Cubs MLB Draft Primer: Names you should know for the first day

Happy Draft Day!

I figured this is a good way to start the day.  I've already done a first round mock recently and I'll be doing instant analysis on each pick, I'm figuring another mock might be information overload.  I'll link some mocks as they come in.  A significant change at the top in that  I no longer think Colin Moran goes first.  He's still a consideration but I think he's a fallback. I think it will be Jonathan Gray.

Just heard this (11:30):  Cubs have a good feel for what it will take to sign Mark Appel and the thought right now is that it's more than Houston wants to pay.

Update: Now hearing that Appel money would be slightly under slot for Cubs, so 6-6.5M.  Astros could easily beat that and still have money left over, but it depends on how much money they want to save for future rounds.

LIVE UPDATES: Mock Drafts and other news

  • Update (8:55): Jim Callis came out with his final version of his mock draft and has the same top two as mine below.  Interestingly, he says there is a rumor that the Cubs are closing in on a deal with RHP Mark Appel.
  • Update (9:13): Our friends at Through the Fence Baseball has come out with their final mock and they have Gray-Appel as the 1-2 combo as well.
  • Update (9:17): Our friends at Big League Futures also has their final mock out and they have the Cubs passing on Mark Appel and taking Kris Bryant.  Sorry guys, that doesn't seem like it's going to happen with Callis' latest news.  They may still take Bryant, but only if deal with Appel falls through or Astros decide to up the ante.
  • Update (9:25): Another one of our favorites, Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider has their mock draft out and they are going with Appel and then Gray to the Cubs.
  • Update (9:47): An interesting development tweeted by Peter Gammons as the Rockies are starting to lean toward top high school bat Dominic Smith instead of Kris Bryant.  Huge development and Bryant could fall to Indians -- but no further than that.  It doesn't really affect Cubs who will only consider Bryant if Appel is taken.
  • Update (10:31):  Rumors floating (h/t Northside Irish via Jim Callis) that Astros interested in LHP Sean Manaea which to me all but rules out anybody except for Jonathan Gray or Colin Moran at the top.
  • Update (11:06): Peter Gammons tweet that the Astros will wait until 4 pm to decide and that they are down to Appel, Gray, and Moran.
  • Update (11:08):  In his latest mock draft, Keith Law has the Astros taking Mark Appel on the news that they were trying to negotiate with him last night.  It's unclear whether that was written before the Jim Callis news that those negotiations weren't going as smoothly as hoped.  At any rate, he has Jonathan Gray going to the Cubs.
  • Update (11:21): Jonathan Mayo of has Jonathan Gray going to the Astros and the Cubs going with Mark Appel.  He said the Cubs are also contemplating Kris Bryant but that they won't switch from Appel, but does not say if they'd take Bryant if the Astros took Appel first.
  • Update (11:55): Perfect Game's Patrick Ebert rolled out their mock and they have the Astros taking Gray and the Cubs taking Mark Appel.  Interestingly, they feel that if the Cubs have their choice of the two, the Cubs will go with Jonathan Gray.
  • Update (2:08):  Another Mock Draft, this one from Scout.Com's Kiley McDaniel.  This one goes through 3 different scenarios with Astros top pick.  The Cubs get Mark Appel in two of them and Jonathan Gray in the other.

Cubs 1st Pick

I think Houston will go with Jonathan Gray, Oklahoma:  Mark Appel is a possibility here but the Astros would like to get a deal done before the draft and that's just not Boras' style.  Perhaps they'll try to negotiate a deal before the draft as they tried unsuccessfully last year but unless the Astros seriously up the ante, it's not going to be easy.  Before the Adderall incident, scouts were split between Appel and Gray as to who was the best pitcher and I've heard the findings haven't really affected opinion all that much.  Astros could potentially get a consensus player and a discount. It's a win-win considering their draft strategy.

