As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we move on to the NL Central with the deep Chicago Cubs top 5. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Josh Vitters, 3B: Vitters was the best high school hitter in this past year’s draft. What makes him so special at the plate is his uncanny hand-eye coordination, fast wrists, and beautiful, fluid swing. He has great bat speed with a short, compact swing that generates incredible home run and gap power. It’s hard to believe he’s only 18 years old, but considering his 6-foot-3 build, he still has a lot of potential to add mass and in turn adding more power. Vitters should be a huge addition to the Cubs roster in the next few years (entire “Prospect Spotlight” scouting report).
2.) Geovany Soto, C: Soto made a very smooth transition to behind the plate at the Cubs request. Now it seems as if his bat is catching up with his glove finally as he has made excellent strides in both average and power. He has shown excellent discipline both at the plate and behind it. His rise up scouting charts was almost as fast as his rise through the system as the Cubs have a legitimate catching prospect for the first time in years.
3.) Sean Gallagher, RHP: Gallagher has the mentality that the plate belongs to him and not the hitter. With this fearless attitude, Gallagher isn’t afraid to come inside on batters which is incredibly important, especially for a youngster. His repertoire includes two fastballs – one in the low-90’s with good sinking movement and the other a few mph faster that rises, a stellar curveball, a change and a very successful slider all of which he has very good command of. It’s not often you see a pitcher this young with so many pitches at his disposal and such strong poise on the mound.
4.) Eric Patterson, OF: Patterson finally looks to be a legitimate lead off hitter the Cubs have been looking years for. His greatest attribute is his blazing speed and stellar base running instincts. He also has a lead off hitter’s approach at the plate as he works the count well and when he swings the bat he tends to slap the ball and hit line drives. Biggest weakness is his strikeout rate as he can sometimes get out of his game and try to do too much by swinging at bad pitches. The Cubs have moved him from second base to the outfield but the fact that he can play either makes him very valuable especially as their savior in the lead off spot.
5.) Tyler Colvin, OF: Colvin has a nice approach at the plate with a short compact swing and quick wrists which helps make him a very good contact hitter. At first he only seemed to have gap power but that has begun to develop more into overall power. Colvin has plus speed which translates very well into smart base running as well as an improved approach to base stealing thanks to some work with the Cubs. His athleticism and speed provides him good range in the outfield to go along with an above average arm and glove. Well rounded player that should fit in the best in leftfield.
Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.