Day 3: Cubs Get More and More Pitching and Some High Risk Picks in the 30s

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By Todd Johnson

30 picks in a little over six hours is a bit much to cover. It seemed as soon as I started learning about one selection, there was another one stacked. At pick 29, the Internet went down (thanks Mediacom!). I kept up on my phone as best I could until it was done. And guess what? As soon as the Cubs made the final selection, the Internet popped back on. Go figure.

As for the Cubs Picks…

They loaded up on pitching with 17 picks. Most of them are relievers, but a few were starters. The Cubs also popped a few HS prep arms in the 30s, although those players are unlikely to sign. With 13 position players today, college players were the order of the day. By the early 30s, the Cubs started picking prep players as backups in case someone in the top 10 does not sign, which is clearly a possibility.

What Picks Did I Like Most Today?

14. Luis Vazquez, a high school SS from Puerto Rico, is definitely intriguing. He has a big frame to grow into and his video, although staged, shows him to be a very athletic young man.

27. Darius Vines is a two sport athlete who I think comes across as maybe the best our athlete the Cubs picked this year.

24. Andrew Karp – The Cubs might be not be able to sign him. But if they do,  they get a player on the rise who is only 20 with 2 years of big time college experience.

I also think the college picks  of Brandon Hughes, Jared Young, and Ramsey Romano ar excellent. They all could be quality players in the low minors the next year or two.

Here’s today’s brief synopsis of each pick along with their draft card.


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Round 11
Rollie Lacy – RHP – Creighton
6’3″ 195 – Friday night starter
Bats Right
Throws Right
2.54 ERA, 88.2 IP, 83 Ks, 18 BBs

Round 12
Ben Hecht
– P – Wichita State
6’3″ 185 – Closer/Reliever
Bats Right
Throws Right
Struggled this year. 41 Ks in 30.1 IP

Round 13
Austin Upshaw – IF – Kennesaw State
6’0″ 195
Bats Left
Throws Right
He hit 8 HRs in 200 ABs this year. He batted .327 and slugged .516. He is a draft eligible sophomore. He could go back to school.

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Round 14
Luis Vazquez – SS – Alberto Melendez Torres School, Puerto Rico
6’1″ 165
Bats Right
Throws Right
He was a challenger to find info quickly on. However, I did find this video. He looks pretty lean and has a lot of physical projection left.

Round 15
Jared Young
– 2B – Old Dominion
6’1″ 180
Bats Left
Third Team All-American this year
He hit .347 with 7 HRs and 34 RBIs as a Junior. His OBP looks good at .441.

Round 16
Brandon Hughes
– CF – Michigan State
6’2″ 215
Switch hitter
Speed demon
He has a nice frame. Stole 30 bases this year and was named 2nd Team All-Big Ten. He hit .330 with 5 HRs in 200 ABs.

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Round 17
Peyton Remy
– RHP – Central Arizona College
6’2″ 170
Bats Left
Throws Right
He threw 59.1 innings striking out 58. He’s just 19.

Round 18
Casey Ryan
– RHP – Hawaii
6’4″ 200
Throws Right
He was the closer for Hawaii. He threw in 23.1 IP and K’d 20 while putting up a 1.52 ERA. Opponents only hit .188 against him. I like the frame.

Round 19
Chris Singleton – OF – Charleston Southern
6’1″ 178
Bats and Throws Right
He hit .278 as a junior with 18 stolen bases.

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Round 20
Brendan King – P – Holy Cross
6’1″ 200
Four pitch mix
He threw 80.2 IP with 60.2 and a 4.35 ERA. As a junior, he had a 2.84 ERA with 74 Ks in 82.1 IP.
FB: 90-92, CB: 73-76, CUT: 86, CH: 84-85

Round 21
Sean Barr
y – RHP – San Diego
6’2″ 190
Reliever
He did start twice this year but mostly came out of the pen. He struck out 54 in 42.2 IP.

Round 22
Skyler Messinger
– SS – Niwot HS, Colorado
6’3″ 195
MLB.com listed him at 6’3″ 295 pounds. I know it’s a typo, but I found it funny.
6’3″ 195
Bats and Throws Right

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Round 23
Brady Miller
– RHP – Western Oregon
6’2″ 185
Throws Right
Struck 57 in 54 IP. He had an ERA of 3.50 in 10 starts.

Round 24
Braxton Light
– RHP – Wallace State
Throws Right
He struck out 50 in 38.2 in relief. He had a 1.86 ERA and 9 saves.

Round 25
Mitch Stophel
– RHP -King University
6’2″ 185
Reliever
45 Ks in 38 IP. He had a 4.74 ERA.

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Round 26
Bryce Bonnin
– RHP – Barbers Hill HS, Texas
6’0″ 180 lbs.
Committed to Arkansas
According to Baseball America, they like ehim better as a pitcher.
MLB.com has him at #74 in their top 200. He could be a tough sign, MLB.com said this of the young SS/P:

Entering his high school senior season, there was some question as to whether Bonnin was better as a position player or a pitcher. Arkansas lists him as a shortstop among its incoming recruits, and he does display arm strength, athleticism and offensive potential. But he might not make it to the Razorbacks because he came out firing fastballs up to 95 early in the year and could go in the top three rounds as a pitcher.

