MLB Draft

The Weekly – Tyler Alamo, Baseball America Lists, and a Busy Week Ahead

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Sometimes, the games don’t seem so important.

Cubs Prospect Tyler Alamo was one of those in attendance last week at the shooting in Las Vegas. Tim Huwe (@tim815) first reported on this a couple of days ago. Included in Tim’s article was a link to an interview where Alamo recounts the harrowing events of that night including the loss of his friends.

MiLB News
Felix Pena was DFA’d this week to make room for pitcher Luke Farrell, son of Red Sox Manager John Farrell and brother of South Bend Hitting Coach Jeremy Farrell. Farrell appeared in nine games for the Reds last summer and had a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 IP, all in relief.

At fall instructs, the Cubs prospects are playing sim games but with pitching machines. Although, Koji Uehara, on a rehab assignment, did face a few batters.

The Arizona Fall League begins play on Tuesday. The Mesa Solar Sox have 7 Cubs on the roster: Relievers Pedro Araujo and Jake Stinnett, starter Alec Mills, catcher Ian Rice, infielders David Bote and Jason Vosler, and outfielder Charcer Burks. Their schedule goes through mid-November. I will try and keep up with their performances every Sunday.

Baseball America Offseason Prospect Lists

Baseball America has been publishing their top 20 prospects in each minor league the past couple of weeks. In the first week, Victor Caratini made it in the Pacific Coast League. And last week, Adbert Alzolay made it for the Carolina League. This week saw a large number of prospects make it for the Midwest League and the Northwest League. The problem was not all the prospects are still with the franchise. In the Midwest League, Isaac Paredes came in at number nine and Dylan Cease at number 11. No current South Bend Cub made the list.

Card made from a photo by Jared Ravich
For the Eugene Emeralds, the Cubs hit the motherlode. Jose Albertos was ranked number four, Aramis Ademan came in at number eight, and Miguel Amaya was number 16. None of those three selections were surprising. However, at number nine, pitcher Javier Assad was a stunning selection as BA’s Michael Lananna praised Assad’s improving arsenal.

On Thursday, the Arizona League post was published. It’s not surprising that Nelson Velasquez was on the list. However, he was ranked at number 20. He is still a bit raw, but he still does have a lot of upside and room for improvement in his game.

The DSL list should be published this next week. It will be interesting to see if any young Cubs make it.

I think what the six lists do show is that the Cubs are not devoid of talent. There may not be a lot of prospects at the top of each league, but the Cubs do have several players who could be on their way up the lists.

Top 20 Chat Post

There was an interesting question in the Northwest League chat that accompanied the post. A Cub fan from Pasadena California asked about whether the Cubs should be concerned about Brendon Little’s performance in the Northwest League. Here is the response to that question:

Michael Lananna: Mildly concerned, but  don’t press the panic button yet. He’s the same guy. His control was erratic throughout his college career, and that’s still going to remain his biggest hurdle to the next level. This summer was just a small snapshot of that, and I’m sure the Cubs will work with him on his strike throwing going forward. He’s still an exciting left handed arm with power stuff.

Coming Up This Week at Cubs Central

I have three posts scheduled to be published in between playoff recaps over the next five days. The Cards of the Year post should be out Monday. Later in the week, Shohei Otani and his impending free agency gets previewed. Part 2 of the State of the Cubs MiLB System will hit the Internet as well at some point in the next five days.

A Mock Draft Already?
Baseball America also posted their first mock draft for 2018. I was surprised to see that they had the Cubs selecting wiry high school pitcher Cole Wilcox at 24 considering that OF Travis Swaggerty from South Alabama was taken at number 25, I would’ve preferred the Cubs have gone with the college outfielder rather than the high school pitcher. Then again, it was only a mock draft but it is interesting to see where players are falling now and then compare that to a few months from now.

 

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The Weekly: Division Champs, Adbert Gets Props, and BA Drops Draft Lists

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By Todd Johnson


Somehow, the Cubs did it! You can insert any cliché you want but when the season was on the line, they came through winning 15 of their last 18 games. Every year is going to be difficult and the pressure the Cubs have been under might lessen in the playoffs as the Cubs have basically been in playoff mode most of the past two months.

