10 Things I Think – The June Edition

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  1. The Cubs are back in the wild card spot after falling out of the position for a week. Winners of four of their last six, the Cubs are using timely hitting, some quality starts, and a good bullpen to pull out wins. It hasn’t been pretty at times as the offense has failed to score runs early in games, but they have scored when they needed to.
  2. The bullpen has been lights out in June with a 1.89 ERA. Still, the front office is concerned. The Cubs went out and signed free agent Rafael Soriano to a minor league deal. I am OK with that decision. Let him earn his way back to the big leagues. There have been rumblings that the Cubs are also interested in current Phillies closer Johnathan Papelbon. I am not a fan of his, but he is pitching well this year. I am also not in favor of giving up of prospects to get him.
  3. The Cubs will be playing some interleague games in Cleveland and Minnesota. Like Papelbon rumblings, the Twitterverse has been afire with the talk of bringing up Kyle Schwarber or Dan Vogelbach to DH in those games. I don’t think it’s worth it to eat up a year of either player’s service time for just five games. If the Cubs are in the mix for a division championship, then that is a different discussion. But for a wild spot, I don’t think it would be worth it.
  4. Turner 78The Fourth Starter – Tsuyoshi Wada’s short outing and second poor start in a row have many Cub fans concerned. Manager Joe Maddon thinks Wada’s problems are all mental. Picking are slim in the Cubs system are slim but there are some good signs about who could replace him. Jacob Turner began his rehab in Tennessee. He has made two starts and is up to about 54 pitches. He still has a ways to go. In addition, Top 10 Cubs prospect Pierce Johnson made his season debut, also for Tennessee going three innings without a run. Dallas Beeler finally had a good start at Iowa and Donn Roach and his 2.07 ERA could even get a crack. I don’t think the Cubs are going after a pitcher here in the next 6 weeks as the price in prospects is just too high.
  5. First Half Standings – The minor leagues are just about done with the first half of the standings. It looks like only Myrtle Beach is going to qualify for the playoffs. Tennessee is 3 games behind and have a tough road ahead of them. Iowa is 7.5 games but four games above .500. South Bend, after a disastrous road trip in mid to late May is out of the running at 26-33 despite having a very talented team.
  6. All-Star Season – South Bend has five All-Stars in Jeremy Null, James Farris, Gleyber Torres, Cael Brockmeyer, and Charcer Burks. The Smokies topped them with seven All-Stars in Schwarber, Vogelbach, Pena, Bautista, Black, PJ Francescon, and Wilson Contreras. Myrtle Beach garnered three players in the classic midsummer game with Mark Zagunis, Duane Underwood, and Johnathan Martinez.
  7. happ 65 draftThe Eugene Emeralds join the Cubs family when they begin play on Thursday June 18. Their roster will be announced next week but should include such high profile players as Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Eloy Jimenez, Joey Martarano, Ho-Young Son, and Kevonte Mitchell. It will also include some recent draftees.
  8. The Arizona Rookie League starts the week after on June 21 and will include a lot of draftees from the past two classes. Big names would include Bryan Hudson, Ryan Kellogg, Preston Morrison, and Casey Bloomquist in short starts and position players DJ Wilson, and Matt Rose.
  9. The Cubs Top Prospect List on MLB.com will change quite a bit in the next month as draftees and International Free Agents are added. Some names that might be added to the list include draftees Ian Happ, Donnie Dewees, and Bryan Hudson; and current players Chesny Young, Ryan Williams, Wilson Contreras, and Cael Brockmeyer. Some players currently on the list who might fall off could be Rob Zastryzny, Paul Blackburn, Daniel Lockhart, Erick Jokisch, Bijan Rademacher, and Ivan Pineyro. It should be an interesting list to see. I think Happ could get as high as 10 or 11.
  10. Javy Baez – He’s coming back, but not anytime soon. I say by the end of July or middle of August the young kid (he’s still only 22) will be in the lineup. Maybe, he’ll be at third, short, or second, but he will get a second chance.

Minor League Players of the Week
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Pitcher – Tyler Skulina –Myrtle Beach – 7 innings, 7 Ks, and no runs allowed for Myrtle Beach last night. I watch the game and he was throwing free and easy topping out at 94, but most of the time, he hugged 92 and 93. He is not the same pitcher he was at Kane County and seems ripe for a promotion during the second half. After a 7+ ERA in April, Skulina’s ERA the past six weeks is under 2 and at 3.27 despite a 2-4 record.

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HitterChesny Young – Myrtle Beach – Chesny hit usual .380 on the week. It’s what he does, it’s who he is. He just hits. Since being moved from Myrtle Beach a little over a month ago, Young has hit .368 and has been moved around the diamond to allow Daniel Lockhart to hit second. Young has played 2B, SS, 3B, LF, and RF. It doesn’t seem to be bothering his hitting at all.

Coming Soon
Promotions, International Free Agency, and the Cubs are contenders – playing games that matter after July 1.

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Analyzing the Cubs 2015 Draft – A Lot of Questions to Be Answered

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You can’t grade a draft class for a long time afterwards. You need to see how many players make it to the big leagues and for that to happen, a lot of development has to take place and a lot of time has to pass. For hitters, those that make it take 3-5 years, while pitchers take 5-7. Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber are exceptions to that rule. I think this year’s number one pick, Ian Happ, could make it fast, too; just not as fast as Bryant did and it looks like Kyle Schwarber is going to.

Ian-Happ

This year’s draft class did not have a lot of strong players, especially hitters at the college level. The Cubs arguably got two of the best hitters in Ian Happ and Tommy Dewees. The more I read and hear about them, the more I like. Here is Happ on the Kap and Haugh show this morning.
http://player.theplatform.com/p/VHZQDC/chicago/embed/feed/Cubs/select/NrSlZEdinXGg?params=zone%3Dcubs&autoPlay=true&playAll=true
I came away really impressed by the young ballplayer. I know he is a good hitter, but is he a great one? I know scouts derailed against his fielding, but that can be improved. The thing to remember about Happ is that he was the only star on a poor team at Cincinnati. In spite of that, the switch hitting Happ hit for high numbers. After a while, I began to think what could he do if he was surrounded by other good players? I really think he could start out at South Bend. I don’t think he will, but it won’t take him or second round pick Donnie Dewees long to get there this summer.

The Cubs did well with the first two picks and continued to build on them the next two days by selecting players that throw left handed, hit left handed, control the strike zone, have the potential to hit for power, throw on a downhill plane, were closers in college, and possess some serious speed. As I began to classify the picks, I knew who I liked a lot, who I liked some, but there a lot of players who I am undecided because I have a lot of questions about their play. Most of those questions will be answered this summer after they sign and start playing ball in Eugene and Mesa, and a few in South Bend.

Who I Like a lot Who I like Undecided Hard to Sign
Ian Happ, Donnie Dewees, Bryan Hudson, David Berg, Craig Brooks, Matt Rose, Jake Kelzer, Scott Effross, John Cresto, Jared Cheek, Alex Bautista, *John Kilichowski  Ryan Kellogg, Casey Bloomquist, Preston Morrison, and Kyle Twomey Tyler Peitzmeier, Kyle Miller, John Williamson, PJ Higgins, Michael Foster,  Blake Headley, Vimael Machin, Angelo Amendolare, Marcus Mastrobuoni, Ian Rice, Tayler Payne, Daniel Spignola, MT Minacci, Cody Hawken, Donnie Cimino, Dominic DeRenzo DJ Wilson, Jared Padgett, Delvin Zinn, Fitz Stadler, Tayler Jones, Alonzo Jones, and Ryan Supple*
John Kilichowski

To be honest, I think the Cubs front office did the best they could in a weak draft. Out of all the drafts in the Theo era, this one, on the surface, has the least high end talent. However, time is on this draft’s side. There are a large number of picks that I like a lot and there are a lot of undecideds. It does remind of the 2012 draft. That draft is taking a long time to develop the talent.

kezler 14 2015The players I like a lot are a mix of big tall pitchers, speed, some power potential, and pitchers with closing and high stress bullpen roles. I like the fact that the Cubs basically took four closers in Brooks, Cheek, Effross, and Berg. Hudson and Kelzer are both 6’7″+. Throwing on that kind of plane is a distinct advantage at the next level (see Jeremy Null and the year he is having).

If the Cubs can snag John Kilichowski, that would be a great steal. The young lefty comes from a premium program and could blossom as a pro after playing behind Fullmer, Buehler, and Ferguson in college.

I really think Brooks and Bautista could surprise some people and be very good minor league players the next two years with their power and plate discipline. In fact, I think Bautista is this year’s breakout player like Kevonte Mitchell was in 2014.

I like Twomey and Kellogg for their track records as experienced starters in top programs. The same could be said of Preston Morrison but I am not sure of his delivery and how that will play at the next level. All three should sail through short season ball (if they throw this year) and be tested at South Bend next year.

The players I put in the undecided column I just don’t know that much about them and their skills. Casey Bloomquist might be one who surprises me the most and quickly to moves to the left on the table. Here he is describing his outing after beating a top notch program UC Santa Barbara.

I would love to see the Cubs sign all the players in the “Hard to Sign” column, but that is just not feasible as those young players would command near first or second round money to break their college signings. It would be nice to see the speed of Zinn, Alonzo Jones, and Wilson. But here’s the thing: DJ Wilson might be a hard sign. If he doesn’t sign and goes to Vandy, that opens up that money to someone else. I would love to ink Stadler, who like Hudson and Kelzler, is another big and tall pitcher.

I think the Cubs front office did the best they could with the draft. However, they did not take the best player available every time. They took players they think they can sign and develop. They still stick to taking the best bat available the first few rounds, but once round 7 got here, the BPA Strategy went out the window early and often in this draft.

The draft in 2016 is loaded with high end talent. At the current pace the big league is playing, their top pick in next year’s draft will be a better talent than the number one pick this year. That’s how good and how scary that draft will be.

Next Week: Now that the draft is done, international free agency is a couple of weeks away.

 

Day 3 of the 2015 Draft – A Short Recap

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rose 75 draftI feel like I have spent most of yesterday on the road. It was only five hours, but that is a haul for me. Driving through Western Illinois and Southeast Iowa kept me busy all day. I had to sneak a peek every now and then at the draft but haven’t had much time until now to analyze what the Cubs did on day 3.

Overall, I think the Cubs drafted players they feel they can develop. And, they also selected several high profile prep names they gave little chance of signing in back half of the draft. Speed was a theme, high make up was a trait most of them have, and there were a lot of left handed hitters and pitchers selected.

Of the 30 picks on day 3, the Cubs will be doing well to sign 15 of the players. If they sign any of the prep stars, it will be a major bonus! As players sign the next two weeks, I will profile each signee. Most of these picks, save the relievers, will start out in the Arizona Rookie League once they sign.

Let’s start with who they drafted…


Matt Rose from Georgia State led off the day as the first pick in the 11th round. The big 3B/1B is recovering from TJS but hit 16 homers, is known as a patient hitter, and controls the zone.

There were four other names that stuck out to me for picks 11-20: Kyle Twomey, Scott Effross, John Cresto, and Jake Kelzer. Effross and Kelzer were both pitchers for Indiana. Kelzer is  another one of the 6’7″/6’8″ giant pitchers the Cubs are enamored with lately.  Effross was the closer and shold move quickly this year. Twomey was the most well known of the group pitching for USC. He pitches mostly to conttwomey draft 2015act – he does that really well. He could add a couple of ticks as he has some projection left.

Here is profile of Twomey from Arizona Phil:

COMMENT: Selected by Oakland A’s in 3rd round of 2012 draft but did not sign… 9-3 with a 2.87 ERA .255 OppBA, allowing 87 hits (only two HR) and 38/68 BB/K in 93.2 IP (16 GS) for Trojans in 2015… lefty workhorse features an upper 80’s two-seamer with plus-movement that can touch 91, an above-average change-up, and a below-average curve… Ranked 14th-best prospect in Cape Cod League by Baseball America in 2014…

Cresto is unique pick because he was drafted high enough for the Cubs to sway his commitment to Santa Clara. He was also a teammate of first rounder Brady Aiken.

