Luis Vazquez

Under-Reported Stories from the 2017 Cubs MiLB Season

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By Todd Johnson

 

Looking back at the coverage by Cubs Central this year, I don’t think I have written enough about several prospects. They include hitters Ian Rice, Luis Ayala, and Andruw Monasterio. Eddy Martinez hit almost .280 in the second half for Myrtle Beach and I haven’t written a peep about it. Add in pitcher Tyler Peyton who was one of the best pitchers in August for South Bend. Pitcher Jesus Camargo of Eugene, along with his 2.36 summer ERA and changeup, was overshadowed by top draft picks Brendon Little, Alex Lange, and Cory Abbott, not to mention Jose Albertos. Luis Aquino had an ERA of under 1 at one point for Eugene and I didn’t talk about him much even though he was a Northwest League All-Star.

When it comes to 2018, I am sure there will be several new names to talk about next summer. Here are a few names who I think will get more press next season and that I should have covered more this year.

1. Nelson Velasquez
Any Cubs prospect who can hit home runs at a regular rate is going to draw attention. He is just 18-years-old and just completed rookie ball. He is cranking a HR every 12.2 at-bats. After August 1, he hit 8 HRs and drove in 25, 9 of those in 5 playoff games. He was named the Cubs August Minor League Player of the Month. I can’t wait to see him next year in Eugene.

Card made from a photo by Jared Ravitch

2. Javier Assad
He has shown the proclivity to miss bats as an alarming rate. He has also shown the ability to be inconsistent. I think making 25 to 30 starts at South Bend could lead to more consistent efforts on the mound. I just finished a profile on him yesterday that will come out next month. He has some interesting stats including how opponents are hitting him. He struck out 72  in 66 innings at Eugene this year.

3. Jesus Tejada
The 20-year-old was the hottest pitcher in the Cubs’ system in August. He threw a no-hitter and struck out batters at an alarming rate in the Dominican Summer League. Opponents only hit .141 against him in August when he seemed to put it all together striking out 26 in 23 innings. I tend to think he will be at Eugene next summer.

4. Brendan King
The kid from Holy Cross may be next year’s sleeper pitcher. Like Duncan Robinson, the Ivy Leaguer’s arm has shown the ability to spin a ball in Mesa this summer. He had a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 IP and struck out an impressive 29 batters while walking only 5. Those are some good numbers.

Card made from a photo by John Arguello

5. Fernando Kelli
So, there’s this guy…an outfielder in the DSL and he stole 58 bases. It’s not like I didn’t mention him because he did make an All-Star Team in July. I just didn’t cover him in depth with a profile. I don’t know that much about him other than his stats page. He just turned 19 and hit .320 with an amazing .437 OBP this summer. Just in July, he had a .477 OBP! There’s not a lot of information on him otherwise.

I am sure there will be other prospects breakout in 2018 who I didn’t foresee. Luis Hidalgo, who spent four seasons in the Dominican Summer League, is one to keep an eye on next year. He arrived in Mesa in August and did not stop hitting (.339) while there. While he doesn’t really have a position, he does have a huge bat. Didier Vargas, Emilio Ferrebus, and Danis Correa are three pitchers to keep an eye on for next year along with 2017 international signing Florencio Serrano. Two young shortstops who could raise some eyebrows next year are international free-agent Luis Verdugo and recent draft pick Luis Vazquez.

You never know who will breakout and when.

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MiLB Playoff Action: Mesa Wins Championship and Eugene Advances to Second in a Row

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by Todd Johnson

Card made from a Photo by John Arguello

The Mesa Cubs won the Arizona Rookie League Championship last night with an awesome display of hitting! The first four hitters (Jose Gutierrez, Carlos Sepulveda, Jonathan Sierra, and Nelson Velazquez) in the lineup each drove in two runs as the Cubs scored runs in bunches to defeat the Giants 13-3 and win the series two games to one. Delvin Zinn scored three times and Luis Vazquez scored twice while going 4 for 5. Jeffrey Passantino, Eugenio Palma, and Ivan Medina held the Giants scoreless over the last five innings to secure the win! This is the Cubs’ first rookie league title since 2002.

Meanwhile in Hillsboro…
The Emeralds got on the board early against the Hops in game two of their series thanks in part to a Brandon Hughes home run to take a 3-0 lead. The Hops came right back to tie at three apiece. Each team would tack on another run with the Hops tying it in the bottom of the eighth. In the top of the ninth, the Ems blew it open by scoring six runs to win 10-4. Chris Singleton had a bases clearing double that put the game out of reach. The Emeralds will now face Vancouver in the championship. No dates have been announced as of yet.

