Cubs sign 1st round supplemental pick RHP Paul Blackburn; Braves runner up for Soler

Cubs sign 1st round supplemental pick RHP Paul Blackburn; Braves runner up for Soler

Jim Callis of Baseball America tweets,

‪#Cubs, supp 1st-rder Paul Blackburn agree on $911,700 (full value). Calif HS RHP, clean delivery, 90-94 FB, potential 3 + pitches. ‪#mlbdraft

Blackburn had a commitment to Arizona State, and although most felt that deep down, he wanted to play pro ball, it was going to be costly.  The Cubs had to pay full pick value to lure him away.  I think Blackburn is the type of projectable, yet polished pitcher whose stock could have really risen as a college arm.

Blackburn projects as a #3 starter in the big leagues because of the potential to have 3 plus pitches.  Like many pitchers that both Jason McLeod and Tim Wilken prefer, Blackburn is athletic and figures to be able to repeat his delivery well and have good command.

Although it's unofficial, the Cubs are believe to have also signed RHPs Pierce Johnson (1st rd. supplemental) and Ryan McNeil (3rd round).

According to my unofficial tally, the Cubs have signed all of their picks in the first 10 rounds except for OF Albert Almora, RHP Duane Underwood (2nd round), and Trey Lang (6th round).  That's 9 of the first 12 picks so far.


In another news, Peter Gammons tweets the following:

The Braves were right there with the Cubs @$30M on Jorge Soler, with the White Sox and Yankes between $25M and the Cubs @ $30M.

The Braves were something of  a sleeper team throughout this, because they are in need of RH power hitters in their organization, but I'm a little surprised they bid that high.

Interesting also that the White Sox also bid high, which seems like an obvious contradicion to Jerry Reinsdorf stance on amateur spending.  After leading the crusade that lead to the current CBA which, among other things, restricts spending on international amateur free agents, Reinsdorf made an offer that is 8 times higher than will be allowed when the July 2nd signing period begins

Filed under: MLB Draft


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  • I don't know. I think the White Sox org. really likes Cuban players. They already have A. Ramirez and D. Viciedo on the big league team, and they traded for J. Contreras and helped revive his career. Maybe scouts were able to convince K. Williams and J. Reinsdorf that spending big on this Cuban amateur will be worth it in the long-term. I'm a little surprised they spent that much. "Perfect storm" of a situation for J. Soler to maximize his value -- last time teams will be able to spend as much as they want on a young IFA, the comparison to Y. Cespedes and his contract, a bidding war between some bigtime teams.

    I'm just glad it's over and we won. Now, I want the Cubs to preach plate discipline and work on that. It doesn't seem like Cuban players I can think of have a really patient approach at the plate. I don't want J. Soler to be a better defensive version of D. Viciedo; I want a complete player who'll walk and/or wait for his pitch.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    Still. Like Soler or not, they were beating the drum for reducing signing bonuses, then they go out and try to spend as much as the Yanks and more than the Red Sox and Dodgers.

    Reinsdorf pushed this CBA through to even the playing field because he was losing out on talent because he wasn't willing to pay the bonuses that even smaller markets like Tampa, Pittsburgh, and KC were paying. Looks to me like he was trying to have it both ways.

  • I hope by the Cubs having Soler and other Cuban players this will
    help them in signing at least 1 more great/good player before
    July 2.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    They will. They also have the 6th most amount of money to spend, so they are going to get at least the 6th best international player, maybe better.

  • I have a lot of respect for the Braves and the White Sox scouting departments and the fact that they were right there with the Cubs in the bidding gives further credence to Soler's talent level as a 20 year old.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Especially the Braves, they have a very good farm system. The Sox, eh, not so much, but they have done well with Cuban players. And they have Marco Paddy, who's one of the more respected international scouts.

  • Sure hope we don't get fukudome'd. Just kidding. I love it when we show our muscle and outbid the top tier teams.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Always a chance. And I do like it that we showed we can play with the big boys and win.

