A New Top 21 List Arrives: 21 Things Affecting the List

By Todd Johnson

Redoing my Top 21 list over the past week might have been thee hardest list to evaluate. You would think that the list would not change much in just a two month span.

Well, a lot of things happened since the end of March.
1. Jose Albertos’ release point deteriorated. Once he gets things figured out, he will be back quickly and impressively. It’s just a matter of time.
2. Duane Underwood looked studly at times and not so much at other times. He needs to find some sense of consistency from start to start.
3. Thomas Hatch has been very consistent every outing. It should not be long before he finds his way to Iowa. Problem is, there is no real spot yet.
4. Nelson Velazquez debuted at South Bend this year and struggled. He is striking out at a high rate and has yet to show much power beyond BP.
5. Dillon Maples struggled at Iowa in April and early May after not making the big league club. He now seems to be much better the past three weeks. He’s allowed just 1 ER since the middle of May and only 3 BBs in his last 7 innings. He’s close.


6. David Bote went to Chicago and did very well in a utility role. He has supplanted himself as the go-to-guy position player now.
7. Wladimir Galindo struggled, was injured, struggled some more, and then caught fire.
8. Aramis Ademan looks overmatched most nights at Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans have started moving him up and down the batting order to try something different. Then again, he’s just 19 and at high A.
9. Last year’s pitching class is killing it. From Lange to Thompson to Lacy to Uelmen to Abbott, the Cubs caught a deep class.
10. No hitter was really dominant in the first two months of 2018.


11. Two months of unexpected performances from Matt Swarmer and Jhonny Pereda might constitute breakout seasons, but does not mean they should be on a prospect list? They are very close, however.
12. Brady Clark is living up to my hype of him from the past two seasons.
13. Chesny Young looks like Chesny Young of 2016. You know, the guy who falls out of bed and laces a single right Chesny Young. I like 2016 Chesny  a lot.
14. If Connor Myers can hit a little, his profile totally changes as he is a plus-plus defender and defender. Being able to hit 260-270 could carry him to the majors with his other skills being so predominant.
15. Miguel Amaya is developing into a power hitter quickly. Every at bat is becoming must see MiLB.TV.

16. Top five international pick pitcher Richard Gallardo should slide into the list once he officially signs on July 2. The question is for me, “Where do you put a 16-year-old kid that never has never thrown a pitch in professional baseball and won’t until next June?”
17. The Cubs just selected five guys in the top 100 picks of the draft. However, it is a tenth round pick I look forward to in the batter’s box the most in Luke Reynolds.
18. Jared Young has been blistering the ball lately. He started off strong, got hurt, and it took a couple weeks for him to heat back up?
19. Jason Vosler was not good for six weeks and now looks to be ready to move on actaually on pace to hit 25+ HRs this year.
20. DJ Wilson has vanished on the DL.

21. And Eugene and Mesa begin in a week. There we will get a better look at some former DSL guys, Jeremiah Estrada, and s=most of this year’s draft class.

After some discussion with some of my friends on these 21 topics and more, online and in the real world, I decided just a few changes would be in order. However, some of those changes are pretty powerful..

Top 21 List as of June 8, 2018.

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

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

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.

The Midweek: Day 3 of the Draft Coming Up, Promotions, Machin is Cranking, and Morfa Emerging

By Todd Johnson

Today’s going to be a hectic day. Starting around 11 Central, Day 3 of the MLB draft begins. If you go online to MLB.com, it’s like listening to a giant conference call because that’s exactly what it is. There is no time between picks and it is sometimes hard to keep up. I will be live blogging starting around 11 and, at some point, I will need to take a break as the day wears on. I hope to see a surprise or two today in the draft.

Around the System
Unfortunately, the minor league system does not shut down while the draft takes place. Tennessee and Myrtle Beach are playing well right now and both are closing in on playoff spots with 12 games to go. Tennessee is three games back of arch-rival Chattanooga while Myrtle Beach is 4.5 games back of Winston-Salem. South Bend has won three in a row and it’s two games below .500, also with 12 games left. But they are 9 games back.

The big story this week has been the parade of pitching prospects moving up and down the system. Southern League All-Stars Trevor Clifton and Dakota Mekkes are now at AAA Iowa. That is pretty exciting. It is pretty cool that both of them are one step away from realizing their dreams. I will hopefully be traveling out to Iowa some point in the next two weeks. Most likely, Monday or Tuesday next week.

In addition, Matt Swarmer heads from Myrtle Beach to Tennessee along with reliever Jordan Minch who now gives Tennessee their first left-handed on the roster this season. Pitcher Cory Abbott takes off his South Bend uniform and will put on Myrtle Beach Pelicans jersey for a while. I cannot wait to see how he does in a pitcher’s park.