One key to winning the division this year was the Cubs went 14-5 against the Cardinals in 2017. The Cubs literally knocked the Cardinals out of the division race, and then, for good measure, out of the wild-card race…in St. Louis.

Don’t think for a minute that either the Brewers or the Cardinals are going to be easy pickings next year. The Brewers have more high-end talent coming from the minors while the Cardinals have more MLB ready talent at AAA Memphis. It will make for an exciting few years as Pittsburgh is also close to developing some top of the rotation pitching talent. Add in the fact that Cincinnati has some quality hitters like Nick Senzel coming and you have a very competitive division. For the next four years, the Cubs will have their for hitting core together and will just need to find quality pitching before most of their young high profile arms are ready in 2019/20.

Rotation News
Mike Montgomery will start today giving Jake Arrieta more time off to get ready for the postseason. Arrieta is scheduled to pitch a sim game on Wednesday against Jose Quintana. No sooner than I posted my thoughts about the possible rotation on Friday did things change as Quintana gave up 4 runs and the news about Arrieta broke. Then, yesterday, Jon Lester looked “smoove” going 5 IP and striking out 7. So, now it is down to Hendricks and Lester in games 1 and 2.

MiLB News
Baseball America began releasing their top 20 prospects in each of the minor leagues over a week ago. This week, Adbert Alzolay made the Carolina League’s Top 20 prospects at #17. In the AA Southern League, the Cubs did not have a prospect make the top 20 list from the Tennessee Smokies. Hopefully, the Midwest League, Northwest League, and the Arizona Rookie League lists will be out next week and will contain some Cubs.

When it comes to fall instructs, I’m not getting a lot of information this year. Even the scouts and talent evaluator’s that I follow are pretty quiet on Twitter as the Cubs are not playing games against other teams.  Yesterday, on The Cub Reporter, I did read that outfielder Luis Ayala  is now switch hitting. 

Draft Info
As I planned on what to do this off-season for the website, I didn’t really have a lot of ideas about content concerning the draft. Most of my ideas were about prospects moving up a level and ranking the position players. However, I began to think about the draft this week when Baseball America published two articles about the 2018 draft.
BA Top 50 for High School
BA Top 50 for College

Even after reading those two articles and clicking on a few names, I still don’t have a lot of plans. When January gets closer and baseball season gets geared up, I might do some digging on some names.

Meanwhile…. at Cubs Central
On Tuesday, I will publish my September Cards of the Month post. This will be the first time that I’ve done a post for that month. There are a lot of  very good cards coming. On Thursday, I will have part one of my Top MiLB Storylines of 2018” coming out. 

My Other Writing on the Web
Cubs Insider
Fall Instructs Prospects to Watch

Card of the Week

Card made from a photo by Freek Bouw/27 Outs Baseball.com

The Weekly: Theo Puts Out Some Flames, Draft Signing, Promotions

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By Todd Johnson

The first half of the major league season concludes today. With an underwhelming record of 43-44, the Cubs are not in a free fall, but Theo Epstein was everywhere this week commenting on the state of the Cubs. While not necessarily damage control, it sure came across as such. Whether it was a press junk Thursday or appearing on Speigel and Parkins on the Score on Friday, Theo put forth the company line.

Here are a few excerpts from the two days.

  • To pull ourselves out of it, we just need to play better.
  • Look, if we can improve the club through trade, we will, but our biggest fixes are inside the clubhouse. This is a team that’s largely the same club that won 200 games, averaged 100 wins a year over the last two years.
  • There’s not going to be a fundamental shift in the player personnel that we have. We like our club. We don’t like the way we’ve played to date.
  • Guys need to continue the growth they’ve shown in previous years and get ourselves out of some of the disappointing performances that we’ve had so far. It’s as simple as that. The answer is not going to be with some crazy trades.

What does bode well for the Cubs in the second half is the Strength of Schedule. The Cubs have 74 games left to play after today. It is not a very strong schedule. Iin fact, in the second half, the Cubs only play teams with a +.500 record 21 times. 6 vs D’Backs, 10 vs Brewers, 3 vs the Nats, and 2 against the Rays. That’s just 3 games in July, 9 in August, and 9 in September. That is hopeful that the Cubs can make a run at both the Brewers and the Rockies.

July Series: Orioles, Braves, Cardinals, White Sox, Brewers

August Series: D’Backs, Nationals, Giants, D’Backs, Reds, Blue Jays, Reds, Phillies, Pirates, Braves

September: Braves, Pirates, Brewers, Mets, Cardinals, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Reds


Promotions and Movement
There were several minor league roster changes this week and I expect there to be even more next week as draft picks are assigned to a club. By rule, after the ink has dried, the Cubs have only 15 days to put the new Cub with a team.

To Iowa – P Jen-Ho Tseng, reliever Justin Hancock

To Tennessee – P Adbert Alzolay, P Zach Hedges

To Myrtle Beach – P Duncan Robinson, 3B Adonis Paula

To South Bend – 3B/1B/OF Joe Martarano for a few days, IF Austin Upshaw, C Tyler Payne, DJ Wilson

To Eugene – RP Casey Ryan. RP Brian Glowicki, RP Jacob Steffens, OF Brandon Hughes, 3B Austin Filiere, C Michael Cruz, 2B Jared Young, and IF Joe Martarano is back after a few days

More happenings will be coming this week as draft picks finish mini-camp.


The Draft Signing Period Ends

The Cubs officially signed a staggering 29 picks, the most in the Theo Era. The Cubs were able to ink first rounder Alex Lange, 6th round pitcher Jeremiah Estrada, and young Puerto Rican OF Nelson Velazquez on the last day. Here is the official list and who they signed are in bold. Later this week, I will be back with a post about who is where and how they are doing.

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Other Posts Coming up this week on Cubs Central
Jose Albertos Debut in Eugene
Draft Pick Assignments
State of the Cubs Post: Dissecting Theo’s Remarks
Dylan Cease Review
A Top 21 List without Caratini

Around the Minors This Week
The Cubs named Thomas Hatch and Victor Caratini as the June Pitcher and Player of the Month. As a result, my streak of correctly matching with the Cubs ends. I had Bijan Rademacher as my hitter. 

Iowa: 3-4; 38-48 –  The bats went a bit silent this week. I did see the new guy, Carasiti, close. He looks like he could help as he throws in the mid-90s.  

Tennessee: 4-4; 9-7 – Preston Morrison had a great start this week and looks to have righted his ship. Can’t wait to see Adbert at this level.

Myrtle Beach: 3-4; 6-10 – Eddy Martinez and Matt Rose are having great months and Dakota Mekkes still has not allowed an earned run at high A. The starting pitching that was so dominant in June has fallen off this month.

South Bend: 5-2; 7-10 – They look to be turning it around. The bats are waking up and Tyson Miller had his best outing of the year in a spot start against Dayton when he K’d 7. Draft pick Austin Usphaw looks like the real deal. If they can improve their defense and get somee stability in the bullpen, they could go on a run.

Eugene: 2-5 ; 13-11 – Tied for First
Lots of new bodies in town and it could change things as players now compete for playing time. Jhonny Bethencourt is having a nice run now in the leadoff spot and Jared Young is much bigger and better that I thought. He has a nice smooth stroke. I got to see Jake Steffens make his debut on Saturday in relief. He throws downhill quite a bit. He will be tough to square up. 
Manuel Rodriguez came in throwing 96 last night in relief. He struck out 9 guys in two games in relief this week. A

Mesa: 2-3; 5-7 – Not a good week for the bats to quiet down. The starting pitching is still a work in progress. Carson Sands had another good start in his rehab. 

DSL 1: 5-2; 15-16 – They are finally getting some good starting pitching and had a good week.

DSL 2: 4-2; 16-15 – Alonso Gaitan continues to rake as this squad is now putting up some crooked numbers every day.

Players of the Week

Card of the Week

My Other Stuff on the Web
BP Wrigleyville:
Trent Giambrone Interview Part One
Last Sunday’s Game Recap

Cubs Insider:
Arizona Fall League and Rule V Draft
June Affiliate Review
Isaac Paredes

 

The Weekly: Good News Around the System and Draft Signings

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By Todd Johnson

Even though there are now eight minor league games a day, it doesn’t seem like much is happening. The draft is complete, the second half began, and all the rookie and short season leagues are in high gear. Yet, here I sit wondering what to write about for the next week. There are, however, good things happening throughout the Cubs system. Here are 14 of them.

1. Trent Giambrone is on fire. He’s hitting .361 with 4 HRs and 8 RBI over his last ten games.
2. Thomas Hatch has allowed one earned run all month. That calculates to a 0.33 ERA.
3. Isaac Paredes, all of 18-years-old, has figured it out at South Bend. He’s hitting .316 and slugging .526 as a shortstop this month.
4. Catcher Alberto Mineo looks to have mastered South Bend. He’s hitting at .323 clip this month.
5. I thought Vimael Machin was going to be a utility/organizational player this year. He has proved me wrong. He is hitting .311 in June and .289 on the year.
6. Justin Steele’s ERA for just May was 1.63. In June, it is 1.62.
7. Charcer Burks is the most unheralded Cub prospect going. He’s hitting .353 for the month and .309 on the year. And, he is a gold glove defender.
8. Victor Caratini’s monthly averages this year are .312, .366, and .333.
9. Bijan Radmacher is on a tear this month. He’s hitting .375 with a .455 OBP
10. Eugene’s Gustavo Polanco has everyone beat in his first 9 games. He’s crushing it at a .486 clip. His OPS is a staggering 1.311.
11. Joe Martarano might be better than I thought. After missing most of 2 years while focusing on football, he’s going at it. He has a .385 average and a .455 OBP. I really like his at-bats. Even when he makes an out, he works counts and lays off stuff out of the zone.
12. Yapson Gomez is the bomb out of the pen for Eugene. He threw 6.1 IP this week and struckout 8.
13. I watched Alex Lange pitch for LSU on Friday. He’s the real deal. He’s not a MLB #1 starter, but he and his curve will do just fine.
14. Carson Sands made his first start of the year in Mesa last night. He had elbow surgery in the off-season to remove elbow splints. He went three scoreless with 6 GB outs.

Draft Signings: 17 to date
The MLB Draft was moved back a bit this year. As a result, draft picks who had normally signed and started playing short season ball are just now getting their physicals. It looks like the Cubs could sign as many as 28-30 players this year.

Rounds 1-10: LHP Brendon Little, RHP Cory Abbott, RHP Keegan Thompson, RHP Erich Uelmen, LHP Ricky Tyler Thomas, 3B/1B/OF Austin Filiere, OF Chris Carrier, and RHP Brian Glowicki

Rounds 11-20: RHP Casey Ryan, RHP Brendan King, RHP Peyton Remy,

Rounds 21-30: RHP Sean Barry, RHP Mitch Stophel, RHP Jake Steffens, RHP Braxton Light, and 2B Cam Balego

Rounds 31-40: IF Ramsey Romano

They should game begin action later this week, most likely in Mesa. The more advanced college players will go to Eugene. There are a few others rumored to be signed, but their physicals must be completed before the signing becomes official. The deadline day to sign is July 15 at 4 PM,  CDST.

Promotion Commotion
Daniel Spingola made his way to Tennessee this week. Conor Myers is back with Myrtle Beach after being with Eugene for the past week.

Around the Minors


Iowa: 3-3; 32-43 – This starting pitching thing will hopefully straighten itself out in the next couple of weeks. Zach Hedges was much better in his second start. He will adjust.

Tennessee: 0-3; 0-3 – The second half got off to a rough start with a tropical storm and then losing both ends of a double header. Trevor Clifton was roughed up in his worst start of the year.

Myrtle Beach: 1-2; 1-2 – Going into Friday’s start, all five starting pitchers had ERAs under 3.18 for the month. Then Ryan Kellogg was uncharacteristically shelled by Down East. Michael Rucker was dominant last night in 5 IP before a rain delay ended his start after only 56 pitches.

South Bend: 1-2; 1-2 – First game back and Zack Short hit a HR. Manny Rondon thn had his best start of the year Thursday and Jose Paulino moved to the bullpen this half. I will have to keep an eye on that rotation. Bryan Hudson was excellent last night. Dylan Cease should be coming up.

Eugene – 3-3; 5-5 – Gustavo Polanco es en fuego and Yapson Gomez has been money in the pen. And who is Jhon Romero (Yes, that’s how he spells it)? 2B Rafael Narea seems to have taken off since he was moved to the leadoff spot. He went 3 for 4 with 2 BBs last night. He’s batting .344 with a .488 OBP.

Mesa:  1-0; 1-0 – Opening day went very well except for that one part where they batted out of order. However, Delvin Zinn did well (2-5) as did Rafael Mejia (3-4, HR). Carson Sands had 1 K in his 3 innings.

DSL 1: 1-4; 5-13 – It was a rough week. Let’s leave it at that.

DSL 2: 2-3; 8-10 – This team has some serious starting pitching but can’t score a lot of runs.


Players of the Week

Card of the Week

My Other Cubs Articles on the Web from this Week

BP Wrigleyville: Thomas Hatch

Cubs Insider: Alex Lange

Alex Lange Thundered Away at Oregon State and Looked Amazing

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By Todd Johnson

Photo – Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

 

About a year ago, I sat down and watched recent Cubs draft pick Thomas Hatch of Oklahoma State throw in the College World Series. Today, I did the same with Alex Lange. The Cubs selected Lange with the 30th selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. The 6’3” 197 lb. right hander from Louisiana State University (LSU) faced off against Oregon State, the number one team in the nation. For LSU, it was win or go home. For Lange, he did not disappoint.

In 7.1 IP, Lange looked dominant at times, frustrated, and even vulnerable at one point. He struck out 8, allowed one run, but walked 4 (3 in one inning) while only giving up only 2 doubles on the day. He needed 115 pitches to get it done as his team came away with a 3-1 victory. I came away impressed, extremely impressed in fact, with Lange.

Strengths
Extra plus curve (MLB ready)
Fastball Command
Repeats delivery well
Hitters were 0-20 with the bases loaded against him

Areas of Concern
Effort in Delivery
Pitching from the stretch
Third pitch

From a technical standpoint, he does have some effort in his delivery. He has a medium leg kick that brings his knee and thigh perpendicular to his waist. He comes right over the top at about a 7/8 arm slot. The effort comes on his extension of his arm as it comes forward. He did pitch fairly quickly and did not waste time in between pitches. He just gets the ball, nods his head, and throws. He sat 91 most of the day, topping out at 93 a few times. On his 112th pitch, he reached back and got it up to 93 for his 8th K of the day.

For the first two innings, he looked extremely sharp. Using only 23 pitches, he moved the ball around the zone quite a bit. A pop up here, a ground out there, and 2 Ks later, the third inning awaited.

I think rough best describes Lange’s performance in the third inning. He threw a changeup for the first time. It was not pretty. Otherwise, he looked normal as he was sitting 93 to begin the inning. After a strikeout to start the inning, he gave up a double and three walks. Luckily, Lange was able to pitch around his walks, but he did so giving up one run.

The troubles started after a double and Lange was forced to go to the stretch. He did not look prepared to do so. He fell behind the first hitter 2-0. He was throwing high, then wide. It was almost as if his release point was way off. To me, he appeared to be flying open. His arm was not keeping up with the rest of his body in the delivery and the ball sailed. It took him 31 pitches to survive the inning.

Lange sat at 56 pitches after three innings. I don’t know who that pitcher was in the third, but he did not show up the rest of the day. The next four innings looked like it was a man against boys. From the windup, he shut down the vaunted #1 team in the nation.

Oregon State never did pull a ball for a hit all day. In fact, both hits were from the left and sliced down the left field line. If anybody did pull the ball, it was a ground out.

Two things impressed me a lot in Lange’s 4.1 inning run.
1. He began to paint the outside corner with fastball after fastball. It was pinpoint command and if a hitter tried to go get it, they could not do much with it.
2. His curved reminded me of Josh Beckett’s. It has that classic 12-6 roll of the table look. I don’t know how a hitter can get to it as the break is down and deep. All they could do is to pound it into the dirt as the angle of descent is steep.

And I was not the only one impressed on the day. Baseball America’s Michael Lananna echoed my sentiments on Lange’s performance.

After 7 innings, Lange had thrown 112 pitches. I was not surprised he came back out in the 8th, but I was cringing the whole time. He got the first batter to ground out and he was lifted. I was quite relieved.

Overall, I think once he signs, he will not pitch the rest of the year. He’s over 120 IP now. Lange will probably do the “Hatch” thing and travel around with the team as a non-playing member of the team to get acclimated to the MiLB lifestyle.

As for next year, I am sure the Cubs will make a few adjustments to his delivery and they could even include a slide step as he does have a bit of a leg kick even in the stretch. He won’t be much different. I don’t think it should take him long next year to move either. He’s likely to be a #3 or #4 type starter very quickly. His curve is a thing of beauty. The Cubs got a good one in Lange.

The Weekly – The Pelicans Win Big, Dillon Maples, and Eugene Debuts

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By Todd Johnson

There is a lot of big news to get to this week…

First, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans clinched a playoff spot by winning the first half Southern Division title in the Carolina League, The Pelicans will now have an opportunity to win their third Mills Cup Championship in a row! Sadly, Tennessee and South Bend fell short in their aspirations to make it to the playoffs when both were eliminated on Friday night.

The MLB Draft took place this week and the Cubs selected 41 players including two pitchers in the first round in lefty Brendon Little and Alex Lange. The key now will be to sign between 25-30 of those picks. The deadline looks to be July 15.

EUGENE EMERALDS DEBUT
The Eugene Emeralds opened up their season on Thursday night. They have a couple of elite prospects in catcher Miguel Amaya, who threw out three runners in his first game, and Aramis Ademan, a shortstop who is a defensive stalwart. In addition, 2016 5th round pick Bailey Clark is also on board to anchor the rotation. He had a rough first inning last night before settling in. He should be in South Bend before too long.

This is an extremely young team that needs game experience. I watched most of the first half of each game this week and it is clear that Miguel Amaya is going to be a star. The kid has it all ready to go on defense. On offense, he has a nice inside-out swing that reminds me of Gleyber Torres. In the next two weeks, this roster will change quite a bit as the draft picks come in. Look to see 2B Jared Young, 3B Austin Filiere, OF Chris Carrier, 1B Austin Young, and OFs Brandon Hughes and Chris Singleton, to name a few. There will be several pitchers who arrive in early July.

DILLON MAPLES AND HIS CURVE
I saw one of the best performances all season on Thursday night. Reliever Dillon Maples came into the game for the Smokies in the top of the ninth to close the game. From pitch one, it was evident he did not have command of his fastball. He hit the first batter. The, on cue, Maples began relying almost exclusively on his curve. It is a deadly MLB ready pitch for him. He struck out the next two batters in humiliating fashion, went back to the fastball again and walked a batter. Up came Nick Gordon, one of the top prospects in the game. Maples struck him and made Gordon like silly trying to hit the curve. It was a breathtaking display that showed me that Maples could make it to the majors sooner than we think.

PROMOTION NEWS
After the All-Star games on Tuesday, get ready for several promotions. Zach Hedges was sent from AA to AAA this week. His debut was a bit rough as he gave up 6 runs in 2 innings before settling down. Expect to see a few names move up in the next ten days. It won’t be a lot, just a few.

UPCOMING ARTICLES

  • I finally decided to keep the baseball cards housed on Facebook. It is just easier and faster to load over there. On the Cards page above, I will be putting just the Cards of the Month.
  • Tomorrow, the first half All-Star Team will be published
  • Over at BP Wrigleyville, I have an update on Thomas Hatch’s amazing June
  • On Tuesday, I have some breakout prospects to watch for in the second half
  • Then, on Wednesday, I will be publishing a profile on Jesse Hodges.
  • I will have a second half preview of the major affiliates on Thursday
  • Friday’s post examines the DSL teams
  • On Saturday, I have a preview of the Mesa team

Players of the Week

Card of the Week

My Posts on Other Sites This Week
Cubs Insider
Draft Preview
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Pelicans Win

BP Wrigleyville
Adbert Alzolay
Draft Recap

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