Chicago Cubs

Prospect Update: Jake Stinnett Has a New Role and So Far, So Great!

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By Todd Johnson

Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Smokies

Affiliates never know what is going to happen over the course of a minor league season. Prospects will come and go and roles may change. Over the past month, the Tennessee Smokies have had to deal with a lot of change. Starting pitcher Trevor Clifton and relievers Daury Torrez, James Norwood, Craig Brooks, and Dakota Mekkes were all called up to AAA Iowa. When Norwood and Brooks left last week, it opened up a lot of holes and roles to be filled at the back end of the pen. While Wyatt Short was promoted from Myrtle Beach, most of the changes would have to come from within.

For most of his pro career, Jake Stinnett has been a starting pitcher since being drafted out of Maryland in the second round in 2014. Everyone noticed right away that he had a lot of movement on his pitches. The problem Stinnett has struggled controlling that movement. At South Bend, Myrtle Beach, and Tennessee, Stinnett worked to find some consistency with his pitches. Heading into last year, he had a career ERA of 4.39.

However, an injury forced him to miss most of the 2017 season. When he came back in late July 2017, he was relegated to the bullpen. And for the last six weeks of the season, he had the best month and a half of his career. Over 9 appearances, he put up a 0.61 ERA with 14 Ks in 14.1 innings.

Last fall, Jake was assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He drew rave reviews as a reliever and it was thought that he would have some sort of back-end role when the 2018 season began. Sometimes, the best laid plans never get made. And sometimes, things have a funny way of working out.

After Norwood and Brooks were promoted on June 25, Manager Mark Johnson needed to find a new closer. For most of 2018, Stinnett was a set up man and long reliever. He looked good in April with a 2.16 ERA in 8 games. However, in May and June, he struggled more often than not. For the first half, he had a 5.54 ERA in 26 innings with 32 strikeouts. Opponents hit .264 against him, cranked 4 HRs, while Stinnett walked 12. Of the 16 ERs he allowed, 10 of them came in three games in which he gave up a HR. Get rid of the HRs, and his ERA was 2.57 in games where he did not allow a dinger.

For Stinnett to pitch in such a high leverage situation as a closer, he was going to have to make some changes. You often hear about hitters developing an approach at the plate. The same is true of pitchers. As for Jake, his pitches still look the same, but his demeanor does not. Broadcaster Mick Gillispie often comments now how quickly Stinnett works as a closer. In the old neighborhood, we used to just call it “rock and fire.” You just get the baseball, get your sign, and you let it rip. Hitters do not have a lot of time to think about what pitch is coming. So far, so great for Stinnett!

Heading into tonight’s game, Stinnett’s had 4 save opportunities since moving into the closer spot. He has yet to allow a run in four innings. He only has four strikeouts, but he has not walked a batter nor allowed a hit. His season ERA went from 5.46 down to 4.78 in less than two weeks. For the second half, his ERA is a sparkling 1.50 in 5 games.

Manager Mark Johnson has to feel good about moving Jake into the closer role. Stinnett is simply attacking the hitter. He needs to maintain that approach if he is going to succeed as the Smokies’ closer long-term. If he can continue to do what he’s done over the last 10 days, he becomes quite the interesting prospect heading into 2019.

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June Cards of the Month: Newness Is the Word

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By Todd Johnson

June is always a strange month for baseball cards. There is a lot of player movement taking place. In addition, teams sometimes wear different uniforms for holidays and ballpark promotions. Add in the recent draft picks beginning to play professional baseball and the start up of short season leagues at Eugene in Mesa, and you have a wide variety of pictures to sort through and match to frames and templates.

For June, I made exactly 100 cards plus cards for all 42 draft picks and three NDFAs. For some reason, I’m beginning to like certain affiliates with certain years of cards. One adjustment I made this month was to change the color of the 1965 card for pictures of the Eugene players in their Monarcas jerseys.

In addition, I’m beginning to like the red alternate jerseys that the Iowa Cubs wear as the red really pops in the photograph.

For this month’s awards, I went to a top 15 because the cards were so good. As well, I added a section with what I think were the top five draft cards but I will let you decide which one is the best.

It was a fun time to sort through so many excellent photographs and make a variety of cards.

