Cubs draft preview: April edition

Cubs draft preview: April edition

In 2010, the Cubs went on a meaningless winning streak at the end of the year that moved them up in the standings but down on the 2011 draft board to number 9.  Although they got a player with star potential in Javier Baez, he comes with a lot of risk.  This year the Cubs have a higher pick at #6, but the draft isn't as strong.  In fact, there seems to be a consensus top 5 and then things get a little muddled.

The top 5

  1. Byron Buxton, OF, High School (GA): He's a 5 tool player with speed and arm at the forefront.  He's the consensus top talent in the draft and the leading candidate to go first.  There's little chance of him slipping to the Cubs unless something unexpected happens.
  2. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford  He's the best combination of stuff and polish in the draft, but gets hit a lot more than scouts like.  He once was a certain bet for the top 2, but that is no longer the case.
  3. Mike Zunino, C, Florida: Maybe the safest pick in the draft. He'll stick at catcher and provide some power and discipline at the plate. He is very likely a top 3 pick at this point.  The Mariners at #3 are said to like him a lot and it's unlikely he gets past them.
  4. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, U. of San Francisco:  Has burst on the scene and has a fresh arm that has been clocked in the high 90s with good control.  Hasn't been pitching long so he's a bit more raw.
  5. Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU: Throws in the high 90s consistently and has an advanced change-up.  Breaking pitch needs improvement.  Some are predicting he'll go to the Royals who are looking for pitching and will go with the best college arm available.

If any of these players drop to #6, it's a safe bet that the Cubs will nab them, but right now it looks like they'll go in the top 5 in some order.  So who's left?  In no particular order, here are  a few names to keep your eye on...

  • Carlos Correa, 3B, H.S., Puerto Rico: A big SS at 6'4" who will likely end up at 3B, which makes him somewhat similar to last year's pick, Javier Baez.  He's an athletic, offensive player with power potential and a rocket arm.  There's a chance he could  sneak into the top 5 and Keith Law called him a dark horse to go #1.  He's impressed in showcase events all year.  He's a high ceiling guy and has one edge over Baez in that he's a good student.  Even though the Cubs have multiple 3B in their system (Vitters, Lake, Baez), Correa may be too big a talent to pass up.
  • Devin Marreo, SS, Arizona St.:  He's a grinder with tools.  He is a true SS who defends the position well.  That alone makes him valuable but Marrero also has potential with the bat.  He's aggressive but has good bat speed and the potential for extra base power, though he probably won't be a big HR hitter.  Marrero also has good makeup and instincts for the game.  He's had something of an off year and he's slipped a bit.  Going into the season he looked like a sure top 5 pick and probably top 3 but right now it looks like he'll be available for the Cubs if they want to go the college bat route.
  • Max Fried, LHP, H.S. (CA): Fried has an average to slightly above average fastball (89-92) but a great curveball that is a potental 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.  He also has a good feel for pitching and some room for projection.   He's not a flame thrower like Gausman, Zimmer, or Appel are, but the curveball is a legit out pitch and he has potential for good command/control. Some think he could be as much as a #2 starter depending on how he matures and develops.
  • Matt Smoral, LHP, H.S. (OH): Smoral is a different pitcher than Fried and some think he may have a higher ceiling. He's 6'8" and can get his fastball in the 93-94 mph range.  He's out with a stress fracture but scouts got a pretty good feel for him and he'll still go pretty high in the draft.  He has a college commitment to North Carolina.
  • Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson: Shaffer gets some consideration because he is may be the best available college bat when the Cubs pick.  He has perhaps the best bat speed in the draft and projects to have well above average power.  Though, he's not a natural hitter, he's improved. He still may not hit for average but he does have good plate discipline.  He has worked hard to be a solid defender at 3B.
  • Alberto Almora, CF, H.S. (FL): Like Buxton, Almora's a five tool talent with defense being his standout tool.  He's a plus runner. He has good instincts at the plate and should hit for average.  Has more of a line drive oriented swing so not much power now, but there is the  potential for power down the road.  He's another big game player who could shoot up the charts with a great performance in the showcase events.
  • Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M:  Average to above average stuff across the board but he is the most polished pitcher in the draft.  Given that Epstein and Hoyer are looking for impact players more than guys who can move quickly, Wacha wouldn't seem to fit the profile of the kind of player the Cubs are looking for, but recent reports have him throwing a couple ticks faster (as high as 96 mph) than what I had from earlier reports.  Combined with his control and plus plus change up, BA's Aaron Fitt called him a candidate for the top spot.
  • Lucas Giolito, RHP, H.S. (CA): A real wild card in this draft, Giolito was once considered for the top pick overall. Unfortunately, Giolito suffered what has been called a "minor" elbow injury and should be healthy and pitching by the end of the baseball year.  Giolito had the best high school arm in the draft prior to the injury, showing a plus plus fastball.  If he can show that he's back and without any issues, he could creep back up the draft.  The Cubs, who are looking for impact players, would have to be tempted to take him depending on how he looks and feels closer to draft time.