Even though he was promoted a few weeks ago to AA Tennessee, infielder Vimael Machin has been on fire since arriving in Kodak. In 16 games as a Smokie, he’s hitting at .432 clip. I will have a profile of him in the next few days. I also have one ready to go on Trevor Clifton.

Down in the Dominican, the two teams have played 3 games. Outfielder Carlos Morfa is stealing all the thunder hitting 3 HRs, 2 of them yesterday, while hitting close to .600. His OPS is 2.199!!! Be wary of DSL stats, but this is an interesting story to follow as Morfa needs to builds up a larger sample size of data. This is about the only thing I can find about Morfa and it is his prospect video from the DPL. First thing you notice in the video. He’s just 17.

Meanwhile, on Cubs Central, the draft is hogging the website for just one more day. After today, I will have a new top 21 list tomorrow and then I think I might take a day off from writing as it feels like it’s becoming a full-time job the past three days.

Right now, I’m going to go for a walk. It’s a little brisk here in northern Illinois as it got down into the 40s last night. The cool air ought to wake me up and get me ready for 30 new Cubs to be selected starting in less than 3 hours.

Day Two Recap: Cubs Get a Mixed Bag of Prospects

By Todd Johnson

8 picks.

That’s all the Cubs took today. It is hard to build some depth in a system with a lot of needs. Outside of catcher and starting pitcher, the Cubs need a little bit of everything. While the Cubs do pick 30 more times tomorrow, only about half of those will sign. Usually, the top 10 sign every year.

The Cubs went with 4 position players and 4 pitchers with today’s choices. That brings their two-total to 7 position guys and 5 arms.

As for day two’s picks, I like several future Cubs a lot.

4th round pitcher Ethan Roberts comes across as a pitcher on the rise. 6th round pitcher Kohl Franklin has MLB bloodlines, but he already is throwing in the low 90s with a very very projectable frame. 7th rounder DJ Artis was ranked as a possible first rounder in January. Still, his skills did not diminish, he just got worked around a lot. His selection might be a steal along with 9th round pitcher Derek Casey from Virginia and 10th round choice Luke Reynolds of Mississippi State.

I like the variety of players the Cubs selected today.

I will be back tomorrow with my coverage of Day 3, which starts at 11 am Central. I will be live blogging on and off. It will be hard to keep up as the Cubs make a pick every 10-15. There will be times I fall behind on profiles.

I will see you tomorrow.

Here are today’s 8 selections.


3. Jimmy Herron – OF – Duke – 6’1” 195 – Bats R, Throws L

He hit well on the Cape last summer and gained a lot of praise, but was injured most of this year at Duke. Excellent makeup and top of the order kind of guy. Projects as a top of the order kind of guy. Should begin his career at Eugene.

4. Ethan Roberts – RHR – Tennessee Tech – 5’11” 170 lbs. Throws Right
Misses a lot of bats. 96 Ks in 71 IP this year. 2.41 ERA in 26 games.
He was not in BA’s top 500 or MLB Top 200, as most closers are not. Yesterday, he started for the first time against Mississippi State in the CWS and went 7.2 IP before giving up 4 runs in the 8th. Cubs fans should get to see him in some capacity this weekend in the Super Regional. Still trying to find a scouting reports on his arsenal. He has not played summer leagues, so his arm is still pretty fresh. It will interesting to see if he starts or relieves in 2019. For this year, expect to see him in Eugene.

Take a look at his breaker

5. Andy Weber – 2B – Virginia – 6’1″ 190 – Bats Left, Throws Right
Hit first, but is a decent defender. 3 year starter.
He was not listed on any top lists. However, he hit .344 with a .415 OBP and drove in 49 in 54 games. Very impressive. His K rate this year was about 15% while he walked about 12% of the time. He did OK in the Northwoods League (a wooden bat league) over two summers hitting .280 and .309.

6. Kohl Franklin – RHP – Broken Arrow, Oklahoma HS – 6’4″ 190 lbs.

I love this pick! He was injured for part of the year (seems to be a theme this year) but he has big game pedigree, a nice projectable frame, good life on his fastball up to 93, and also throws a slider and a change.

7. DJ Artis – OF – Liberty University – 5’9″ 165 lbs. Bats Left Throws Left
DJ Artis was slated as a late first round pick at the beginning of the year. He took a step back this year after being named the Conference player of the year. He can hit for average, he has amazing speed, and he was probably pitched around a bit this year. More than likely, he has second round talent. This is a bit of a steal, to be honest. He was ranked 136 by MLB Pipeline and and 145 by BA.

Pipeline said this of Artis:

He’s proven he can really hit, albeit from an unorthodox crouch from the left side of the plate. There is some raw power, but he doesn’t tap into it consistently, focusing on line-drive contact and drawing a lot more walks than strikeouts. He’s a plus runner who can handle center field with below-average arm strength, one who could one day hit near the top of a big league lineup.

