Baseball America reveals Cubs Top 10 prospects following 2015 season


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

Bold predictions for the Cubs' 2019-20 offseason


Bold predictions for the Cubs' 2019-20 offseason

The Cubs are just a couple of weeks away from a pivotal offseason that could see a lot of change coming to Chicago's North Side.

Then again, we thought the same thing a year ago and it turned out Theo Epstein's biggest move last winter was signing Daniel Descalso to a two-year deal.

But after missing the playoffs in 2019, the Cubs are now at a crossroads as an organization. 

The NBC Sports Chicago crew previewed the offseason on the latest CubsTalk Podcast with some bold predictions for the winter.

Listen here and check out the fearless calls below:

(Note: Rationale and more context on each bold prediction in the podcast.)

David Kaplan

1. Cubs are going to take a page out of the Yankees' book and retool on the fly rather than go all-in to contend in 2020.
2. Jose Quintana has thrown his last pitch as a Cub.
3. This will be the second-to-last offseason for Theo Epstein as the Cubs president of baseball operations.

Kelly Crull 

1. Cubs re-sign Nick Castellanos and trade away Kyle Schwarber.
2. Tyler Chatwood will be in the 2020 rotation.
3. John Lackey will be named quality assurance coach on David Ross's coaching staff. (Kidding, but only kind of...)

Tony Andracki

1. Before the Cubs play a Spring Training game, Javy Baez will sign an extension that will keep him in Chicago through at least 2023.
2. Willson Contreras will be traded this winter and the Cubs will get some much-needed pitching help in return.
3. Cubs sign Howie Kendrick this winter as the professional bat and lefty-masher they craved in 2019.
4. Ben Zobrist will return on a one-year deal and finish his playing career in a Cubs uniform.
5. David Bote, Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell will all be traded or non-tendered this winter as the Cubs remake their bench/depth.

Jeff Nelson

1. Willson Contreras will sign a contract extension.
2. Ben Zobrist will return as a player/coach.
3. Jose Quintana will be traded for minor league depth.
4. Terrance Gore will be signed to be the 26th man on the roster under the new rules.

Theo Epstein’s dog damages Arizona rental property with excessive urine

USA Today

Theo Epstein’s dog damages Arizona rental property with excessive urine

In the midst of an intensive hiring process for the new Cubs manager, Theo Epstein is being sued by an Arizona couple claiming Epstein’s dog, Winston, damaged their house. The cause of damage? Peeing excessively inside the property Epstein rented for spring training in 2015.

Yes, you read that right, Epstein’s dog peed so much he’s being sued.

The lawsuit was filed this Tuesday in Maricopa County, according to the Phoenix New Times, citing Epstein’s dog left “a terrible odor and urine-stained carpeting” in the Paradise Valley, Ariz., home where he and his family stayed.

Winston is a rescue mutt, weighing in at around ten pounds. He can’t pee that much, right?

The lawsuit states the dog "peed prolifically in the $1 million house, staining tile and stone flooring, wood door jams, cabinets, and furniture."

John and Mary Valentino referenced a 2017 quote by Epstein as proof that Winston had a peeing problem. When asked about being named the world’s greatest leader by Fortune magazine after the Cubs 2016 World Series win, Epstein said: “I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house.”

Epstein left the rental property two weeks early due to a scorpion infestation later was shown a repair estimate of $51,405, according to the report.

Julian Green, the Cubs vice president of communications, told the New Times the lawsuit was “baseless.” He also said that an exterminator discovered 45 scorpions on the property that “put (Epstein’s) family at risk every time they put their children to sleep.” The Epsteins moved into a different house for the last two weeks of spring training.

The owners kept the $5,000 security deposit, and according to a source the Epsteins did not hear from them again for more than four years until the suit was filed Tuesday.

When asked about the lawsuit, Epstein replied, “As I said, we have no untouchables. Winston is definitely available in the right trade.”

We’ll be keeping tabs on this story as it unfolds. In the meantime, it’s good to see Epstein still has a sense of humor, even with a dog urine lawsuit and a Cubs managerial search on the line.

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