Prospect Power Rankings: Vol. 3

Class High-A, mid-season all-stars were announced last week, and one of the biggest snubs from the Florida State League's elite was the player leading the league (and the Cubs' system) in batting average and total hits.

1). Sam Fuld – OF – Daytona

As you can see, the initial decision to exclude Fuld from all-star nomination didn't factor into this week's rankings. Not to question the voters (i.e. opposing players, coaches, etc.), but Fuld's .352 average through his first 54 games speaks for itself.

To further complicate the selection process, he has the second highest OBP in the league (.411) and was recently tied for second in runs scored (41).

We won't even mention that Fuld had reached base in 33 consecutive games (the entire month of May) and still holds the league's longest standing hitting streak of the season at 17 games from May 9-28. (D'oh!)

Previously: First.

2). Randy Wells – SP – West Tenn

The lowest ERA for a starter in the Southern League and for that matter, the entire Cubs' farm system, he failed to walk a batter for the third time this season in his most recent start and now has a 1.12 ERA in nine outings.

Previously: Third.

3.) Jake Fox – C – Daytona

Fox added nine RBIs to his system-leading total of 53 since our last update and is closing in on the lead in home runs as well with 13. Moreover, he has 28 extra base hits, which ties him for third in the Florida State League. This was one all-star selection the league did get right.

Previously: Sixth.

4.) Matt Craig – 1B – Daytona

Age and current level of competition may cause Craig to be excluded in some top prospect lists, but his .302 average and .510 slugging percentage is perfect for our rankings. It's no surprise to see Daytona hold down the top spots for hitters on the list. The team is batting .265, which is only a few ticks better than the other Cub affiliates, but they've scored 310 runs and that is strides better than second-place West Tenn's 230.

Previously: Second.

5.) Rich Hill – SP – Iowa

The southpaw, who roommate Ryan O'Malley says is often referred to by teammates as "Koufax," has continued to showcase his potential in his last two starts. He threw seven shutout innings and struck out 14 while allowing two hits last week against Nashville. For the year, he has 61 strikeouts to nine walks in 44 2/3 innings at Triple-A. Opponents are batting .193.

Previously: Unranked (prior to first start back in the minors since demotion from Chicago).

6.) Mitch Atkins – SP – Peoria

Atkins suffered his first loss of the year last Sunday night after giving up one earned run in five innings. He is one of only two starters in the farm system with a sub-two ERA (1.94). Opponents are batting an even .200 against the right-hander.

Previously: Eighth.

7.) Nic Jackson – OF – West Tenn

Now batting .336 since joining the Double-A club, this is some 61 points better than his average at Daytona prior to late-April's promotion. His on-base percentage remains steady at a solid .384 clip.

Previously: "Honorable mention."

8.) Clay Rapada – RP/CL – West Tenn

Rapada says the Cubs still won't say whether they consider him a full-time closer, only that it's "one of those unspoken things." Nonetheless, the sidearm southpaw has 17 saves and a 0.99 ERA in 27 appearances. He has not allowed an earned run since May 2 and left-handers have yet to score off him this season.

Previously: "Honorable mention."

9.) Sean Gallagher – SP – Daytona

One of the three players (the other being Craig) from Daytona selected to the all-star team, he is still undefeated through 12 starts and his 2.49 ERA is the best on Daytona's pitching staff. He currently leads the system in strikeouts with 74 in 72 1/3 innings.

Previously: Ninth.

10.) Donald Veal – SP – Peoria

The second-round southpaw from last year's draft had not lost in nine straight outings prior to Monday and had the lowest average against of any starter in the farm system at .177 before allowing a season-high eight hits in six innings recently. His 72 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings are near the top of the organizational leaderboard. So are his 35 walks, although he did not allow any free passes for the first time all season in his most recent start.

Last week: "Honorable mention."

This Week's Honorable Mentions

Carlos Marmol (West Tenn) – A much deserved and more glamorous call-up to the big league club excludes him from the list.

Luis Montanez (Iowa) – Still second in the system in batting average overall, but hitting just .204 since being promoted to Triple-A.

Mark Reed (Peoria) – The third-round pick from two years ago is the best hitting catcher in the farm system (.311), though with fewer at-bats (135) than some of his competition.

Chris Walker (West Tenn) – The speedy leadoff hitter/center fielder had nine hits in a three-game stretch recently and is back to .300. His 18 stolen bases lead the system.

Micah Hoffpauir (Iowa) – He still leads the farm system in home runs with 14, but hasn't gone yard since May 27. With a .306 average with the Triple-A club through 18 games, that is almost 40 points better than his .268 mark at West Tenn prior to his promotion.

(Statistics updated through June 7.)


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