MLB Draft Update and Poll: Who will the Cubs draft at #2?

MLB Draft Update and Poll: Who will the Cubs draft at #2?

You may remember that Kevin Gallo, Dan Kirby, and I did a round robin style mock draft not too long ago. I officially wound up with the Cubs' second pick (it was totally random, I swear!) and went with RHP Mark Appel. However, to make it fair, Kevin and Dan also pitched in with the player they would pick at #2 and Kevin went with Kris Bryant and Dan went with LHP Sean Manaea.

Since then, RHP Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and high school OF'ers Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier have continued to build momentum. Frazier was the star last week, while Austin Meadows is heating up lately. On the flipside, some have raised questions about college arms Manaea (decreased velo/stuff) and RHP Ryne Stanek, (struggles with command, consistency) -- both, however, are top 3 quality arms.

We may add more later but for now the draft update concentrates on the consensus top 7 players in the draft.

  • I don't do a lot of stats on high school players but just to illustrate how hot Austin Meadows is, here are the numbers: He is 8-for-11 with 3 doubles and 2 HRs over his last 3 games. He's hitting .571 with 5 doubles, 3 HRs, and .647 OBP overall. The most recent news I have on Clint Frazier is that he hit his 7th HR earlier this week.
  • Jonathan Gray hit 100 mph a few times and his last pitch of the game was at 97 mph, so there's no doubt about his arm strength. He had another dominant performance, going 9 innings and giving up just 3 hits and one walk while striking out 12. Over his last 3 starts, he's been phenomenal. He has put up a line of 25 IP, 13 H, 1 ER, 2 BBs, 32 Ks.
  • Sean Manaea had another good outing with a line of 7 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 2BB, 8Ks. Though his fastball has reportedly been down a couple of ticks, you wouldn't know it by the numbers. In his last 4 starts covering 28 innings he has a 0.64 ERA,with 7 walks and 35 Ks.
  • Mark Appel scuffled early but recovered and seemed to get stronger as the game went on The end result was another great performance: 8IP, 6H, 1ER, 1BB, 11ks. For the year he has walked 7 and struck out 54 in 38 innings. His ERA is 1.18.
  • Kris Bryant faced a tough pitcher in potential first round LHP Marco Gonzales but did go 2-3 with a walk and a SB. For the year he's hitting .397/.573/.973 with 12 HRs.
  • Ryne Stanek will pitch this weekend. So far this season he hasn't put up the numbers his stuff would indicate. He has pitched 21.2 innings and given up 20 hits and 13 walks (1.52 WHIP) while striking out 20. His ERA is at 3.32.

We've made our picks, so now I put it to all you draft fans...which player would you select with the 2nd pick?

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  • Gray hands down . Has emerged as a dominant Gerrit Cole type arm. Cubs cant pass on that

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'm not quite as confident with Gray as you yet. Track record not as solid as the others. Command and secondaries have improved a lot since last year. I also worry some that he was a bit soft last year and had to work himself into shape this year. Hopefully that's a permanent lifestyle change for him. I may say Gray later, but want to learn more.

  • It's still too hard for me to pick a favorite. I love Frazier's bat speed and power. I love Meadows' all-around game and size. I love 100 mph from Gray. I love Appel's polish and, even when his stuff isn't on, he makes it look effortless. And I love Manaea's potential as a LHP ace. I seem to change my mind every week but I'm starting to lean towards Gray even though I still like Manaea.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    It's good to have options. There are at least 5 players worth consideration, maybe more.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    As an aging hippie (at heart) I appreciate the "love" that is all around. I also can identify with the indecision, I so much hope for the choice to be a good one.

  • Just added the poll to the article. Not sure why it didn't show up before.

  • I'm still not ruling out a kid who is 16-for-24 (.667) over 8 games with 5 2B/2 3B/5 HR/20 RBI 15 BB and a .795 OBP/1.667 SLG. Denney is very good defensively and, if teams believe he can stay there (and that is the key), he is a frickin beast. If he keeps it up over the next two months, you never know.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I think he's one of the dark horses and a great hitter, but as I mentioned above, I don't like to rely on sample high school stats. I do like the reports I've read and am intrigued by that kind of bat or a guy who can stick at catcher. One thing that worries me is that taking a catcher that early hasn't worked out top well historically. Mauer is the exception more than the rule. He's easily a top 10 talent, maybe more, but it'd make me very nervous.

