Every year I pick up my copies of two books to aid in my knowledge of the farm system. Only one of them has arrived. The 2011 Minor League Baseball Analyst is a different kind of prospect handbook. In it, they rate prospects skills as well as assign them a ceiling for their career, complete with the likelihood they will live up to those projections. Let’s take a look at what the Cubs have stocked up on the shelves of the minor league system.

Each player is assigned a number score from 1-10 and a letter score from A-E. Here is what those scores translate to:

Potential
10 = Hall of Fame Player
9 = Elite Player
8 = Solid Regular
7 = Average Regular
6 = Platoon Player
5 = MLB Reserve
4 = Top Minor Leaguer
3 = Average Minor Leaguer
2 = Minor League Reserve
1 = Minor League Roster Filler

Probability Rating to Reach potential
A = 90%
B = 70%
C = 50 %
D = 30%
E = 10%

Hitters

Hitters are rated in four skills from 1-5 stars with a rating of 3 being average. The skills evaluated are: Power, Average / Strike zone judgment, Speed, and Defense. 5 = Excellent, 4 = above average, 3 = average, 2 = below average, 1 = awful

Darwin Barney (7C) – Barney’s best of the four skills are his speed and defense. Both come in with four stars. He has no power and below average strike zone judgment with a rating of two. Potential: Utility IF

Kyler Burke (7D) – Rated two stars in all four categories, but he’s a sleeper candidate of mine for 2011. I think we’ll see big things from him. I’ve not given up on him yet. Potential: Platoon 1B

Tony Campana (8D) – His speed is rated a 4, but I’ve seen this guy run. He’s like lightning. Defense and average are both 3 and his power is a 2. I don’t rate him as high as they do overall, but I think they’re too low on the speed. He stole 48 bases last year and 55 the year before, and remember the minor league season is shorter. Potential: Starting CF

Wellington Castillo (7C) – Below average in all areas except his defense, which comes in at a 4. Potential: Backup Catcher

Steve Clevenger (7C) – Good plate discipline, but below average in other areas. Potential: Backup Catcher

Ryan Flaherty (7C) – Average in all areas except batting average. Potential: Utility IF

Micah Gibbs (7C) – Switch hitting catcher with above average defense, but below average in the remaining areas. Potential: Starting Catcher

Reggie Golden (8D) – Centerfielder drafted in 2010 out of high school. The ceiling is high for him because of his 5-tool potential. Above average speed and defense and average power and batting average has him come in with a Potential: Starting CF

Jae-Hoon Ha (8D) – Korean OF prospect had a really nice year in 2010. Average tools all around. Potential: Starting OF

Brett Jackson (9C) – Above average power and average to go with average speed and defense has fans excited and ranking Jackson as the top hitting prospect in the system. Potential: Starting CF

D.J. LeMahieu (8D) – He hit a walkoff home run last week, but don’t expect that from him. Average in all areas except speed with ranks slightly below average. Potential: Starting 2B

Pierre LePage (7C) – According to the book “High energy 2B prospect” with average speed and batting average but below average defense and power. Potential: Starting 2B

Nelson Perez (8E) – Above average power and defense with average speed and batting average. Potential: Starting RF

Matt Szczur (9E) – Speedy OF with average plate discipline, but below average power and defense. He’s a pretty raw prospect because he spent time playing football at Villanova as well. Jeff Samardzija part Deux? – Potential: Starting CF

Josh Vitters (9E) – His stock is dropping. He still has elite potential, but the probability is waning on it. 2011 needs to be a big year for Josh. Good power and average plate discipline, but speed and defense are not his strong points. A lot of scouts believe we’ll see a move to 1B for Vitters if he continues to struggle defensively. Potential: Starting 3B

Logan Watkins (7D) – Above average plate discipline to go with average speed and defense. Not much of a power hitter, but still has some upside. Potential: Starting 2B

Curiously, Marquez Smith didn’t make the book. That surprises me a little bit. Overall, we’ve got 3 guys with elite player potential. I think we really need to hit on two of those, preferably Jackson and Vitters.

Thoughts on the list?

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail