1. Luis Montanez – OF – Iowa
COMMENTS: They say pitching is still the strength of the farm system, but Montanez holds down the top spot in our first installment. Ironic, since two years ago, he was fighting just to hold down a spot on a Class-A roster. The former first-round draft pick finds himself having the best month of his career (.413 average in May) and boasting the best batting average in the farm system at a .358 clip. He took one step closer to a spot on the 40-man roster when he was promoted to Triple-A for the first time in his career last week.
2. Micah Hoffpauir – 1B – Iowa
COMMENTS: What a difference a year makes. After just four home runs a season ago, Hoffpauir already has 13 in 2006 to shatter his previous career high of 11 for any one season. His batting average (.270) isn't overly spectacular, but the power numbers and run production (35 RBI) are as good as anyone in the system.
3. Sean Gallagher – SP – Daytona
COMMENTS: Undefeated in nine starts with a solid sub-2.00 ERA, Gallagher is our first pitcher on the list. His 53 strikeouts are third most in the farm system, and his 12 walks are 18 fewer than strikeout leader Donnie Veal.
4. Jake Fox – C – Daytona
COMMENTS: At Class High-A for the second straight year, Fox had the best batting average in the farm system as recently as last week, and he still has the system lead in RBIs with 37. His 17 walks and .389 on-base percentage is nothing to sneeze at, either.
5. Scott Moore – 3B – West Tennessee
COMMENTS: Currently one behind Fox for the most RBIs in the farm system for the month of May (22), Moore has the most doubles (16) in the system. He also has the most strikeouts with 50 in 44 games.
6. Matt Craig – 1B – Daytona
COMMENTS: The plan was for Craig to slowly ease his way into a part-time catcher's role this year. It hasn't happened yet, but he got some experience behind the plate in Spring Training, which was enough to warrant a "demotion" to Daytona from his previous two years at Double-A in an effort to work on the new position. He got off to a slow start with the bat, but has come on strong recently with a .422 average in his first 18 games in May.
7. Ryan Norwood – 1B – Peoria
COMMENTS: We must give some love to Norwood after the agony of suffering a broken ankle just one day before Peoria's season opener last year. It took him the entire season to recover, but he's bounced back strong this year with a .323 average through his first 42 games. Admittedly, we expected a different Ryan to crack this list when we first decided to assemble it. Shame on us.
8. Sam Fuld – OF – Daytona
COMMENTS: An OBP of over .400 and batting over .300 for the second straight season. Fuld overcame a minor scare when he nicked his shoulder on a diving catch in center field recently, but returned to the lineup after a day off and has hit safely in 10 straight games since.
9. Donald Veal – SP – Peoria
COMMENTS: The second-round pick from last year has the most strikeouts in the farm system with 59 in 47 innings. He has walked 30, which is also the most by any Cubs minor leaguer.
10. Adalberto Mendez – RP – Daytona
COMMENTS: Relievers may not do much for fantasy league teams and while he certainly had some good competition, Mendez is the only bullpen figure to receive a Top 10 nomination. He has the lowest ERA in the farm system (0.71) and features a crisp 0.83 WHIP.
Nic Jackson (West Tenn) – Another position prospect from the 2000 draft that many had given up on. Finally healthy, he got hot at Daytona in April and earned a promotion to Double-A soon after. All in all, he held a 21-game hitting streak at one point and continues to thrive with a .372 OBP through 22 games at Double-A.
Randy Wells (West Tenn) – Suffered a minor scare and was placed on the DL with forearm soreness in mid-April, but has shown no lingering effects since returning. He's yet to allow more than one earned run in any start this year.
Carlos Marmol (West Tenn) – The only starter yet to allow a home run this season.
Ed Campusano (Peoria) – His 13 saves are the most in the farm system and he has allowed just two earned runs and 10 hits in 20 innings for a 0.90 ERA.
Clay Rapada (West Tenn) – Right behind Campusano with 12 saves.
Juan Mateo (West Tenn) – Not surprisingly, the Cubs got him back from the Cardinals this spring after he was taken in the Rule Five Draft. Dominant in a somewhat quiet year at Daytona in 2005, Mateo has put together some nice starts this year.
Buck Coats (Iowa) – Since moving to the outfield, Coats been more relaxed on defense, which has enabled him to concentrate more on his swing. He at one point held the longest consecutive on-base streak in the Pacific Coast League at 26 games and has consistently hit above .300.
Eric Patterson (West Tenn) – His average had tapered all the way to .246 before a recent explosion put him above .300 last week.
Mitch Atkins (Peoria) – 3-0 in eight starts with a 2.34 ERA and a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Not bad for someone who struggled (and failed) to keep his ERA under five points last year.
Felix Pie (Iowa) – Has had a rough past month (.226 average prior to his five-hit performance Tuesday), but is batting .283 overall and is fourth in the farm system in RBIs with 29.
Thomas Atlee (West Tenn) – A quality reliever from day one, he leads the farm system in WHIP (0.73).
(A minimum 25 IP or 100 at-bats is used for ranking most players.)
TOP ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMERS THROUGH 5/22
*Minimum 25 IP/100 ABs