    Saw Bradey Shipley today. Athletic, fluid delivery with great arm speed. But he got knocked around a bit. Seems like guys were squaring up more than they should for a guy who can hit mid 90s with good breaking stuff.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Everyone these days seems to throw 92-94 with good breaking stuff. I can name 20 college arms in this draft and another 20 HS pitchers. Manaea and Appel stand out as far as mound presence. Gray, too. You can see how unsettling the hitters are against them.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I disagree with those numbers. That would be an incredible draft -- and this just isn't. Could be guys project to be that down the road, or have shown that on a good day, but as far as guys who can do it consistently, the number is smaller than that.

    Anyway, I think I remember Shipley has peaked at 97 and the athleticism is exceptional. Fresh arm as well. Some hoping he's next Zimmer.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Look at the scouting reports. Appel, Stanek, Manaea, Gray, Lively, Wahl, Eades , Shipley, And. Mitchell, And. Thurman, Tr. Williams, Rizzotti, Scott Frazier, Blair, Finnegan, Simms, Crawford, Littrell. That is 18 off the top of my head that I have seen reports on low/mid 90s FB with good secondary offerings.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I've seen plenty of scouting reports, but it's one thing to do it from time to time. Not all of those guys sit at 92-94 consistently with plus breaking stuff. Those type of guys are first round picks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I didn't say plus, I said solid secondaries. All of those guys have been 'reported' to sit in that area. My point is, you don't know who to believe anymore. Throwing a ball hard is great but it's third behind movement and location. And when you watch guys like Appel and Manaea, and Gray lately, you see the separation between the rest. Just my opinion.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I agree there and I'm a bit skeptical sometimes as well. Definitely agree that those 3 really do separate themselves from the pack right now. In fact, they could well be the top 3 picks in some order.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, if Shipley were there when the Cubs draft in the 2nd, would you take him as he is presently?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'd jump all over it. Getting that much upside and low miles with a college pitcher would be a great opportunity at that point. I don't think he'll be there, though.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I would like to see Denny force his way up that far. Great prospect from everything I've read. Who knows what the Cubs scouts are thinking. A kid like that could make a real good impression at the right time. Might even be able to save a bit of money for later picks.

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    2014 Rotation:

    Samardzija-Appel-Jackson-Johnson-Wood, with Vizcaino in short relief.

    Yes, please.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Appel is so tempting because he would be ready by 2014. We can talk ceiling but Appel has already reached a level a lot of these guys would like to reach. Surest bet in the draft and best combo of floor and ceiling.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You hit on what I was thinking. Appel being closer to ML ready. I was not sold on him earlier. But I like the idea of him hitting the bigs when some of our top prospects hopefully will be up.

  • The only one on your list I would not consider is Stanek. He has not performed to the level expected. I really like all the others. If the cubs want a pitcher, any of those three could be the ticket. If a position player is the target, then Frazier is my choice. I really like Meadows' lefty bat but Fraziers bat speed is supposed to be rediculous and I like that tool. Though he is purported to be a bit slower than Meadows he steals more bases, I wonder if Frazier might have better instincts. Bryant is a rediculous hitter. I only worry about positional value if he can't stick at 3b. He would certainly be arriving at the MLB level around the same time as much of our purported talent.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Meadows has 11 SB in 10 games this year. Great speed and instincts.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I agree on Stanek. I've pretty much ruled him out even though he has two potential plus pitches. Too many questions to take at #2.

    I like both Meadows and Frazier. Meadows is the better all around player while Frazier has that crazy bat speed which may make him the better power hitter even though he's smaller. Both are top 5 guys, probably.