  • Keyden Porter wasn't drafted, but he's a highly regarded prospect from highschool. Can he choose to become a normal free agent and sign for a deal like soler or does he have to go to unc?

  • In reply to Domnk S:

    He can sign, but he's subject to the same bonus limitations as the late round picks

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    Read in your comment above that the cubs have the 6th most money to spend on international free agents. My question is who are the top 6 and how do they project, and what do you think they sign for.

  • In reply to Larry:

    I believe it works in the same basic order of the draft, but I could be wrong there. Will do some research later on all things international.

  • I'm not surprised about the white sox and that two-faced scumbag Reinsdorf. Remember back in the early to mid 90's when he lead thge owners and forced the lockout of players because of their exorbitant salaries, especially free agents? When it was all settled, what was the first thing he did? Oh yeah, he signed first class citizen Albert Belle to ( I think ) the largest free agent contract ever. He's prolly done more to ruin this game than most people realize.

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    Is it correct that if the Cubs don't sign Almora, that next year they would get the same pick in the draft just one slot further down? If that is the case and he wants too much money (I'm not saying is) wouldn't it make more sense to go after Hickman and Wiseman and the get the #7 pick next year. Or do you think the can get Almora and Wiseman or Hickman?

  • In reply to Kevin:

    You are correct about the drafty pick if Almora doesn't sign...Cubs would get the 7th pick in next year's draft as compensation, but it would be unprotected. Which means that if they didn't sign the player they drafted 7th next year, they wouldn't get anything in return for it.

    However, if the Cubs don't sign Almora, they can't use his slot money on other players. They only way to get more money to spend on late round picks like Wiseman is by signing players from the first 10 rounds to underslot deals, which the Cubs have done. But most of those savings will likely go to signing Almora to an above slot deal.

  • In reply to Kevin:

    I believe they'll get one pick lower, but they won't be able to reallocate that money to Wiseman and Hickman. And Almora is a much better player than either of them.

    Almora will sign and I think they have a chance to get either Wisemann or Hickman, but not both.

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    Will Soler start playing in the cubs system this year? High A I'm guessing if he does..

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    He hasn't been officially signed yet, so they haven't announced where he will start. One common theory is that he will start off in the AZL to get his timing back and get accustomed to life in the U.S. Then after a few weeks, he would move up to short season Boise. I think Peoria might be the highest level he reaches this season, if he even makes it that far.

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    He'll probably start in AZ and try to work his way to Peoria.

  • I actually want the Cubs to get B. Hickman if possible. I like R. Wiseman, but he'll cost too much and we don't want to go 5% over our slot amount. I doubt Hickman will be able to stick at C, but I've seen videos of him and his swing looks solid. He'll probably have to move to either 1st base or LF/RF, but you give him a shot at C and see how he does. IF after a few yrs his hitting doesn't come along, well then the Cubs could move him to pitcher sorta like what they did with K. Burke. I love these kind of prospects that have a chance at hitting or pitching.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I'm not sure the Cubs don't want Hickman as a pitcher. Throws 95 mph off the mound.

  • Yeah I'm sure he's a fine pitching prospect. I just prefer hitting prospects over pitching prospects all things being equal. I think Hickman is more raw as a pitcher than as a hitter. I believe his preference is to continue as a C. I mean they could pull a C. Kelly type deal where he pitches a 100 innings next yr, and gets to continue hitting on his off days/after he reaches his innings limit. That's a pretty progressive, unique approach however. Yeah I doubt they do that, but first they have to sign him. We'll see.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    Hickman does prefer to catch. He's a prospect either way.

  • I never ceased to be amazed at this site. John, you must feel, at times at least, like you're a Cubs FO exec meeting with your scouting staff. That's how "in tune" the people on this blog are. Keep up the excellent work, everyone. I have never been so well informed of the inner-workings of this organization, thanks to all of you.

  • Jerry Reinsdorf = Hypocrite. Great Info. as always John.

  • In reply to JR Cubbies:

    Thanks JR. You'd have at least thought he'd sit this one out to at least give the appearance that he was sincere, but apparently even that was too difficult.

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