8. Zach Mort – RHP – George Mason University – 6’1″ 2015 lbs. Throws Right

Whiffed 108 in 105 IP. Only walked 13. Wow! Jim Callis said he is ultra-competitive. Made 15 starts this year with 3 complete games. That’s impressive! He had a 2.48 ERA this year.

9. Derek Casey – RHP – University of Virginia – 6’2″ and 190 lbs. Throws Right
Missed all of 2016 with TJS but has rebounded well the past two years. He has a nice K/BB ratio of 4 to 1. Had a 3.79 ERA in 2017 and 3.48 this year. I like this pick because he’s solid. He could relieve, he could start, but I am leaning starter first in 2019. I like this pick. His experience will add to his pitchability.

10. Luke Reynolds – 3B – Southern Mississippi – 6’1″ 195 lbs Bats Left Throws Right

He was a hitting machine this year. But his OBP was .551! Wowzers! Likely to play first base as a pro. The NCAA made him actually sit out two years after transferring from Mississippi State and he responded. Amazing! He is very disciplined and can hit to all fields. He is the sleeper of this class so far.

 

Day Two Live Blog: Cubs Have 8 Picks to Make Today

By Todd Johnson

 

5:35: Tenth and final round for today

Luke Reynolds – 3B – Southern Mississippi – 6’1″ 195 lbs Bats Left Throws Right

He was a hitting machine this year. But his OBP was .551! Wowzers! Likely to play first base as a pro. The NCAA made him actually sit out two years after transferring from Mississippi State and he responded. Amazing! He is very disciplined and can hit to all fields. He is the sleeper of this class so far.

4:55 Ninth Round

Derek Casey – LHP – University of Virginia – 6’2″ and 190 lbs. Throws Right
Missed all of 2016 with TJS but has rebounded well the past two years. He has a nice K/BB ratio of 4 to 1. Had a 3.79 ERA in 2017 and 3.48 this year. I like this pick because he’s solid. He could relieve, he could start, but I am leaning starter first in 2019. I like this pick. His experience will add to his pitchability.

4:15 Eighth Round

Zach Mort – RHP – George Mason University – 6’1″ 2015 lbs. Throws Right

Whiffed 108 in 105 IP. Only walked 13. Wow! Jim Callis said he is ultra-competitive. Made 15 starts this year with 3 complete games. That’s impressive! He had a 2.48 ERA this year.

 

3:30 Seventh Round

DJ Artis – OF – Liberty University – 5’9″ 165 lbs. Bats Left Throws Left
DJ Artis was slated as a late first round pick at the beginning of the year. He took a step back this year after being named the Conference player of the year. He can hit for average, he has amazing speed, and he was probably pitched around a bit this year. More than likely, he has second round talent. This is a bit of a steal, to be honest. He was ranked 136 by MLB Pipeline and and 145 by BA.

Pipeline said this of Artis:

He’s proven he can really hit, albeit from an unorthodox crouch from the left side of the plate. There is some raw power, but he doesn’t tap into it consistently, focusing on line-drive contact and drawing a lot more walks than strikeouts. He’s a plus runner who can handle center field with below-average arm strength, one who could one day hit near the top of a big league lineup.

3:17 Again with the waiting….

At some point I have to tune out the broadcast for a bit. Now, I have The Smithereens playing in the background while I do stuff. I love 80s pop/rock bands with jangly guitars and snazzy hooks.

2:52 6th Round

Kohl Franklin – RHP – Broken Arrow, Oklahoma HS – 6’4″ 190 lbs.

I love this pick! He was injured for part of the year (seems to be a theme this year) but he has big game pedigree, a nice projectable frame, good life on his fastball up to 93, and also throws a slider and a change.

2:39 – While we wait….

Four Smokies named Southern League All-Stars: Trevor Clifton (second year in a row), Thomas Hatch, Jeffrey Baez, and Dakota Mekkes.

  

2:31 Promotion Commotion

It started last night and continues today. One more roster announcement should be coming at SOuth Bend.
-LHP Jordan Minch has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee
-RHP Matt Swarmer has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee
-LHP Jose Paulino has been activated from DL
-RHP Cory Abbott has been assigned to Myrtle Beach

2:05 – Fifth Round

Andy Weber – 2B – Virginia – 6’1″ 190 – Bats Left, Throws Right
Hit first, but is a decent defender. 3 year starter.
He was not listed on any top lists. However, he hit .344 with a .415 OBP and drove in 49 in 54 games. Very impressive. His K rate this year was about 15% while he walked about 12% of the time. He did OK in the Northwoods League (a wooden bat league) over two summers hitting .280 and .309.