  • in my opinion mark appel is the best talent in this draft, by far. i think gray is gaining momentum and he is very intriguing, but if the draft were held tomorrow and appel dropped to number 2, im takin him.

    keith law stated in his chat this week that he thinks that appel MIGHT be ready for the big leagues as a september callup THIS year. (i dont think the cubs would send him up that soon after they drafted him, i just think it speaks volumes to how solid hes been this years)

    for that exact reason (his fast track to the majors) i think the astros will be passing on him. they are building for 2016-18, they arent gonna wanna start the clock of a guy like appel next season, especially being a boras client hes likely to reach free agency when the club is in the middle of contention (that 2016-18 time frame).

    if theo and jed decide that appel is their guy then i would hope that theyd go to him before the draft, and be like "look if houston passes on u we really wanna take you, we dont wanna make negotiations tough, lets figure out a number that works for both of us soon and get this done early so we can hammer out the rest of our draft knowing what we have and u can head to the minors sooner rather than later so u dont waste any time and hopefully by doing this ul be up with the big club by next year at the latest if their arent any setbacks."

    i feel like in this scenario everyone is happy. appel gets his money, the cubs get their guy, the BPA, and the cubs dont have to hassel over their first rounder and can focus on the rest of the draft.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I tend to be more conservative in that I prefer a high floor early in the draft -- so I'm big on Appel for that reason as well. I think he easily has the highest floor in the draft as well as one of the top ceilings.

    I don't think Appel wants to slip too far again because then the pool money just won't be there. I believe he'll be more agreeable, but I still think negotiations could turn out lengthy

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    I like Frazier's bat speed as much as anyone, but there's no way I can take Frazier over Meadows. Meadows is way more impressive overall, IMO.

    That said, I would be blown away if we don't take pitching early and often including round 1.

    I'm still a big Manaea backer, but Gray is coming up quick. I like both of them. Each may need some polish once drafted, but should both end up being high in any rotation.

    The way Appel is throwing, it seems unlikely that Houston will pass him up. Which is fine by me, I still have a bad feeling about him.

    Manaea Vs Gray to me. And by the time draft day comes around, hopefully one of the two will make that decision FOR us.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I agree on Meadows over Frazier, though it's close for me. Only thing I worry about with him is the mixed reviews on his hit too, but seems like he's hitting the ball well lately, so maybe he's answered those questions.

    If things continue as they are now, I'd be happy with any of the top 3 arms. I'm not sure Houston takes Appel after they tried unsuccessfully to lowball him last year. I think if Houston takes Appel, Boras is going to take this one the distance unless they pony up a big chunk of their slot, which I don't think they will. So I'll say it's Appel vs. Manaea vs.Gray. And yeah, I hope it's a no-brainer by June!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    nvm, I see what you're saying now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Another thing, too, like Kevin pointed out before, a lot of these scouts see a player maybe once a year. They grade a player on one game they saw live. When Conner Glassey went to see Denney play, they walked him his first three times and he was playing first base because he had caught three games in a row. He was like, "Why did I come here?" The hit tool with Meadows seems like nonsense to me. Someone says something and then it gets recycled without anyone really knowing what it means. The kid has crushed a baseball against some of the best competition for years.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    No doubt there's imperfect information out there. Guys will still slip through the cracks and teams will fall in love with players and pick them too high. And sometimes scouts can even look at the same player in the same game and come away with different impressions.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hardest sport to gauge future talent. Projection is a son of bee.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    Haha! Agreed.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    Amen to that! I still think Bryant has 35+ HR ans .290+ avg and a .850 OPS potential and can stay at 3B.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    my thoughts on the two (Meadows V. Frazier) is that some the reports i have read say neither one is long for center so if it is outstanding power and decent bat against all around above average bat, I would go with the strongest tool and from what I have read (just a few notes here and there) is Frazier will have the better power and it is legit. If he ends up in Left, that would make him a standout player there.

    The other thing that may be the deciding factor is the note from BA a few weeks ago about Frazier wanting it more than other players (plays like his hair is on fire--You could take the top 40 kids in the country and put them in a steel cage and say, 'Who comes out with the baseball will go first,' and I'd bet you that kid would go first. That's just his mentality."

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    I like the analogy of Frazier... that was what stood out to me with him too. He just wants it that bad. Kids like him, Baez, and Bryce Harper seem to be the type that will steal second & third on you when they're already up by ten. Not because they're disrespectful or cocky... but they don't know how to play any other way other all out.

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    Didn't Pitt draft Appel?

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    I voted Gray. Triple digit fastballs give me an erection, but then so does Kim DeJesus. Perhaps through the mind meld, felzzy can tell me what it all means.

  • I'm afraid you're on your own there Caldwell. I might be turning in my Kim Dejesus fan club card.... Still beautiful. But I've been seeing way too many tweets and interviews. Frankly, I liked her more when she was a maxim like dream. Now she's too human. Where's Anna Benson when you need her....?