Right now it's difficult to say what direction the Cubs will go.  If they want to go with high ceiling, potential impact players, they may go with Correa or even take a chance on Giolito at the 6th spot.  It's also possible those two could go in the top 5, especially if Giolito proves to be 100% healthy.  If they go the college route, then I don't see an arm worth taking at #6 unless either Gausman, Zimmer, or Appel are available. which is possible if one of the aforementioned players slips into the top 5.

The first draft of the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod era should be an interesting one and the Cubs should land themselves a pretty good player, but right now it looks wide open as to whom that player will be.

Filed under: MLB Draft



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  • I think the key is to take the best player available. The Cubs need assets and can always trade them later.

  • In reply to cubsfan4life:

    I'm a best player available guy too, even if the CUbs think that guy is Correa. You stockpile talent and work out positions later. And it's probable that most guys won't pan out, so nothing wrong with doubling up on the same position if he's the best guy out there.

  • At this point, I see the Cubs focus in the early rounds to be pitching, pitching, pitching. They could fill in some other needs in later rounds. Big Gausman fan as you know, crossing fingers hess their pick.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    I'm sure the Cubs would take Gausman if he's there. Word is the Royals will take him if Appel and Zimmer are off the board

  • With the Cubs picking 6th, there's a better than decent chance that Gausman will be there, there always a player or two that rises near the draft and that wil probably happen again. I think it's safe t isay if Gausman is there, the Cubs will nab him.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    If he's there they'll take him. As mentioned, still a chance Correa goes in top 5. Marrero was a top 5 guy until his slow start. Maybe he finishes strong...and maybe Giolito sneaks back in there. I consider the "worst" case scenario to be Correa or Giolito, and that's not bad at all.

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    John, what's your take on Mark Appel's 9 inning/147 pitches performance on Friday.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think it's irresponsible, but Stanford always does their own thing, so I'm not shocked.

  • With 4 of the top 60 picks, the Cubs must sign them at all cost.
    HS players will be a big gamble, because they can go to college
    if the money is not there

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    It is true that HS players are a bigger gamble, but they also have more upside. A history of the draft definitively shows that a majority of your impact players are drafted right out of high school. Also, the leverage that a high school player gets of having college as an alternative is as huge as you might think. The NCAA only allots D-1 baseball programs 11.7 scholarships. Those scholarships are often split across the whole team. So even at the very best programs, it is rare that a player gets a full ride, and walk-ons play a much bigger role in college baseball than they do in the major sports of football and basketball. Also, just like in football and basketball, the NCAA doesn't allow scholarship athletes to have jobs. So if you get drafted out of high school early enough that the signing bonus money is going to be equal or greater than the value of four years of education at a top notch university, your best bet is to go pro, unless your parents have the means to send you to college. In fact, many, if not most, MLB teams will agree to pay an early round draftees tuition and fees, should baseball not work out for them, as part of their signing bonus.

  • I meant gamble in the sense that the new CBA and their
    draft pool money limit makes it a bigger gamble.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's true, but it's a gamble if you're a H.S. kid too. If you're a top 10 kid, hard to pass up that money because you don't know if it's coming back. You don't stand to gain much by going back.

    I think it's going to be riskier as the draft goes on. Won't be able to take a chance on a kid with a strong commitment like Maples, Dunston, or Vogelbach.

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think it makes the gamble about the same. Your top MLB draft picks coming out of the college ranks usually are not top draft picks coming out of high school.

    Dillon Maples didn't drop as far as he did because was going to UNC to play baseball. He was going to UNC on a full ride football scholarship, and he was going to play baseball. Now a case can be made in the case of the Maples, Samardzigas and the Sczcurs of the world that the limitations placed by the new CBA will make baseball less attractive to those types of athletes. As to whether or not that actually turns out to be the case, only time will tell, but for your baseball only athletes, it won't matter.

    Your typical college baseball player who gets drafted by MLB wasn't an early round draft pick out of high school, if he got drafted at all, and still won't be. Those kids are the late bloomers. Another thing that I think is neat about college draftees is that they tend to be widely dispersed. Your best prospects don't always come from the major conference schools, but I think that has to do more with the fact that baseball just isn't a major sport at the collegiate level.

    The general rule, especially for baseball only athletes, is that the best of the best will turn pro out of high school, namely because it is in their financial interest to do so, and the new CBA isn't likely to change that, at least not for your early round picks. Where it is going to show up is where the bonus versus scholarship money becomes more equal. Those kids and their families are going to have a decision to make, and because of the spending limitations, I think more of those kids will get pushed into the college ranks, which means there is going to be even more competition for baseball scholarships, which are already severely limited by the NCAA. So you may see a slight uptrend towards college kids simply because they don't have the options that high school kids do, and therefore, there signing bonuses tend to be lower.

    As far as teams draft philosophies concerning college versus high school players, I don't think we'll see a huge change caused by the CBA. Atlanta, which has a successful track record of drafting and developing high school players, is still going to stick to what works for them until a front office with a different philosophy comes in and changes what they're doing. Oakland, who up until recently has had a successful track record with college players, probably isn't going to change much either without a change in the front office. Most teams may lean one way or another, but only slightly so, and again, without a change in the front office, that probably isn't going to change.

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    My pick would be a healthy Lucas Giolito. If not him, then maybe Zimmer. Hopefully they both fall to #6 and the Cubs can have a nice problem on their hands

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Giolito is the guy who really can change the nature of this draft for the Cubs.

    It's kind of a mixed bag for them. If Giolito didn't get hurt, no way he makes it to the Cubs at #6. At the same time, it meant that someone like Gausman or Zimmer might not fall to them.

    If the Cubs think Giolito is healthy and will have no lingering effects from the elbow issue, then he'd be an absolute steal at that point. I think it's best for the Cubs if he comes back strong and healthy -- even if some team grabs him first. It would mean a college arm will likely fall to them.

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Taking Giolito early is going to be gutsy for any team, but especially the Cubs. This owner and front office may not want the heat that is going to come from the Chicago media, especially not after the pounding the Bears took over Chris Williams, when it was found out the Bears knew he was hurt and took him anyways, and with Giolito, it's public knowledge about his elbow.

    Team Theo, while they thankfully don't really care what the media thinks, knows that this might be the most important pick they'll make while running the Cubs, and given the stakes, they can't afford to miss badly or to publicly. I think they'd have to be really convinced of Giolito's health to make that gamble.