1:50 – Roberts Video

Take a look at his breaker

1:25 – 4th Round Pick

Ethan Roberts – RHR – Tennessee Tech – 5’11” 170 lbs. Throws Right
Misses a lot of bats. 96 Ks in 71 IP this year. 2.41 ERA in 26 games.
He was not in BA’s top 500 or MLB Top 200, as most closers are not. Yesterday, he started for the first time against Mississippi State in the CWS and went 7.2 IP before giving up 4 runs in the 8th. Cubs fans should get to see him in some capacity this weekend in the Super Regional. Still trying to find a scouting reports on his arsenal. He has not played summer leagues, so his arm is still pretty fresh. It will interesting to see if he starts or relieves in 2019. For this year, expect to see him in Eugene.

1:10

I am not starting see a lot of positives about Herron’s experience on the Cape last summer. However, 3 of the 5 picks the Cubs have taken were injured for part of this year.

12:55

All of the aforementioned picks at the beginning of the post, about half are still available.

12:45 – Third Round Pick

Jimmy Herron – OF – Duke – 6’1” 195 – Bats R, Throws L

He hit well on the Cape last summer and gained a lot of praise, but was injured most of this year at Duke. Excellent makeup and top of the order kind of guy. Projects as a top of the order kind of guy. Should begin his career at Eugene.

12:24

Morfa hit a second HR on the day and is now up to .583…sheesh! 17 years old.

The pick can come in anytime.

12:15
As I’m waiting for the pick to come in, I checked the MiLB scoreboard, I noticed the DSL was playing. I checked in on Carlos Morfa who has had two big games already. Today, he hit his second HR and has driven in 3 while hitting .545 in 3 games. I don’t know much about him until I found his DPL profile. He has some good size and plays in the outfield. I should probably keep an eye on him.

11:45
Draft Grades the day of the draft are a bit silly. I usually wait a year before I start analyzing a draft class and that continues over several years.

Here are some comments from yesterday from around baseball. Here is Sports Illustrated thoughts on Hoerner:

Not gifted with extraordinary tools and inhabiting a somewhat thick body, Hoerner has produced offensively at Stanford this spring. The Cubs figure to use Hoerner in the same fashion they use Ben Zobrist: play multiple positions with the ability to hit at several different spots in the lineup.

That’s one way of looking at the pick.

11:30 AM
After going to get some groceries and putting them away this morning, I am finally settling into the Internet. I have done some reading to see what others think of the Cubs selections from last night. Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline wrote this intriguing snippet:

I’m a little surprised the Cubs passed on a couple of the college arms that were available here, but Hoerner is an offensive-minded middle infielder with a track record of hitting in college. Those are hard to find, and he should continue to hit at the next level, with good power for his position. A lot of scouts see Hoerner more as a second baseman than a shortstop, but he should definitely be able to stay up the middle.

I will have some other analysis like that throughout the day.

11:15 AM
In less than an hour, round three of the MLB Draft fires up. I am excited. The day flows at a nice pace. NOt too slow, not too fast.

I am still spinning from last night. Not so much about the draft, but more about the promotions of Trevor Clifton and Dakota Mekkes.

Some Top Remaining Picks. The number is their ranking on MLB Pipeline. Any one of these would be a good selection for the Cubs as they have the 20th pick in the round.
19. Cole Wilcox, RHP, HS (Ga.)
23. Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS (Ga.)
35. Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
40. Mike Siani, OF, HS (Pa.)
43. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, HS (Texas)
48. Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
51. Tristan Pompey, OF, Kentucky
55. Nander De Sedas, SS, HS (Fla.)
60. Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
63. Slade Cecconi, RHP, HS (Fla.)

Day Two Preview: A Lot Ins, Outs, What Have Yous…

By Todd Johnson

Day two of the draft finds the Cubs making eight selections in rounds three through ten. The Cubs will make the 20th pick in the third round and the 24th pick in every room there after, starting at 128.

I will start live blogging about noon and the Cubs should make their first pick around 12:20 pm.

Each round should take about a half an hour leaving me plenty of time to get a profile and a card made. I already have a photo album started on the Facebook page and I’ll be adding to it as the day goes on.

What to Look for on Day Two

There are a lot of big names left like Cole Wilcox and Kumar Rocker, Blaine Knight, Mike Siani, and Tristan Beck.

The most common strategy is to pick up a few more well-known players in the third through fifth rounds. For college seniors, they become the order of the day in rounds 8 to 10.

Two players I would like to see the Cubs take today are catcher Nick Gatewood from Georgia state and senior David Lebron from the University of Tampa.

I love Gatewood’s hitting profile and his massive forearms. I don’t know he’ll stick a catcher, but the bat plays pretty much anywhere.

As for Lebron, he has a way of missing bats and a lot of them. I could see him in a relief role or as a starter. But his biggest asset is he is excellent at commanding three pitches for strikes.

It’ll be interesting to see who the Cubs get.

Here are yesterday’s recaps: Nico Hoerner, Round Two