Cubs Notes: Appel, Stanek, MLB Draft sleepers, and the Cubs top DSL prospect

Today we'll start the day with draft stuff, including a dominant performance by Appel and a possible sleeper pick at #2.  We'll also look at the Cubs top DSL prospect...

MLB Draft Notes

Mark Appel had his second straight dominant outing yesterday.  He no-hit a good Texas team for 5 2/3 innings, then went on to pitch a complete game 3-hitter, striking out 14 Longhorns in the process.  He walked just one batter.  He needed just 110 pitches.

Appel is now 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA with 5 walks and 28 strikeouts in 23 innings for Stanford.  Batters have hit just .165 against Appel with only 2 extra base hits this year, both doubles.

If he becomes the obvious #1, does Houston take him and risk negotiations with Scott Boras again?  Appel doesn't have quite as much leverage as a college senior, but I can't fathom that Boras will give up his right to negotiate and sign early -- especially if he feels he has the top talent in the draft. If selected #1 and there are protracted negotiations, it will hamper the Astros ability to save money early and re-allocate that to later picks, as they did last year.

Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek struggled early on, pitching in the low 90s and getting hit around a bit but found himself late in the game.  In his last inning Stanek was up to 96-97 with good bite on his slider.  Stanek may have the best 1-2 combo in the draft but he still shows some mechanical issues including a big stride which causes some arm drag.  It'll be interesting to see where he goes in the draft.  You can make a case for him going anywhere from #1 to #5 right now.

Stanek is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings this season.  He has walked 5 and struck out 11.

Sean Manaea was snowed out yesterday and we'll update this piece if he makes up that start today.

Looking for a big-time sleeper and possible late riser?

This year's Kyle Zimmer may be University of Nevada RHP Braden Shipley.  You may remember that Zimmer shot from the bottom of the first round and into a potential #1 pick overall.  Like Zimmer, Shipley has a fresh arm and is a former SS.  He's an extremely athletic 6'2", 180 lbs with a lean build that projects well.  He pitches in the mid 90s, peaks at 97 mph and he throws with a sharp, downward plane.  Some think Shipley can shoot up into the top 5 by the time June rolls around.  Kevin will have a full report on him when he visits San Diego next month.

So far this season Shipley is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA.  He has  4 walks and 16 strikeouts in 14 innings.  Nevada plays Holy Cross this weekend and we'll update you with his performance.

I had hopes for Vanderbilt LHP Kevin Ziomek as a 2nd round pick for the Cubs but if he keeps pitching like he did last night, that might become a pipe dream. Ziomek was just as dominant as Appel as he shut down UIC with a complete game one hitter and 15 strikeouts.  He walked three and despite that and the high strikeout total, Ziomek threw just 114 pitches.

Ziomek is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 6 walks and 33 strikeouts in 22 innings.

Jonathan Crawford of Florida had another so-so outing (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)  and, combined with the drop in his velo and concerns about this mechanics, can no longer be considered a top 5 candidate -- perhaps not even a top 20.

Another sleeper pick for rounds 2 and 3 may be Jacksonville's Chris Anderson.  He was a closer as a freshman, then had a mediocre sophomore year, but has come out strong this season.  The RHP had another great performance (9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K).  His season numbers are incredible.  He is 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA and has 4 walks and 35 strikeouts in 28 innings.  He's not doing it with smoke and mirrors either.  Anderson sits comfortably in the 91-94 range and can dial it up to 96 on occasion.

Clint Frazier hit his 4th HR. Here's video...

Top Cubs DSL Prospect

Ben Badler of Baseball America recently made a top 20 list of both the DSL and the VSL.  The Cubs will have a team in each league this year but last year they had two DSL teams.  Only one Cubs player made the list:  RHP Daury Torrez.

Torrez went 6 - 3 with a 1.21 ERA last season with 4 walks and 50 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.

Torrez is a good combination of size, stuff, and projectabilty.  He's just 19 years old and he's 6'3", 200 lbs and already sits at 90-93 mph with his fastball that has sink and run movement.  What really stands out is that Torrez commands all his pitches, including a hard slider and a change-up.  As noted above, he walked just 4 batters in 74.2 innings.  If there is a weakness, it's that none of those pitches are dominant and he hasn't had as many strikeouts as you would like.  Torrez will turn 20 in June so the Cubs may want to move him along to Boise this year.



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  • Selfish ask, but does anyone know anything about where Tulane's Tony Rizzotti is projects to go? Crazy case where he started with TCU, had a knee injury, transferred to a JC and had another knee injury. Now he's with Tulane, he's their Friday night guy, and he's mid 90s now up to 96 with a good slider. Ton of buzz around him. More of a 2nd or 3rd round guy? With the injury history, seems like a guy other teams may be wary of that the Cubs would take a chance on.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Guys like Rizzotti are a tough call to me. Hes got some buzz but gets hard to pull the trigger early come draft time. He's a possible steal in the same way that Josh Conway was last year.

  • thanks for all the prospect info. It is enjoyable to read. That C Frazier kid looks like a good one. Four HRs already.

  • In reply to John57:

    He's an exciting player, especially that bat speed. He's got to be in the mix for that top 5 as well.

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    I'm hoping two of those three emerge as "can't miss" pitching prospects. Then we're good regardless if what the inscrutable Jeff Luhnow does.

    Despite Theo's claim that you can address pitching by volume in later rounds, if you look at the Cy Young voting the guys who were drafted (i.e., not international guys like Hernandez) were almost all taken in the first two rounds.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. The odds get lower as you go down the draft. I think having a top 5 pick is a big factor. The potential big impact guys are easy to identify and we see them go off the board very early every year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I hear what you are saying and it is true. But if you look at guys that are MVP candidates, they also were predominately drafted in the first two rounds.

    I could go either way, hitters or pitchers, whatever Theo and company thinks is best. I would be pleased with Manaea(1) and Ziomek(2) if that happened but Frazier(1) and Ciuffo(2) sounds exciting too.

  • Nice call on Anderson. I'm going to try and catch 1 or 2 more of his starts this year.

    Also, I've got 3 ACD games on my schedule this year. Looking forward to getting to know Navaretto better and see him in action. You can learn a lot about these kids by sharing a little patch of dirt with them for 7 innings... no scouts, no cameras, etc... just real.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks and I know you've mentioned him here in the past. He's dominating start after start so he's getting harder and harder to leave out of the top 2-3 round discussion.

  • John: in doing a bit of research on Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, I was amazed to discover that two of the top high school prospects in the country attend high schools that are 5 miles apart. I knew both guys were Georgia players-but when I discovered their proximity; it got me wondering about their respective schedules-and if they ever considered joining up to make one super-power squad. It appears that Meadows Grayson HS team is slated to go up against Frazier's Loganville squad Tuesday, March 12-might be a cool one to devote some coverage to. Wish my wife's grandmother still had that house in Lawrenceville, Ga!!

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    Thanks Upstate! I like that idea of covering them. I did know they were close together, have played against each other, and know each other well.

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    ESPN 3 ought to broadcast it. That is all.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Good idea!

  • In reply to tim815:

    Maybe on the Ocho? ;-)

  • Found this quote from an August 19, 2012 Baseball America article written by John Manuel(Meadows speaking of Frazier):

    “We’ve played together on and off since we were nine years old, with a travel team called the Storm,” Meadows said. “He’s a good friend. We haven’t played together as much since his family moved a little further away but we have played together a lot this summer, so it’s cool to have him here.”

  • 5:50 minute youtube video showing Frazier's bat speed.
    He's maybe a future Josh Hamilton.

    Has there ever been a world series winning team with an all right-handed outfield (Frazier, Almora, Soler)?

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Good question. That will require some research, can't think of one offhand

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    Great question. According to baseball reference, the last to do it was the 91 Twins with Dan Gladden, Kirby Puckett, and Shane Mack.

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    Funnily, I've actually seen Meadows compared to Hamilton on a couple other sites.

    I personally like Meadows a lot more. Frazier seems like he's getting too far out front on a lot of swings, and his follow through is so erratic and unpredictable. Sometimes it doesn't seem like there's any follow though at all, pulling up on his swing immediately upon contact.

    Love the tools, but not the consistency.

    Meadows always seems in control.

  • Here's the video

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Great video, thanks for posting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Awesome video. Would be great to see that for all players. Love the way he loads on his left toes. I did notice that he seems consistently off balance on his follow through. Does that say anything, or is it that he is a power hitter in contrast to Austin Meadows - his swing looks so clean all the way through.

    Austin Meadows (08-17-18-2012) UA All-America (Chicago, Ill.) :

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    Awesr stuff. Ziomek at #2 would be pretty awesome. Vandy does good work. Interesting as well to see Vandy's Saturday starter is Tyler Needs, former unsigned 1st round pick absolutely dominated in his first start this season. Struck out the side in the first two innings. talent like that in a school like Vanderbilt will make him interesting next year.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks. Agreed it would be a great get in the second round if he's still there. Ziomek probably wouldn't mind being reunited with Derek Johnson either.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    A hidden benefit to hiring Derek Johnson: one of his jobs was to find high school pitchers he liked and groom them into a Ziomek. With him working for the Cubs, we now cut out the middle man where they go to Vanderbilt and raise their stock.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And he'll get a lot bigger pool of talent to work with than he did as a college coach.

  • Didn't the Cubs hire a pitching coordinator with Vanderbilt ties?

  • Derek Johnson was Vanderbilt's pitching coach. He's now the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator

  • Thanks John, this is awesome, I don't know if you remember, I asked you if you had any scouting report on Daury Torrez and now you were able to get one... Sounds very promising.... Good velocity, command and promising change up... Sounds good.

  • Sorry if I repost... But thank you, John, I don't know if you remember, I asked you if you had any scouting report about Daury Torrez and at the time there was nothing, but now there it is... Sounds very promising... Good velocity, promising change up and good command, I like it... Again, thank you.

  • I just looked at the videos of Frazier and Meadows. Frazier just looked night and day better. Frazier seem to effortlessly barrel up and hit it square pitch after pitch. Of course it was BP pitches but still. Even the sound was louder in the Frazier video but that could have been because the mic was closer, I don't know. Very cool tape.

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    Here's a nice Q & A with Chris Okey.

  • Wow, what to do? Now you've got me thinking Ziomek, a guy who has already been taught to pitch by our own pitching coordinator, and a lefty at that. How good is that scenario? Then there are Frazier, Meadows, Manaea, Appel. I'm glad I'm not the one to make that decision.

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    In reply to cubs1969:

    If Ziomek keeps throwing like he has been, he won't be there when the Cubs draft again, and it's very unlikely he's going to pitch so well that he moves up far enough the Cubs consider taking him number two overall.

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