    I keep my draft knowledge set on energy conservation low levels. I wanted Appel last year. I want Appel this year. I'd be fine with Manea if Appel wasn't there or if the Theocrats just decide that they don't want to deal with Appel/Boras pool busting salary demands..... Hopefully team Appel realizes that it's about getting to that second contract as quickly and as successfully as possible.

    I really hope it's not another High school OF. For all I know meadows could be the next Bryce Harper ( although I think the hype would have let us known already if he was.) But a player drafted with an arrival date of 2018 will just trigger all the wrong thoughts about how aggressively this rebuild is going to be. And I don't want those thoughts.

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    In reply to felzz:

    I don't follow Kim on Twitter, but I hope she's more of a lady than Anna Benson.

    I'm almost anti-Boras, but then Grays adviser used to work for Boras.

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    Does anyone know what (if any) options Appel has if himself and Boras decide to play har-to-get again?

    Does he have a 5th year of eligibility?
    Does he even have ANY leverage at all?

  • i still like meana a lot. dont get me wrong i love appel and gray but i feel in the long run if we need an ace i want meana. he is a lefty which him and shark could make a great 1-2 combo on the rotation. I feel that he could be the best pitcher of all and if his velo is down our pitching coach johnson could help him couldn't he?

  • honestly i would love the rotation of shark appel underwood johnson and jackson or shark meana underwood johnson and jackson

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    I still think it's hands down Appel right now. Cubs went for highest ceiling/floor combination last year and they will do the same this year. Some could argue he's the only true "sure thing" in this draft. You take your pure upside-type guys in the later rounds, right now we need a guy with a more than reasonable chance of being a big leaguer soon.

    And the best part is he will be ready sooner, not 2018 like most of the other guys. Fits right in with our timetable.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Agreed. If the draft was today and Appel was there at 2, I'd be shocked if the Cubs passed on him.

  • Love the draft updates . Keep them coming please .

  • In reply to walterj:

    Thanks. We'll update on Saturday mornings and then add some later in the weekend.

  • I had heard that some scouts didn't like the movement (or lack there-of) in Appels fastball? Is that still an issue? I've also heard that he has multiple plus pitches. Seems like opinions differ. He sure is tearing it up so far this season.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I think scouts were worried because he got hit more than he should have last year. Some may have explained that with lack of movement but I heard he had a strange approach, i.e. throwing 5 or 6 changes in a row once. Which is odd. if you throw 95-97, why would you even give college hitters a chance with a change up?

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    He has some movement but it sometimes flattens out. I don't think it is a question of stuff for me though. He has talent but I am just unsure about what is going on upstairs.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    As a potential follow up question to the one above, what kind of change(s) could one make to avoid bats this year relative to next year?

  • Bpa.

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    I would take Appel with the 2nd pick. The biggest knock on him prior to this year was that as good as his stuff was that he didnt miss many bats. Well, his K's show that he is definitely missing a lot more bats this year. My only problem is every time I hear his name and 2nd pick, all I can think of is Mark Prior!

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    I think there's a little bit of Prior in him. Good mid 90s fastball that he can locate consistently, good slider, and a lot of success at the collegiate level.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    As for me I'm still looking for the next Ferguson Arthur Jenkins,that would eliminate any injury concerns.Would I be upset if Gray was selected in the first round no?But only if Boras/Appel play hard ball. I don't know, but Gray could be the next Kid KKK.

  • mark prior was a sure thing and look how that worked out. draft meadows 2nd then stock up on pitching the rest of the draft. I hope they draft a future impact catcher too.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    What do you mean? Mark Prior worked out pretty damn well until injuries derailed his career. Not much you can do to see those coming.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    ok let's waste the number 2 pick on a player for 1 good year. sounds like a great plan to me. guess your defintion of working out pretty dam well is 1 good year.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    I'm sure the hope is Appel can have that kind of talent and stay healthy for many years.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Prior got hurt--read it again.
    Aside from the two-bit try at sarcasm, are you telling us you can predict who won't get a career-changing injury?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    whats i'm trying to say, is that pitchers are the biggest risk in the draft! position players tend to make it way more than pitchers selected at the top of the draft. go back and look at the history of the draft.

