(CBS) Given their conviction, it’s not as if Cubs executives need any validation for the blockbuster deal they pulled off last Friday to acquire a top prospect in Addison Russell, but they got some Monday in the form of Baseball America’s updated, midseason prospect rankings.
After landing the 20-year-old Russell, a five-tool shortstop, last week in shipping out pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the Cubs now have three of the top seven rated prospects in all of baseball. Russell holds the No. 5 spot, while third baseman Kris Bryant is ranked second and shortstop Javier Baez is slotted seventh-best.
Bryant and Baez are both playing at Triple-A Iowa, while Russell just started at Double-A Tennessee. Fellow Iowa Cubs teammate Arismendy Alcantara, a second baseman/outfielder, was rated the 33rd-best prospect.
Bryant is hitting .357 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 19 games at Triple-A after slugging 22 homers and hitting .357 in 68 games in Double-A. Baez had a slow start to the year at Iowa and is now batting .241 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 79 games there.
Minnesota outfielder Byron Buxton was the top-rated prospect. Only the Twins boast anywhere near such elite-level talent as the Cubs, as they have two of the top nine prospects and three of the top 27.