MLB Draft Update: My top 10 picks, Draft Pool $$ Announced, Is Gray challenging Appel for #1?

MLB Draft Update: My top 10 picks, Draft Pool $$ Announced, Is Gray challenging Appel for #1?

There is no Cubs baseball today and was just talking to Tom about how unfair that MLB makes us wait 5 months for real baseball, gives us one game and then the next day off.

We can't get enough baseball right now.  We don't need a day off.

At least it allows us some time for a quick draft update before we head into this weekend's games.

Draft Pool

Baseball America published the MLB Draft signing bonus pools today and the Cubs will get $10, 556,500, as teams received an 8.2% increase in their allotment.  The Cubs have the second highest amount behind the Houston Astros, who have $11,698,800.

Mark Appel vs. Jonathan Gray

As to whom the Cubs will use the bulk of the money on, that is still up in the air. Stanford RHP Mark Appel has been the consensus top player since the end of last season.  However, he now has company.  Through no fault of his own, Appel now has company in fellow RHP Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma.  Appel has been lights out in terms of both stuff and statistics, but Gray has been matching him nearly pitch for pitch.

One AL Scout now has Gray at the top of his list,

"I like Appel, but at this point, Gray would be (first) on my board," an AL scout said. "I'll take the triple-digit fastball and the wipeout slider any day of the week. There have been times that I've heard Mark was just a little too fastball heavy without elite command. I don't hear that about Gray very often, I think he's going to be a star."

Despite being just a junior, Gray may be an easier sign than Appel, who held out last year and wound up returning for his senior season.  It'll be interesting to see what Houston does, since they tried and failed to strike a pre-draft deal with Appel and agent Scott Boras last June.  They could try again but it seems they have a pretty good alternative in Gray.  The Cubs look to be in good position either way if they decide they want a power college arm.

Clint Frazier vs. Austin Meadows

Keith Law scouted Frazier and has mixed reviews.  On one hand he calls his bat speed elite and projects him to have plus power.  On the other hand he's not too keen on his overall hit tool, as Frazier struggles with breaking pitches and is frequently looking dead red.   Like many others, Law also doubts his ability to stay in CF, thus relegating him to a corner and putting increased burden on that bat.

Law will scout Meadows in a few days and compare the two.  From what I've heard and read, Meadows may have the more polished approach and the better chance to stick in CF, though he may not hit for quite as much power.  But that may change.  Meadows has good bat speed in his own right and he is the bigger player.  He's about 4 inches taller than Frazier and offers much more room for physical projection.  Personally, I prefer Meadows based on the info I have but I'm not sure I'd pick either player at the 2nd pick right now.

Others

It seems that LHP Sean Manaea has fallen behind Gray and Appel and now seems a long shot to go to the Cubs at #2.  His velocity has risen a tick or two as the weather begins to warm, but he has yet to match the stuff he displayed in the Cape Cod League last offseason.  The numbers are pretty impressive but they have not been as good as the other 2 top college arms and he has not faced the same level of competition.

Kris Bryant has established himself as the best collegiate hitter in this draft.  Maybe the best hitter, period.  He's hitting .370/.533/.900 with 14 HRs and our man Kevin believes he has a legit shot to stick at 3B.  If the Cubs scouts agree on that front,  then they could go with Bryant. As a college bat, he could be the safest pick in the draft, so the Cubs may make sure they get the first pick right and look to address pitching later in the draft.

Jonathan Denney and Reese McGuire are the two best catchers in the draft but, in my opinion, neither are worthy of a top 2 pick.  They are talented but the risk is just too high with prep catchers.  An alternative may be available, however, if the Cub go pitching with their top pick.  Nick Ciuffo's stock continues to rise and may now even sneak into the supplemental first round.  If he lasts to the Cubs at 41, they may just snatch him up.  You may recall that Dan would have picked him for the Cub in our mock draft and I was torn between Ciuffo and college arm Ryan Eades.  Eades was higher on my board, so I went in that direction, but you won't see me complain if the Cubs pick Ciuffo with that pick.  Ciuffo is a rare left-handed hitting catcher with some power potential and solid defensive skills.

