A dream was realized Tuesday for lefthander Eric Jokisch when he found himself selected in the 11th round of the MLB Draft (340th overall) by the Chicago Cubs.
Originally from Virginia, IL, a small town in the western part of the state, Jokisch has spent the last three years at Northwestern. During his time as a Wildcat, he's posted a 17-16 record and a 4.71 ERA, and has won honors like Big Ten Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten.
In the aftermath of his selection, Eric took some time to reflect on the process and discuss his game with Wrigley Bound.
Wrigley Bound: What was the draft process like for you? What did you do on draft day?
Eric Jokisch: It was a long process drawn out over the whole year, and when the day finally came, I was fortunate enough to finish my last paper for Northwestern and head home to be with the family.
With two full days in the books, it's time to look at the new faces in the Cubs farm system and see what the draft has yielded.
The theme of the draft has definitely been "uncovering hidden gems", and Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken seems to believe he's outsmarted the rest of the league on several players. After taking a Division II player with his first pick, he overturned stones across America to fill out the class and wound up with an eclectic collection of talent.
How did the draft turn out? We won't know for years. But with the success Wilken has had over the last several years and the burgeoning youth movement at the major league level, it certainly will play a large part in determining the future of the Cubs.
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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.
With the 16th pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Chicago Cubs select...
In the NFL and NBA drafts, teams are allowed to trade their picks. What that means is that if a team sits with say a #5 pick and covets a player who will surely be available in the 30's, it can trade down and add another pick in addition to landing their target. If that team chose their guy at #5 and sacrificed the value they could have added to the team by trading it, the pick was a failure.
The MLB draft is different. If you have a pick, you're stuck with it. So if a team falls in love with the 20th ranked player in the draft and pick #8, then they're going to have to reach to get their guy. The implication is that you can't hold a selection against a team if the player wouldn't have made it to the next round. After all, the separation between MLB draft prospects isn't huge, and who's to say that their guy won't turn out better than the other options anyway?
This reasoning has the ability to validate every pick made in the first round on Monday, save possibly three. Arizona's choice of Barrett Loux at #6, New York taking Chevez Clarke at #30, and the Chicago Cubs shocking the world with the selection of Hayden Simpson, a no-name righty from Division II Southern Arkansas.
Join us tonight at Wrigley Bound, where we'll be talking prospects and counting down til the Cubs pick when the MLB draft gets underway.
Stop by later to get real-time updates and compilations of what all the experts are saying, video highlights of the Cubs pick, and of course some sparkling analysis from myself and our resident draft guru Dan Cupples.
We'll also touch on some hot topics involving current Cubs prospects and answer any questions about them.
Get your questions in now, and we'll see you back here at 5 PM CT!
UPDATE: We've merged this chat with our ChicagoNow friends Future Sox, meaning our friend Jeff Buchanan will join us this evening, providing twice as much material to talk about.
I've had a busy last week or so and haven't been able to find much time for blogging, but it's time I catch up with some of the news and notes I haven't written up in the last two weeks.
With just a few days left before the draft, mocks are picking up and most of the main draft experts have weighed on how they see things falling.
Keith Law at ESPN and Andy Seiler at MLB Bonus Baby both see the Cubs going in the same direction and taking high school catcher Justin O'Conner from Indiana. O'Conner has burst onto the scene this year by displaying impressive power and defense, and the Cubs could do a lot worse in this spot. I've come around to him and while I don't necessarily think catcher is a need position, I generally trust that the Cubs have seen Midwestern guys enough to make an accurate estimation of their abilities and if they feel he's the best available, I say go for it.
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus went public with his first mock draft recently, where he projected the Cubs to take Ohio State RHP Alex Wimmers. That would be a very limited upside pick, as it's hard to picture Wimmers as more than a 3 or 4 starter down the road. He is pretty polished and should be a safe and fast-moving pick, but I personally would be very disappointed to use the 16 pick on a guy who has trouble breaking 90 mph with his fastball at times.
Jim Callis at Baseball America stuck with Florida high school RHP Karsten Whitson in his latest draft, and it still seems like an illogical prediction to me. Would I like them to spring for the ultra-high upside Whitson, who is one of the top HS pitchers out there? Absolutely. Is there reason to believe they will? Not from where I'm standing.
By Dan Cupples
As June draws closer, the draft picture is still as cloudy as ever, with part of the issue being that this year's draft is pretty unimpressive.
As the Cubs sit now, Brett Eibner-- a RHP/OF from Arkansas-- is the player who makes the most sense. He fits the Cubs draft profile of athletic pitchers (Cashner, Jackson, Raley, etc.), while also offering a power bat who may be able to stick in CF. In terms of pure talent, he's more of a late 1st-rounder, but he does offer serious upside once he focuses solely on pitching, and the Cubs have shown in the past their not averse to reaching for a guy they love.
Another interesting name that may be falling slightly (through no fault of his own) is Cal State Fullerton SS Christian Colon. He probably will not stick at SS due to range concerns, a below average arm and questionable speed. He does offer a polished bat with a slight upper-cut in his swing producing good power. He's a skilled hitter who can bunt, hit behind runners, and hit and run. He profiles best as an offensive minded 2B who could move fast and would look great next to Castro. In my estimation I doubt he would be available and with the Cubs glut of middle infielders it's just a slight possibility, but he's at least a name to be aware of who I didn't profile previously.
If you closely follow the MLB draft, chances are you are familiar with draft expert Andy Seiler. Andy is the proprietor of MLB Bonus Baby
, which stands alone as the best free draft blog on the internet.
With just about 3 weeks to go until draft day, it's the busy time of the year for Andy, who is in the middle of putting together the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook
, his annual preview with detailed profiles of 775 prospects. It's available for pre-order now at the link above and will be delivered to your email inbox the weekend preceding the draft. It's highly recommended reading for draft-niks.
Fortunately for us, Andy was able to find a few minutes to talk some Cubs-centric MLB draft with Dan Cupples.
WB: The Cubs spent a meager $4.0 million last year. Have you heard anything on how much they may spend this year?
AS: There will be an increase this year, but don't expect it to double. They pick 15 slots higher in each round, and that alone should push them up to close to $5 million, and with new ownership, I could see them settling in the $5.5-6 million range, depending on a few factors. It's not the strongest draft, so $5 million seems more reasonable this year.
WB: The Boston Red Sox in recent years have invested heavily in high end talent that has fallen to later rounds with large bonus demands such as Ryan Westmoreland, Anthony Rizzo, David Renfroe, Madison Younginger, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson etc. and it's paying off in the depth of the system. Why doesn't a large market team such as the Cubs also attempt to utilize this strategy?
AS: That's the question that everyone is asking in the industry, and it's all about toeing the line. Some teams in big markets have real financial constraints, such as the Dodgers. Others, such as the Mets, have chosen to follow slot due to a desire to please Bud Selig. The Red Sox should be the model for drafting as a large market team, and I've said that again and again, but teams generally don't feel that way. It's just one of those things where baseball artificially constrains itself.
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.
By Dan Cupples
Ed. Note- This is the third in our series of draft coverage. To see all of our preview pieces, click here.
The hitting class for 2010 seems weaker than in past years, especially as far as college kids go. That seems to lower the possibility of the Cubs going in that direction, because historically they have primarily looked to the college ranks for players.
The best college hitters -- 3B Zack Cox (Arkansas), C Yasmani Grandal (Miami), and SS Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) -- are consensus top 10 picks. The H.S. ranks are full of intriguing, toolsy players who do not fit the typical Cubs draft strategy. We can't necessarily rule out a H.S. bat, but I would be surprised to see the Cubs take a prep bat at 16 considering how many good SP prospects will be available.
Let's take a look at some of the bats that may be available at 16 overall.
This year's MLB draft begins June 7th, and now that we're nearly within a month of that date, it's time to kick off our Cubs draft coverage here at Wrigley Bound.
Our own Dan Cupples will be doing a majority of the heavy lifting, and we should have some really cool stuff to come, including player profiles and interviews with draft experts, so check back over the next month to keep up to date.
I thought a good way to kick-off would be to do a primer reviewing some past drafts and identifying the types of guys Tim Wilken and the Cubs scouting department typically pursue.
Unfortunately, Andy Seiler of MLBBonusBaby.com not only beat me do it, but also did a much better job than I could have. I strongly encourage you check out this link
, and come back when you're done.
There is one thing I can add though, and that's looking at what positions could use some help within the Cubs system.