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    In reply to Joshnk24:

    This is the history of the #2 pick, which is most significant to us. Just eyeballing it, it doesn't appear that position players are significantly more likely to succeed than pitchers.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good reference Mike! I seem to agree with you, not many superstars out of that list. To bad MLB doesn't allow draft picks to be traded like other leagues, because the Cubs could easily trade down and get just of good of a player. Baez seems to be working out well so far, and he was the 9th pick.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I also don't believe this front office is going to select a player because he is "the safest pick." They are going to select a player because he is the best pick.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Who said "safest pick"?

  • The Cubs minor league pitching obviously still sucks, but man a pitcher that early make me so nervous. The Cubs really can't take a chance on missing on one at #2 overall. I would rather draft pitchers with the next 10 picks and hope 1 or 2 work out like last year. This Kris Bryant guy has become real interesting. It's too bad the CBA doesn't allow MLB players to be traded for draft picks like the NFL, that would be so awesome...

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    All I can say is thank god I am not the person making these decisions.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I know right?.... Better Theo/Jed than any of us... lol

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Ha! No kidding. I think you can make a good case for about 5 players who may be available at #2 -- and it's a hugely important pick for this organization's future. That's why they get paid the big bucks.

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    The and Jed have already shown they are willing to work with Boras. Almora is a Boras client. I like Appel or Bryant because both have high floors and the Cubs need to hit on their first round pick to become competitive.

  • In reply to CubChymist:

    Agreed. I don't think this FO is going to shy away from a guy if they think he's the BPA. Appel and Manaea both represented by Boras and Gray represented by a guy who used to work for him. Right now I think it's one of those 3 picks.

  • I voted for Bryant. For me it is a toss up between him and Appel. The Cubs need front line starting pitching but I just feel like Bryant's bat is almost to good to pass on. For me he sounds like a poor man's Ryan Braun. If you recall he came up as a 3B and was brutal before becoming a pretty good LFer. Bryant could end up being either an ok 3B or take over in LF in 2 years when Soriano is gone. For me an OF of Bryant, Jackson/Almora and Soler sounds pretty good in 2015.

  • In reply to Zippy2212:

    Have heard some good things. Kevin likes him a lot. We've seen McLeod take a college bat higher than projected before (Spangenberg), so can't rule it out.

  • I voted for Manea. For me he has the best potential to be a truly dominant Ace LHP. There's some holes in his game, as is the case with everyone if you want to nitpick... but he really didn't show great dominance until the summer last year so there seems to be something there for us to improve upon and raise his floor so far as off season routine &/or weather/climate, etc. Even Shark commented about moving to AZ for the off season helped him be in mid season form for the Spring....

    Now if you ask me what the Cubs will do, it is a toss up between Bryant (being the safest as a college Bat and with Kevin's scouting) or Appel being the highest floor/ceiling combo.

    So while there is no Strasburg, etc in this draft... it is deep and we will walk away with lots of very intriguing arms, and hopefully a few bats and definitely like to see them take 2-3 intriguing catchers because there is some depth there too.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think Manaea is still possible. As the weather warms up and he gets loose, maybe he gets back in that 94-97 range with those plus secondaries. He'd be hard to pass up if that happens.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To John and Kevin and anyone else w/ insight relative to Manaea, how do you rate his "mental makeup" as a prospect. I don't recall hearing anything about it in these discussions. Ultimately, this may be the key to his future sans injury.

    I can't say it enough but I truly appreciate the insight of the author(s) and the commenters on this site. In addition, I particularly appreciate the courtesies and respect generally shown to others on this site. Thank you!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lots of time for these kids to move up or down. I remember reading that when he came out of Valpo, no one wanted him. He has worked hard and responded to coaching there at ISU. But even his HS coach admitted, that he's going to get stronger & better with professional coaching. Can we really say that about Appel?

    I know you prefer Appel for the higher floor. But as quickly as Manaea closed that gap last summer, he can still do that if he looks like he did in the Cape by mid May....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Actually, Manaea went to Andrean. (Sup Indiana doodz!)

    Personally, I kinda LIKE that Manaea needs more polish. Because with all the effort that's gone into Cubs player development over the last year & a half, we may as well get CUBS polish on him.