Bonnin’s heater settled at 90-92 mph at times later in the spring, though he should have consistent plus velocity once he focuses on pitching and gets a little stronger. His slider has similar upside, usually arriving in the low 80s with sharp, late action and looking like a wipeout pitch when he runs it into the upper 80s. He rarely throws a changeup because he hasn’t needed it against high school competition.

Bonnin throws across his body and with effort and a long arm. He has no problems finding the strike zone, but his mechanics and relatively small stature lead some scouts to project him as a reliever. Others think his athleticism gives him a chance to refine his delivery and make it as a starter.

Round 27
Darius Vines
– RHP – Oxnard
6’1″ 180
2 Sport Athlete
Throws Right
He struck out 95 in 83.2 IP. He had a 1.94 ERA and is only 19. He might be my favorite pick today.

Round 28
Kier Meredith
– OF – Robert B Glenn HS, North Carolina
5’9″ 165
Speed to burn
Ranked 215 on BA’s top 500
Bats and throws Left
Committed to Clemson

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Round 29
Jacob Steffens – RHP – Santa Clara
6’3″
Big Body and Frame
Missed most of 2 years
Pitched 102.2 innings this year and struck out 101.

Round 30
Cam Balego
– IF – Mercyhurst
5’11” 205
He resembles a few picks the Cubs have taken today. He’s an infielder with the potential for power.

Round 31
Ramsay Romano
-IF – Cal State Long Beach
6’2″ 200
He will be playing in the College World Series and Cub fans should be able get a good look at him. He led the team in hitting this year at .313.

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Round 32
Hunter Ruth
– RHP – Bucholz HS, Texas
6’2″ 205
Funky Delivery
He is ranked number 151 on MLB’s top 20. He is going to be a tough sign. MLB Pipeline said the following about the big high school right-hander:

There’s a ton of arm strength, with Ruth getting the heater up to 95-96 mph at times. He’ll often live off of his fastball, but he’ll show a really good breaking ball and a feel for a changeup as well. There is some effort in his delivery, which is a bit unorthodox. That arm action along with elbow injury, does leave some wondering if he’s more of a reliever in the future. It’s hard to figure out where good talent that has gone down with TJ surgery in high school should go in the Draft. Based on ability, Ruth definitely belongs in the top five rounds, with some scouts thinking he could have snuck into the conversation of high-upside high school players being discussed at the back end of the first round. If a team doesn’t want to sign and rehab him, Ruth can stay home and head to Florida to get healthy there.

Round 33
Joe Donovan
– Catcher – Westmont HS
5’11” 177
I was a little surprised the Cubs went this long before taking a catcher.

Round 34
Andrew Karp
– RHP – Florida State
6″1″ 204
The Cubs are taking a gamble here as Karp will more than likely go back to school as a draft eligible sophomore. I like this pick as he is an ascending player.
MLB.com said the following:

Karp pitched midweek for Florida State this season as a redshirt sophomore. Injuries limited him a bit early, but he eventually got his fastball up to 94 mph, and he mixes in three different off-speed pitches. Karp put himself on the map with an 11-strikeout performance against No.5 Florida in March, but his late-season struggles muddle his Draft standing a bit.

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Round 35
Ben Ramirez
– SS – Eastlake High School
6’2″ 180
He is ranked number 199 on MLB.com stop 200. here is what they had to say about him:
Chances of signing him up are slim.

Ramirez has considerable upside and potential at the plate that teams might be interested in adding to their system. When he’s right, he’s nice and short to the ball, allowing him to drive from the left side of the plate. He tends to fiddle with his stance and listen to too many people, with his swing lengthening as a result. He does have power potential, but he’ll need to find a more consistent swing path and use his lower half better […] Signability might be an issue for Ramirez, who has a commitment to attend Southern Cal should the Draft not go his way. But a team willing to roll the dice early enough and be patient with his development could get a solid all-around third baseman when all is said and done.

Round 36
Tanner Allen
– CF – Prep School
Bats Left
MLB.com said the following:

A former LSU commit who is now set to attend Mississippi State, Allen was a 4A First Team All-State performer in Alabama back in 2015. The second baseman followed up his sensational 2015 season by helping lead his high school team to a state championship last year. He was then selected as a member of the 40-man roster for the U18 National Team as an outfielder. In addition to his baseball accolades and skills on the diamond, Allen started at quarterback for the UMS-Wright football team for three straight seasons. Allen has drawn comparisons to Keith Lockhart, who played in the Majors for a decade and was known for his consistent bat and infield play. While he could use more time to develop in college, Allen has adequate arm strength and a smooth, simple approach at the plate, often resulting in line drives and quick, hard contact. Allen attended MLB’s Prospect Development Pipeline premier event in Atlanta this January.

Round 37
Alex Cornwell – LHP – Maranatha HS
6’1″ 175
USC commit

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Round 38
Russell Smith – LHP – Midlithian HS
At 6’9″ tall, there’s a lot to work with.
230 pounds

Round 39
Cooper Coldiron – IF – Houston

Round 40
Jeffrey Passantino – RHP – Lipscomb
I profiled him back in the winter

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