Mock Draft Preview:  My top 10

This is a sneak preview for when I do my own mock draft next month, but here's how the top of my draft board looks so far...

1. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

2. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma

3. Kris Bryant, 3B-OF, U. of San Diego

4. Austin Meadows, OF, H.S. (GA)

5. Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

6. Clint Frazier, OF, H.S. (GA)

7. Ryan Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

8. Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada

9. Jon Denney, C, H.S. (OK)

10. Kohl Stewart, RHP, (TX)/Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville

I've pretty much narrowed my Cubs pick down to the top 4 on this board.  Though I know some of you are still big fans of Manaea, I'm at the point where he needs to work his way back into the picture right now.  Frazier and Stanek have top of the draft ability but there are too many questions for me right now on both players to put the in the top 5.

Filed under: MLB Draft

Comments

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  • I think we're looking good no matter who the Astros pick. It's a nice place to be.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Looks that way. I'm pretty comfortable with top 4, after that it gets a bit dicey for me.

  • Wait untill a few days before the draft get all the scouts and other
    guys in a room lock the door and make a choice. Cant make a
    bad choice, but can make an unwise one.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    True. Draft is always a crapshoot but you can still make the smartest choice you can. Put in the work and decrease the chances that you make a mistake.

  • Hey John,

    I've been following the MLB draft posts, so far and heard good things about Appel and Gray. From what I've read, it seems like Appel could have ace potential, but I guess I haven't really read that applied to Gray, although he might be very good.

    What are your thoughts. Could Gray be a true top starter or is he more of a future closer?

  • In reply to CGunz:

    I think both have ace potential. Gray had some doubts as far as command and a 3rd pitch but seems to have answered them this year so far.

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    I just realized -- it's well within the realm of possibility that Kris Bryant goes to Denver.

    The all-time home run record with be "unstarred" in a decade.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Could well be ;) I'm not sure he has that kind of power, though.

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    I have a feeling Gray ends up a closer. I could be dead wrong but he's just too unproven for me. Cubs have to get this pick right and even if Gray is a tick better than Appel i'm still going the latter because he's far more proven and didn't have as many questions going into the season. I'd never even heard of Gray prior to up until he made this big improvements. Appel has been a name for a few years now.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Is Appel your top choice or would you rather have one of the bats?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Appel is still hands down my top choice if there.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    So is it Bryant if Appel is gone or do you go upside with a guy like Meadows? Or someone else entirely?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    At this point if Appel is gone i'm thinking take the same strategy as last year. Go bat with the first pick and load up on pitching with the next 3 picks.

    Leaning toward Bryant if he truly can stay at 3rd, if not going upside with Meadows. Pretty similar to a lot of people here. I'm just glad we get our pick in this top 4 because it gets kind of dicey afterward.

  • Hitters don't have to worry about major arm/shoulder injuries.
    We a need good young pitcher to build around, But!

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's one of the good arguments around prioritizing hitters over pitchers along with the fact that position plays play 5 days a week which pitchers don't play that much in a month.

    But still, No one can argue at this point that good young pitching wins championships, you only need to hit just enough. The Giant can attest to that.

  • John stop breaking into my computer! We will have a mock today and your first 5 look very close.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Haha! We're starting to think more alike ;) I'll come back and link your piece when it's up. Let me know.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Did you get my email?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Just saw it. Don't know much about guys that deep in the draft, but sounds like a good late pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have video on him so just in case.

  • john I am hoping the cubs pick meadows but I like the idea of taking a pitcher then a catcher with the supplemental pick. those are 2 of the biggest needs in the organization. I think the cubs only take a pitcher if appel is available though

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Meadows has been very intriguing. He's been playing well.

  • Houston will not draft who is best for the team. They have many'
    other non-talent issues go consider.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    They may try the same strategy as last year. You could probably justify picking 3 or 4 guys at the top.

  • Astros will take Meadows.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Combo of upside and saving money? Plus a player who won't be ready for a few years?

  • What are the chances that they take the one the Cubs really want?
    Who ever they take, hitter or pitcher, could greatly change the
    Cubs draft plan. Drafting 1 or 2 which one is really best?

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    John, love the blog, but this preoccupation with the draft is getting obsessive. Do we really need to re-rank the candidates every 5 days? The season's on - enjoy it, speculate on wrigley renovation, let's leave the draft talk alone until late may.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I cover baseball and the politics/business of the Wrigley renovation is not really that interesting to me. If you want to write a guest post on it, send me an email. I know others enjoy discussing that.

    Day off so wanted to cover non MLB stuff. Plus draft pool $ came out today. At any rate, this is my first solo ranking. The only other ranking was the mock draft and that was 3 of us and it was a while ago.

    There's an article on Marmol from this morning if you want to read that. Figured Sweeney signing was just a minor move, more AAA depth, so was going to cover it tomorrow in game preview..

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The draft speculation is one of my favorite parts of this site.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Thanks. It's almost certainly going to be the place where the Cubs add the most significant impact talent this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John one of the things I really enjoy about this site is you cover the Cubs from all angles (FO, Minors, majors, draft, free agency, trades etc.) and often all of them in the same day or week. Keep doing it and keep writing what you enjoy writing about.

  • In reply to mcneilscot:

    Thanks.

    I do want to write what others may be interested in. I'm thinking I can at least link Wrigley renovation stuff for those interested. Maybe a guest post. Something to generate conversation for those who are following the saga closely.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Every year I appreciate the coverage of the Bears in the NFL draft. Players' stock rises and falls. Skill sets get analyzed. I feel reasonably informed come draft day. When I discovered this sight I found a lot that I liked and being informed on the MLB draft, especially when the Cubs have such important decisions to make, is one of many aspects I appreciate.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks Hubbs. I think it's fun that when you pick up guys like Almora, Blackburn, Underwood, etc. you already know who they are. Makes the draft fun to look forward to and follow rather than simply reacting to it afterward.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I have to disagree. I find draft speculation far more interesting than speculating about Wrigley renovations. I know it is a little useless to constantly re-rank the draft class, but things are changing and I don't really follow college baseball so i really appreciate all the Cubs-centric draft updates.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    This "preoccupation with the draft" is a vital part of what the Cubs are doing to right this ship. There is little, if anything, more important right now.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Thats the way I look at it. If goal is to get long term talent, it's going to be the draft that provides it this year. Other than the possibility of trading Garza, it looks like the only way the Cub will get real good, young impact talent

  • I definitely like the options at #2 in draft and think they will make a good choice. I am more interested in seeing if they can grab someone that is pretty elite at #41. Hopefully McLeod can grab an elite talent with that pick. I like the Astros approach is there is not a clear #1/2 type. Give someone 4.5-5million with the #2 pick and take a highschool bat or Bryant. You could then use that leftover slot money with the #41 and 3rd round pick. Obviously if there is someone you are high enough on with that first pick you have to take them regardless of signing demands but Astros 2012 approach is definitely one that I like.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Cubs are excited about that second round pick. It remains to be seen whether they employ that Astros strategy. They didn't do it last year, they went BPA and even went slightly overslot. I think if they have the chance they'll go BPA again this draft.

    The most likely spot you're going to get a true impact player is at the top of the draft. I don't think they'll mess with this opportunity to get a mild upgrade on their 2nd and 3rd round picks. The likelihood success of players are far less certain at that point. And remember the Cubs got some pretty good upside anyway with Johnson, Blackburn, and Underwood. Johnson was the 43rd pick and the Cubs likely had him rated higher than the guy the Astros gave a boatload of money to, Lance McCullers.

    As far as I'm concerned, I'm hoping the Astros take a lesser player at #1 and leave a better player to the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree if they have someone they are set on taking. If it is a situation where they are choosing between 3 or 4 guys without a preference is when I wouldn't mind them using the below slot strategy. You are certainly right that it would be a horrible thing to do that and miss a star because of it. Draft is always intriguing to me. The draft is one of my favorite things covered in the blog.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Agreed. If it works out where they have a couple of guys rated equally, then they should look into that.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    And thanks, by the way!

  • Ryan Sweeny.....oh boy !

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Not to much to get excited about. I guess it's nice depth but at the same time, hoping Cubs don't have to use that unless it means a good trade early in the season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Sweeney might play this year, if we trade DeJesus, and someone else gets hurt. If B-Jax doesn't fall on his face he'll be the first one up, but Sweeney is probably next on the depth chart after B-Jax now.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'd be pretty surprised if he wasn't with the Cubs at some point this season.

  • Again Houston is hard to judge, but talent (best player) is not
    their main concern. Lets hope I'm right

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I hope you're right too.

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    A lot of discussion today about Robinson Cano leaving Scott Boras, but rumors are that Cano may not be.the.only client parting ways with Boras. Apparently there are rumors that Mark Appel may be parting ways with Boras as well.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That could change the equation with the Astros at the top.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, it most certainly could.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If the report is true, the reason(s) behind the change would be very interesting. Again if true, I can't help but believe Appel may be getting nervous of the possibility of either Boras harming his potential draft position or the possibility of another negotiating quagmire.

  • I wonder what will be the number of total Cubs players on this roster this year?

    Right now , it is at 26......

    we might be over 50 this year.......due to injuries and trades.

  • Top draft picks leaving Boras could really chance the draft.
    Cubs will not, and should not, be interested in Cano. 8-10
    years 20+ per year lost of high draft pick no thanks. Will
    be around 40 by end of contract

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    I have to say, the way Jonathan Gray is pitching, I find myself much less worried about the Astros. Regardless of what Houston does, we're going to have the option of taking a TOR starter or a high ceiling bat.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly, Mike. I really want Appel but if we don't get him it's not the end of the world. I'd be worried if I was a team outside the top 5. Things get real dicey after that.

    Really can't wait to see who we nab with the 2nd rd and supplemental picks. Last year we turned those into Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson. Needless to say we should get some good upside players.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I didn't think we had any supplemental picks this year. Am I wrong?

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The Cubs have supplemental picks this year?

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    In reply to Quedub:

    We actually don't, sorry about that. Though in a way...we do. I think I read that our 2nd rounder is actually the equivalent of a 1st rd supplemental from past years, has equal value and slot range.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Feel the same way. I was an Appel guy all the way and was a bit worried when Manaea and Stanek's stock dropped just enough to take them out of consideration, but emergence of Gray has made it easier if Astros take Appel. If the Cubs want a pitcher, that is.

    I also like the idea of taking someone like Bryant or Meadows and stocking up on arms later if you're not completely sold on Gray.

  • You think there's any chance Appel turns into another Matt Harrington fiasco?

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    That would be a shame. I don't think so, though. Appel a much better pitcher than Harrington was and I think teams won't let him go unsigned again.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd personally hate to see it happen, but it could at least come into negotiations as a possibility. Of course, I doubt any team takes him unless they think they can grab him.

    Though there probably is a way that Houston can scam their way into Appel and the top two picks in next year's draft, now that I think this out. I really doubt it'd be allowed to happen, but, if the Astros take Appel #1 overall, he doesn't sign, they get the #2 pick in next year's draft as compensation (along with a seemingly inevitable #1 overall pick). They then sign Appel as an amateur free agent. Selig would step in, but, it's just something that came to mind as I wrote this comment.

  • This is why I come to this site with the main focus around drafting and the minors. And the enough with the early mock draft comments are silly. This is what we are doing today, just look at the NFL network and their coverage of the upcoming NFL draft, which I hope the Bears take Cooper if he is available.

    That being said I like your first 2 picks John. I still like Gray. If anyone doubts his third pitch just watch the video posted the other day and watch the movement. Change-up at 87 to lefties along with his plus plus fb and plus slider. And as far as the Appel being more polished comments, he is a year ahead of Gray, so give Gray another year and he too will be fine tuned. Hopefully fine-tuning his skills starting with the Tenn Smokies. He does have that Kerry Wood fall-off the mound at times, but I will take all the other positives he offers or Appel for that matter.

    Also, starter only for Gray. Closers can't maintain his velocity for 9 innings, so no reason to move him to a closer.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Thanks Buzz. I really do think that 3rd pitch has really emerged this year. That and his improved fitness have really made a huge difference for him this year.

  • It's stuff like this John why I think your site is the best baseball site out there...period. The Cubs are in a very envious position, either Appel or Gray look like future aces if they want to go that route

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks Steve.

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    Non-thread related: Expect lots of Soriano to the Reds rumors with the injury of Ryan Ludwig. Ludwig's injury was getting a lot of discussion on MLBNR yesterday, and some of the hosts couldn't help but throw Soriano's name out there.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Everyone feels Choo should move over to left field for the most part. Can't see the Cubs dealing w the Reds this early in the season though maybe DJ fits better than Sori.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Possibly, but Reds may want to fill that from within -- or at least explore those options first.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Anyone who hangs out on this blog knows I think as much of Jim Bowden as I do Bob Nightengale, and his suggestion to bring up Billy Hamilton now bordered on incompetence. Honestly, I don't know how Stern sits though a whole show with him. Then he flips around and starts pimping Soriano to the Reds.

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    I've said a few times now that if we go with a bat, I want Meadows. But Bryant has officially won me over. His numbers are downright comical.

    I still Prefer Gray or Appeal, but if they decide to go with a hitter we'd be insane to pass on a guy hitting like this in college.

    With cartoon numbers like Bryant, I imagine there's potential to fly through the lower levels of the minors.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I would not be at all upset if the Cubs went with a bat and it really appears Bryant is going to hit and hit with power. For me it's between Appel, Gray, Bryant, and Meadows and I think you can make a good case for any of the 4 (or whichever 3 will still be available)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see your point, and Kevin G.'s, and the others' points, about Bryant's bat--if it holds up against top-flight pitching, that is--but I still have doubts as to his value as our #1 pick. Defense is a top priority in the Cubs Way, and I'm not convinced that Bryant will be a ML-caliber 3B.
    And we have a good group of prospective OFs more advanced than he would be as a corner OF.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I hate to make assumptions, but I would venture a guess that Theo & Co. woud be willing to sacrifice a little bit of defense for a LOT of bat.

    Miguel Cabrera for example, is actually a fairly poor defensive 3B. But he's the best hitter in the league over the past several seasons by a fairly massive margin.

    Now obviously i'm not assuming that Bryant is a future best-hitter-in-the-league, but if the bat is good enough, we'll survive an error here or there.

    And to be fair, the Cubs Way is also very big on OBP, and one of the most impressive things for me is that Bryant's OBP is almost .170 higher than his already GAUDY BA.
    That's pretty important. If his OBP were very modest in comparison to his BA, then I don't care if he was batting .550, I wouldn't be nearly as high on him.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    As I said, I see your point. Bryant may be a good ML offensive guy (or he may have unfixable flaws at the ML level).
    That said, I'm still not sold on Bryant as our top choice. We already have "waves and waves" of bats coming up. Seeing the arm injuries already mounting this spring, it reinforces to me that deep and good pitching is paramount.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I agree. Bryant is a good hitter and perhaps an average 3B but that isn't normally a guy you take with the #2 pick.

    But this is a weak draft and apart from Appel, Gray, Meadows, and maybe a few others, there doesn't figure to be a high impact guy at the top of the draft. Bryant would be the high floor choice at the possible sacrifice of some ceiling.

    One thing to consider with Bryant is he has two things the Cubs really desire -- power and tremendous plate discipline. He is by far the surest bet to provide those skills at the MLB level in this draft. If they think he can be an average 3B defensively, that may be enough.

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    Oh and I also just want to add that I'm loving the draft prospect updates John. Thanks a lot, keep em coming.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed. Would much rather consume this kind of information, which you can't get anywhere else.

    The Wrigley speculation basically devolves into an argument of Chicago suburbanites who think a move to the suburbs is best.....because they live there. Boring.

  • I'd also like to cast my vote in favor of the draft prospect updates -- I love that this site stays in the future. Because God knows the present isn't nearly as exciting!