In the Carolina League
Things did not go well for Myrtle Beach in their quest to go back-to-back-to-back. The Wood Ducks scored three runs on 5 hits in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead and held on to defeat the Pelicans 4-1. The Pelicans only managed four hits. The Pelicans and Wood Ducks will play two tonight in order to avoid Hurricane Irma in the best of five series.

Friday Six Pack – Dillon Maples Leads the Hot List

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By Todd Johnson

The topic for every six pack changes throughout the week. When I woke up this morning I didn’t think that I was going to do a six pack. Since it’s the 11th August, I thought I’d take a look at ten-day splits to see how prospects are doing in preparation for our monthly All-Star team. As a result, the topic for today’s six pack is who’s hot and who’s not.

1. Dillon Maples – In 11.2 innings at Iowa, it looks as though he started to figure things out at this level, too. His K/9 rate is astronomical (15.43) and he’s only walked one batter. I am starting to get the inkling that he might make it to Chicago before the end of the month. Adding a guy in the bullpen who throws 98 to 100 with a wipeout slider is not going to hurt anything.

2. Mark Zagunis – In addition to hitting over .300 the past 6 weeks, he is still a walking machine. I feel pretty good about his chances of being in Chicago in September. But beyond that, he’s not going to be anything other than a fourth/fifth outfielder with who is in front of him. I really hope he gets an extended shot sometime in the next year whether it’s with the Cubs or another team.

3. The South Bend Outfield – Kevonte Mitchell, DJ Wilson, Luis Ayala, and Chris Pieters – Every single one of them is hitting above .321 this month and they are killing it in all phases of the game. Last night, Mitchell hit a grand slam while DJ Wilson tracked ball after ball down in centerfield. The other night, Kevonte threw out a guy at the plate. It has been nice to see them perform so well and it’s almost as if they are trying to one up each other.

4. Four Hitters in Rookie League – First, Luis Vasquez has peaked my interest since the Cubs signed him this summer. The fact that he is hitting .300+ as a 17-year-old tall and rangy shortstop helps as well. The same is true of Delvin Zinn’s athleticism and he seems to be back on track this month hitting over .300. International free-agent Jonathan Sierra seems to have found a groove (still no power) while Jose Gutierrez seems to have done the same hitting over .450 this month. I could also add in pitchers Rollie Lacy, Brendan King, Jeffrey Passantino, and reliever Mitch Stophel for another four.

5. Zack Short – The 23-year-old shortstop has transversed three levels in the past year since he was signed by the Cubs. He seems to be getting better at every level. In the past ten games, he has been on a tear hitting over .400 with 3 home runs. Combined, between Myrtle Beach.and South Bend, the leadoff hitter has 12 dingers this year with an OBP of .391 and this morning was named as having the best strike zone control in the Midwest League by Baseball America.

6. Who is not hot? The Eugene Defense
Once Aramis Ademan was promoted to South Bend, this team has been in a tailspin defensively. It’s a struggle for pitchers Alex Lange, Jose Albertos, and Brendon Little to get through an inning. In the past week, routine grounders have been misplayed, balls to first have been airmailed, and assignments and coverages have been blown. Instead of a pitcher getting out of an inning, those mistakes lead to two or three runs being scored, sometimes more.

Honorable Mentions – Yasiel Balaguert, Taylor Davis, James Norwood, Craig Brooks, Tyler Alamo, Bryan Hudson, Tyler Peyton, Brian Glowicki, Chris Singleton, Marcus Mastrobuoni, Cam Balego, Fernando Kelli, Emilio Ferrebus, and Erich Uelmen.

Cubs 2017 Draft Update: Position Players Proving to Be Very Athletic

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By Todd Johnson

I think it’s tough for draft picks to come in to an organization in the middle of the year and play well. I also think that you really shouldn’t evaluate the draft pick based on two months after they’ve already played a full season. Many of them have basically been playing since January. At some point they have to get tired regardless of how good they are.

In looking at this year’s draft class, I think there a couple key things to take notice of for next year. One, there is some serious athleticism in the group as a whole. Two, there are some guys who I think can really hit and will prove so next year.

Impressive Starts
Several draft picks came out of the gate pretty hot. Some have cooled off while others have been able to maintain some semblance of success.

Austin Upshaw – He came out of the gate very hot and now has cooled. He is still showing a solid approach but his hits have not been at falling in August like they did in July. He will be fine next year. He should begin the year at Myrtle Beach. They are going to love him there.