Next month will be very exciting to sift through the cards as most of the draft picks will be assigned to their affiliates. I also will have several of my own photographs to put in the honorable mention section as I will be traveling to South Bend, Davenport, and Kane County to see South Bend play. Hopefully, they might have a few draft picks on the roster by then.

If you missed the June MiLB All-Star Team yesterday, please go back and check it out!

Prospect Update: Did Chesny Young Get His Groove Back?

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By Todd Johnson

For three straight summers, Chesney Young could do no wrong in the batter’s box. Beginning at Boise and Kane County in 2014, South Bend and Myrtle Beach in 2015, and Tennessee in 2016, Young appeared to roll out of bed every day and lace singles to all parts of the ballpark. It wasn’t until he hit AAA Iowa in 2017 did he have his first taste of a struggle.

While he has never been one to hit for power, Young has always displayed an adept bat a solid approach at the plate that was beyond his years. Originally a 14th round draft pick out of Mercer in 2014, Young had a career average of .314 after 2016 and he had just missed a batting title in the Southern League on a technicality in 2016 . What happened to him last year caught most minor-league followers by surprise…including myself.

Throughout 2017 Cheney Young was on a roller coaster. He was prime to be a utility player as he be at began to play all over the field in Tennessee. At Iowa and he started playing the outfield more and more but his monthly splits were abhorrent to say the least

Take a look at the 2017 splits for batting average:
April – .224
May – .367
June – .240
July – 300
August – .188

Once you start to dig deeper into the stats you see something very on Chesney like. He was striking out more and walking less than ever before. He whiffed 70 times in 2017 and only walked 33.

He also was pulling the ball more than 40% of the time. His previous high was 39% at Myrtle Beach. Usually Young went to right field more hitting as high as 61% at Boise and 43.5% at Myrtle Beach.

At the time, I found it odd that a guy who almost won the Southern League batting title to struggle so mightily at a level very similar in talent. There had to be something more.

As the 2018 season began, it looked like Chesney picked up where ended 2017 as he struggled only hitting 183. He struck out an unbelievable 23 times in just 60 ABs. However, things began to come around the next month. He’s back hitting baseballs all over right field. In May, he hit .325 with a .361 OBP, which are very much in line with his career averages before 2017. I was a little relieved but I still wanted to see how he did over time. Could he be consistent in June or would he falter?

Bad News and Good News
His first week of June did not start out like gangbusters as he went 3-for-21. He then found his groove, a really good one, that has lasted all month. Heading into the last days of June, He is currently hitting .299 for the month with only 8 Ks in 63 ABs. In his last ten games, he’s hitting .345. He might get his average above .300 for the second month in a row.

Chesny’s future value begins with his bat. If he can keep his bat profile consistent, it opens a lot of doors for him. He’s also been playing mostly 2B and 3B instead of all over the field. In 2017, he did everything but pitch and catch. Mainly playing the same two spots this year has to have helped put him at ease.

Going forward, Chesny needs to continue to be consistent. This year, so far, it looks like Chesny’s got his groove back.

Which Prospects Could Breakout for the Cubs in the 2nd Half?

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By Todd Johnson

Yesterday, I wrote about who  broke out in the first half for Cubs Insider. But trying to predict breakouts prospects for the second half of the minor league season is a bit tougher. Most of the players one would expect to breakout will be playing for Mesa, Eugene, or South Bend. Some of them are 18 to 20-year-old kids while others are recent draft picks.

If I was to pick one hitter, one pitcher, and one reliever to break out in the second half, I would more than likely be wrong come the end of August. So, to hedge my bets, what I’m going to do is to pick three hitters, four starting pitchers, and three relievers who might make some waves in the Cubs’ system the next two months. Hopefully, one or more in each category will make it.  

On with the prospects.

Hitters

Everyone is going to be watching Nico Hoerner once he signs. The fans will watch his bat, his glove, his arm, and his speed, grit, and hustle. That kind of takes the pressure off of everyone else.

The batter that will impress everyone is Luke Reynolds, the Cubs tenth round pick out of Southern Mississippi. I would expect him to be a fast mover. He, like Hoerner, will probably start at Eugene, but neither will be there long as their approaches and skills will be too dominant.

