By Todd Johnson
Seven days are left until the 2017 MLB Draft. In the early years of the Theo Epstein regime, the draft played a major role in acquiring some of the talent that helped the Cubs win the World Series. This year, the Cubs have two first round picks at number 27 and number 30. These first two picks will go a long way to refurbishing the Cubs in 2020 and 2021.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of movement about where players are ranked and where they have been taken in mock drafts. To be honest, I don’t think that movement is over during the next week. Performance, projection, and signability are the three main factors for a player of rising or falling. Here are six more brief previews of players who the Cubs could possibly pick next Monday night.
Heliot Ramos – OF – The 6’2” and 195 lb. outfielder is a physical specimen. At this point, there is still a lot of projection to his game. He was the star of the Under Armour game last year at Wrigley. He is from Puerto Rico and struggles in batting practice, but shines like a star in games .
Blayne Enlow – P – The 6’4” and 180 pound right-hander had a decrease and then an uptick in his velocity this spring. He is known to have a plus curveball. He declared to go to LSU, but it might take more money to get him to forgo that commitment in order to sign. Then again, he is rising in most rankings.
Mike Mercado – P – At 6’6″ tall, he appears to be all arms and legs and has a lot of physical projection left. This spring, he’s been throwing in the mid 90s which gathered a lot of attention for the young man from San Diego. I think he is the type of player of the Cubs like to take. Here’s a great article from Baseball America about his training regimen.
Matt Sauer – P – At 6’5″, Sauer is still growing. The young man from Santa Maria, California is moving up most draft lists pretty quickly. He tends to touch 94 or 95 with his fastball most games. He has a plus slider and a deceptive delivery. He might be an easier sign than Enlow, but he does have a commitment to the University of Arizona.
Couple of Fallers
Alex Lange – P – LSU – I briefly talked about him yesterday in The Weekly. He has a lot to offer and he could become a back-end starter quickly. While he may be a number one starter in college, he does not project to that in the pros. I think if the Cubs are going to take him, it would be in conjunction with them taking a higher projectable pitcher at number 27. Like the Phillies Aaron Nola, Lange would probably not spend a lot of time in the minors.
Trevor Rogers – P – I don’t know why this kid has slipped into the bottom of the first round. Part of it might be that others have risen, but there is nothing wrong physically with Rogers. He is already 19, which is old for a high school senior, but the 6’6″ lefty has a fastball that can sit in the mid 90s. At 195 lbs., there is still some physical projection left to this kid from New Mexico.
The odds of these players staying where they’re at now is slim. I think Ramos is on the way up much more than any of these prospects. Once area scouts and GMs get in and start talking money with these kids, I think that determines, more or less, where they are going to be selected. Players like Enlow and Sauer could price themselves right out of the first round.