Well it finally happened. Thanks in large part to a farm system that has for years been ranked among the best, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. They built from within, drafting outstanding prospects like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez, acquired other prospects or young talents via trade like Jake Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell and signed impact talent like Jon Lester and Jason Heyward Dexter Fowler. They have one of the youngest teams in baseball and are obviously among the most talented.
Chicago is at the beginning of a potential dynasty and with top prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ still in the system below, they could maintain this dynasty for a couple years to come. You might have to start getting used to hearing the Cubs announced as World Series contenders at the beginning of every season.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
Chicago Cubs Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Top Overall Talent: Eloy Jimenez
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Eloy Jimenez
Jimenez appeared to be still early in his development following the completion of the 2015 season. But the 2016 season saw the 19-year-old (now 20-year-old) make drastic improvements across the board. His strikeout rate did go up and his walk rate went down, but scouts who watched him play saw a more patient hitter and someone who had made improvements by shortening his swing. Jimenez still has a lot of development left before he’s ready to debut, but he has the chance to be a real impact bat down the road both for the Cubs and for dynasty owners.
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Ian Happ
Happ doesn’t have an immediate role with the team, but there’s little doubt he’s going to reach the majors at some point this season. Happ not only possesses a great offensive profile, but he has plenty of positional versatility. And we all know how much the Cubs love guys who can play every position. Long-term, there’s a ton to like about Happ. He has an intriguing power/speed upside with the ability to knock 20+ homers and swipe 20+ bags. This season, between Double-A and High-A, Happ combined for 15 homers and 16 steals over 134 games. This kind of value at a position like second base could be very valuable to dynasty owners, though he may need to shift to the outfield which might diminish his value by a tiny bit.
Biggest Boom or Bust: Eddy Martinez
Martinez may not have quite as much raw talent as Jimenez, but there is no doubt he still has a ton of upside. Scouts the potential he has in his bat where they see someone who should be able to post up a .260+ average with 25+ stolen bases every season. He has some decent pop, but he will need to flash a bit more to prove it is a true plus tool for him. The big question is whether or not he will improve his plate discipline in time to reach his full potential. He is already 22 years old and only has 126 games of professional experience under his belt. He still has plenty of upside, but he will need to start moving fast if he wants to have a big impact in dynasty leagues.
Biggest Sleeper: Chesny Young
Young looks promising not so much for his ceiling, but rather for his floor. He is not a great power hitter and while he did swipe 16 bags last season, he was caught in 14 attempts. Young is a sleeper though because of his consistent ability to make solid contact and his overall knowledge of the strike zone. He recognizes pitches very well and has demonstrated excellent patience throughout his career. Owners in deeper leagues looking for a future utility player who can post a .290+ average and 10+ stolen bases should be quite satisfied with a guy like Young.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Eloy Jimenez
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Eloy Jimenez
If everything turns out just right, Jimenez will be one of the best pure hitters in the game. Scouts see immense upside in his bat, someone capable of not only consistently posting high batting averages, but capable of blasting 30+ home runs on an annual basis. Many scouts have compared him to Giancarlo Stanton for not only his size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds), but his incredible strength and power potential. Earlier in his career, plate discipline was a bit of a concern, but Jimenez has made drastic improvements to his eye and should start to see more walks next season.
Best Burner on the Bases: D.J. Wilson
Wilson is an undersized outfielder with some serious wheels. The 5-foot-8 outfield prospect played in only 64 games at Low-A, yet somehow still managed to steal 21 bags in 29 attempts. MLB.com graded his speed as a 65 on the 20-80 scale and they believe his speed plays both well on the bases and in the outfield. He might be a future 25-30 base stealer in the big leagues if he can ever hit enough to man a full-time spot.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Dylan Cease
Like a lot of young pitching prospects today, Cease would be an ace in the making if only he found his control. With an upper-90s fastball and power curveball, Cease has proved to be a tough matchup for opposing hitters. The right-hander struck out 36.3 percent of opposing batters at Low-A in 2016 and should be able to keep up strikeout rates above 25 percent moving forward. His changeup and command will require some improvement if he is going to remain a starter, but he’s off to a good start so far and could be a frontline starting pitcher for dynasty owners by 2019.
Best Command: Alec Mills
Mills was acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Kansas City Royals for Donnie Dewees. Mills struggled with his command when he reached the big leagues, but that was really the first time he ever experienced any issues with walks. The highest walk rate he ever posted was a 7.6 percent rate at Triple-A in 2016 before he was promoted. At Double-A before he was sent up to Triple-A? 4.7 percent. Mills may not have the best array of pitches and he doesn’t have a super high ceiling, but his outstanding command and control helps maintain a high floor.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Chicago Cubs
1. Eloy Jimenez (OF, A)
Jimenez is an incredibly potent bat and should be an outstanding batter for many years to come after a few more seasons of development.
2. Ian Happ (2B/OF, AA)
A second baseman with power/speed upside, Happ could be incredibly valuable if he stays in the middle-infield as opposed to the outfield.
3. Jeimer Candelario (3B, MLB)
Candelario might not have as much power as owners would look for in third base prospects, but he has showed more power over the past couple seasons and could eventually be a 20+ homer threat.
4. Albert Almora (OF, MLB)
Almora is primarily a defensive-minded center fielder, but with a starting role in 2017, he could still provide owners with a mediocre power/speed combo and a .260 batting average.
5. Dylan Cease (SP, A-)
Cease has some control issues, but could be a frontline starting pitcher with his fastball/curveball combination.
6. Oscar de la Cruz (SP, A)
de la Cruz has some strikeout upside and decent command, but he will need to prove he can pitch for a full season as he has thrown 75 innings only once in his MiLB career.
7. Mark Zagunis (OF, AAA)
Zagunis is a lot like Almora: defensive-minded outfielder with a mediocre power/speed upside. His plate discipline should allow him to have a high enough floor to at least reach the big leagues.
8. Trevor Clifton (SP, A+)
Clifton looks like a future starting pitcher in the big leagues, but his stuff isn’t super explosive and his ceiling is likely capped as a No. 3 or 4 starter.
9. Eddy Martinez (OF, A)
Martinez has a lot of upside, but he is still mostly a raw talent and will need a couple more years to fully develop.
10. D.J. Wilson (OF, A-)
The small speedster will need to prove he can hit more consistently if he wants to reach the majors.
The Cubs system has obviously seen better days, but that’s largely because all of their former top prospects just helped them win their first World Series since 1908. Their system has two absolute star talents at the top of the list with several other high risk/high reward prospects below like Eddy Martinez, Dylan Cease and Oscar de la Cruz. Dynasty owners could find some decent depth pieces here, but most will probably have to hope these prospects are dealt away to another team that isn’t loaded at every position.