Another hitter that could break out this summer is Fernando Kelli. While we know some about Kelli after his 58 stolen bases last season in the DSL, it is different playing in the US, especially skipping Mesa. The hardest adjustments for an 18-19 year old prospect from the DSL to make are just playing against quality competition. Kelli will need to adapt to quality changeups and curves; and guys trying to get him out in the batter’s box and also on the basepaths. In just 5 games, he has caused some havoc between the bases. His defense, on the other hand, might be better than we thought.

My third selection is Jonathan Sierra. Originally, he looked like Daryl Strawberry clone when the Cubs signed him in 2015 at 16 years-old. Now, he is getting his physique into something resembling Jorge Soler. What I really like about him so far is his approach. He shows to have a pretty good knowledge of the zone at 19 and he is not afraid to walk to this early in his career. The issue he has now is that his swing is a bit long. He needs to shorten that up or he will be eaten alive as he moves up the ladder. For now, though, game experience and seeing as many pitches as possible will be the goals for 2018.

Bonus Hitters – Kevin Moreno from Cuba (who is only 17) and Reivaj Garcia are two young hitters who have been tearing up EXST. They will both be in Mesa to begin the year. I love Luis Vazquez’s defense already. The fact that he got experience at SS in a major league spring training game says how highly the Cubs already think of him. He is in Eugene to start 2018. Focus on his defense, not the bat.

Starting Pitchers

One of the more interesting stories in August last year was the maturation of Jesus Tejada in the DSL. He was a stud with an ERA just under 2 for that month and he also threw a no-hitter. Now, the 19 year old will be stateside. This spring, one of the more interesting reports over time from Arizona Phil has been the growth in each performance of lefty Brailyn Marquez, who is really dialing it up as the spring goes along. Now that summer is here, the young 19-year-old pitcher is in Eugene as the ace of the staff. He can dial it up in the mid-90s. The issue has always been his command.

I liked the Cubs taking Derek Casey of Virginia in the ninth round of the 2018 draft a lot. He’s experienced, a senior, and he should be a valuable arm next year. This year, he will more than likely just pitch 2 or 3 innings a game in Eugene or South Bend. He should do well in those spots.

Faustino Carrera is not going to blow you away with his fastball, but he can make you swing wildly at his changeup. The 19-year-old lefty (I am noticing a theme here) has good command and can get hitters to do what he wants when he can control his upper 80s to low 90s heater. He also has a curve that comes in around 82 and he seems to hide the ball well to make it appear to have more zip than it does.

Bonus – In what is his third season as a Cub, Nathan Sweeney is back in the Arizona Rookie League. But here’s the thing, he’s still just 20 and, if he had gone to college, he would just be finishing his sophomore year. After two years of instruction from the college of pitching coaches in Mesa, he should start to put it together this year. His fastball has been clocked in the low 90s consistently.

Relievers

All three of my breakout reliever choices were taken in the draft this year. Ethan Roberts, Riley Thompson, and Layne Looney all had excellent careers in college in the bullpen. I would not be surprised to see any or all 3 get a chance at starting next year. But this year, they are just going to relieve. Thompson, who can bring it at 95, will need the most time to develop. Roberts might need to rest a bit after Tennessee Tech almost made it to Omaha for the College World Series. And Looney should be good to go as he was already playing summer ball. Expect to see Thompson to get in a game first and it should be at Mesa.

Here are a few other names who could break out as legitimate prospects this summer.

DSL
Alexander Ovalles – OF; Carlos Morfa – OF; Fabian Pertuz – SS; Carlos Paula – SP

Mesa
Luis Verdugo – SS; Carlos Pacheco – OF (who is injured to start the year); Raidel Orta – SP; Eduarniel Nunez – SP; and Luis Hidalgo 1B/OF

Eugene
Luis Diaz – 2B and Jonathan Soto – C

Inside the Draft Process: Good Stuff from Sam Hughes Via Mick Gillispie and Eric Cain

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By Todd Johnson

I am not sure how I am writing this post as I thought I was all “draft-ed” out. However, I am going to blame Tennessee Smokies announcer Mick Gillispie for today’s post.

Every Saturday at 11 am central, Mick co-hosts a radio show with Eric Cain called Baseball This Week on WNML Radio. They discuss a panorama of baseball topics including the Cubs, the Smokies, and this last week, the MLB Draft.