I expect most of these first ten to be signed quickly and assigned to Arizona Rookie League. As a reliever, Effross has a chance to move up quickly this year as his arm has little wear and tear.

What I liked about the second ten picks is that there are some high profile names in Jared Padgett, Delvin Zinn, and Sutton Whiting. Cheek was Georgia’s closer and should do well as a reliever. Whiting had a good glove for Louisville and the Cubs picked up 3 catchers who are now seeming to stockpile catchers.

Padgett, to me, was the fourth best pick out of 40 the Cubs selected. The odds of signing the young, projectable lefty is slim as it is with Zinn, a young, fast shortstop.

Here is an analysis on Padgett and what the Cubs might be missing from The Cub Reporter:

COMMENT: Raw athletic talent who will require time to develop… two-pitch pitcher at this point… best pitch is spike-curve… also throws fastball that sits at 90-91 MPH and touches 94, but he lacks command of the heater…

To be honest, most of these players are signable, too, except for Padgett and Zinn. The Cubs picked more college seniors in this group.

TOP SURPRISE PICK: Bautista, to me, might be the most surprising pick to click because of combination of speed and power, albeit at the NAIA level.

These last ten picks are unique because they are mostly hard to sign and highly thought of prep players. If they sign one of Stadler, Supple, Hawken, and Al Jones, that just one signing becomes a steal! They wont get Dylan Cease money ($1.5 million), but more like Trevor Clifton money ($375,000).

Al Jones is better known as Alonzo and his speed is comparable to that of Billy Hamilton’s!

Here is a nice video profile on Supple:

Spignola was drafted last year by the Cubs and did not sign. After a poor senior season at Georgia Tech, the athletic outfielder will likely sign – he has no choice.

The biggest sleeper of the section is John Kilichowski, a draft eligible sophomore from Vanderbilt. At 6’5″ and 217 pounds, the young lefty could be a steal as he thought to be a stalwart in the rotation next year with Vandy losing Fullmer, Buehler, and Ferguson earlier in the draft.

The Cubs will likely sign 3-4 from this group with Spignola and Cimino the most likely. Tayler Jones, of Gonzaga, is likely to go back to school to develop his burgeoning power stroke.

Cubs 2015 Draft: Day Two – Rounds 3-10

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The Cubs did not drift at all from their draft strategy on Day Two of the 2015 MLB Draft. Just like previous years, the Cubs went after pitching, pitching, and more pitching – and not just any pitching – left handed and senior pitching. It began with third round giant lefty Bryan Hudson and continued through the  ninth round pick,  Tyler Pietzmeier.

The Cubs also stocked up on another center fielder in speedster DJ Wilson out of Canton, Ohio. The Cubs began dipping into the college ranks for pitching with lefty Ryan Kellogg in round 5 and side-arming reliever David Berg in round 6. Also, starting in round 6, the Cubs began selecting senior after senior in order to save some money (seniors have no bargaining leverage and the Cubs can sign them for as little as $10,000).

Maybe the strategy it is to sign Hudson, maybe D.J. Wilson or it could be to get Cole Sands or Isiah Gilliam, we shall see. High profile prep names like pitchers Donny Everett, Joe DeMers, and Kyle Molnar are still out there. On Day three, the Cubs could try and snag one in Rounds 11-15.


Third Round – Bryan Hudson – LHP – Alton HS, Alton, Illinois

hudson draft 20155 2

The first thing you notice about Hudson is his size – 6 foot 8 and he looks like he is all arms and legs at only 220 pounds. Jim Callis and Johnathan Mayo both talked his projection and that he could easily throw in the mid 90s in a couple of years with just a few more pounds.

