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Meet Hayden Simpson

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Matt Swain

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

By Dan Cupples and Matt Swain

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The Cubs pulled a name out of nowhere in the first round of Monday's MLB draft, selecting Hayden Simpson from Division II Southern Arkansas. Because he's somewhat off the radar, we can only give a very a limited scouting report.

His repertoire starts with an above-average fastball sitting in the low 90's that can touch the mid 90's, though it is fairly straight. He also features 2 brekaing pitches. His best is an 82-84 slider that does have some late titlt and a slower high 70's curveball. His changeup is rudimentary but has some promise. He has average command of all his pitches, and if he can learn to mix his pitches he may have the potential to be a #3 SP. If he cannot stay as a starter, he could be a decent set-up guy with his fastball-slider combination.


One of the primary drawbacks on Simpson is his 6'0 175 frame. While scouts dislike it as it limits projection, they probably make too big of deal of that sometimes, since many great pitchers have similarly small frames (Tim Hudson, Pedro Martinez, Roy Oswalt).

Statistically Simpson looks good, but it's hard to draw much from it based on his level of competition. MLB teams rarely draw from the Division II pool so there's limited track records to compare against. What we do know is that he was 13-1 with a 1.81 ERA last season, with 131/35 Ks/BBs in 99.1 IP. He didn't generate many a high percentage of groundballs, and his lefty/righty splits are unremarkable

Hayden Simpson was not on any top 200 lists that I have seen. Tim Wilken has a good track record but this pick makes everyone scratch their heads. We were hoping for a bigger splash with our 1st rounder but this could be a pick that leads to something bigger if it leads to some late round spending.

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6 Comments

WearShades said:

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I've already heard a lot about how this will set up the cubs to spend more later in the draft, Austin Wilson being the most popular name. For starters, even if he's there, the Simpson pick is bad. You're still going to have to pay Wilson a very high bonus to keep him from Stanford, and you're running a very high risk given how unlikely it is he'll still be there at 64. I also doubt the other big names still on the board (Allie and Workman chief among them) will still be there.

Dan Cupples said:

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Completely agree Wearshades. Even if the Cubs are planning to spend some money later they could have easily landed Simpson in the 2nd or 3rd and taken an easy sign type in the 1st. The 1 postive I can draw from this is they do have a good track record of taking lesser known arms like Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, Chris Carpenter etc.

WearShades said:

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At least those guys were taken at a more appropriate place given their profiles.

Chance Marshall said:

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I've heard Simpson was supposed to be taken by the Angels with one of their 3 1st rd picks so maybe thats why the Cubs took Simpson early, besides the fact that he has the stuff for it

WearShades said:

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I do have some faith in Tim Wilken based on his track record, but it's purely blind faith at this point because I haven't seen anything that suggests Simpson is a guy worth taking at 16.

Dawson said:

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You haven't seen anything that suggest Simpson is a guy worth taking? You have obviously never seen the kid pitch. I saw him on a 25 degree day touching 97 mph and sitting at 93-95 for 50 pitches in one of his first outings of the year. He has at least a MLB average slider as a 21 year old and and it may be plus at this point.

Don't get caught up in the name on his jersey, if this kid had exactly the same stuff and had a big name on the jersey you would be turning flips with happiness. I have seen Simpson 4 times this year and he has 1st round stuff without question. This guy will be an upper 90's starter in the next 3 years and you cannot find that kind of explosion on the fastball with many guys.

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