Luis Vazquez – Heading into Sunday, he was hitting .316. That is very good for a high school product to do that in rookie league just jumping right in. I still remember thinking how athletic he was in his prospect a video back on draft day. I cannot wait to get Arizona Phil’s take during instructs. He should be at Eugene next year as an 18-year-old kid.

Brandon Hughes – Like Upshaw, Hughes came out of the gate hard and has since slowed down. He bats third or fourth for Eugene and he’s been in the lineup most every day. The first thing you notice about him is his advanced athleticism and build. I see him being at South Bend to begin 2018.

Chris Singleton – A later round pick, the athletic outfielder began at Mesa and has been promoted to Eugene where he slid right into the leadoff spot. I really like what I have heard from the Eugene radio broadcasters, but I have not seen him play on TV yet. I am thinking he will be at South Bend to begin 2018.

Cam Balego – The young infielder has been playing all over the diamond for the rookie league Cubs and has hit almost .400 last month. I have not read much about him and I think I might not until fall instructs.

Ramsey Romano – He just got promoted to Eugene where he went two for five in his second game with two RBI. He can play all over the infield and I think this utility player will probably be at South Bend to begin 2018.

Austin Filiere – His average has been up-and-down but he has definitely shown some power in his bat. In the field, he gets by as a third baseman. His arm is average but that can be improved on. He will be at South Bend to start 2018.

Have some work to do…

Nelson Velazquez – He has flashed some serious athleticism and power in Mesa. However, he has not shown the ability to hit for average so far in rookie league and he strikes out a lot. Then again, he is still very young. He is one player who is going to improve dramatically with instruction this fall and in spring training. I think once he gets in the routine of doing things every day, we might see his power be a daily thing.

Chris Carrier – He has not had a good start to his career at both Mesa and Eugene where he is striking out about 75% of the time. More than likely, if he has a good spring training next year, he should be in South Bend.

Jared Young – I really like his approach at the plate and announcer Pat Zajak concurs. In other words, the BABIP Gods have not been kind to him in Eugene. I see him beginning the year in South Bend in 2018. He’s a pretty good sized second baseman.

I don’t know if any of these position players will show up on any prospect list in the next year, but that is not going to stop them from succeeding. I would not be surprised to see Velazquez and Vazquez make a list in 2019. It is rare for the Cubs to select a HS position player in the Theo era. I can only think of a few the Cubs have signed – Kevonte Mitchell and DJ Wilson who are both in low A this year, Tyler Alamo at Myrtle Beach, and Charcer Burks at Tennessee. It takes a few years to get going.

The Friday Six-Pack: The Eloy Hitting Prospect Hangover Is Over

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By Todd Johnson

It was so strange seeing Eloy in a different uniform last night. He delivered a 2 run game winning single to lead the Dash over the Pelicans.

But it is time to move on.

There are other prospects for me to lavish my attention and words on. Most people know that the past strength of this organization was in developing hitters. As I said yesterday, the strength has shifted to pitching. That doesn’t mean that the Cubs have no hitting, the opposite is true. They do, it is just far from being developed or performing at a high level.

Several of the Cubs’ top hitting prospects have been discussed on here over the past 3 years. Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis, Chesny Young, Eddy Martinez, Wladimir Galindo, and Isaac Paredes have all been profiled and highlighted by Cubs Central. Even DJ Wilson was profiled last winter and Joe Martarano just joined the Cubs full-time. I just profiled Miguel Amaya a week ago for BP Wrigleyville, while Aramis Ademan is set for tomorrow on here. I m always hyping Delvin Zinn as an athlete to watch who is now in Mesa. They are the well-known names. But there are others, who over the next year, could make their name(s) shine brighter.

1. Nelson Velazquez – The Cubs 2017 fifth round pick is a child in a monster body. The outfielder has yet to play, but should be rostered at Mesa soon. In a system devoid of power hitters now, Velazquez stands out as someone with the potential to hit a lot of dingers.

2. Brandon Hughes – I have only seen him play in four games, but the kid can hit. Drafted this year out of Michigan State in the 16th round, the 6’2″ OF was known more for his speed. Last night, he had three doubles. I think he has the frame to develop power but not the swing just yet. That could be something that is worked on with the 21-year-old.

3. Jonathan Sierra – This year, it has been about flashes for the tall and lanky 18 year-old OF. Currently at Mesa, he’s been up and down. While he hasn’t hit for a high average, he does take his walks showing a good approach at the plate. The lefty showed the same discipline in the DSL last summer. Right now, it’s all about potential. If you look back at Eloy’s early career, he didn’t set the system on fire until South Bend. I think Sierra could have that same career arc that just needs game experience for everything to click.

