2nd pick in MLB draft gives the Cubs some interesting options

There have been a few positives that have come out of a 100+ loss season.  There has been the development of players like Jeff Samardzija,  Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Welington Castillo.  There has been the defense and possible Gold Gloves from Darwin Barney and even Alfonso Soriano. There has been the resurgence of the farm system, particularly at the lower levels.   Just as importantly is that the Cubs have pared down their payroll, and with a full year's knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the team, they are now in position to accelerate the rebuilding process.  Some of that will be through trades and free agencies, as we've noted in the first two parts of our offseason series, but today we'll take a break from that to discuss another asset the Cubs have acquired: the 2nd overall pick in the draft -- and the options that come with it.

The first option is that theoretically, the Cubs should get a better player at the 2nd pick than they will at the 3rd.  They will certainly have their choice of all but one of the players from the 2013 amateur draft class.  If the draft were held today according to most early draft boards, that player would be U. of Arkansas RHP Ryan Stanek.  Because the #1 pick is held by the Astros, and they've already passed on the guy many felt was the top talent, Stanford RHP Mark Appel, when he didn't take a lesser deal.  So it's also possible that the Cubs will get a crack at Appel, who is once again the consensus top overall talent with that 2nd pick.  The hunch here is that he will still be available because I expect the Astros to take a similar strategy as last season.  If you recall, they took a lower rated player (Carlos Correa) who agreed to a lesser deal to save money for later in the draft.  History suggests it's doubtful Appel would agree to that and I'm not sure Ryan Stanek would agree either.  The Cubs may even get their choice.

The question then becomes, would the Cubs take the same strategy and take a lesser player in order to save some money for a "signability" pick later in the draft?

That depends.

Last year the Cubs took Albert Almora, the player whom they believed to be the best available at #6.  Most observers felt he was ranked in the Cubs top 3 overall.  Rather than select a lesser prospect, they took Almora, knowing full well his agent, Scott Boras, would demand all the money set for his draft slot and more.

But that also brings up another interesting thought.  What if the Cubs had, for example, the 3rd or 4th pick?  Would they still have picked Almora?  The Cubs had him rated at least that highly, so the answer is likely yes, but the question then becomes would they have tried to sign him for less knowing that he would not have gone until the 7th or 8th pick if they didn't pick him at #3?

We're assuming right now that, if nothing changes, the Cubs will end up with one of the consensus top two players in the draft, both of them college arms.  If they feel that Appel and/or Stanek are the best players available then I believe they'll take one of them and worry about re-allocating pool money later in the draft.  You have to take the guy you feel is the top impact player when you get the chance.  Entire drafts can be made successful if you can land just that one special player.  They don't come around very often.

But what if they don't have those guys ranked as their top players, or what if they just feel the choice isn't that clear cut?  What if they believe Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea or U. of Florida RHP Jonathan Crawford is the better (or at least equal) choice.  Both pitchers aren't expected to be in the top two at this point, so perhaps they'll take a fraction of the 2nd pick pool money.  Last year the 2nd pick slot was worth $6.2M while the 3rd pick was worth $5.2M.  Using those figures, the Cubs could tell Manaea, for example, that they'll pick him if he signs for $5.2M, otherwise they'll take another player who they have rated about the same.  Manaea could agree knowing that it if he doesn't, he'll fall into the $5.2M slot anyway -- and with players such as Austin Wilson, Austin Meadows, Jonathan Crawford, and Clint Frazier (not to mention one of either Appel or Stanek) likely to be on the board, it's no guarantee he'd even get picked that high.  Appel found that out the hard way last year.  If Manaea would agree to such a deal, that would mean the Cubs would have an extra $1M to spend on an extra player later in the draft.

So the decision comes down to how good the Cubs think either Mark Appel or Ryan Stanek is, or whomever the consensus top talent is when the draft rolls around next year.  If you think that player is head and shoulders the best player available, then you take him.  If that top quality, can't miss guy isn't perceived to be there by the Cubs' brass, then perhaps they'll go the route the Astros did and take a lesser ranked player and try to spread that money around lower in the draft.

One thing is for certain, the Cubs should have plenty of options and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out when it's time to make one of their most important draft picks in recent memory.


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  • I have a feeling that the Cubs will have their pick of either Stanek of Appel, barring an injury or slump for those 2. The Astros, based on their history, will pick someone else who is more signable.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Unless something changes, I think you have to take one of those two guys. Right now, there seems to be a gap between them and the next group -- especially the next group of college arms,but we'll see. Guys like Manaea and Crawford could change that with strong seasons.

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    In reply to Steve Flores:

    Hey Cubs Fans,
    if you are interested in a casual fan interactive podcast, make sure to check out www.firstpitchbaseball.podbean.com. This podcast will satisfy those of you that want to chat about MLB in general, and have a passion for the game. If you are looking for a podcast to kill some time while you are on internet browsing facebook, twitter, etc. and are a baseball enthusiast this is the podcast for you.

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    In reply to Danny Lopez:

    my stance is that the cubs need to do whatever is necessary this year to get as many darts thrown on the proverbial dartboard. BPA is always nice. But the cap has changed the game. If the number 2 pick isn't clear cut much like last year, i suggest the cubs take a player they feel is impact and sign-able. Also one other avenue to gain young talent is to sign FA's. If the cubs flame out you can once again trade guys you signed for 22 year old talent (maholm, dempster). In the meantime giving your self a chance at the sacred opportunity each year.

  • In reply to Danny Lopez:

    I think the game is still about impact players. If you can get one who is wiling to sign for less, as Correa has a chance to be, that's a bonus. But I think if you have to choose between one or the other, you have to go with the BPA. You get the guy with the best chance to make a difference.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with BPA to an extent. Last year the Houston Astros did the best possible thing they could do with a class that had nothing but raw players from highschool to offer. they werent high enough on appel to pay him 1st overall slot. if the cubs are high on a handful of imapct players they think could all fit in tier 1 of the draft, they will take the cheapest one. Next years draft will hopefully have some top heavy talent that can seperate itself more than the last class.

  • Why invest all your marbles into one guy? Appel is represented by Boras, and Boras likes to go for the top dollar. Boras is not in the business of giving out discounts. So I believe Theo will talk with all the top players agents to get the feel of what they are willing to take. Theo needs to stock on pitchers and take the "Obama" approach of spreading Ricketts wealth around to other draft players. One pitcher won't do for the Cubs. Maybe Appel is on the fast track to the majors, but Theo will play it safe and invest in many arms.

    In other news......LaHair told ESPN that there is a 50/50 chance he will get traded this off season.........

    Dan Haren will re-sign with the Angels for less money.......take him off the shopping list......

    Maybe Bowden was a steal now for Marlon Byrd......

    One more game......then we can all watch Dempster and Maholm pitch in the playoffs.

    The question of the day is.......Which ex-Cub will shine in this season's playoffs? Dempster, Maholm, Baker, Soto, Johnson

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It depends. If it's a Harper or a Strasburg type, you absolutely invest all your marbles.

    Even if it isn't that type of talent, if you think that guy is the BPA and the one with the best chance of making an impact then you get him. The Cubs did that with Almora and spend their entire slot to sign him. As I said, when it comes to the MLB draft, one long-term impact pick can make your entire draft.

    It depends on whether think the Cubs brass thinks that type of guy will be available to them. You have to be careful not to get too cute and pass up the BPA just to sign higher risk guys later in the draft. It can backfire big time. If it's very close between 2-3 guys in your internal evaluations, then you probably should try to spread the money -- if you have a clear cut favorite in the bunch, as the Cubs did with Almora, you have to take him.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    If Dempster doesn't win today we may not be seeing him or Soto in a playoff series.

  • I would be willing to bet it won't be Jeff Baker.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Hopefully not. By the way, Jeff Baker was once a big overslot pick. He was one of those talented guys who slipped due to signability. Still for the 4th round, I guess you'd have to consider him a steal given that so many of these guys never make it at all.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A 4th Rounder that gets traded 3 times at the big league level isn't too shabby. I'd take that from Josh Conway or Tony Zych.

  • In reply to tim815:

    No doubt. If you can get an MLB player in the 4th round, even an overslot guy, then you've done pretty well.

  • I would not spend most of the money on 1 player unless all the
    Cubs people feel he is the real deal. Also other factors may be
    in play (1) Can they sign a top pitcher in the international pool and
    (2) can they trade Garza for a top pitching prospect . This why Theo and Co."get paid the big bucks" By the end of July 2013 our future should be set for many years.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm on the rebuild train as well. However, a true system takes more talent than we will have come July or August. If Team Theo thought we would have enough juice by then, they'd go more heavily toward FA this off-season. One more season of minor league development, Amateur scouting, and NLC losses should put us in similar shape in June/July 2014. Then, presumably, the ramp-up should be well underway, and be being aided by a third Team Theo Draft. From early position again.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    i think if you have the 2nd pick, your first thought should be to get an impact player. That's what you draft for, if they pass up an obvious BPA to get high risk players later in the draft, it could haunt them, and frankly, I'll be disappointed. The Cubs don't lack for prospect depth. What they lack are those big impact talents other than Baez. You don't get the 2nd pick often, so the Cubs better be darn sure that they take advantage of the opportunity and get one. I think as it stands, Appel and Stanek are not just the top 2 talents, but they're the closest things to a sure bet in the draft. Manaea and Crawford are riskier at this point.