Their guest on Saturday the ninth was the Cubs’ national scouting crosschecker, Sam Hughes. Hughes talked about the Cubs’ recent draft and how the Cubs go about finding and selecting the players they do. Both Mick and Eric asked some specific questions about the process and what the scouts look for and investigate in a prospect. I will embed the show at the end of the post if you wish to listen to the excellent interview.

To begin, Hughes talked about how elated he was that the Cubs selected top pick Nico Hoerner. He personally saw him three times down in Texas in the spring and 4-5 times last summer in the Cape Cod League. Hughes claimed that Hoerner is wired right and a “Cubs’ type of player.” According to Hughes, Hoerner comes to play, is athletic, should stay at shortstop, and loves that in talking to Hoerner, Nico mentions winning a lot. Hughes also compared Nico’s makeup to Kyle Schwarber.

It was an interesting discussion between Mick, Eric, and Sam as they broke down how many times they check out a prospect and how makeup goes into making a selection. In addition to an interview and seeing the player in game action, Hughes told of how the Cubs do background and family checks.

Another aspect that goes into selecting a Cub in the Theo Era is neuro scouting which predicts bat-to-ball skills. Theo used to brag about how high Mookie Betts scored on his neuro tests. This year, those highest scores went to second round pick Brennen Davis. Hughes described Davis as super athletic with an amazing presence and an engaging personality.

It was strange to hear a national crosschecker give a lot of thanks to the R&D part of the Cubs’ scouting service, but it is the 21st century.

Hughes also brought up compensation pick Cole Roederer as a pick he really liked. What I found most interesting about this point in the conversation was the Cubs’ scout spent ten days straight watching him play in the Area Code Games. It was a good thing the Cubs scouted him early has Roederer had hamstring and non-throwing shoulder issues most of his senior year of high school. Roederer’s a classic top of the order guy with some pop.

The final three guys Hughes talked about also detailed on why they were picked. Pitcher Paul Richan (Compensation round) was taken for his ability to throw strikes. 2B Andy Weber (5th round) from Virginia was taken as a hitter who has good bat-to-ball skills. Pitcher Ethan Roberts (4th round) flashed an amazing curve and cutter in his work this past weekend in the College World Series. Hughes thinks Roberts’ stuff will play up like Dakota Mekkes’ stuff has done as a pro. That’s a pretty cool comp. And again, Hughes praised the Cubs R&D staff for all the pitch data on Roberts, who could be an elite arm.

Mick and Eric would go on to have a great conversation for the rest of the hour as they talked about the Cubs. I really enjoyed the interview as both Mick and Eric were able to draw out how the Cubs go about scouting, analyzing, and selecting the players they do.

https://omny.fm/shows/baseball-this-week/sam-hughes-6-9-18/embed

Over the next few days, many of this year’s draft class will report for their physicals out in Mesa and then sign their contracts. With Mesa and Eugene starting play on Friday, some of them will begin their pro careers quickly.

If you want to keep up on the signings, I suggest you follow @Savermetrics on Twitter. He has some great info on all the draft picks.

Day 3 Draft Q and A – Did the Cubs Change Their System Much Today?

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By Todd Johnson

  

On day three of the draft, the Cubs loaded up on some possible pitchers in rounds 11-20 by taking 7 of their first ten picks, all college arms. From 21-30, the Cubs went with a lot of college senior position players, 6 in fact. From 31-40, the Cubs, as usual took some high school players, many of whom will likely not sign, but a couple of juco players could.

Earlier in the day, I had a few questions about how the day would play out. Let’s see how the Cubs answered them.

1. Will the Cubs continue to have a somewhat balanced approach of taking a mixture of hitters and pitchers?

The Cubs wound up taking 24 position players and only 18 pitchers. However, it will be more interesting to see the totals once everyone signs. I imagine it will be close to 50/50.

2. Will the Cubs still be selecting a clear majority of college players again? 

Only 13 high school players were taken and 4 of those were in the top 13. 10 college seniors were mostly taken in the 20s and early 30s this year. That should create for an interesting mix in the system the next couple of years as the rosters in the lower parts of the system have a large mix of young, Latin players who could use some guidance.