Here is what Baseball America said about his skills:

He’s learned to leverage his size and has the body control to repeat his delivery, gaining confidence as the spring progressed. Hudson’s calling card is his hard breaking ball, a curveball that scrapes the low 80s. His arm action is clean and he throws plenty of strikes, especially for a tall pitcher, with a fastball consistently in the upper 80s that reaches 92-93 mph consistently. Hudson doesn’t throw a changeup yet, as he has dominated prep competition with just two pitches.

Here is an interview he did about the attention he received:

This is the MLB pre-draft video

He will likely be in Arizona in Rookie ball all summer.


Fourth Round – D.J. Wilson – Outfielder – Canton South HS – Canton, Ohio

wilson 2015 2

With their fourth selection, the Cubs got themselves another center fielder in D.J. Wilson of Canton, Ohio. A Vanderbilt recruit, Wilson is 5’8″ and 170 pounds and his game is all about speed.

MLB.com said this of him:

He uses a compact left-handed stroke to put the ball in play and use his quickness to beat out hits. His size and approach result in very little power, however, and he struggled at times against better competition on the showcase circuit last summer.

Wilson has all the ingredients to be a quality center fielder. He reads the ball well off the bat, covers plenty of ground, has average arm strength and makes accurate throws.

Like Hudson, Wilson will go to Arizona to spend this summer in rookie league if the Cubs can sign him.


Fifth Round – Ryan Kellogg – LHP – Arizona State

kellogg 65 2015

The Cubs went left-handed pitcher again. This time it was Ryan Kellogg from Arizona State. The 6’5″ lefty is known for pitching to contact but has solid numbers across the board when it comes to his pitches.

Here is MLB the predraft look

As a college starter, he will likely be used sparingly in the bullpen, if at all, in Arizona or Eugene.


Sixth Round – David Berg – RHP – University of California at Los Angeles

berg draft 2

The only thing I wondered heading into this round was whether the Cubs would keep the left handed theme going. The streak is broken with the Cubs taking RHP David Berg, a drop down pitcher. Both Callis and Mayo loved the pick. I like it. I like his intensity and specialty. He was selected in the 17th round by the Texas Rangers but did not sign.

Here is what Today’s Knuckleball says of Berg:

Earning Louisville Slugger first team All-American honors, Berg became the fourth UCLA pitcher, and third in the last five seasons, to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. A semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Berg went 7-1 with a 0.68 ERA (3rd in the nation) and 13 saves over 43 appearances (1st in the nation). The Covina, Calif. native recorded 65 strikeouts and eight walks in 66.2 innings, posting the nation’s eighth best strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.13/1). In Pac-12 play, Berg allowed just one earned run, posting a 5-0 record with 0.22 ERA and eight saves in 22 appearances.

A finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award and Dick Howser Trophy, Berg set the new NCAA record for career appearances at 175 and finished just four saves away from tying the NCAA record for career saves.

Here is a video by UCLA that tells his unique story

Withe Berg’s resume, and role in the bullpen, he might start out his Cub career at South Bend.


Seventh Round – Craig Brooks – RHP – Catawba College in North Carolina

brooks draft 3

The 5’11” and 185 pound senior got the Internet scrambling when the Cubs selected him in the seventh round.

Here is what his senior season was like according to the school’s athletic page:

For the season Brooks posted a 1.45 ERA with a 9-1 record. In 99 innings, he only allowed 54 hits and 34 walks for a .89 WHIP which placed him eighth nationally. His 158 strikeouts led the division and his 14.36 strikeouts per nine innings also topped the nation.

Brooks dominated opposition the entire season. Early in the year he threw a no-hitter against Brevard. In this final pitching performance for the Indians he struck out five of six batters against Cal Poly Pomona to earn the save which sent the Indians to the championship game.

Brooks will probably go to Arizona and begin his career as a reliever. He might have a shot to go to Eugene depending on how many innings he has thrown in 2015.


Eighth Round – Preston Morrison – Texas Christian University

morrison draft 2

The Cubs keep going with seniors. Morrison is a good one. Has good command, four year starter, not hit and miss stuff. Second team All-American and 2014 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. He’s a quality kid from a quality program that develops quality pro pitchers.