    If you get too cute, you could wind up with a bunch of reilevers with good arms, something the Cubs already have. I think right now, unless Manaea or Crawford answer some questions, you have to go with guys who have both high ceilings and high floors, and worry about creating pool space later in the draft -- much like the Cubs did last year.

    It's early on the international draft, we're talking about guys who are 15 years old right now, so we may not see them for a long, long time.

    A Garza trade would have a more immediate impact, but he doesn't really have any value until he proves he's healthy and pitching to his normal standards. There's still the possibility they re-sign him. He is still young enough to be considered part of the teams future. If they can't get the deal they want, they shouldn't force it.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Couldn't agree more John. And I think Theo & Co. are about strategey, not over-thinking i.e. "being too cute". It doesn't make any sense to pass on a grater talent for several lesser pieces unless you feel one of those potential under-slot guys are just as good (or pretty darn close).
    As far as Garza is concerned, I don't understand everyone's rush to trade him. Of course you deal him for a top-level return, but you won't get that dumping him in the offseason, and maybe no even at the deadline. So why not look more seriously at re-signing a young pitcher with top-of-the-rotation stuff?

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Exactly. If you can get both a guy you think is an impact player AND extra money, you do it in a heartbeat. I think if the Cubs would have picked 3rd, they could have still picked Almora and maybe get a pre-arranged under slot value. Theoretically at least. Boras always makes that difficult.

    But if you have to choose one or the other, you get the impact guy, in my opinon. I wouldn't even hesitate there.

  • i think the cubs should try and sign a highprofile free agent because our pick is protected as long as were in the bottom nine, this would help us accelerate the rebuilding stage and bring in more fans to the games

  • In reply to Domnk S:

    Good point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    ...oh, I thought you meant the draft, meaning if we don't sign him we get a pick next year. Not as big on signing a big name MLB free agent, though.

  • In reply to Domnk S:

    Could be, though a star might demand a "You guys aren't very good" surcharge like Soriano did. Yeah, we could afford it, but just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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    I think like Sean Manaea straight up better than Appel or Stanek, and if he cost less money that would be a bonus!

  • In reply to James Knott:

    I don't know if you'll get a lot of agreement on that from scouts at this point. I've seen him ranked anywhere from 3 to 9. That could change, though. And I think he's more likely to be similar to a LH version of Stanek than Appel if he progresses. All have high ceilings and front line stuff, it's their floors that are different and in that respect I'd rank them Appel, Stanek, Manaea.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I know I just always love lefties, and he's gotten some Chris Sale comps, Chris Sale is awesome.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Him being a lefty that throws that hard makes him a very rare commodity. If he is equal or close to those guys by draft time, you almost have to take him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd like Appel more if he had more movement. If he develops it, he won't last until the second pick.

  • In reply to tim815:

    He would have been the first pick last year had he agreed to 6M, so I'm not sure he needs to improve anything. This draft isn't considered to be stronger and may even be weaker. His problem is more with his pitch selection. Too many change-ups. That's easy to fix, though.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Gets my vote. I dont care what the scouts say, if scouts really knew - no way guys like Trout, Cain, etc... last til late in the 1st round. Everything else being equal, you go with the front line lefty SP. I think the real knock on him is that he was virtually unknown until he dominated the cape cod league this summer. But I read an interview from his HS (he's a Valpo, IN kid) and another from his ISU coach and it appears he's just a late bloomer. Don't know that makes his floor any lower.... If he continues his dominance this Spring, we may not get him. LHP throwing 98mph do NOT grow on trees.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He can throw hard but he doesn't have anything else that's consistent right now. He has to improve to be a legit top 2 pick. I like his chances, but he's not as high up right now because scouts don't know him, it's because he's raw. Hopefully that changes next spring.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I watched the Cap Cod all star game and that's all Manaea threw was one fb after another. He does have a good one though. I've seen too many high draft picks turn out bad because the team outsmarted themselves.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    He's got a nasty slider and a so-so change. He does need to continue to develop and get those secondary pitches more consistent. But he's been able to dominate with that FB and an occasional slider.

    He dominated what was a hitters league this summer. This wasn't just against college or HS kids, this was against legitimate prospects. His numbers were just ridiculous.

    Interesting story & back-ground with this kid: http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=7556

    When you read about his mental make-up, dedication, and work ethic, it's hard not to root for him. I think that "make-up" increases his floor. Scouts aren't as comfortable doing that now because they haven't seen enough of him. They haven't seen enough of him because he was such a late bloomer.

