With Baseball America releasing its Midseason Top 50 Prospects on July 7th (Brett Jackson was ranked 32nd and Matt Szczur was ranked 48th), I thought it was time to update the Cubs Top 10 prospects.  For those of you who may have missed it, in the pre-season I put together my own Top 10 list as well as a composite Top 10 list.

This list will give you an idea on who’s rising and who’s falling (based primarily on their 2011 performances):

  1. Brett Jackson – He didn’t hit for a high average in his half season at AA Tennessee, but he still earned a promotion to AAA Iowa.  He will probably get a September callup to Chicago and will battle for the center field job next Spring.
  2. Matthew Szczur – after signing a baseball only contract prior to the season, Szczur has proved to everyone that he made the right choice.  He is the fastest riser amongst the Cubs prospects, ranking 10th on the preseason composite list.
  3. Javier Baez – the Cubs top pick in the 2011 draft has yet to sign, but the Cubs will do everything in their power to get him into the fold before the August 15th deadline.  He has a quick bat, but scouts do not like his makeup.  He could be the next Alex Rodriguez or the next Milton Bradley.
  4. Trey McNutt – blister issues have hampered him this year and his 4.80 ERA is nothing to write home about.  But he is still the Cubs top pitching prospect.
  5. Ryan Flaherty – another riser, Flaherty has shown more power this year, with 15 homers in 317 AB’s.  He is on pace to more than double last year’s output and his .305/.384/.523 line at Tennessee recently earned him a promotion to Iowa.  He could be an option at third for the Cubs next year.
  6. D.J. LeMahieu – the Cubs best pure hitter earned a cup of coffee with the Cubs when Darwin Barney was on the DL.  He is hitting .353/.381/.462 between Tennessee and Iowa and could also be an integral part of the Cubs plans for the future.
  7. Jae-Hoon Ha – he may not have any plus skills, but Ha seems to do everything at least above average.  He has some pop, runs the bases well (despite average speed) and has a strong arm (as a former catcher).  He was recently promoted to Tennessee after hitting .276/.311/.422 at Daytona.
  8. Robert Whitenack – Whitenack was well on his way to having a breakout season between Daytona and Tennessee before Tommy John surgery cut his season short.  His season ended with a 7-0 record and 1.93 ERA, making him the highest rising pitcher.  Its a shame that we will have to wait at least a year before seeing him pitch again.
  9. Josh Vitters – although he has bounced back from a sub-par 2010 season to hit for a decent average this year (.281 in 83 games), Vitters has apparently been passed up by both Ryan Flaherty and D. J. LeMahieu on the organization’s depth chart. His stock is slipping and he is at risk of dropping out of the Cubs top 10 for the first time since being drafted.
  10. Welington Castillo – although he has split the catching duties at AAA Iowa with fellow prospect Chris Robinson, Castillo has hit well with a .301/.361/.534 line in 176 AB’s.  He has the best arm and release of the Cubs catching prospect, throwing out 37% of base stealers in his 6 seasons and could at least make the Cubs forget about Koyie Hill for 2012.

Honorable MentionNicholas Struck, Austin Kirk, Reggie Golden

Risers – Matt Szczur, Ryan Flaherty, D.J. LeMahieu, Robert Whitenack, Welington Castillo, Nicholas Struck, Austin Kirk

FallersHayden Simpson, Christopher Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Rafael Dolis

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