    John, one idea for a column: I'd be really curious to get your perspective on the way the FO is trying to balance this team's future lineup. For instance, there's been some talk of putting Baez at 2B, rather than 3B. If so, then 3B could be the best among Villanueva, Lake, Vitters and Candelario, or even Bryant if he's our pick in the draft. In this scenario, the Cubs have a ton of power, but there's no leadoff man. Is that even a problem? Or maybe the plan is to put the tablesetter in LF?

    Then again, maybe it's still too early to slot prospects into a future batting order. If one of our (many) 2B prospects becomes an OB and SB machine, then maybe that pushes Baez to 3B. I suppose there are still too many variables to consider.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Thanks Taft.

    It's probably too early but it doesn't mean it can't be a fun exercise :) We can look into what a 2015 lineup might look like at some point. Maybe the next day off.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'll take a whack at it. Ladies and gentleman, your 2015 Cubs:

    2B 1. Arismendy Alcantra
    SS 2. Starlin Castro
    1B 3. Anthony Rizzo
    3B 4. Javier Baez
    CF 5. Brett Jackson
    RF 6. Jorge Soler
    C 7. Welington Castillo
    LF 8. Reed Johnson, Jr.

    OK, so that's a little levity on the bottom of the order. The point is that if everybody else pans out, we can probably afford to carry a below-average LF, even Reed Johnson's son. More likely, we'll have a prospect in LF, or a free agent.

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    In reply to Taft:

    Baez hitting cleanup? I realize he has awesome bat speed but Rizzo is a monster.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think you put your best hitter at No. 3 -- that is, a guy who's going to go for average AND power. So I was trying to pay Rizzo a compliment. Plus, I like to irritate opposing managers by putting left-handed hitters next to righties, forcing them to exhaust their loogy and their best right-handed middle reliever in the same inning.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Haha! That 8th hitter through me for a loop!

  • Something in my gut doesn't like Appel. I guess I'm left sour on Stanford pitchers, and the fact that he may not be hungry enough. I'd prefer Gray, but I'm no scout.

    Scouts seem to have enough questions about the hit tools of Frazier and Meadows to worry me. I'd be happier with Bryant, who may not only be BPA, but also fills a nice hole in the prospect pipeline since no 3B in the system are MLB ready (unless you think Baez plays best at 3rd). Plus, as we've discussed, college positional players are the safest picks.

  • Hey John, I got some time to talk to a Cubs scout who spent time with Tennessee for most of last year. He's pretty opinionated. Let me know if you are interested in what he said.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Absolutely! Shoot me an email.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Can I get a email re: his comments too?

  • Love the draft updates and I like the Cubs options.

    Top Player in this draft is Appel (with Gray on his heels)

    Top Bat is Bryant.

    One of these 3 should be a Cub come June. Meadows being farther away from being ready is probably on the outside looking in.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Thanks and I can agree with that assessment.

  • I'm not sure if we are putting too much stock in Manaea's slow start this year, or his dominant cape performance last summer that shot him up draft boards then. The same could be said about Gray. I think when you take a prospects total history & performance, Appel is the clear cut #1 guy. Like John says, highest floor and ceiling combo. Yes, Manaea or Gray may surpass him if they achieve their upside, but Appel is more likely to achieve his. Then you factor in that statistically (a college bat) i.e., Bryant is the safest pick... Makes things very interesting if Houston chooses Appel.

    I'm just glad Theo/Jed and their team are as competent and thorough as they are.

  • John, hypothetically speaking... if we took Meadows and he & Almora both become MLB players. Who is the cubs CF and do either of them have enough bat for a corner OF? Would we benefit more by trading a young CF like one of them if they both pan out?... nice problem to have, but still a problem.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Almora is the better CF and he will push Meadows to a corner, where he should be a plus to plus-plus defender.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And his hit tool will project for a corner OF?

  • I was just slumming on ESPN and MLB sites (I know, I know...what did I expect) and all I saw about draft prospects was "Who's that kid from Florida or Georgia somewheres...?" and "They say there's a college pitcher in California who might be good" etc. Woeful !!
    More and more, I am glad for the prospect detail, insight, analysis, and general civility we have on Cubs Den.

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