4. Alsonso Gaitan – I have no idea who this 19 year old kid on the Cubs DSL #2 team is. What I do know is that he is destroying pitching in that league. Signed last summer out of Mexico, the right-handed hitting OF is batting .382 this season and over .450 in his last 10 games. Every day lately, I check the box scores and he is going 3/4, 2/4, or 2/5. He is one to keep an eye on.

5. Luis Vazquez – The Cubs have not drafted a lot of high school position players since 2012. They do take a while to develop. For Vazquez, out of Puerto Rico, his lanky frame with a long swing could generate some power down the line. I love his recruiting/showcase video because you do get to see the potential of a star in the making.

6. Carlos Sepulveda – Most Cubs fans who follow minor league baseball know who Sepulveda is. He is a left-handed hitting second baseman who has missed most of this year with injuries. He is just 19 and I hope to see him hit again before this year is out. He has a great eye at the plate and was beginning to develop some “doubles” power last year at South Bend.

Between the draft, international free agency, and maybe even some trades this winter, the Cubs will be acquiring new talent to develop in hopes of having them major league ready by 2020/2021. The system is not bare, far from it.

Looking at the Cubs Draft a Few Days Later: Development Will Be the Key

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By Todd Johnson

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Now that there is some distance between me searching for basic information on draft picks the day of the draft and finding out detailed information, I am beginning to like, for the most part, what the Cubs did on draft day. Overall, it was a good draft haul that is built on ascending players, some established arms, and a couple of high risk players.

Here is who I like best from the three days and a brief statement why I like them.

Brendon Little – P – Manatee – 97 from the left. Any questions?

Image may contain: one or more people and textAlex Lange – P – LSU – I think the Cubs got a steal when he dropped to them. He is one of the top college arms who with a little pro coaching could really take off. He already has a plus curve.

Keegan Thompson – SP – Auburn – Experience, Experience, Experience

Nelson Velazquez – OF – Puerto Rico – He has tools that could develop into a top flight outfielder with power and speed

Austin Filiere – 3B – MIT – Track record of power and he went to MIT

Chris Carrier – OF – Memphis – Sculpted body who might have lurking power in his body somewhere waiting for the Cubs coaches to draw it out.

Brian Glowicki – RP – Minnesota – Experience closing in a power conference

Luis Vazquez – SS – Puerto Rico – Like Velazquez, he’s young, moldable, and has a lot of raw tools.

Jared Young – 2B – Old Dominion – He comes from a good baseball school. The more I read, the more I like about him.

Image may contain: 1 person, textBrandon Hughes – OF- Michigan State – The Cubs can take his swing and adjust it. He hit for average and he has the body to hit for power and natural speed.

Casey Ryan – RP – Hawaii – He’s a big man with a power arm at the back of the pen.

Brendan King – SP – Holy Cross – Those Ivy League guys seem to do well for the Cubs.

Darius Vines – SP – Oxnard – He’s a toolsy player but the Cubs like his pitching more than his hitting. Hopefully the Cubs can sign him.

I am sure there will be some prospects who surprise everyone, too. The Cubs scouts have shown that they can find some gems in later rounds.

Now comes the hard part – signing them. The Cubs should be able to sign between 25-28 out of the 41 picks from my calculations. You need to be following @Savermetrics on Twitter, he has a pretty good collection of tweets, hometown articles, and quotes about what the players’ intentions are.

Here is what I think will happen between now and the final day to sign on July 15 (I have also heard July 7).

Definitely Signing
Brendon Little, Alex Lange, Cory Abbott,  Keegan Thompson, Erich Uelmen, Nelson Velazquez, Ricky Tyler Thomas, Austin Filiere, Chris Carrier, Brian Glowicki, Rollie Lacy, Austin Upshaw, Jared Young, Brandon Hughes,  Casey Ryan, Chris Singleton, Brendan KIng, Sean Barry, Brady Miller, Mitch Stophel, Jacob Steffens, Ramsay Romano, Cam Balego, and Jeffrey Passantino

Pretty Sure
Luis Vazquez and Peyton Remy

50/50
Ben Hecht and Braxton Light,

Unsure
Jeremy Estrada, Skyler Messinger, Darius Vines, and Kier Meredith

No Chance
Bryce Bonin, Hunter Ruth, Joe Donavan, Ben Ramirez, Tanner Allen, Alex Cornwell, Russell Smith, Cooper Coldiron

I will keep you posted on who signs and when they debut. Eugene should get the most players while South Bend will get a few. It is rare that draft pick goes to Myrtle Beach, but it does happen occasionally the first year. The last time it happened was Dave Berg.

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