Cubs Notes: Updates on MLB draft candidates

Cubs Notes: Updates on MLB draft candidates
Kris Bryant

Here's a list of some intriguing names for the MLB draft and how they did  this weekend.

UPDATE 3/9:

  • Sean Manaea had a solid outing overall, especially considering he hadn't pitched in awhile.  He seemed to get better as the game went on.  Manaea went 6  innings and allowed 3 hits and 2 runs.  He walked 2 and struck out 8.  In 16 innings this year he has walked 7 and struck out 24.  His ERA is at 1.69.
  • Kris Bryant did play some 3B today and hit another HR, his 8th HR, of the season.  He went 3 for 5 and is hitting .396/.549/.811 on the season.
  • Colin Moran hit 2 HRs today and went 3 for 5 overall with 3 RBI.  It was a big day on offense overall for North Carolina, who hit 8 HRs and won 20-6.
  • Jonathan Gray is a RHP out of Oklahoma who is a borderline first round pick -- for now.  He was dealing heat today.  According to an early update by Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, "Jonathan Gray still 97-100 in perfect 3rd, has 5 Ks through 3 scoreless. Putaway pitches: 98, 99, 100, and two 87 sliders, 1 on each corner."  He also said he had a good slider and change.  He went 7 scoreless innings, walked one and struck out 8.  Gray is 3-1 on the year with 8 walks and 27 Ks in 26.2 innings.  His ERA was lowered to 1.95.
  • Trevor Williams of ASU had another solid game.  He pitched a complete game, 3-hit shutout, walked one and struck out 5.   He improved to 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA.  Williams has walked 4 and struck out 25 in 30 innings.  In my book he's a first round pick.

Games for Friday: 3/8

College

The big 3...

  • Mark Appel of Stanford continues to dominate.  He pitched 7 innings and allowed just 4 hits and one earned run, yet lost the game.  The domination part?  Appel walked one batter and struck out a career high 15. Right now I have to think he has clearly set himself as the #1 player in the draft. He is 2-2 with a 1.20 ERA and has walked 6 while striking out 43 in 30 innings.
  • Ryan Stanek of Arkansas had another uneven performance.  He went 4 innings, gave up 5 hits and 3 runs.  He also walked 5 batters to go with his 5 strikeouts.  Stanek is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA.  He has walked 10 batters in 16 innings to go with 17 strikeouts.  Stanek has shown top shelf stuff at times but he's been inconsistent in the early going, particularly with his command.
  • Sean Manaea of Indiana State did not pitch and has only had 2 starts, both of which went 5 innings.  The bad news is that you can't get a good read on him and he's missing out on gaining experience.  The good news is that the pitch count is down.

Top Hitters...

  • Top hitter Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with 2 walks with the one hit being his 6th HR of the season in just 45 ABs.   He's also shown an incredible eye, walking 16 times in 61 plate appearances (26% rate).  Bryant played RF as the team looks for a spot for him.  He played 3B last year but some scouts didn't feel he'd end up there.  By what I've heard he's looked good in the OF and the 6'5", 205 pounder has even played CF, though he won't wind up there -- but it is a testament that he has some athleticism and could stick in the OF.  He definitely has the arm for RF.  His stock is on the rise and he looks like a top 5 pick right now.
  • Colin Moran's stock has been going in the opposite direction as he hasn't hit for the kind of power scouts expected to see from the 6'2", 200 lbs. third baseman.  Moran has hit just one extra base hit, a double, while hitting just .311 -- much lower than expected as well.  He maintains his good eye but his lack of power is glaring for a corner player -- especially one who may even have to move to 1B.
  • Philip Ervin of Samford has been on the rise since his big showing in the Cape Cod League.  It appears pitchers are starting to fear the 5'10", 200 lbs. slugger as he drew 3 walks in 4 plate appearances.  His one official AB resulted in a single.  Ervin is hitting .340/.460/.780 with 6 HRs in the early going.

Other college arms to watch...

  • Bobby Wahl of Mississippi is a guy who had his fastball rise into the mid 90s over the past year or so, but he lost his command early this season.  Last night he had his best performance, going 6 shutout innings without allowing a walk.  He struck out 6.  He's 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA on the season but has walked 12 in 22.2 innings.  He came into the season as a top 10 candidate but his early outings probably pushed him back.  This start should get him going in the right direction again.
  • Trevor Williams of ASU has raised his stock with some good early performances but, as we know, it rained -- and hailed -- pretty hard in Arizona yesterday.
  • We've talked about Bradey Shipley as this year's Kyle Zimmer, a fast rising converted infielder with a fresh arm, great athleticism, a big fastball (up to 97 mph), a plus curveball, and a developing change.  He had an up and down performance yesterday, going 6.2 innings and giving up 8 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) while walking 3 and striking out 10.  He's not quite in Cubs territory yet as he doesn't have the track record of guys like Stanek and Appel, nor has he had the consistently dominant performances that Zimmer had last year, but stuff-wise he can match the top 3.  For the year he has a 2.93 ERA with 9 walks and 33 strikeouts in 27.2 innings.
  • Chris Anderson is a pitcher on the rise and will get first round consideration at this point.  His good fastball, which can reach the mid 90s, a plus slider, and a fresh arm (he closed his freshman year) put him on the radar but he's been translating that into good performance this year.  He went 8 shutout innings, striking out 10 and walking one.  He's just 2-1 but has a 0.87 ERA with just 5 walks and 45 strikeouts on the year in 31 innings.
  • Tony Rizzoti is a new name to keep your eye on.  He's battled knee injuries but his arm is fine.  Like Anderson, the big 6'4" RHP has put himself into the first round conversation -- and can bring it with 93-95 mph fastball and a good slider.  He went 8 innings and allowed 2 earned runs while walking just one hitter, but struck out just 4.  On the year Rizzoti is 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA with 5 walks and 25 strikeouts in 30 innings.
  • Kevin Ziomek of Vanderbilt pitched another complete game gem, needing just 117 pitches to strikeout 13 batters.  He allowed just one walk, 2 hits and one run.  Ziomek is now 4-0 with an 0.87 ERA.  He has walked 7 and struck out 46 in 31 innings.  When Keith Law was asked whether Ziomek had vaulted himself into the first round, he responded that to him, Ziomek was a second rounder.  That's good news for Cubs fans.
  • Thomas Windle got off to a so-s0 start this year but turned that around with a no-hitter for Minnesota yesterday.  He walked one and struck out 8.  We have him as a 2nd/3rd round guy but I feel like the LHP has some upside left.  Windle has a 1.96 ERA with 7 walks and 19 Ks in 23 innings.

High School

Right now there are only two high school considerations for the Cubs for that 2nd pick right now-- Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. There are some guys looking to break in that rarified air, such as Brian Denney, but high school catchers rarely go in the top 10.  In fact, only 2 have done it since 2001: Kyle Skipworth and Joe Mauer.  Dominic Smith is another fast riser as perhaps the best overall hitter in the draft, but questions about his ultimate defensive position likely keep him out well out of Cubs range.

Scouts still seem to favor the bigger, more athletic Meadows over Frazier, in part because of his ability to stick in CF.  Both have great bat speed but also mechanical flaws in their swings.  All seem to agree, however, that those flaws are minor and fixable.

No high school pitcher figures into the top 5 right now, but as we talked about earlier, there are plenty who would be nice fits in the 2nd and 3rd round.

Another good hitter, Drew Ward (3B), was just made eligible for the 2013 draft pending his graduation from high school.  He's a good hitter with plus power potential but Keith Law doesn't see him as a first rounder.  That makes things tricky as he's verbally committed to Oklahoma and may be a tough sign if he isn't picked early.

 

Filed under: MLB Draft

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  • John, check your email.

    I think Bryant would be a very good pick up. I am starting to think the Cubs may go Position Player. One of my favors Brett Morales is have good season throwing a perfect game last week.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I saw that on Morales. He could still sneak into that first round which puts him out of Cubs reach.

    If Bryant can be a good outfielder than I'd put him in the mix.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you have my Bryant scouting report?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I didn't see it in my files. Can you send it?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I will when I get home

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Thanks.

  • I love Kris Bryant ... but ... Frazier is just a ridiculous player. I am thrilled to see Appel doing so good in hopes that the Astros fall in love with him and the Cubs can nab Frazier. At the same time, a 6'-5" left-hander who can rake, as well as draw walks, wouldn't be a bad choice either. It's good to have these options.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    Bryant isn't LH.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Good catch. I slipped there.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I love Frazier too. I am thinking there are going to be some surprises pitching wise going out of the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Must have had Manaea in mind, too. Haha. A hybrid of both.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I agree Manaea would be a great pick. I am going to go see Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma today.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Working on my latest mock. Gray just missed the first round for me. Same for Overton. I like Gray a lot, though. So many options for the Cubs as far as pitching goes after the first round.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I'm not sure Frazier is the guy for me. Like him a lot but if he's going to be a corner guy with some power, I'd rather go with Bryant if he can play corner OF. Much better size and already has an advanced approach and more experience. College bats have highest track record of success in the draft.

  • Apparently Appel seem to have made some adjustments... One concern I had was hit ability to miss bats for a guy that throws in the mid 90's... But it seems like he's learned to do that more often or, he's just too good for the level of competition... I would think it is a combination of both.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I have a gut feeling Appel isn't going to the Cubs.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think he's the best player in the draft. The question will become signability, much as it was last year. Less leverage but there's no way a top Boras client is going to be an easy sign. The next time that happens will be the first time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed on Appel. He has such a high floor and solid cieling. And we NEED pitching. If he doesn't sign we'll take the #3 pick next year which may be a stronger draft.

  • In reply to Bill:

    I hope it's stronger. It's certainly not like 2011 though. Apart from Rodon, Tyler Beede looks like he may be a top 5 pick, though. Made the right move going to college. Some interesting guys -- Trea Turner, Alex Jackson etc. Long way away, though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No offense but I haven't talked to a Scout yet that agrees with that. I don't even think he is the best pitcher to be honest.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Well, BA and Keith Law talk to a ton of scouts and they both have Appel at the top of the draft. Have to respect their opinion on that too.

    I think Manaea is the shiny new toy, but still has to prove himself. Meadows and Frazier not at same level as Buxton, Correa, and even Almora.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've been wondering for a while if there was a wink-wink nudge-nudge deal between the Cubs and Boras. Cubs will let themselves be used as pawns in his Michael Bourn negotiations -- at least to the extent of not denying the rumors he started -- so long as he doesn't kill them in the Appel negotiations this year.

    Would it be wildly illegal and unethical? Yep. Just like any kind of deal with the Nationals about not making the qualifying offer to Edwin Jackson.

    If it is the case, we will never know. It's possible even Jed isn't in on that particular piece of dirty laundry.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They have a good relationship so I think that Boras remembers those things. Doesn't mean he'll make it easy on them.

  • John,

    You mentioned Chris Anderson and his dominating performance last night. Just curious if you know anything about the pitcher on for UCF last night against Jacksonville, Ben Lively? I follow UCF closely and he had a breakout year last year as a Soph. (9-2, 3.00 ERA, 81 IP, 84 K's) and is off to a blazing start this year (3-1, 0.31 ERA, 29 IP, 31 K's, 6 BB) including a great start last night going 8 IP with 1 R (0 ER) on 4 hits, 1 BB and 11 K's so it was definitely a pitchers duel.

    I don't know too much about Lively's stuff other than a low to mid 90's FB, but he's a big kid and putting up the numbers. Didn't know if he was climbing anyone's draft boards.

  • In reply to bjsill3:

    Lively has nice tall lean frame that looks like it may have some projectability left. 89-92 mph on fastball right now, big 12-6 curve. Good athlete who repeats his delivery well. Maybe Dan or Kevin can add to that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Anderson has a better repertoire with a plus change-up, plus slider and a touch better fastball than Lively. They are both big dudes at 6'-4" a piece but Anderson is about 10-15 pounds heavier. I think Anderson has a higher ceiling but Lively is no slouch.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    I agree I like Anderson better but there is still projection in both pitchers.

  • In reply to Dan Kirby:

    Thanks for the extra info! Lively is just a guy I'm familiar with and figured he might fit the mold of what the cubs are looking for at some point in the draft.

  • Joe Mather was let go by the Phillies...

    Michael Wurtz by the Marlins......

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    If Appel has a dominant season and the Astros don't take him(which if the continue their draft strategy from last year they definitely won't) he's my personal pick. The combination of High ceiling/high floor and the fact he'll be ready quickly stands out and something we need in this organization IMO.

    He might be our only chance at picking up a bonafide ace-type prospect in the near future. It's a risk taking pitchers that early but a risk this team needs to take. Stanek looks like a reliever and i'm still in wait-and-see mode with Manaea, he could be David Price or end up in the bullpen.

    I know you should always take the BPA but when you have a guy that can help fill a clear, gaping hole on your team and he just happens to be in the top 3 I think you go with him.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I feel the same way on a lot of this, Marcel. I'm a little down on Stanek and still in show me mode with Manaea. Hoping to catch Manaea in person later this year when he visits Normal. That's about a 2 hour drive for me.

    I'm getting close to the point where Bryant is my #3 guy, (Appel, Manaea, Bryant), but only if he proves he can play the OF long term.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think third base long term is not even worth discussing with Bryant then?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It seems that way. He was not likely to stick there anyway, but much better if he goes to the OF than 1B, of course.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Agreed. I think he's becoming a clear pick -- if he's signable. The knock on him was always that he didn't get people out as much as his stuff suggested he should. I'd say that's pretty close to being a non-issue.

  • Good to see Appel missing some bats here. He's looking dominant these last couple of games. Gotta love his ceiling/proximity-to-majors combination, could see him up here quick.

    I think Manaea is supposed to get the start tonight for the Sycamores. Well at least that's what the probable rotation says on the team website.

    Tom Windle threw a no-hitter, but he's more a 2nd rd guy right?

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    That's what you have to like about Appel, the combo of ceiling and floor is the best in the draft. You could make the argument, maybe, that another player has a higher ceiling but hard to argue a better combo of ceiling/floor.

    As for Manaea, he does pitch tonight.

    Really like Thomas Windle. He's one of my favorite sleepers. Feel he has more upside than most college pitchers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Completely agree. What I love about Appel, besides the fact that he's missing bats now, is that he's close to leaving the injury nexus. If you're going to take a pitcher early, a guy who might be 22 with a clean injury history before he makes his pro debut is the way to go.

    It can't be that hard to sign him. He's got less leverage this year and the pool gap between the higher picks gives us plenty to work with over teams that might pick him later, so a pre-draft deal shouldn't be that hard to work out. We won't be able to save money for "overslots" later, but I've never thought that was a particularly important strategy.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    That's an interesting point about the injury nexus. But I do think it's going to be hard to sign him. Boras isn't going to buy a pre-draft deal. One of his main philosophies is that he wants to give himself and his players the right to negotiate. He won't give that away, even with some decreased leverage.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I added Windle to the article. Definitely needs a mention!

  • John, on Shipley, is it possible who lasts into the 2nd round?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Possible but doesn't seem likely right now. Stuff too good. He'd be a steal if he does.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I am going to see in the 1st week of April.

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    Both Appel and Manaea are Scott Boras clients. So if signability is your main concern or being able to save money to spend down the line on other picks, you probably aren't picking either one. I'm not sure who will be representing/advising Kris Bryant, but I'm going to be giddy over whomever the Cubs draft because I know this FO will have done due diligence.

    The Appel vs Manaea debate is intriguing. Manaea is all about what he could be. Appel could still be really good, but his appeal is more about what he already is.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The way I look at Appel vs. Manaea is that both have potential to be #1 starters, but Appel's floor may be a #3 while Manaea's may be in relief. And agreed neither one will save you money if that's what you want to do. Cubs may get their pick of the two but right now I don't think Manaea has done enough to pass Appel, though it's not really his fault -- weather has been a problem.

    Manaea pitches in about an hour...I believe, so will keep an eye on him.

  • I would just like to point out that I've been on the Kris Bryant bandwagon the longest. I pointed out a long time ago that he is someone we should be looking at with the #2 pick. Ahem....someone here said he is "an Adam Dunn type player" who might be relegated to playing first base. I don't know who said that lol.

    He is a very athletic 6'5" player with patience, great eye and great skill with the bat. I think he could easily play a corner OF spot. Like I said a long time ago, this future Cubs' outfield would be amazing: LF - K. Bryant, CF - A. Almora, RF - J. Soler

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    It's strictly about positional value. I don't think you can doubt his power or discipline, but at 1B it wouldn't have been worth a 2nd pick. Top 5 maybe, top 10 definitely. Seems to have taken well to the OF, which makes it more justifiable to pick him earlier than htat..

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Kris Bryant could conceivably be one of those four corners types with a bat that allows him to play everyday. With the ability to play first, third, right and left, he still gets 500 plus AB per year, but he moves around the field based on who needs a day off.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If he has the skill sets that transition well to all 4 corners offensively and defensively, then the idea of taking him with the #2 pick is growing on me. Position players are a safer bet than Pitching, and taking the BPA is usually always the best draft strategy.

    That said...It is really hard to overlook the Cubs glaring lack of pitching in the farm system.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If he can play 3B with any competency he could easily be a factor. The fact that he can play the OF if he doesn't makes it less of a risk.

  • I don't want to toot my own horn, but people should actually watch these players. You can watch them on youtube pretty easily these days. Watch some videos of Kris Bryant and you'll come away very impressed. I want nothing to do with C. Frazier or A. Meadows btw. They are very talented, but also very raw IMO. Too dangerous to take at #2...

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    We do watch them. Not just on video, but live. Kevin in particular has seen a ton of them in person.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I checked out some videos of Kris Bryant. It appears that in HS he use to have a step-then-swing approach at the plate, and in College changed to a wide (and I mean wiiiiide) stance at the plate. Seems like that would help to keep his eyes "level" but could reduce power?

    IF he can play 3B and OF and he projects to be above average at the plate, then I would consider him at #2 and then just flood the picks with pitchers, but I'm not convinced....yet.

  • The last thing I want to add. I haven't seen any videos of M. Appel lately, but his stats speak for themselves. He's flat out dominating right now. Yet, I still can't shake the feeling he'll be a solid #3 starter at best in the big leagues. I'm trying to think of a comp for him. Maybe like the current C. Billingsley before he got hurt. A very solid pitcher who should be more dominant than how he performs? Maybe he'll end up like our very own E. Jackson. Great fastball/slider combo, but never develops the command/poise to be a #1 or #2 starter.

    If the Cubs take M. Appel I won't be angry, but I think S. Manaea or K. Bryant might end up being better in the long-term. I also like the idea of taking someone projected to go lower in the Top 10 like C - J. Denney, and using those savings later on in the draft like Houston did last year with C. Correa. Just my two cents...

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I can't agree on that Astros strategy, not in this draft. Last draft different, could have made an argument for about 5 different guys -- Correa was a top 5 guy, Denney more like a 10th pick or so right now. Not big on punting a chance to get an impact player so you could sign better lower round picks. Take the BPA. We don't even know if Houston's strategy will work. If Appel winds up a #1 starter, which is very possible, then it could wind up being a big mistake.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This is where I disagree. I don't think there is a clear cut top guy in this draft. Not Appel, Manaea, or Stanek. I really like K. Bryant, but in other years I don't know if he would be in the top 5 choices for me at
    #2 personally. The strength of a draft at the top is all relative to other years. There is NO Strasburg or B. Harper in this draft just like last year...

    All that said, I do believe J. Denney can be an impact player. As impactful as Appel or Stanek, if not more so. Plus, we could potentially save some money as well. The only problem is taking HS catchers is incredibly, incredibly risky. You'd have to do a lot of excellent scouting, projection and evaluating on Denney, and it also would require patience. It would take a good 3-4 yrs in the minors before he would be ready to handle a pitching staff at the MLB level. I'd rather take K. Bryant with the #2 pick. Safest player IMO with a chance to move through the system very quickly.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    It doesn't matter how much scouting you do on Denney, it's going to be a huge risk. The Cubs can't afford to miss at #2 so they can sign lesser players later in the draft. BPA -- meaning best combination of high ceiling and floor. Taking Denney at #2 and then going for other tough signs -- who are not good enough to be go top half of the draft, is an unnecessary risk. You could wind up outsmarting yourself and winding up with nothing.

    You can make a decent argument for doing it with Bryant #2 because of the success rates of college bats, but no way I go any lower than that.

  • This article is Exhibit A for why this is one of the best sites on the web, regardless of topic. Wow. Every time I come here I feel I walk away a more knowledgeable guy.

    These front office guys, and many of you, know a lot more than me about this stuff. When they hired Theo and Jed, I said that I would give them 2 years of total allegiance and no criticism. So, I'm totally fine with what they decide for this pick. That said, if we are able to get a top of the rotation pitcher out of this draft it would be so huge. I'm not breaking any new ground here and agree that they should go with the best available player but man would it be great to get a top flight pitcher. I'm already incredibly anxious about this draft.

    I live in Pittsburgh and will be at the opening series. If any Cubs Den folks will be there I'd love to connect. PNC is a great park and I can't believe I'll be watching the Cubs there in less than a month. Let me know if anyone will be in Pittsburgh April 1-4.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Thanks jjshook! Really appreciate those kind words.

    Hopefully the two things come together -- Best player available + need. That's always the best case scenario and there's a good chance of it happening between Appel and Manaea.

    I'd like to see PNC sometime. Won't be in Pittsburgh then but hopefully sometime soon.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If the Pirates tank, great seats become very cheap. I often sit behind the dugout for $25-35 when things are going bad. Don't love it because I'd love to see this city excited about baseball (I have a lot of good friends who love the Pirates) but not a bad deal for me. I get to see a lot of baseball here. You should definitely come out here soon John. Maybe a Cubs Den road trip. I'll buy the first round.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    That is a pretty good deal. Will definitely have to think about it.

  • Looks like there's a lot of buzz on that J.Gray performance, Fitt said it felt a bit like Gerritt Cole.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Could be the guy that shoots up big after that kind of performance.

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    John. From the sounds of it, and I know it is incredibly early, the Cubs second round pick should be a pretty good player also. Am I understanding that correctly?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Absolutely. All of the sudden there are a lot of guys who look like they're worthy of a 1st round pick. One of the will undoubtedly fall to the Cubs at #2.

  • This article originally was posted at scoutingbaseball.com by Kiley McDaniel. It likely explains why he has had greater success this season...

    "Last season and in his first appearance this season against Rice, Appel was 94-97 mph early and 91-93 later in outings with diminished command as he tired. Against Fresno State, he was a tick better at 95-98 mph early and a couple ticks better late at 92-95 touching 96 in the 8th inning. He was also more aggressive with sequencing and location versus the Bulldogs, staying on top of his heater with good plane and solid life down in the zone that generated a good number of groundballs."

    According to McDaniel, concerns still remain about his mechanics...

    " I think it just happened to be a good stuff day for Appel as he was a tick better across the board and he’s normally up in the zone more due to a drop-and-drive delivery gives him a diminished plane and combines with an inconsistent ability to get over his front leg to make him a flyball type pitcher.'

    If he can consistently show that improved downward plane and movement on his fastball and ability to induce groundballs as well as maintain the more aggressive pitch sequencing which was a widely reported flaw in his approach last year, my only remaining concern is the amount of work his arm has seen while at Stanford. If medicals can show that he's 100%, then he will join Manaea has the two guys I'm hoping the Cubs will take.

    While at Mesa this year, I had a chance to meet Theo. I told him, "Two words, Theo. Sean. Manaea." He smiled and gave a chuckle. I agree we need to see more from Sean, but what I've seen/read, I like a lot.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Great stuff! Thanks Quedub!

    I like Manaea a lot as well, one of my two favorites for sure, just want to just see him continue to build on what he showed in the Cape Cod League.

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    Speaking of prospects John, how highly ranked of a prospect was Castro? Has he exceeded his predicted expectations already?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Starlin was only ranked once in BA's top 100 coming in at #16 in 2010. But remember, he kind of came out of nowhere rising very quickly through the Cubs system so there really wasn't time to rank him more than once.

    Interesting to note, BA's #16 prospect this year...Javier Baez.

    2012 - Devin Mesoraco
    2011 - Michael Pineda
    2009 - Giancarlo Stanton
    2008 - Brandon Wood
    2007 - Yovani Gallardo

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    He was the #16 prospect, if i remember correctly, the year before he was called up, but that was just with a partial year in AA at age 19. He was set to rise. He was batting .376 when he was called up from AA, so I'm guessing he would have cracked the top 10, if not the top 5 had he not been called up.

  • You're most welcome, John. It's least I can do in return for all the great work you do here.

    I still really want the Cubs to go pitcher with that 2nd pick. If they go hitter, he has got to be CLEARLY the better player for me. I'm hoping one of the higher ranked prep catchers falls to them in the 2nd round, but I'll be very happy if they go pitcher/pitcher to start this draft.

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    I thnk Appel is suffering a bit from the "JD Drew Syndrome".

    I think more people want to see him fall on his face than succeed.

    I agree with John. Manaea is the shiny new toy.

    I have confidence in this regime's draft formula. I'm guessing they'll weigh the scouting reports on pitches 20-80, the look at the frame, delivery and makeup. They'll evaluate risk vs reward and if a pitcher is special, they'll take him. If not, they'll repeat last year and take a position player followed by a bunch of pitchers. If they think Appel is a special talent, they can use Boras to scare off the Astros.

    The same thing happens in the NFL all the time. Running backs get taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds because the injury rate is very high. Very seldom do teams take a running back in the first round. I think with pitchers its fairly similar-teams burn through a bunch of them and they're certainly higher injury risk.

    So for my two cents, I think Appel looks like a polished, big time college pitcher that hasn't just come into his own. The scouting reports love his stuff and body. He's special and I think the Cubs will get him. If it's not Appel, I think they'll take a position player because pitchers in general are high risk.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I like the analogy between running backs and pitchers. I think it's hard to take them early unless they are a top talent it a high floor. Right now Appel is probably there. Manaea may get there but is not now. But I hear you on the position player. If they're not thrilled with one of those two they should go position player.

  • Under this new administration I think they will use every tool in
    their bag to select the guy who best fits the "Cub way" talent
    being equal.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Talent always comes first though I do agree. They'll definitely take guys who fit their philosophy.

  • After seeing Bryant today again I believe he can stay at 3B. He is much more athletic then player who haven't seen him more then once. His bat will play any where.
    I watch him backhand a ball down the line and fire it to 1B and make it look routine. He can handle 3B.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Hey KGallo, I'm a huge, huge huge K. Bryant fan and would love it if they took him at #2 but even I'm having a hard time buying him playing 3B at the major league level. He certainly has the arm strength to play there, but the footwork is lacking. I don't think he has great speed either, or rather when he fills out and gets older he might slow down just like J. Baez affecting his range. Personally, at 3B I want an excellent defender there and not just one that is merely average at best...

    I don't know. He is athletic, and with enough practice and instruction he might be able to play 3B just fine. We'll see. I definitely think he can handle a corner OF spot.

  • In reply to I miss Ron Santo:

    I am not the only person that buys him staying at 3B. Almost every scout there thought it.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    That's awesome to hear man. Thanks for the insight Kevin!

  • In reply to KGallo:

    That would be awesome and it's a change from what we heard from scouts in the past. To me, it means he's probably done a lot of work there -- which speaks to his work ethic as well as his athleticism.

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    John, do you think the fact that Coach Marquez and Stanford are typically near the top of NCAA D-1 Baseball in Pitcher Abuse Points will figure into the Cubs decision in regards to Appel? There is a lot of mileage on that arm already for such a young man.

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