3. Will the Cubs take a chance on selecting one of the top prep players like Cole Wilcox or Kumar Rocker? 

The Cubs did select a few HS players late like Julian Bond, Chase Hanson, Parker Mitchell, and Tyler Ras, all well-thought of prepsters with college commits. Something would have to go wrong with Davis and/or Roederer to not sign. However, the Cubs wouldn’t take either in the second round if they thought they couldn’t sign them.

4. The Cubs have certain needs in the MiLB system. Will they draft to those needs or take the best player available? They are in need of shortstops who can field and left handed starters and relievers. 

The Cubs did go after a lot of needs today including the aforementioned positions. The Cubs just today took six outfielders, three catchers, two 2B, and six shortstops. The surprise of the day came when the Cubs took an actual 1B, their first since 2012 in Tyler Durna from UCSD. The first two days, they a 2B, a SS, a 3B, and four OFs. I’ll let you add the two subsets together. In all, that beefs up the system.

5. How many of these will realistically sign? In the Theo Era, the CUbs usually sign around 25, +/- 2 or 3. Last year was aberration as they inked 29 to contracts.

The Cubs have some change to spend this year thanks to the two compensation picks. And with the large numbers of college seniors, they could actually sign 30, 31, or 32. Of their 11 HS picks, 4 were picked in the top 13. That bodes well for a high signing number.

6. And when they do sign, does that second Mesa team become the staging area for them? 

While all signees will go to Mesa for an orientation into “The Cub Way,” most of the the college signees will end up in Eugene. A few college guys (Hoerner, Reynolds, could make it to South Bend, but most of the pitchers will be used sparingly the rest of the season after already pitching a full season from March through May.

7. How did the System Change?

It is going to be a couple of years before we see the results of that. The Cubs scouting department took the long-term view and took prospects they think they can work with and develop. Of their 42 picks, there were was only 1 top 100 draft prospect despite having 5 top 100 picks. Jason McLeod is gambling on the system to develop the prospects they sign into guys that help the system.

For now, though, the system got a little deeper, a little younger. Most of the first 20 picks have one unique talent that they can polish up and help propel through the organization.

In eight days, Eugene and Mesa begin their seasons. We shall see who is there and how they do very quickly.

Day 3: Live Blogging the Final Day of the 2018 Draft

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By Todd Johnson

8:10 – Everything is done and updated. I am going to collapse for a bit.

6:15 PM

The draft is over but I will be filling in the profiles as the night goes on. Lots of nice picks today. Once I am done with that, I will start breaking down and analyzing what the Cubs accomplished with today’s selections.

40th Round – Itamar Steiner  – IF – Niles North – Skokie, Il – Throws Right

His father was killed in a bus crash in Uganda a few years ago. His father was a documentary film maker. Nice that the Cubs drafted him.

39th Round: Pierson Gibis – C – Wauconda HS, Wauconda, IL – 6′ 175 lbs. Bats Left and Throws Right

Doubt he signs, but Gibis is a pediatric cancer survivor.

38th Round: Chase Hanson – OF – Edison HS Huntington,  Beach HS – 6’3″ 170 lbs. Bats and throws Right

The UNLV commit will likely attend college. He has a nice upper frame to hang some more weight on and add some power.

37th  Round: Henry Anthony Villar – SS – Westminster Christian HS in Miami – 5’11” 170 lbs. Bats Left. Throws Right

5:11 PM: 36th Round: Jacob Campbell – C – Craig HS, Janesville, Wisconsin – 6′ 200 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

He is committed to play at Illinois in the fall. Likely goes to school, but the Cubs are his favorite team.

35th Round: Edmond Americaan – OF – Chipola College – 6’1″ 170 lbs. Bats and Throws Left

He hit .413 with a .490 for the Junior College powerhouse. He’s still growing. I don’t know if he going to sign. I am still trying to find if he is going to a 4 year school yet.

4: 33 The Internet is fixed and the cards are all caught up on Twitter. I will begin catchin up on the last 7 or 8 picks.

34th Round: Miguel Pabon – SS – Leadership Christian Academy – 6′ 165 lbs.

Originally committed to Broward College. He could be a sneaky sign. Check out his skills below.