Here are his stats from the last four years.
morrison stats

The weird thing about Morrison is his arm slot – it is almost a side-arm in that he whips through the side of his body and the ball sneaks up on the hitter.

Morrison will start, just not this year. Because of his large workload at TCU, he will be used sparingly the rest of this  year.


Ninth Round – Tyler Peitzmeier – LHP – Cal State Fullerton
peitz draft 1
Tyler Peitzmeier is a closer and will be pitching in the College World Series soon. The lefty pitcher is known for his curve ball. He doesn’t have a big fastball, upper 80s, but he gets by on his breaking and off speed pitches.

Here is a report on him from The Baseball Draft Report

Cal State Fullerton SR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier is one of the country’s best relievers with the stuff (87-90 FB, plus CU) and deception to keep missing bats as a pro.

He does hide the ball well, but he also has a weird delivery as seen in this video.

Like Berg, Peitzmeier could start his career in South Bend.


Tenth Round – Vimael Machin – SS – VCU

machine draft 1

And the Cubs end their string of pitchers with the shortstop. Machin is a 5’11” patient hitter from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico who turned down the Padres in 2011 when San Diego picked him in the 29th round. This year he hit .317 with a .377 OBP.
Here he is hitting a homer in his junior year.

Machin is likely to start in the Arizona Rookie League before going to Eugene.

Cubs Take Another Hitter at 47 in Donnie Dewees

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Theo broke tradition and took outfielder Donnie Dewees out of North Florida in the second round on Monday night. Normally Epstein takes a hitter in the first round and a pitcher in the second: Not tonight.

The 6’0” 185 pound outfielder was outstanding in 2015. He hit .438 for the University of North Florida along with 15 HRs and 23 SB. He led all NCAA Division I hitters with 96 hits and ranked second in slugging.

dewees 2015 draftI really like Dewees for several reasons
1. Like Happ, he has an established hit tool
2. Hits gap to gap and spreads the ball around
3. Athletic
4. Great speed
5. Can play left and center
6. Good top of the order type hitter
7. Bats left and throws left
8. Already faced adversity with a wrist injury and missed all of the 2014 college season but came back to be an All-Star in the Cape Cod League that summer

Here is what Fan Graphs said of his skills:

Dewees has very good command of the strike zone and has shown tremendous aptitude in adjusting within games and even AB’s. While he has put up good power numbers this season (and notably in the Northwoods League in 2013), the swing is still geared more for hard contact and doubles/gap-to-gap power.

Dewees will likely make the Cubs Top 30 Prospect list in the 20s when the list is redone.
As for where he will play, like Happ, Dewees and his advanced hit tool should start at Eugene this month and go to South Bend in August.

The Cubs Take Ian Happ at Number Nine!

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happ 65 draftJust like every other year in the Theo Epstein Era, the Cubs went with what they think is the best bat in second baseman and outfielder Ian Happ of Cincinnati. The switch hitting Happ has a lot of experience as a hitter in college and in the Cape Cod League where hit .293 and .323 in 2013 and 2014. In addition, Happ had an OBP of .452 in 2014.

Happ’s bat plays better in the infield but not as much as an outfielder. In three years at Cincinnati he hit 11 HRs in his first two years combined and 14 this year. Questions remain about his defense. MLB.com explains:

Happ played mostly second base in 2013 and does have solid speed and arm strength, so a pro team could try him in the infield. But he lacks smooth infield actions, hasn’t played regularly on the dirt since his freshman year and fits best on an outfield corner.

However, in the Cape Cod League, he displayed some, but not much power with a wooden bat. He can hit, he can draw a walk, het gets on base, he has some speed, there is no doubt about that.

Baeball America says this of Happ:

At the plate, Happ has fewer questions. A switch-hitter, he shows excellent bat speed from both batters’ boxes. He projects as a plus hitter with average power, and he’s an above-average runner, though he needs refinement on the bases.

