underwood - RHP
5. Dylan Cease - RHP
6. Albert Almora - OF
7. Billy McKinney - OF
8. Oscar de la Cruz - RHP
9. Eloy Jimenez - OF
10. Jeimer Candelario - 3B

Notably absent from the list are Carl Edwards, Jr. and Pierce Johnson, who were widely regarded as the top two pitching prospects in the system the last couple seasons.

Here is BA's explanation:

For those that aren't familiar, McKinney came over as "the other guy" in the Jeff Samardzija-Addison Russell trade with the Oakland A's on the Fourth of July in 2014. The 21-year-old outfielder hit .300/.371/.454 (.825 OPS) in 2015, beginning the season at Advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach before a promotion and playing a majority of the year with Double-A Tennessee.

Contreas, 23, exploded onto the scene in 2015, winning the Southern League batting title with a .333 average and posting an .891 OPS with Double-A Tennessee.

Happ was the team's first-round pick (ninth overall) in this year's MLB Draft. Torres and Jimenez were the Cubs' top international prizes in July 2013.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

de la Cruz will turn 21 in March and sported a 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with short-season Class-A ball in 2015. 

Candelario seems like he's been around forever, but he will only turn 22 later this month and hit .277 with a .770 OPS between two levels in 2015.

Almora - the first draft pick selected by the Theo Epstein administration - got off to a slow start in 2015 but finished by hitting .352/.419/.500 (.919 OPS) over the final month with Double-A Tennessee.

For reference, this was Baseball America's Top 10 Cubs prospect list after the 2014 season:

1. Kris Bryant
2. Addison Russell
3. Jorge Soler
4. Kyle Schwarber
5. C.J. Edwards
6. Billy McKinney
7. Albert Almora
8. Gleyber Torres
9. Pierce Johnson
10. Duane Underwood

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

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AP

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: