Wrigley Bound

Cubs Draft Coverage Archives

Q&A with Cubs Draft Pick 1B Ryan Cuneo

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Matt Swain

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

With their 20th round selection in last week's draft, the Cubs tabbed Delaware senior 1B Ryan Cuneo, the first player they grabbed at a power position. After a historic college career marked by prodigious power production, Cuneo will join a Cubs system lacking in that department.
Ryan recently took a few minutes to catch up with Wrigley Bound about his draft process and his new professional baseball career. 

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Wrigley Bound: Describe the draft process. How did you spend your draft day? What kind of contact did you have with the Cubs after they picked you?

Ryan Cuneo: On Draft day I told myself that I wouldn't sit by the computer screen and watch every pick. On Tuesday morning I went to the gym and got home around 12:30. They were just about getting done with round 2. As soon as I looked at the draft tracker I new I was going to be glued to the screen all day. I started getting a little nervous in the late teen rounds. Then sure enough in the 20th round pick 610 I heard my name. The area scout Billy Swoope called me shortly after to congratulate and welcome me to the Chicago Cubs.

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Cubs Draft: Q&A with 11th rounder and Northwestern LHP Eric Jokisch

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Matt Swain

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

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.

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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.

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Cubs Draft- What the Experts are Saying

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Matt Swain

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

I was stunned when I heard the Chicago Cubs' selection, Hayden Simpson, a diminutive pitcher from Division II who has two average pitches and good command and control, in Round 1. For one thing, it's not scouting director Tim Wilken's style; he loves athletes and hard throwers, guys with upside who have the chance to become stars. For another, I can't imagine Simpson wouldn't have been there for the Cubs' second pick; other teams told me they had him in the fourth or fifth round, or not in their top 200, or that he was "not a priority guy."

ESPN's Keith Law in his Winners/Losers of Day 1 column


I like Matt Szczur to the #Cubs in the fifth-round. Absolute burner who could be nice bench OF.

- Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein via Tweet

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Cubs Draft Tracker

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Matt Swain

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

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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MLB Draft Chat: Day 2

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Matt Swain

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

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.


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Cubs Draft 2010: Why the Cubs Blew their First Round Pick

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Matt Swain

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

With the 16th pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Chicago Cubs select...

Hayden Simpson?

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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.
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MLB Draft- Cubs Live Chat

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Matt Swain

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

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.

 

Cubs Draft Rumors

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Matt Swain

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

By Dan Cupples

There lot's of rumors around the web concerning the Cubs potential 1st round pick on Monday. It seems as we sit now 2 names are being linked to the Cubs predominantly, Justin O' Conner (C Cowan HS, Muncie, Ind) and Karsten Whitson (RHP Chipley (Fla) H.S.) Both offer huge upside and could signal a change in draft philosophy by the Cubs. I've profiled O' Conner in the hitters preview and Whitson in "Draft Profile: A.J. Cole and Karsten Whitson" so I will just do a quick review on both.
 
O'Conner has made the transition to C with a plus-plus arm and athleticism. He's still very inexperienced but shows potential to be a well above-average defender to go with a power bat. The risk here is that high school catchers rarely pan out.
 
Whitson would be a steal at 16. He offers athleticism that translates into command and repeats his delivery well. His 90-94 fastball can touch 95 is above-average and may throw harder down the road. His plus slider that offers hard sharp break is a true swing-and-miss pitch. His change-up is currently solid-average with plus potential. Couple tweaks to his delivery once he becomes a pro gives him a ceiling of an ace. He easily could be a top notch #2 on a 1st division team. 
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Catching Up

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Matt Swain

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

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.

Draft Projections

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.
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Cubs Draft Dish: Part 2

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Matt Swain

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

By Dan Cupples

With the draft quickly approaching, I'm going to continue to compile possible names of late round picks. To be honest, it is incredibly difficult to gauge who a particular team is targeting, especially outside the first round, so these are mostly guesses. I will throw out some names who fit the Cubs draft profile and what I'm hearing for possibilities from around the web.
 
In the Baseball America's May 26th draft chat with Dave Perkin, he was asked who the Cubs were targeting and said the Cubs probably will go with a college pitcher. He did note that the Cubs really like high school OF Austin Wilson from California. He's got a chisled body and may have the most tools in the draft besides probable #1 pick Bryce Harper. Wilson is as good in the classroom as he is on the diamond, and with a strong Stanford commitment and a father who went to MIT, he'll be a tough sign. This is a player who could go anywhere from mid-1st round to much later based on how teams judge his signability. He profiles as RF with a plus arm and athleticism to match. He offers 5 tools that grade out as average to above average. I suspect someone will take a shot at him long before the Cubs 2nd round pick, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.
 

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Cubs Draft Dish

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Matt Swain

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

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.
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Cubs Draft Preview: Interview with Andy Seiler

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Matt Swain

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

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.
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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. 

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Draft Profiles- A.J. Cole and Karsten Whitson

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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.

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Cubs Draft Preview- Hitters

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Matt Swain

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

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.

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Cubs Draft Preview: Pitchers

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Matt Swain

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

By Dan Cupples

Ed. Note- Following this week's draft primer, we'll continue our draft coverage by looking at players who may be available when the Cubs pick at 16. We'll have a hitter preview soon, and look for more good stuff to come over the next couple weeks.

Much remains to be seen how new ownership will allow this years draft to be run. As it's been pointed out by Matt and myself, the Cubs ranked 26th in money spent on the draft in 2009. Of the 4 teams ranked behind the Cubs, 3 did not have a 1st rounder and the other did not sign their 1st round pick. One of the main things to watch this year will be the amount of money the team spends this year, and hopefully they will invest in the draft significantly.

Here is a quick look at some of the pitchers that may be available when the Cubs pick at 16. Remember, a lot can change from now until the draft based on performance, bonus demands, and injuries. As mentioned in the draft primer, in past years the Cubs have preferred college players and have had success turning college relievers into starters. 
 
Stetson Allie, RHP, Ohio(HS) -- 6'4 221-- Electric arm flashing a plus-plus high 90s FB. Above average slider at 87-91 mph that could be plus. Has a great feel for the changeup especially considering he's a prep arm. Huge command and focus issues but again he just HS kid. Does not maintain his stuff late into games and some scouts see him as a closer. With Cashner, Archer, and Carpenter all possibly ending up in the pen, this may not be a great fit, and adding another guy who fits the mold we already have is not ideal, but his potential for 3 plus pitches is tough to pass up. The Cubs have not drafted a HS arm with their first round pick since 2005, when they took Mark Pawelek 20th overall.

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Cubs Draft Primer

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Matt Swain

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

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. 


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