I could see Happ slide into the Top 15-20 on the Cubs Prospect list. He would likely start out this year in Eugene this summer. They start play next week. Then, I could see him moving quickly to South Bend this year and starting out next year in Myrtle Beach. From there, we will see how his power plays in the infield.

 

2015 Cubs Draft: Day Number 1

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I will update this as the day goes on. Check back around 4 and then from 6-7, I will be live giving some thoughts. The Cubs should pick somewhere close to 7 p.m. The first and second round picks will have their own profiles and posts.

6:55 P.M. 8. White Sox – Carson Fullmer – P – Vanderbilt – See Tate and Jay…Now Rodon, Sale, and Fullmer. Wow!

6:50 P.M. – 7. Boston – Andrew Benintendi – OF – Arkansas – Not a long track record, but power, Pop-eye arms, and speed.

6:42 P.M. 6. Minnesota – Tyler Jay – P – Illinois – Could be a reliever, could be a starter. Solid selection.

6:38 P.M. 5. Houston – Kyle Tucker – OF – Plant, Florida. He joins his brother in the organization.

6:32 P.M. 4. Texas – Dillon Tate – RHP – UCSB – This kid is gonna be beast. Question – will it be as a starter or a reliever.

6:25 P.M. 3. Colorado – Brendan Rodgers – SS – Lake Mary HS. Best prep player hands down in the draft

6:17 P.M. 2. Houston – Alex Bregman – SS – LSU – Great bat. Could slide over to 2B as Carlos Correa is not moving.

6:15 P.M. 1. Arizona – Dansby Swanson – SS – Vanderbilt -Good pick. Look forward to seeing him at Kane County soon.

6:00 P.M.

I am going with Brady  Aiken at #9 for the Cubs. It’s a huge risk, I know, but it could pay off with a number one starter – something the Cubs don’t have.

 


4:10 p.m. Central

Two names I hear creeping up the draft boards are Josh Naylor and Peter Lambert. Naylor is a big 1B from Ontario known for his hit tool and his lack of defensive skills. Lambert is high school pitcher out of San Dimas, California. I have profiled him before and think he might be the second best prep pitcher behind Mike Nikorak. He could be a guy the Cubs could use as an underslot pick in round one – but it is not very likely

See you at 6 p.m!!!!!!

I will have my prediction as soon at the White Sox select at #8.


1:40 P.M. Central

Could Benintendi be the chosen one?
Could Benintendi be the chosen one?

I hear things, I really do. I don’t always believe them but I do hear them. And today, one thing I can tell you is that nobody has all the same answers for who the Cubs take at #9.
Baseball America by John Manuel – Ian Happ – 2B/OF – Cincinnati
MLB.com by Jim Callis – Trenton Clark
MLB.com by Johnathan Mayo – Ian Happ
Cubs Den by John Arguello – Brady Aiken
Through the Fence by Dan Kirby – Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas
Fran Graphs by Kiley McDaniel – Tyler Jay
Cubs Prospect Watch; Their staff took Buehler, Benintendi, Funkhouser, and Daz Cameron with three of the four staff taking Brady Aiken as a surprise pick.
Wrigleyville BP – They’ve been focused on the big league club as of late.
Cubs Insider – We didn’t pick one. On Sunday morning I was thinking Jay, Lambert, Chalmers, Whitley, Clark or Dewees. Today, I am thinking someone totally different.

But if you go back and look at who most prognosticators selected for the Cubs the past year you get a whole list of other names including: Jon Harris, Fulmer, Cameron, Kyle Tucker, Nikorak, Bickford, Plummer, Dewees, and DJ Stewart to name a few.

My uncertainty through yesterday was mind numbing. I made 23 cards yesterday to get ready just for the first pick.

Today, my certainty is now down to 5 picks. I am going to write up profiles this afternoon to have them out as soon as the pick is called.

Here’s who is on my short profile list to write this afternoon
Tyler Jay
Andrew Bendintendi
Mike Nikorak
Garrett Whitley

…and one more I am just not ready to disclose just yet.