  • Manea's low vote total makes me wonder how he would fare if Appel wasn't an option.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    That's interesting. Maybe closer to the draft we'll do a poll on who Houston takes. If the result is Appel, that might change the dyanamics on the second pick.

  • I am in agreement with bpa, but color me skeptical on taking a pitcher with the 2nd pick. I prefer that they draft the best position player first then draft the best upside pitchers with the next 3 or 4 rounds. I would to hate to waste the second overall pick on the chance of a future sore arm pitcher.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I kind-of think the same way. Position player is the safer bet for the real early 1st round picks,'s also true that the better pitchers will have been picked over pretty well by the time the second round pick comes around. If the FO does go pitcher first, then maybe the Cubs go with one of the high school catchers in the second round. I'm assuming Denny and McGuire will be gone by then. Who is the best of the rest?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    College bats are always safest. You'd have to feel you're getting enough ceiling with Bryant or someone like Moran or Wilson if they finish strong.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Flip side: it's hard to see the Tigers where they are today without drafting Justin Verlander #2 overall. (Think the Padres regret taking Matt Bush #1 overall that year?)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's early but all the pitchers from early in the 2011 and 2012 drafts are all still top prospects.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely. And as good as Javier Baez looks, you trade him straight up for Dylan Bundy before the Orioles sober up. But I'm less convinced you make the same trade for Trevor Bauer or Danny Hultzen, so clearly hitters taken later can eclipse pitchers if you make the wrong pick.

    No pressure, Theo.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    True. Bundy may be the only guy from that draft you clearly trade Baez for -- which is crazy because that was a stacked draft.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If consensus projects a pitcher to be the next Verlander that guy will not be available on the second pick.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Except that the first Verlander was available at the second pick -- and the consensus didn't have him as an ace. But the Tigers' scouts did, and that is what's important.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'll buy that.

  • I went with Appel, because I like the high floor and the position he plays. To win a playoff series, having a true ace is a huge advantage, and Appel is the most likely to develop into that kind of player. There's no comparison with Prior, who may have been mishandled by Baker, or a casualty of PEDs. That Appel would be on a timetable similar to our other prospects is icing on the cake. It's too important a decision to be influenced by who his agent is.

    My next favorite would be Gray, because his stuff is so exciting. But I'm just nervous about a guy who's been rising so fast; feels a little too trendy for a long-term investment. Third would be Kris Bryant, again based on being a lower margin for error.

    Meadows has inched ahead of Frazier on my board, but I'd have to put Manaea above both of them.

    In a sense this is just about the perfect draft to have the No. 2 pick, because there's no single can't-miss prospect, and you've got a great chance to pick the player your scouts like No. 1. In that top six, I'll be happy with whomever our scouts like.

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    Let's try this exercise: think about where we are with impact talent ignoring the draft.

    Sure thing: Starlin Castro
    Has questions: Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castrllo
    50-50: Baez, Soler
    Prospects with high upside: Almora (borderline with above category -- put him lower due to experience), Vogelbach, Amaya, Candelario, De La Rosa. (I'm intentionally leaving Villaneuva and Lake off; Villaneuva because I think he's a league average guy, not an impact guy, and Lake because impact is such a stretch with him.)

    Sure thing: Jeff Samardzija
    Has questions: Arodys Vizcaino
    50-50: none
    Prospects with high upside: Johnson, Paniagua, Maples, Underwood, Blackburn, McNeil, Cabrera.

    What stands out to me is that our offense has Baez and Soler -- extreme upside guys who have had success in full-season ball. Whereas, on the pitching side, after Samardzija and Vizcaino it's pretty murky. This only underscores what's been said numerous times (and I swear I didn't start out to make this point -- just classify what we have): impact pitching is pretty thin at the upper levels of the system. One of the college arms could easily help fill that void.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My sentiments exactly. Since no one can say with certainty who the "best player available" is among the Super Six, I think you have to let the position he plays be the tiebreaker. Plus, it's so hard to find an ace in the 2nd round, or through trades, or on the free agent market.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    While I think they'll go BPA first pick, you know they want to close that gap with the pitching. For certain it will affect most of their picks in the first half dozen or so rounds and I think they'll be happy if that BPA turns out to be a college arm that can quickly move to the upper levels.

  • Really comes down of who is not the best in hitting or throwing, but which player fits Theo's ideology of the Future Cubs type of a player.