    I think the Cubs would prefer to draft a pitcher, and I think, if Zimmer, Gausman or Appel were still there at #6, the Cubs wouldn't hesitate to take one of them, but I think Giolito's injury is going to cause him to fall. However, there isn't a pitcher in the draft with Giolito's upside. We're talking about a kid who could be the next Nolan Ryan. It's a tough decision, and one I'm glad I don't have to make.

    Baseball America's Jim Callis recently said of this years draft crop: "Just like the 2011 draft, the 2012 draft is muddled at the top, but this year, the confusion stems from the exact opposite problem. Last year's crop was loaded with more viable No. 1 overall picks than any draft ever. This year there aren't enough options."

    As for trying to predict who might be available besides Giolito at #6, you have to look at the teams drafting ahead of the Cubs and their needs.

    Houston has the number one overall pick, and there probably isn't anything they don't need. My guess is that they will take whoever they think the best overall player is, and in my opinion, that is Buxton as of today.

    The Twins will probably go pitching. My guess is that they will take Zimmer.

    I agree with John that the Mariners will probably take Zunino.

    The Orioles are a wildcard. Dan Duquette may be the GM, but everyone knows he isn't in charge. Owner Peter Angelos is his own man, and manager Buck Showalter has way to much influence in matters he should have none in. It's possible they may take a flier on someone who isn't a consensus top 5 guy.

    The Royals already have a lot of pitching depth in their system. Where they are weakest is in the middle infield. It wouldn't shock me, especially this year, if Gavin Cecchini or Devin Marrero made it into the top 5. I think the Royals, given how close they are now and the small window that teams in their market size have, might go with Marrero. They need an answer at shortstop sooner rather than later, and he would be the closest in the draft to being major league ready while still not being considered an over-reach.

    So it's entirely possible to envision a scenario where Gausman and Appel are still there at #6. Of course, my wet dream scenario is for Zimmer to slide down to the Cubs, but I don't think it will happen. However, the Cubs need pitching and they need impact pitching. If Zimmer, Gausman and Appel are gone, I think you have to role the dice on Giolito. The upside is just to great not to, and I think, if that is the direction Team Theo wants to go, ownership will go along.

    Putting the media aside, it's not like the Cubs couldn't overcome Giolito turning into a bust. Besides, he wouldn't be the first Cubs draftee to do that.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The Royals need pitching more badly than the Cubs do. They really wanted to take a college pitcher last year but when Bubba Starling fell to them, they couldn't pass it up. This year it looks like a certainty that one will be available to them. There is no Bubba Starling in this draft in terms of ridiculous upside/hometown guy they can't afford to pass up, so I'm almost as certain about this pick than I am any other in the draft. KC goes with the best college arm on the board.

    If the Cubs want a college arm, they're going to have to hope that two of Appel, Zimmer, and Gausman are still on the board when KC picks.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You and I may disagree about the Royals pitching depth, but I think, if one of those three is still avaible at #6, it will be Appel, and I'm not sure I wouldn't take Giolito over him.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm not talking about KCs prospect crop. They're looking at college arms because they can be ready quickly. They need to get arms who can contribute as starters in their rotation in the next 2-3 years because they think they can contend with a better staff. I'll be very, very surprised if they pass that chance up two years in a row.

    The Cubs are in a tricky spot. There's a decent chance the 3 best college arms are gone by their pick.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    One other thing, of the three top college pitchers, Zimmer is no doubt my favorite, but if Gausman and Appel both slipped to #6. I think I'd rather have Gausman right now, and I wouldn't have said that a few months ago. Appel just doesn't miss as many bats as he should for a pitcher with his stuff, and then you have to be concerned about the way Coach Marquess has used Appel this season. He has 3 complete games in 8 starts, and he is consistently putting up high pitch counts.

  • It is my understanding that under the new CBA the higher you
    draft (i.e., 1st pick) the more money you have in your draft
    pool. If this is correct, does it give the Cubs an advange?

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    It does to some extent, but they still have to draft well, and it doesn't matter how they draft if they aren't doing a good job at player development.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It does give them an advantage in that they'll get, at worst, the 6th best player in the draft. The downside is that there isn't a guy who might slip because of signability concerns. Teams aren't going to pass on more talented guys like they have in the past.

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    In reply to John Arguello:


  • John--What 2ndary pitches does Zimmer throw? Any idea about how advanced they are?

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    In reply to Pura Vida:

    PV, I'm not John, but Zimmer throws a 4-seam fastball that averages low to mid 90's and occasionally hits the upper 90's. He mixes that with a hammer curve in the low 80's and a changeup , which scouts call a work in progress.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks Michael.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    As Michael mentioned, he has a curve which has plus pitch potential. Change is below average right now, it's pretty straight and needs movement. Arm action is there, though, so there's potential.

  • Since the Cubs have 4 of the first 60 picks, should they just pick
    "the best athletic available" or go for need (pitchers) What about
    college vs HS players

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I always believe in taking the best players available early regardless of need.

    I know people have talked about stocking up on pitchers early, but that was the McPhail plan and it didn't pan out.

    My thought is that the Cubs need talent, pure and simple. They can't afford to take a less talented player because of need. They're a big market, they can fulfill that need in other ways (free agency, international players, etc.) And if you get too many 3Bs for example, you have trade bait and maybe you acquire a pitcher from another organization.

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    The problem in this draft is that there really isn't one prospect that just screams at you to take him. Ultimately, you do want to take the best overall regardless of need, but this year it's really close as to who those best overall players are. So need may play a little more into things. There really weren't that many stand out prospects in this draft to begin with, and Giolito's injury really through things into kilter.

  • 2002 was a draft, for example, where the Cubs had 8 picks in the first 96. They concentrated on pitching, taking only Brian Dopirak and Matt Craig in those picks but they passed up good bats like Joey Votto, Brian McCann, and Curtis Granderson in those first 96 picks.

    Get the best guys you can and let the rest sort itself out.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    So true and so sad!

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    John, looking ahead to the 2013 draft, that draft class already appears to be deeper, and it isn't out of the question that the Cubs might actually have an even higher pick and bigger pool. Of course, I'm not sure if the Cubs will get multiple picks like they have now. Dempster might bring us a compensation pick, but he likes Chicago so badly that if offered arbitration, it's not a sure thing he'd refuse it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Cubs won't offer arb because Demp will take it and make good money. Unfortunately probably won't get a draft pick there. Best we can do with Demp is trade him for a prospect.

  • I could very easily see Zimmer dropping like his velocity in recent weeks.
    Sign me up for Gausman, but if not, I'd jump at Giolito.

  • In reply to Norm:

    Trying to find out what Zimmer's velo was last weekend. Read in Law's piece that it was down in the 91-93 mph range in his last start but he had one coming up this weekend.

    If anybody finds out, please let me know...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Never mind. Just got a tweet back from Keith Law. He was at 90-92, touched 94 mph. Still down...starting to get a bit concerned now.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    wow, great reportingon Zimmer. This makes me fairly nervous, as well. A healthy Giolito is looking better and better.

    And that 147 pitch outing by Appel is ridiculous. Irresponsible, indeed.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:


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    The word on Zimmer this weekend is that he came out throwing 92 to 95 the first three innings, but from the fourth inning on, he was consistently 89 to 91. Zimmer went 7 innings, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB and 5K. 4 of those ER's were in the 4th inning. Needless to say, it was not his best outing.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm concerned about the recent drop in his velocity. He started high 90s that he carried late into the game, then he started strong and lost velocity as the game went he's peaking early in the 94 mph range and dropping from there.

    Without that top end velocity, I don't know if he's worth a top 5 pick.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You are probably right, and he is another one you have to be concerned about with how his coach has used him. Although, I don't know if it's possible to abuse a pitcher worse than Cal Poly has abused Kyle Anderson. Anderson pitched a complete game on a Friday back in March and then was brought out of the bullpen two days later to close a game out.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Crazy. I know these coaches want to win, but jeopardizing the future of their players is just irresponsible, in my opinion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't remember his name but I think in the 1980's
    they drafted a HS pitcher whos HS coach pitched
    him with 2 or 3 days rest in the playoffs. He never
    made it, had arm problems

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Hmm. Don't remember off hand. Some of you guys may remember that Kerry Wood once pitched both ends of a double header, 208 pitches overall. With his bad mechanics at the time, that obviously was not good for his arm. I remember the Cubs were livid.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think his name may have been Dickenson.
    I hope there rules now against coachs only
    been concerned about number of wins at
    all cost

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Cubs had a guy named Lance Dickson in the early 90s I believe, but he did make it.

    Could it be Jackie Davidson, high schooler out of Texas? Cubs drafted him instead of Clemens. Right state, wrong guy.

  • What has been the style in the draft for our new management team? Prefer high school or college, best player or draft by need, etc.

  • Will they use the same draft philosophy as in Boston.

  • They seem to go best player and all things equal, they'll go for a college guy, but they've also shown they'll go the high school route if he's the better talent. Probably won't see as many surprises as with Wilken, but McLeod's his own man too. Drafted Spangenberg 10th last year when a lot of people thought he was a late first rounder. So far, it looks like a good pick.

  • When I was in college at the Univ. of Minnesota, Dave Winfield pitched the Golden Gophers into the college World Series. He threw a complete game shutout and then in the final he was beating USC(with Fred Lynn, Roy Smalley, Rich Dauer), 8-0 through 8 innings with 15 strikeouts. USC scored a couple runs and the coaches took out Winfield because he had thrown 140 pitches, and they refused to risk him hurting his arm. They lost the game 8-7. Wonder what college coaches would do today. And ironically, Winfield never pitched another game, but it worked out ok anyway for big Dave.

  • Wow, great story and some great names there! USC had to be a juggernaut back then. Wasn't Winfield a star in other sports (football or basketball...or both?)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Winfield was the star of the basketball team also, and I believe to this day is the only player to be drafted by four professional leagues,(Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA and the old ABA.) And he had never even played football, but was still drafted by the Vikings.

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    Didn't they draft him as a WR?

  • Last week I attended an event called Cubs Corner and Jed Hoyer was there. In the Q&A session, I asked Jed if the cubs were considering drafting Giolito even though he had a minor elbow injury. He responded by saying that giolitos injury was not minor and that he had tommy john. He also said that the cubs dont like to talk about their draft plans. Overall he didnt sound that high on giolito because of the injury. Though he could be lieing.

  • In reply to Arod773:

    Great question but it seems there's some conflicting information here.

    The word is he's supposed to be pitching by the end of this amateur season, which means in about a month or so. No way he could do that if he had TJ surgery.

    This is what Law said in his most recent article...(4/10)
    ...Giolito is out with what appears to be the most minor of elbow injuries and should pitch again in some format before the draft.

    Maybe they think he needs the surgery?

  • They might. I was shocked when he said that giolito had tommy john. I had read everywhere that it was a minor sprain. Everyday it seems more likely that Buxton,zimmer,appel,gausman, zunino will be the top 5 picks. If the cubs dont draft giolito, it seems they will miss out on the top tier. I really wanted the cubs to go with pitching at number 6, but that might not happen as of right now. But if they do draft giolito, and hes healthy with no problems in the future. He could be our ace when the cubs are contenders. Hopefully by 2016

  • In reply to Arod773:

    Odd thing for Jed to say. I was unable to find anything else on TJ surgery anywhere so I'm assuming he was blowing some smoke.

  • Giolito is fine. No TJ is necessary. Starts throwing in a few weeks according to well placed sources. They're being extremely careful with him as he's only 17yo. Clubs are the masters of misinformation. Hoyer's not willing to show his cards. He said one thing (that was completely untrue) so you can bet he means the opposite.

  • In reply to Plowshare:

    Thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure that's the case. I think we're all trying to adjust to the switch from Hendry, who was more straightforward than most about his intentions.

  • What happened to the McCullers kid? I remember his dad when he pitched, and I saw an article last year that he was one of the top players for this year.

  • May have the best stuff in the draft but apparently teams think he can't be a starter. Teams won't go early for a bullpen guy.

  • I have seen Max Fried and Lucas Giolitto pitch. I don't think the Cubs could go wrong either one. Everything I have heard Giolitto will be fine and I have talked to alot of their people close to him. If the Cubs pass Giolitto I think it will be a mistake.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I read an article a while back saying tht mcloed has a flagging system for pitchers they think will be injury prone and that they tend to stay away from . Given his history in drafting, i will trust his judgement. But as a fan, i cant help but dream about the cubs drafting a healthy giolito and him dominating in the big leagues

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Fried is a fast riser, could go in the top 5 or 6. It's tempting to go for Giolito, especially since he appears to be relatively healthy. When he returns to pitch in a few weeks we'll find out a lot. If his velocity is there, he could shoot back up the draft boards again.

  • Giolito is 6'6" and 240lbs, sits 95-97 with a hammer, but he's only 17. Won't be 18 till after signing deadline. He did throw 100mph. I talked to two scouts who were there. Pemium stuff, best in the draft by a wide margin. Personally, I think he needs to develop some upper body muscle to support the velo. Kids grow feom the gound up. 17yo with strains are nothing...happens all the time. They heal up quickly. You take this kid, go slow with him for a couple of years and kaboom. You look back on him in a few years as the steal of the 2012 draft.

  • In reply to Plowshare:

    You've got me sold, Plowshare! Great info and analysis.

  • baseball America had an article saying Giolito would look for 4M to sign , thay and the injury meant a drop to a big market team probably that could absorb that risk and stll have a big enough pool to sign thier top 10 picks , sure sounds like Jed is blowing smoke too. I would be shocked if He gets past the #6 pick . I dont see Zimmer as a Top 5 guy. Almora is a fast riser that has been huge in Big games, If I am not mistaken He was a star on Team USA. Nice player .

  • I don't know where you are getting your "consensus top 5". I haven't seen much in the mock drafts in line with any others. I still see Giolito going as high as 2, and both Appel and Zunino as low as 7. I've seen at least 4 different players being picked 1st overall. Other projected top 5 players included Correa, McCullers, and Cecchini. What I have seen consistently in the mock drafts is one of 2 players heading to the Cubs, Gausman or Wacha. I could live with that, but I'm keeping in mind how much more defined this landscaped will be come June. I'll hold my debate until then.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    I don't take much stock in mock drafts at this point in the season. They tend to lag behind what;s really going on.

    And no way Zunino drops to 7. None.

  • One thing about this topic is what caused giolitos sprain in the first. If the cubs draft him, they have to look at his delivery and mechanics to see if tht caused it

  • In reply to Arod773:

    His delivery looks smooth, clean. It's deceptive in that it's slow and then this 99 mph fastball comes flying at you. I don't believe his delivery is the issue, but I'd have to ask some scouts to see if they'd confirm. Could be just one of those things.

  • I've seen him live. Got a goid liok at him up close. From the waist down he looks like an NFL tight-end. Incredibly muscular calves, thighs and butt. From the waste up he looks like a lanky 17yo. He's blessed with ridiculous arm speed. It's a blur. His mechanics are smooth. Maybe drags the arm a bit, but that can be corrected. No inverted W like Strassberg. Upper body needs development. He'll pitch in the bigs at 255-260. Last outing, pre-injury he held to 97mph in the 7th. He's a phenom, no doubt. If he can stay healthy, look out. However, it is an if. I'm sure everyone comes rushing back once he starts throwing again. Worth the risk to me.

