Prospect Power Rankings: Vol. 6

Vitters moves up (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

The sixth installment in our 2009 Prospect Power Rankings, these rankings are compiled and updated on a weekly basis throughout the season and are based solely on player performances; not age.

Statistics updated through the morning of May 25.

AT THE PLATE

1. Jake Fox: INF/OF, Iowa (Class AAA)
Stats: .425 AVG, 39 G, 17 HR, 50 RBI, 1.400 OPS

He leads all of minor league baseball -- every league, every classification -- in batting average, home runs and RBI. He entered the week with a 16-game hit streak.

2. Josh Vitters: 3B, Peoria (Class A)
Stats: .355 AVG, 40 G, 10 HR, 27 RBI, .993 OPS

The Cubs' top overall prospect is red hot, with nine homers this month and seven over his last nine games. A promotion seems inevitable.

3. Tony Thomas: 2B, Tennessee (Class AA)
Stats: .324 AVG, 39 G, 8 HR, 18 RBI, .411 OBP

He has already reached a career-high in home runs and leads his team in walks (19), RBI (18) and extra-base hits (19).

4. Josh Harrison: INF/OF, Peoria
Stats: .377 AVG, 42 G, 2 HR, 19 RBI, .408 OBP

He continues to lead the Midwest League in batting average. One-third of his 60 base hits have gone for extra bases: two home runs, 14 doubles, and four triples.

5. Chris Robinson, C: Iowa
Stats: .375 AVG, 28 G, 1 HR, 21 RBI, .394 OBP

He has hit over .350 since the middle of April when he took over as the team's primary starting catcher – a huge turnaround from his .214 average a season ago at Double-A.

ON THE MOUND

1. Dan McDaniel: RHP, Daytona (Class High A)
Stats: 3-0, 2.20 ERA, 28.2 IP, 25 K, 12 BB

It is hard to bump him from our top spot considering his team hasn't played in a full week. So to repeat from last week's rankings: He has averaged one hit per two-plus innings for a .147 average against, and has a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

2. Ryan Searle: RHP, Daytona
Stats: 3-2, 2.43 ERA, 37 IP, 19 K, 10 BB

He has exceeded expectations after bypassing Peoria. In seven starts in the Florida State League, he has a 1.87 ERA with a .194 average against.

3. Casey Lambert: LHP, Tennessee
Stats: 3-2, 1.91 ERA, 37.2 IP, 14 K, 10 BB

He hasn't been overpowering, but he hasn't needed to be. In three starts this month, he has a 0.95 ERA with a 1.64 average against.

4. Chris Carpenter: RHP, Peoria
Stats: 1-3, 2.97 ERA, 39.1 IP, 40 K, 21 BB

He has held opponents to two runs or less in six starts and has a .184 average against.

5. Jay Jackson: RHP, Tennessee
Stats: 3-3, 3.57 ERA, 45.1 IP, 47 K, 18 BB

He makes his first appearance in our top five this season, having overcome a rough start by tossing five consecutive quality starts entering the week, in which he's averaged one earned run per every eight innings for a 1.12 ERA. He leads the Cubs' system in strikeouts.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Brad Snyder: OF, Iowa

He trailed only Fox in home runs and RBI in the Cubs' system before going on the DL last week with a broken bone in his left wrist. He'll be out four to six weeks.

Marquez Smith: 3B, Tennessee

He is batting .309 with eight doubles in 22 games since being promoted from Daytona. For the reason, he has eight home runs and 27 RBI.

Casey Coleman: RHP, Tennessee

Inconsistent of late, but he has held opponents to two runs or less in five of his eight starts for a respectable 3.21 ERA and four wins.

Christopher Archer: RHP, Peoria

He has a 1.50 ERA and 38 strikeouts to go with a 1.17 WHIP in eight starts. He recently tossed a season-high five innings for a win against first-place West Michigan (Tigers).

Kyler Burke: OF, Peoria

This is the best he has hit since being traded to the Cubs from San Diego in the Michael Barrett exchange two years ago. His 16 doubles are most in the Cubs' system.

Starlin Castro: SS, Daytona

He is beginning to hold his own in the Florida State League after having spent last season in Rookie League ball in Arizona. An eight-game hit streak has carried his average over .300 for the first time this season.

Darwin Barney: SS, Tennessee

The team leader in average (minimum 2.7 plate appearances per team game), he's batting .333 with 15 walks versus 16 strikeouts.

J.R. Mathes: LHP, Iowa

He had four straight quality starts entering the week to lower his ERA to a season-best 3.40 in 45 innings. He has issued just five walks all season.

Rebel Ridling: 1B, Peoria

His 30 RBI are third most in the Cubs system.

Blake Lalli: 1B, Tennessee

He has begun to get more playing time of late, batting .361 (35-for-97) in 32 games.

Steve Clevenger: C, Tennessee

Another player that has had to scrap and claw for playing time, he entered the week with a season-high .365 average (27-for-74) through 24 games. He has 10 walks to eight strikeouts.

Jason Dubois: OF, Iowa

It goes without saying that he's not a ‘prospect' anymore, but the veteran outfielder has a .349 average, six home runs and 21 RBI – 15 of which have come in May.

Andres Blanco: SS, Iowa

He has overcome a slow start, entering the week with a .315 average and 25 RBI.

Blake Parker: RHP, Iowa

Our ‘Reliever of the Week' has combined for nine consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the ninth inning of an April 28 game for Tennessee. Since being promoted to Iowa, he has four scoreless outings. Moreover, he has combined for 24 strikeouts in 17 innings this season.

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