33rd Round: 

Tyler Ras – RHP – MIddletown, NJ – 6’4″ 200 lbs.

Committed to Alabama.

32nd Round: Jack Patterson – LHP – Bryant University – 6′ 210 lbs.

He struck out 101 in 82 innings as a senior. He’s got a solid body. He did miss almost two seasons. He was the  Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Year and had one complete-game shutout and K’d 10 batters 4 times this year. Interesting selection.

31st Round: Daniel Clayton – 2B – Jacksonville State – 5’7″ 160 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

He hit .325 as a senior. He also had a nice OBP at .397. Not big, could be a nice system guy who could handle a stick.

30th Round: Drew Wharton –  OF – Clemson – 6’3″ 190 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

He didn’t see much playing time in his four years until this year when he cranked 8 out of the ballpark. he hit .245 with a .325 OBP.

29th Round: Levi Jordan – SS – U of Washington – 5’8″ 170 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

A four-year senior, he saw a huge uptick in power this year going from 1 to 8. Hit .277 for four years as a Huskie.

28th Round: Parker Mitchell – LHP – Manzano HS, Albuquerque, NM – 6’3″ 190 lbs.

27th Round: Niels Stone – RHP – Indian River State College – 6’1″ 190 lbs.

A Freshman, he had a 7.42 K/9 and  he hit 91 to 94 consistently, sometimes getting it up to 97. Originally, he committed to Florida Gulf Coast before transferring to Indian State.

2:45 PM 26th round: Julian Boyd – OF – Saint John Bosco HS – 5’10” 143 lbs. Bats and Throws Left

He’s a former two sport athlete who committed to play baseball at the University of Nevada Reno.

And this pick signals the beginning of the end. The Cubs usually draft several high school picks the rest of the way in order to have some insurance if other picks don’t sign in the top 10. And also, it doesn’t hurt to build a relationship with that player as we saw with Jake Slaughter from LSU. Boyd

2:35 25th Round: Dalton Hurd – OF – Seattle University – 5’9″ 180 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

He hit for average all four years but saw a power uptick his senior year. Hit .309 last spring with 8 HRs.

2:20 24th Round: Blake Whitney – RHP – South Carolina Upstate – 6’3″ and 185 lbs

I will let you guess what Whitney can do… That’s right, throw strikes. The 4 year starter had a 2.81 ERA in 13 starts this year striking out 82 in 73.2 innings. He only gave up 3 HRs on the year, too. He has a nice sized frame and could add some weight without much effort. I like this pick.

2:05 PM 23rd Round: Hunter Taylor – Catcher – South Carolina – 5’11” 226 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

A second team All-American in HS, the senior catcher has worked with some very good pitchers the past four years. He had his best season as a senior this year with 8 HRs.

As deep as the system is in backstops, I didn’t think the Cubs would be drafting a catcher, especially a senior. There must be something they really like.

1:50 PM 22nd Round: Jamie Galazin – OF – St. John’s 6’4″ 200 lbs. Bats Right, Throws Right

The more I read about him, the more I like. Hits a little over .300 with an OBP of over .400. A senior, look for him in Eugene soon at the top of the order.

1:30 PM 21st Round: Carlos Vega – RHP – Southeast Missouri State 6’2″, 220 lbs

He did a mixture of relief and starting this year. A senior, he amassed 85 Ks in 73 innings with a 2.45 ERA. I like his frame. Probably not going to get much bigger.

1:25 PM

Since there is a break in the draft, I thought I’d take the opportunity to analyze what has happened so far. The Cubs are continuing to go to college route very heavily. I expect that to continue for the next 10 picks, even though we might see then dip more into the junior college arena and maybe even Divisions II or III.

I also like that the Cubs are starting to find some left-handed pitching. I talked about it a couple of hours ago if you scroll down below on what some of the needs the Cubs’ system has. This is usually the part of the draft where the Cubs shift from best player available to what we might call organizational guys. However, some of those organizational guys turn into prospects. You never know what can happen.

1 PM

The Internet has gone out so I can’t do cards until it comes back on. Meanwhile, I will keep up on my phone with the selections.

20th Round: Chris Allen – LHP – Marin Community College – 6’4″ 180 lbs.

