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Draft Profiles- A.J. Cole and Karsten Whitson

Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

By Dan Cupples

In the latest Baseball America mock draft, Jim Callis projects two top tier high school arms to be available when the Cubs pick 16th overall. Contributor Dan Cupples is all over it and takes a closer look at the two.

In the middle of the first round, it's looking like the Cubs should have a ton of good college pitchers there for the taking, but two Florida prep arms may offer the most value at 16.

Right-handers Karsten Whitson and A.J. Cole came into the year projected as top 10 picks. Both players have had their stock slip this year and in recent mock drafts around the web, either or both may be available when the Cubs are on the clock in the 1st round.

Each have tall projectable frames, Cole at 6'5" 190 and Whitson standing 6'4" 190. Cole's fastball sits in the low 90s, topping out at 94 with the potential to add more velocity as he matures. His movement ranges from average to plus mostly arm side run. Whitson FB sits 91-96 with average movement to either side. Both have power breaking pitches that have potential to be plus.

Whitson offers a solid average changeup with good fade and the potential to get better as he uses it more. Cole shows feel for a changeup in bullpen sessions and should be at least average as he works on it more as a pro. A.J. has more control than command right now with an unemotional demeanor on the mound. His release point is inconsistent. Whitson does not walk many hitters, going right after guys with a bulldog mentality. His control is average and his demeanor on the mound is unshakable.

If available when the Cubs pick, either would offer a high ceiling potential ace to an already improving system. This is the type of player the Cubs should be targeting in what we are hoping shapes up to be an aggressive draft. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs use their 1st rounder with so many intriguing players available to them.



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