  • In reply to Plowshare:

    I take it you're out there in California. Thanks for the first hand reports, they really help give a better picture.

  • Did you guys see the call Dale Scott made Sunday in the Padres, Dodgers triple play game? Might be the worst job of umpiring I have ever seen, pure amateur hour. What was really bad is he didn't admit his mistake and reverse the mistake he made.

  • I'm going to have to catch it on the highlights. Was watching Iowa tonight.

  • OK I have seen 2 of the top 5 projected pick (Appel and Zimmer). I have seen 4 of the prospects list by John (Fried, Giolitto, Marreo and Wacha).
    I watched Zimmer go from 98 in the 1st two innings to 91 in the 6th and stay around there to 8th. I was unimpressed with is Slider looked my hittable and was hung alot. His CB was had a hard break could be a plus pitch. His Change up was had flashes of being an above average pitch. He was very inconsistent.
    I saw Fried and Giolitto during the same week. Both had great command peresence on the mound. Giolitto was just a power pitching god. Stay around 94 to 97 for his outing and his CB was was about 81 with a sharp 11 to 5 break. He never showed a Change up didnt have to. Fried was a little different. He threw any where from 89 to 95 during his outing, but it was almost like he was doing it by design. He would throw a 89 on 1 pitch then a 93 the next to keep hitter off balance. He showed 3 pitches his FB, CB and CU. His Curveball was an easy plus pitch now. He throws it at about 73 to 74 with a big break. His Change up was about 81 with a tailing action and good arm action.
    I wasnt impressed By Marreo, he seem overmatched at the plate against UCLA. He was very good in the field but I didnt see anything that overly impressed me. He looked like an average everyday major league SS. Not saying that bad its just not what I think you would be looking for at #6.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Great stuff, Wickit.

    Marrero has struggled at the plate and it's hurt his stock. Had he hit as expected, he would have been worth a top 5 pick, possibly even top 3. True shortstops who can defend their position well are rare. If they can provide anything on offense, it's rarer still.

    It's why we see Lindor rated ahead of Baez despite Baez having the much better bat. Lindor is a true SS and Baez likely moves to 3B.

  • From the Cubs standpoint I hope thier big board looks like this. 1 Giolito 2 . Gausman 3 . Zunino 4. Buxton 5 .Almora 6 . Fried . My reasoning . No matter what Cubs either get a top arm or a toolsy bat that has high ceiling. Not a huge fan of Appel or Zimmer , Appel is an injury waing to happen , and doesnt miss bats, Zimmer just doesnt strike me as any better than Wacha , Niether worthy a top 6 pick . Marrero is a nice player I would put at 7 and Correa at 8 .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    The Zimmer who was throwing mid to high 90s for the entire game has a higher ceiling than Wacha....but the guy who throws low 90s? Maybe not, especially since Wacha is the more polished pitcher.

    Appel a bit of a mystery but I think he still goes top 5. Best combo of stuff, polish but maybe some team thinks they can draw out his potential with a tweak here and there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When I saw Wacha he was sitting around 95 to 93. Zimmer was all over the place. He was high 90s in the 1st to inning but drop in the later inning to the low 90s.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    We were talking about Zimmer's vanishing velocity earlier in the thread. Early in the year he was sustaining high 90s velocity and then later started there but then lost it as game went on. Now, according to Law, it peaked at 94 and sat at 90-92.

    As far as Wacha, have heard he sits at 90-92, peaks at 94...similar to what we've seen from Zimmer recently. The difference is Wacha has more polish, better change. But really don't see him as a top of the rotation guy without a knockout fastball or slider. See upside as a solid mid-rotation guy, but I could be wrong.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I did see at BA that he peaked at 96 in a recent game, however, and sat at 92-94...which would be much more impressive and closer to what you heard. It's especially impressive considering his advanced change and good control.

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