Prospect ages

This is the season for baseball prospect rankings. Earlier this week, Kevin Goldstein published a list for Baseball Prospectus of Cub hopefuls, in which eleven players were granted 5-star (Vitters, Castro), 4-star (Lee, B. Jackson) or 3-star (Cashner, J. Jackson, Carpenter, Archer, Burke, Flaherty, Gaub) status. Surveying this talent brigade, I was struck once again by the youthfulness of its leaders. Prospects 1 through 4, and six of Goldstein’s first eleven, are under 22. A seventh, Jay Jackson, turned 22 in late October. An eighth player, D.J. LeMahieu, is missing from the list but rates four stars in my book. LeMahieu is 21 and a half.

Reproduced below is a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of the ages of notable Cubs, primarily but not exclusively minor leaguers. The chart has an “age today” column that will stay current automatically.

Everyone on the chart except Lee played at a level higher than Boise last season. Lee is not lagging behind the others, however. He could very well follow Castro’s example and skip Peoria. Antigua and Valdez played mostly in Boise but were promoted to Peoria at the end of the season, Valdez to replace Brett Jackson, who missed the playoffs with a hand injury. Valdez is one of three rabbits in the organization. The others are Lee and Campana.

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