  • John ... An absolutely brilliant article. You've given a really good idea of the "what ifs" and "if this then that" sort of thing. Gotta go with the two you mentioned ... for the reasons you mentioned.
    But, the alternative, IF (and only if!) they merit it, would be a huge 'get' for the Cubs ... getting a top five talent at less than slot.
    Good point on the INTL thing as well ... more $$ available there as well but, given the age of the kids involved, they're fills for the future.
    One of the Trib football guys said that the NFL draft looks to be full of juniors every year ... with the number growing pretty dramatically.
    Baseball? Not so much - since HS kids are eligible.
    Off topic ... but isn't it disgusting what Valentine is doing? With that idjit Lucchino getting a new deal, it probably won't happen - but I bet Boston is screaming like heck to get rid of Valentine.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Thanks MB!

    The option to me comes into play if there isn't that gap between the 2nd pick and the 3,4,5, etc., so I'm in wait and see mode. If it gets to the point where you'd be just as happy with your 2nd or 3rd choice as you would your first, then you offer all 3 a deal and see who takes it and try re-allocate that money for later picks.

    But the ideal situation to me is that the guy at #2 is so good that you have to take him and worry about the rest later.

    As for Valentine, it was a big mistake in Boston to think an ego-maniac like that could connect with a proud team like the Red Sox. They're in a pretty bad situation and who knows, maybe they go into rebuilding mode too. Who would have thought?

  • we have the 2nd pick in the draft next year. this doesnt come around very often so we have to make sure not to mess it up. i dont like the idea of taking a lesser talent, because as john said its not everyday u get the 2nd pick. that being said if stanek and appel are the two top talents on the board and for some reason the stros dont take either, i think itd be a good idea to take stanek, even if appel is thought to be the better prospect. there are many reasons why, but for me it comes down to 3.

    1. the way appel conducted himself, and the way he let boras handle him during last years draft was pretty disgusting. the thought that if we dont go over slot to sign him, with him threatening to go to japan for a year, or whatever he wants to do is really annoying. as a fan i dont wanna think we've got a guy because we drafted him and then he goes to japan and makes himself a free agent to all 30 teams. i just think hes greedy and i dont want a guy who only cares about the money.

    2. his arm has been ridiculously overused at stanford and that just doesnt sit well with me at all. if were gonna shell out all this money for a guy i want to know hes been used properly.

    3. if appel is causing all of these problems and stanek, although maybe not as hyped or highly thought of, is projected to be a possible ace i think you have to grab him, hes younger and seems to have better mental makeup. hes been handled better by his coaching staff and is still an excellent prospect. also if i could stanek plus an extra 1 million, or have to go overslot to sign appel, im goin with stanek. i do not want to risk losing this pick just so we can get the third pick in 2014, because rodon is most likely not dropping that far and im not taking the chance that he will.

    now if appel is willing to sign for slot amount and not leave us any extra money, but conducts himself in a proper manner, im all for taking the kid, hes got a great arm, i just dont think hes worth all the drama.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Great points Josh. That's a good case for picking Stanek over Appel if it's close. Then again, maybe the Astros are thinking the same thing, and they're probably not too keen on selecting Appel anyway.

  • If the goal is winning the World Series, you take the most likely to be an ace.
    Go for the best pitcher available.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Agreed. Don't mess around if you think there's a guy who has the better chance of reaching his high ceiling.

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    I think it's early to talk about specific guys; so much can happen in the upcoming college season, we just don't know.

    One thing is for sure though: We will take an impact arm with that 2nd pick. I just can't see taking any other type of player, given the lack of impact pitching depth in our system, and the amount of low-level depth we have at every other position (except C)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    There is a pretty good idea. It's not a mystery where things will be completely topsy-turvy by next June. One guy may surprise, as Zimmer did last year or a guy like Devin Marreo falls. Considerations like signability (i.e. Giolito, Appel) may also affect things, but the consensus top talent will likely see little change.

    That said, I mostly used names to illustrate and give it some familiarity. In the end, the exact names aren't all that important to this particular article, It's about draft philosophy and the kinds of decisions that the Cubs will have to make.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I have to lean towarsard best available. Pitcher. Outfielder. Whatever. If we have 5 really good outfielders in the pipeline, some of them can become monster trade bait.

    That said, Manaea put up Danny Almonte numbers in the Cape Cod League this summer. Pro prospects were slugging under .200 against him. My options are open, but I wouldn't mind Manaea and Stanek having really good seasons.

  • In reply to tim815:

    If those two come on strong that would be huge for the Cubs.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Agreed. If Austin Meadows puts up a monster year and looks like another Josh Hamilton, you can't pass that up. That said, it's very likely the BPA will be a college arm, whether it be Appel, Stanek, or even Manaea.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This. Meadows if He has a good Sr season with no injuries is the best available period. Appel is used goods especially after another season with Dusty lite. Stanek has a delivery that is scary from the injury standpoint and frankly there arent too may Elite talents in this draft.

  • Agree, can't pass up the best talent available. I am glad that the
    bench players are in final game. For some it might be their last
    time in the majors.

  • It was a rough, rough year but getting the #2 pick is nice :)

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I was a very rough year, but as a long time Cub fan I new that
    the one good thing was the #2 pick. Young fans don't see this.
    Just one more step to our final goal.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think we can all agree now that the season is over, we can get excited about that #2 pick. It's a nice asset to have and the Cubs may get their choice of the best college arms in the draft.

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    Excellent article as usual, John.

  • Thanks Ray.

  • It was a rough season, but the number 2 pick is nice. They need to take the best player possible there. However, I really do think Theo/Jed have to be happy with how the year went overall. Other than failing to trade Garza, and the Dempster trade fiasco, things went well for our rebuilding team.

    The Rizzo deal, signing Castro long term, Shark and Wood appearing to be real major league starters, Castillo at C are just a few highlights.

    If they can get a few SP in here, and Youk to play 3rd, we could have a nice little team to win 75 games next year.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    It's still going to take me a while to get over Garza getting
    injured right before the trading deadline. The last great
    trade bait we had.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    75 wins is the last thing we want. 64 (after another sell-off) would be fine. Or 80+ to challenge for the post-season. All 75 does is short you in the next draft.

  • In reply to tim815:

    It depends. If it's on the strength of vets and stopgaps then I agree. If the 75 comes because Rizzo, Castro, and Castillo are playing like future stars and Shark is pitching like a Cy Young candidate, Jackson developing into a bonafide CF regular, and maybe a couple of other young players either emerge and/or another 1 or 2 acquired via trade, I'll take those 75 wins over a higher draft pick.

    Any young, cost-controlled long term talent you can either acquire or develop now and becomes a known quantity is always better than getting a higher pick in the draft.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Keep Youkilis (or whoever) and veteran CF and win 75 or dump them and play Vitters and Jackson, I take the latter. Regardless how the win total is changed.

  • What opportunities will the Cubs have to look at some if not most of the potential top picks in the run up to the draft next June? I know the underall game, the cape cod leagues are held later, as I recall. How common is it to have guys come in for private workouts?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    It happens. Usually scouts attend their games. Interview them their family and friends, counselors. The Cubs are very keen on 'character issues'. Not much interest in guys who use drugs or drink alcohol a bunch.

    There was a kid (who I won't name) that the Cubs were planning on giving a big bonus to from the later rounds recently. At the last moment, he went to college, to much sadness in the Cubs fanbase community. Before his freshman year ended, he was kicked off the baseball team for (purportedly) being drunk for a game he was starting. And no, I'm not saying who.

    The Cubs scouted him until they found a reason to quit scouting him.

    But they will watch lots of games, college and high school.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    The showcase tournaments we saw late this summer will be the last for awhile, the info they have probably won't change much until next spring/summer.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Love the Cape Cod league.....it's after the June draft, so those players are all headed back to college for another year

    Callis thinks that the Cape league is more important than before, because the new CBA discourages "buying" kids out of college with above-slot money, so he thinks college kids will hang around more, thus increasing importance of Cape Cod league for scouting (Because the Cape Cod league is a wooden bat league)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Right, I was talking about the one that ended not too long ago. One of those players, Manaea, left a pretty good impression heading into next season.

    I'd probably agree with Jim on that. He's a smart guy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And I saw a scout report saying Manaea can't do this or that (in the Cape). How's come he killed the league if he's nothing special?

  • In reply to tim815:

    He has a mid 90s FB and flashes a good slider. Coming from the left side, that's enough to overmatch hitters at this level. He needs work to be a legit top 2 pick, but the arm and talent is definitely there for that to happen this spring. Projects really well, just a higher risk right now.

  • John,

    This year, doesn't the team who drafts Appel have more leverage? Presumably he wants to play in the big leagues, and with careers short isn't there a pretty high price tag on another year's delay? And wouldn't his reputation among clubs take a big hit if he held out again?


  • In reply to drben:

    He'll still have some leverage because he's a near MLB ready pitcher with excellent stuff. If you pick him you're going to want to sign him. That said, Boras will still try to get as much as he can...and probably will still get slot value. But I don't know if he'll be holding out hard this time around for above slot.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Last year, Appel had the option of returning to Stanford, which gave him leverage. This year, his only option, other than signing, is to play in an independent league, and re-enter the draft again. Can't see that happening.

    Under the new CBA, college seniors have a later sign date than everyone else. So, Boras/Appel will certainly signal what they want, and wait out the first signing deadline, to ask for every dollar that's left.

    Teams I think will pay a $ penalty to go somewhat over bonus pool to sign him, but like the Pirates, nobody is going to go way over and give up a first-round pick. He's good, but ain't that good.

    I think Appel has less leverage this time around, but we'll see how it plays out.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He'll have less leverage, but if he doesn't get slot or very close to it, I'll be very surprised.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If he doesn't get more than last year's slot, I'd say he made a big mistake holding out the first time. Am I missing something?

  • In reply to drben:

    Financially he made a mistake if he doesnt get over 6M, which the Astros reortedly offered. It's doubtful he'll get more than that now. . He also turned down around $4M or so from the Pirates. He needs to beat that. A lot of what he did was out of principle, I suppose, but for his sake he needs to pitch well and put himself in position to be a top 2 pick again.

  • For those who might be interested, MLB TV is showing Rangers - A's game.......Dempster is pitching, and Soto is catching in this important game.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Who would have thought those guys would play such big roles for a team as good as the Rangers?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    On August 1st, Texas led Oakland by 4 and a half games. Soto is hitting .194 with the Rangers and Dempster has a 4.64 ERA.

  • Dempster lost two of his first three starts where he gave up 16 runs. Take those out and he's 7-1 with a 2.16 ERA. Maybe without him they would have fallen behind already.

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    Stanek had a rough summer with Team USA. Manaea, like Zimmer, is to new to everyone's radar. The picture will be clearer come spring.

    Houston will probably do exactly what they did this year. They will draft the guy who is willing to sign for less, in order to stretch their pool money out.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Manaea has more to prove. These other guys are more known commodities, but he's definitely the type that can move quickly if he has another big year. Stuff-wise he's right there with the other two guys.

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    Agreed about Manaea, but there is one thing about him that bothers me. His coach letting his pitch count consistently get so high is worrisome. Three times last season he went over 140, going over 150 in one of those instances.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That's always the danger with college arms. These programs are trying to win. Hopefully they do a better job of managing it this coming season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Look at the link I posted above, it talks about Manaea finishing hitters early and only throwing 80-90 pitches per 8 innings in the Cape....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That's good and if he can keep that up, then the innings won't be an issue at ISU. The problem happens if he doesn't pitch with that kind of efficiency next spring. Will ISU take him out after 90 pitches or let him battle for 8 innings for a 140 pitch win?

    Hopefully that efficiency is for real and it becomes a moot point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True... If the efficiency falters, then the question becomes how much of that inefficiency is him vs. the coaches @ ISU..... Obviously, the lower pitch counts @ the cape helped his velocity by a few ticks.

    In that article, the ISU coach talked about telling him to fix this and tweak that and he would be a first rounder.... etc. Seems the kid is taking to coaching and demonstrates a solid work ethic to go with that physical ability. So I hope ISU & Manaea recognize the importance of developing his Slider & Change to possibly be #1 or #2 overall. They certainly have the incentive,,, His is $, ISU's is recruiting.

    I just think about having a power LH SP like a CC, Price, or Sale at the top of our rotation and I get all giddy....

  • I'm hoping the #2 pick is Austin Meadows, and I know the Cubs really need that #1 potential pitcher. I would be happy with another draft with last year's philosophy of taking a high school position player at the top, with tons of upside pitchers to follow. I really like Meadows. He would probably be rivaled by only Baez as far as upside goes.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm all for taking the BPA. The Cubs certainly did that last year when they could have went pitching...and they needed it even more badly at this point last year. Max Fried. Michael Wacha, and Mark Appel were available, though Appel was likely unsignable by then. I think if there is a position payer such as Meadows that they like a lot more, then they aren't going to select an SP just for the sake of picking one.

  • Poll time!! Lots of different opinions already about who the Cubs should pick 2nd, so I added a poll on the right hand rail.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Since the cubs have the 2nd pick in the draft and will be apart of the so called bottom nine. They can sign a top FA without losing their first round draft pick? What about taking a flyer on BJ Upton?

  • In reply to Paris:

    I think Upton does some of the things the Cubs like -- runs well, hits for some power, plays good defense, can take a walk...so you have to consider it.

    Outside of Zack Greinke, he may be the best combination of age and talent in this year's class.

    That said, he'll probably be pretty popular, so it won't be easy.

  • In reply to Paris:

    I'm pretty sure they'd lose their two.

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    In reply to tim815:

    The Cubs' 1st round pick is protected.

  • But I think they lose their 2 (2nd rounder)

  • Cubs win. Enjoy the offseason, everyone.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    You too, Eddie...

    This offseason may be more eventful than the regular season!

  • john i have a question: How often do you and tom spend time together?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    We talk a lot via email, text, etc. but as far as spending time together, we'll catch a ballgame together every so often. Our schedules conflict a little, so hard to find time to actually go out and get a drink, if that's what you mean ;)

  • Alot can happen from now to draft day. Zimmer was anywhere near the top of the list last year at this time and he went #5. I think Manaea made some very good strides and if he continues he would make a run for the top spot.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Maybe Manaea develops his secondaries, maybe Crawford cleans ups that delivery, maybe Wahl adds a couple of ticks on the FB, maybe Whitson regains his old form...

    Maybe a high school arm matures and shoots up the draft.

    I hope so. The more options that are out there the better.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That was my point anything could happen between now and draft day.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Oh, I know. I was just elaborating...and I agree, of course. Things can happen, there will be a surprise or two, but in general there's a pretty good idea right now about who the major players will be.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Didn't Wahl spend the summer in Team USA's bullpen, and weren't there reports he was hitting upper 90's consistently. I think there was even a report he hit triple digits once.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If true, that's a big boost for him, even though that velo is out of the bullpen. He's as polished a guy as there is out there.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, that is the thing. Wahl has never come near that as a starter.

  • Very early, but looks like a 3 way race on the new poll between Appel, Stanek, and Manaea.

    Wanted to add a college bat but none stand out. Wilson has some mechanical issues to fix, Moran may wind up at first, as might Kris Bryant, who whiffs a lot. Wilson probably has the best all-around ceiing, Bryant has the power, and Moran has the best pure bat.

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    Nice post John.

    And nice season everyone. It's been fun reading and participating in the threads here all year. I know we didn't win as many games as we all hoped for, but at least we saw a lot of kids start to develop. It will be a very interesting off-season.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Thanks JW. Should be a very interesting offseason indeed. We'll be there, of course!

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    Theo epstein and co have a full plate.. I'm excited to see what happens.. Im really interested in which way they are going to spend some $$ in free agency on pitching.. Lots of positives this season.. Barney, Rizzo, Castro, sori, etc... I don't think sori's in a cub uniform next year same with lahair.. We need to draft a pitcher.. Are lower minor league systems might have the most talent in baseball.. Hopefully we can strenghthen Are higher ones..

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    Time will strengthen those upper levels. We just have to keep replacing the prospects at the lower levels as they move up the ladder.

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    The Cubs fired Pat Listach after the game.


  • In reply to Just Win:

    Sorry to hear that. But no doubt he'll be hired somewhere. Best of luck to him.

  • It'll be interesting how they play this draft. For one we have more money, but we also don't have the supplemental draft picks like last year. So we either gun for BPA and worry about grabbing signability guys later in the draft (remember Underwood was also an overslot signing in last year's draft) or we can basically attempt to "equalize" the pick money like the 'Stros.

    For me personally, I'm hoping they go after Appel or Stanek since we're lacking upper level pitching and Appel could be one of those guys who can reach majors in a year. By 2014 (obviously I'm being optimistic here, but...) at some point we can potentially see a rotation with Shark, Vizcaino, Appel/Stanek, Wood and probably a FA until the next crop of pitching comes (Paniagua, P.Johnson).

    Manaea to me seems a bit more riskier of a pick, but man that dude throws gaaaasssss for a lefty. If the brass wound up selecting him and taking the underslot approach I don't think I'd mind.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    They did get Underwood, but they also paid slot for their first 3 picks, so it's still doable without having to settle on the 2nd pick. But if they don't have a strong preference, I'm all for going underslot if they can.

    We can add Garza or maybe a prospect they get in a trade too. It's potentially a young, power rotation all 30 or under.

  • Agreed that you gotta take impact talent up top if it's there. Not Appel though. Same way I think Justin Upton is a little too me first and the gimme gimmes for The Cubs Way, I think Appel is too for turning down 6 mil from the Astros.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    It's certainly hard for me to fathom turning down $6M to play baseball. That said, I don't know if it was so much the money per se as it was getting paid under value and not being given a chance to negotiate. Boras probably didn't want to set a precedent either for top picks settling for less than slot. It's one thing to settle if a guy being projected to be selected anywhere from #3 to #6 as Correa was, but a guy who was a consensus top 2 pick. The other top 2 guy, Buxton, didn't settle either. He wound up getting more than Appel would have at the top spot had he settled. So it's probably more about setting market value Boras probably had a lot to do with that part of it.

    Not that I agree with all that from a personal standpoint, just trying to look at it from Boras' standpoint. I don't like his tactics, but I do have to admit he's good at what he does. He has has principles, I guess. They're just a whole lot different than mine!

  • Why was Meadows & Wilson the only position players? I've seen a handful of reports calling that red-headed opie taylor looking kid from GA their top overall prospect.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That's Clint Frazier out of Loganville HS in Georgia.

