Always nice when you have a pro confirm one of your ideas but Keith Law recently did his 2nd mock draft and listed Colin Moran at the top, giving the Cubs their choice of Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray.
This is something we speculated on as well as I've heard the Cubs are likely to have their choice of Appel or Gray. This indicates that the Astros are leaning hitter and, although Kris Bryant is the top hitter in the draft, they won't be able to sign him quickly or easily with Scott Boras as his client. That leaves Moran, who has the kind of numbers a saber-friendly team like the Astros like.
Law also hears that Theo Epstein prefers Jonathan Gray and that there is an internal debate between the two pitchers.
This is really getting interesting.
Appel is easily the more complete pitcher, but Jonathan Grays top two pitches are so good that he doesn't have to be complete. He can get away with being less perfect than Appel and that in itself makes him a legitimate option.
Of course, Gray is expected to cost less and could sign earlier, giving the Cubs more options with their 2nd round pick, which is #41 overall. The Cubs could be in a good position because both pitchers could conceivably slide if the Cubs don't select them -- but Gray is more likely to want to take a deal early.
As you know, I'm not a big fan of passing up the guy you think is the best player to save money. I think that player is Appel, but the Cubs are not as certain. In this case, if there's no clear cut favorite, then it might make sense. Last year the Cubs were unanimous in that Albert Almora was the best available player (at least one that would sign). This year it's different. We have now heard from two connected draft gurus that there is internal debate between the two arms. If there is no clear choice, might it not be best to hedge their bets and sign the guy who will allow you to get a better plan B in the second round?
It's a decision the Cubs will have to make and though I've mostly been banging the drum for Appel, maybe the Cubs ultimately go with Gray -- and to be honest with y0u, I'd be perfectly fine with that.
Filed under: MLB Draft