Prospect Power Rankings 2009: Vol. 1

The first installment of our 2009 Cubs Prospect Power Rankings. These rankings will be compiled and updated on a weekly basis throughout the season and is based solely on player performances (read: not age).

Statistics updated through April 20.

AT THE PLATE

1. Jake Fox: 1B, Iowa (Class AAA)
Stats: .478 AVG, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 1.615 OPS

The first baseman/outfielder has gotten off to a near Ruthian start at Iowa. Entering the week, he led the Pacific Coast League in average, home runs and RBIs, and had a hit in each of his first 11 games with six straight multi-hit games.

2. Marquez Smith: 3B, Daytona (Class High-A)
Stats: .286 AVG, 3 HR, 11 RBI, .998 OPS

Smith had a hit in each of his first eight contests to open the season. Entering the week, he'd homered in back to back contests and had four straight games with at least two RBIs. He ranked tied for first and second in the Florida State League in home runs and RBIs, respectively.

3. Josh Vitters: 3B, Peoria (Class-A)
Stats: .423 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .464 OBP

The Cubs' consensus top prospect was still looking for his first home run (and his first walk) entering the week, but had hit safely in six straight contests, going 11-for-23 in that span. He'd also had three multi-hit games in his last four contests. Moreover, his .423 average was second highest in the farm system and fifth best in the Midwest League.

4. Blake Lalli: 1B, Tennessee (Class AA)
Stats: .500 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1.365 OPS

Lalli was a doubles machine a year ago at Daytona and Tennessee and has started nicely this season. Four of his first 10 hits were for extra bases and he'd hit safely in his first seven contests to open the season, picking up three two-hit games. His .565 on-base percentage was helped by just two strikeouts in his first 20 at-bats.

5. Ryan Flaherty: SS/2B, Peoria
Stats: .370 AVG, 4 XBH, 5 RBI, 1.098 OPS

Many thought Flaherty would open the season in Daytona. Starting at Peoria instead, he'd reached base in all but one of his first nine contests to open the season, collecting four extra-base hits to go with five walks. Entering the week, he'd recorded a hit in six straight starts.

ON THE MOUND

1. Casey Coleman: RHP, Tennessee
Stats: 2-0, 0.75 ERA, 12 IP

Coleman has moved quickly since being drafted in the 15th round a season ago. Through two starts, he has 10 strikeouts to two walks and eight hits. Opponents hit just .178 against him. He turned in the finest performance of his young pro career back on April 17, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing three hits.

2. Dan McDaniel: RHP, Daytona
Stats: 2-0, 0.79 ERA, 11.1 IP

The Cubs assigned McDaniel, a 14th-round pick in last year's draft, to Daytona because they wanted to challenge the right-hander -- in his first season as a starter after having pitched exclusively in relief a year ago. In his first two starts, he accepted the challenge by allowing just two hits over 11-plus innings, recording five strikeouts. Against left-handers, he did not allow a hit to 17 batters faced.

3. Aaron Shafer: RHP, Peoria
Stats: 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 12 IP

He allowed 12 hits in his first two starts, but kept himself out of trouble by issuing only one walk while racking up nine strikeouts. He tossed a career-high seven innings back on April 15, allowing one earned run to go with seven strikeouts. Moreover, he did not allow a run past the third inning in either of his first two contests.

4. Hung-Wen Chen: RHP, Tennessee
Stats: 2-0, 2.31 ERA, 11.2 IP

His 13 hits were a bit concerning, but the Taiwan import pitched deep into his two starts, allowing three earned runs and striking out nine batters while walking one.

5. Jose Ascanio: RHP, Iowa
Stats: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP

The hard-throwing right-hander opened the year with eight scoreless innings in two starts. He allowed five hits to go with eight strikeouts and one walk.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Bobby Scales: INF, Iowa
The veteran infielder had put together four straight multi-hit games to enter the week with a .371 average through 11 games, recording five doubles and seven walks.

Tony Thomas: 2B, Tennessee
Three multi-hit games, including a two-homer night, helped culminate in a .355 average through eight games. He led the club with eight RBIs entering the week.

Russ Canzler: 1B, Daytona
Entering the week, his .343 average and three doubles led a team that had been near the bottom of the Florida State League in hitting.

Jim Adduci: OF, Tennessee
His .375 average through seven games was second on the club. A walk machine at Daytona a season ago, he had four walks through 24 at-bats.

Christopher Archer: RHP, Peoria
He had eight strikeouts and only three hits allowed through his first eight innings for a 1.13 ERA. The downside was five walks.

Marcos Mateo: RHP, Daytona
The hard-throwing righty tossed five scoreless innings combined in his first two starts, allowing two hits and notching six strikeouts to one walk.

Tony Campana: OF, Peoria
The speedy outfielder picked up a pair of multi-hit games in his first nine contests and led the farm system with six stolen bases in seven attempts.

Josh Harrison: INF, Peoria
He was 11-for-34 with a hit in all but one of his first nine games.

Darwin Barney: INF, Tennessee
Four of his 10 hits went for extra bases. His .370 average was third on the club and tied for sixth in the Southern League.

Rebel Ridling: 1B, Peoria
He was an RBI machine early, totaling nine in his first seven games to go with a .350 average. A pair of 0-fer's dropped his average, but he had six walks entering the week.

Mike Perconte: RHP, Peoria
As far as relievers go, none have been better. He had 5.2 scoreless innings in his first three contests, allowing one hit and no walks while notching four strikeouts.

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