    I loved this article. I was tracking the Cubs battle with Colorado et al for the 2nd pick and was excited when I saw this headline on my favorite Cubs blog. This is fun to talk about, but it's really too early to have a meaningful discussion about this. So many things can change. I agree that Stanek and Appel are solid bets to remain top choices next June, but injuries, performance setbacks, high school emergences, Whitson returning to form create a formidable list of wildcards that makes this just a bunch of speculation. Fun speculation, but speculation nonetheless.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks! No doubt it is speculation as far as the actual names, though most are likely to hang around that upper echelon when the draft rolls around. And it's likely we'll see a new name enter the equation as well.

    The philosophy to me was the important part. If you had to choose, do you take the top impact guy or do you risk taking a lower rated player in hopes of making up that value later in the draft?

    To me there is no cut and dry answer. Using an extreme example, if that guy is Stephen Strasburg, you take him and pay him whatever you need to pay him. If it's not clear who's better between #2 and #4, then you try and get one of them to sign underslot. The answer this draft will be somewhere in between. Right now I think there's a dropoff after Appel and Stanek, but that could easily change by June.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I didn't want to make the list that long. Frazier is a very good prospect and and he's an exciting ballplayer, great bat speed. Just don't know if he's worthy of a top two pick. He's smaller with less power potential and less chance to stay in CF than Meadows. I chose one H.S. bat and one college bat, so for the HS bat I went with Meadows over Frazier, but Frazier has closed the gap lately. We'll see what happens this spring.

  • At this point, I'm just thrilled that the Cubs had a very solid start to their rebuild this season.

    The development of current Cubs Barney, Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, Wood and Castillo is encouraging. Add to that the influx of high end talent into the minor leagues like Almora, Soler, Vizcaino, Johnson, Paniagua and Underwood as well as lesser but still solid prospects like Villanueva, Torreyes, Bruno and Blackburn. The emergence of Baez as a top 25 prospect is huge. The steps forward taken by Vogelbach, Amaya, Candelario, Peralta, Alcantara, Szczur, Struck, Watkins and Cabrera is a plus. The expanded front office, performance of Sveum, implementation of the Cubs Way and retooling of their scouting and developmental staffs often flies under the radar but is a great source of hope for me. And now comes the opportunity of drafting 2nd overall next June with increased money for both the draft and international signings.

    That is one encouraging first season for Theo and company. So much was accomplished this year that we rarely even mention the huge amount of money that will be coming off the books this off season.

    Bring on the hot stove! You can bet I'll be keeping it tuned right here all off season long. Thank you, John and Tom, for everything you do.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks for the kind words, Quedub. We'll be all over the hot stove, of course!

    Agreed we've seen a lot of progress made with regard to the foundation at the minor league level and at the MLB level. I think the Cubs will try to add another couple of core pieces this winter. The W-L record wasn't there, but there were some good things. There's still a lot of work to be done, but that's what will make this offseason a lot of fun this year.

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    John, assuming the draft were held tomorrow, which it isn't and a lot of things can and will change between now and then, I think Houston would take Manaea. My gut says he would the one to take less, like Correa did, to be the number one overall pick. That would leave the Cubs to choose between Appel and Stanek. Assuming Appel would actually sign for slot money, I think I'd have to go with him. Stanek didn't have a great CWS, and he hasn't looked all that impressive this summer either. Appel might actually have both the higher floor and the higher ceiling at this point.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You read my mind on this one, Mike. I have that feeling myself. It just fits. An upside guy with a high ceiling that they can justify as the #1 pick, but also a guy who probably won't go higher than 3rd otherwise. He'd be more willing to take the under slot bonus than Appel or Stanek.

    I would love for the Cubs to then have their choice of the top 2 talents in the draft. I'd be happy with whomever they choose because lord knows they're going to do a ton of research on both. I expect them to make the right decision.

  • Appel will of course wait until the deadline before he signs, which means that you won't be able to go too much over any other slotted pick's value because you can bet Boras won't let him sign undervalue.You'll be forced to pick players that you hope will sign under slot. There will be a huge air of uncertanity over the whole draft for any team picking Appel.

    Since a lot of the top prospects will be more or less forced to sign for less value that they think they could get, I'd love to see (in the future, not next year obviously) some other country's teams compete for these top prospects. Everyone would howl if a future Bryce Harper-like player would sign long term with the Ham Fighters, and the result would be that this artificial salary ceiling that Selig (and Reinsdorf) has imposed gets lifted.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    That will no doubt factor in a potential Appel selection, but the Cubs did select a Boras client last year and it worked out okay. They got all the guys they wanted except for maybe Wiseman, who would have been a long shot anyway even if the Cubs had $1M to shell out. Considering the Cubs signed Almora, who is much more likely to be an impact player, it's probably not going to be a huge loss.

    I do agree with your general premise and I hope the owners find a way to change this CBA.

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