Good numbers as he put up a 1.34 ERA in 100.2 innings while striking out 102. He only walked 23 for K/BB ratio of almost 5. Impressive!

19th Round: Layne Looney RHR – University of Richmond -5’10” 200 lbs.

He had huge numbers this year as a reliever. He pitched 30 innings but struck 51 batters while only walking 13. His ERA was 0.60. Should be interesting to see him in Action, likely at Eugene.

12:50 18th Round; Jake Slaughter – SS – LSU – 6’3″ 200 lbs. Bats and Throws Right

The Cubs redrafted slaughter, they first took him a couple of years ago out of high school. I like this pick. While he does have two years of eligibility left, the Cubs could not have selected him today without his permission since they drafted in 2016 already. Slaughter hit .247 this year, which was down from last year, but doubled his HR total to 7 in 2018.

 

12: 30 17th Round: Jake Reindl – RHP – U Arkansas Fayetteville – 6’2″ 195 lbs.

12:20 16th Round: Josh Sawyer – LHP – U of Texas – 6’3″ 180 lbs.

He’s pretty excited about being drafted. 2018 is his first year healthy in the last three as he has had assorted minor injuries. he has one year of eligibility left but he will likely join the Cubs. You can see him in action Friday in the Super-Regional.

He’s going to be a reliever.

12:10 15th Round: Tyler Durna – 1B – UC San Diego – 6’0″ 205 lbs. Bats Left Throws Left

The Cubs haven’t drafted a 1B since 2012. He’s not that big but hit .333 with a .469 this year with 7 HRs.

12:00 14th Round: Riley McCauley – RHP – Michigan State – 5’11” 205 lbs.

The last pitcher the Cubs tooks from MSU is working out fine. McCauley did a bit of both starting and relieving. I’d expect him to be a reliever. Has a nice 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. He is a draft eligible sophomore and could return to school.

11:50 13th Round: Ezequiel Pagan – CF – Prp Baseball Academy – Puerto Rico – 6’1″ 163 lbs. Bats left, throws right

Definitely have to look to see if he is related to Angel

11:40 12th Round: Cameron Sanders – RHP – LSU – 6’2″ 175 lbs.

Ranked 475 by BA. Played just 1 year at LSU, mostly in relief. He’s all arms and legs. Big arm, hits low to mid 90s but had control issues earlier in the year. Likely a reliever to begin.

11:25 11th Round: Riley Thompson – RHP – Louisville – 6’3″ 206 – Throws Right

Ranked #216 on BA Top 500. Has a mid 90s fastball, a plus curve, but needs a lot of polishing. He had TJS surgery in 2016. Lots of upside here if he responds to pro coaching. Could relieve, could start. Likely heads to Mesa. Just turned 21.

10:50 am

It’s going to be a long day. About every 15 minutes today, I will repeat the following process 30 times:

1. Get their name spelled right, school, position, height, weight, and picture.
2. Make a card
3. Upload said card to Twitter and Facebook
4. Find some sort of info about them either at BA 500, MLB Pipeline Top 200, college team website, the Baseball Cube, or Google
5. Type it up and click the update button.
6. Rinse and repeat.

Does that seem a bit rushed to you? Well, that’s day 3 in a nutshell.

Questions I Have for Today
1. Will the Cubs continue to have a somewhat balanced approach of taking a mixture of hitters and pitchers?
2. Will the Cubs still be selecting a clear majority of college players again? So far, 9 out 12 have been college ballers.
3. Will the Cubs take a chance on selecting one of the top prep players like Cole Wilcox or Kumar Rocker? If they do, it would be in the 30s. Highly doubt they could sign one, but you never know.
4. The Cubs have certain needs in the MiLB system. Will they draft to those needs or take the best player available? They are in need of shortstops who can field and left handed starters and relievers. McLeod is not going to target them en masse, but the position breakdown will be something to analyze later.
5. How many of these will realistically sign? In the Theo Era, the CUbs usually sign around 25, +/- 2 or 3. Last year was aberration as they inked 29 to contracts.
6. And when they do sign, does that second Mesa team become the staging area for them? It will be interesting to see how that new affiliate is used for late June and early July. Both Eugene and Mesa begin play on Friday the 15th.

The draft comes at you quick.

Let’s get it started.