    Million dollar arms are sometimes attached to a two cent brains.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:


    Makeup and signability are going to account for more than we think. Does he look like an all-star major leaguer? Does he ACT like one? Can we sign him within our limitations?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Favorite saying I heard a scout say about a pitcher was "the kid has a million dollar bank account but doesn't know how to write a check,"

  • I had been a Manaea man up until now. But given the recent reports of his velocity dropping, potential stamina questions, and overall "rawness" (work needed on a long, slow delivery, a balk-inducing move to first, change up needs work), he appears to be much more of a project than Appel. If he got is velocity up a few more clicks it would make me feel better, as even with his roughness, a hard throwing lefty with a 3/4 delivery is sick. But for now, I'm an Appel man.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Manaea is a bit more of a project and I did read that about his arm speed. Looks like he generates velocity more with his stride,leverage...which is fine, I guess. However he brings mid 90s is fine with me. But I do want to see him get back in that range before I invest a high pick. Otherwise low 90s, good breaking pitch, solid change sounds more like a more raw version of Danny Hultzen to me. Not that that's bad, but it's not a top of the rotation guy.

    I like Appel better right now as far as pure stuff and polish -- but Manaea's left-handedness makes his stuff a bit of a rare commodity. Gray may have the best pure stuff but he's not been pitching at a high level for long. I'd be happy with any of the three, but have to admit I'd feel safest with Appel.

  • Looking at different top 10 Astros prospects lists they need a left-handed pitcher, another outfielder and a catcher.

  • Doesn't Appel throw like 130+ pitches a game? That to me seems to spell future arm problems.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    That what's scares me a little on me.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    It's a point of concern for me as well.

    On the other hand, I've read that Manaea's mechanics are pretty wonky, which might contribute to injury down the road as well.

    So there may be future health concerns with either choice in theory.

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    I would love to see Bryant picked @ #2 for only 1 reason. An infield from left to right of Bryant, Castro, Baez and Rizzo sure sounds nice. But can Bryant really stick @ 3B? For just that little bit of indecision, I would have to change my mind to the safer pick @ #2. I go with Appel if he's there. Having Shark and Appel at the top of my rotation could never be a bad thing.....

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I'd also mention that Baez could then play third and we could sure find a second basemen with the slew of nice middle infielders we have on the farm.

    Not to mention that our outfield prospects are really starting to grab folks attention.... Go with Appel @ #2!!

  • I really don't think we can go wrong with the second pick, its just a matter of who fits our plans the best. Sean Manaea reminds me of another left handed stud prospect that Derek Johnson has worked with before, and if given the chance could turn Manaea into the next David Price. Everyone knows about Appel, he has all the tools of an ace and has the highest floor of any of the top prospects and could be ready to go by mid 2014 at the latest. The only question mark would be his mental makeup although I don't see that as being a problem and I'm sure Theo will take a very close look at this. Frazier has played out of his mind this year and has tremendous bat speed much like Baez, but the thing that has impressed me the most is his ability to show up big when everyone is watching (something the Cubs haven't had in the past 100 years). Hitting 2 home runs against Meadows' team with some 80 scouts in attendance and apparently dominating at the under armour game along with all of his talent has Frazier as one of my favorite prospects. The only problem with Frazier is his time table being a few years down the road, although I don't see it being that big of a problem (Castro, Rizzo should be in their primes with Baez, Soler and other prospects not far behind them). I trust Theo and Jed to make the right choice and can't wait to see their pick and his development in the coming years.

  • I like Appel with the #2 pick. I can understand the comparisons with Prior, but who can say that they know exactly who will or won't be injury prone? If Appel isn't available I say Manaea. It just seems like overall we are hurting for top of the rotation pitching in the future more than position players.

    And while I can't say that the big three of Almora, Baez & Soler are can't miss, I feel good enough about them to say I would rather go pitching with this draft with the #2 pick.

    With all that being said I also like Frazier. Having the #2 pick and not being 100% sure on who to take is a good problem to have.

    I'd say I'm leaning:
    1- Appel
    2- Manaea
    3- Frazier

  • Frazier and Appel are neck and neck for me now but I think if I picked today I'd go Appel. Manaea isn't far behind in third. Be fun to see how they do the rest of the way.

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