  1. Cubs, Mark Appel, RHP: Stanford: Cubs will take Appel if he's there.  He's the most complete pitcher in the draft with the highest floor, though his ceiling is not quite as high as Gray's.  He has the ceiling of a #1 starter and some think he's ready to pitch in the big leagues now -- not that the Cubs will do that.  He fits the Cubs profile best in every sense and he'd be the best player available in this situation.
  2. If the Astros take Appel, then I think the Cubs will take Kris Bryant now.  It's a gut feeling and here's why...
  • College bats are just better bets to make it and make an impact, as we discussed earlier in the day.  Philosophically, Jason McLeod and the Cubs front office believe that all things being equal, you take the bat.  They have also said, as many have pointed out here, that you can get pitching anywhere in the draft -- and history supports that.
  • The Cubs seem more enamored with Mark Appel to me than the idea of a college pitcher in general.  Compared with Appel, there's some risk with Gray, who lacks a track record and had some uncertainties raised because of his use of Adderall.  Normally I don't think it's that big a deal and I don't think it's a huge deal for the Cubs from what I've heard, but it's not like Gray had established himself the way Appel did.  I think it may affect him more than it would have affected Appel.
  • Riding on that last note, Patrick Mooney published a piece just as I was writing this and he is saying that Bryant is in the mix as well.  Here's an interesting quote, "The Mark Appels, the Colin Morans, the Kris Bryants, some of those names that you’ve heard, our scouts all have a history with those guys, dating back to the high school showcase circuit. So there’s comfort there in that we’ve watched the majority of these guys for the last four years.”  Notice a name missing here?  It may be a little thing but this pick is important to the Cubs and they're going to go with the guy they feel comfortable with and when it comes to the Cubs, that means a guy they have lots and lots of information on.  To be fair, the Cubs did work hard compiling information on Gray all season as they had someone in attendance for every one of his starts, but it's interesting that those other 3 names were mentioned as players with whom the Cubs have a long history in light of how much the Cubs value information.
  • The second interesting thing about that quote is the name that is included.  And that is Colin Moran.  Moran shares two important traits with Bryant:
    • 1) He's a third baseman.  The Cubs have said repeatedly that the 3B of the future is not necessarily in the organization right now.  They have tried at different times to trade for young 3Bs such as Mike Olt, Nick Castellanos, and Lonnie Chisenhall while landing defensive stalwart Christian Villanueva.
    • 2) He is a patient, disciplined hitter.  There's no question that this is something the Cubs would like to fix in their organization and they're finding out just how difficult it is to transform aggressive hitters into selective ones, particularly at the majors and upper levels of the minors.  I think on some level they realilze that they're going to have to bring in guys who already have the kind of approach that fits their philosophy.
  • I think they'd also like to add power and Bryant has much more of it than Moran does right now.  Moran has great size and should develop more power in time, but Bryant has it now.  In fact, he probably has more present power than Moran will ever develop.

And since we're on the subject of Moran here are 2 reasons why the Cubs might like him better

  1. Some think Moran has the better chance to stick at 3B and that could be a factor because it adds value over a corner OF'er.  
  2. Moran is also the more pure hitter -- a guy who walks a lot and does not strike out.  He walked 60 times and struck out just 22 in 320 PAs.  That's a Rony Torreyes-like 6.9% rate while also putting up an 18.75% walk rate.  The walk rate for Moran is especially impressive when you consider he was part of a very good lineup, probably the best in college baseball.  There is no pitching around him the way Bryant was sometimes pitched around at San Diego.

In the end, I do think the power potential wins out and they take Bryant over both Moran and Gray, but there are good reasons why all 3 are in the mix along with Appel.

Names to watch for with the Cubs 2nd Pick 

Here's what I think.  I think the Cubs will try and get power arms that they can mold this year.  Shoot high and if you have a good fastball then the bullpen is still an option.  I don't think the Cubs will pick arms like Kevin Ziomek or Brent Emmanuel only because they don't project much and will likely wind up as back of the rotation types if they start.

  1. Hunter Green, LHP, HS (KY): A projectable lefty that projects to 95 mph who shows an occasional good curve.  I think there's a lot of upside here.
  2. Jason Hursh, RHP: Oklahoma State:  One of the best arms in the draft, able to reach the high 90s but a slight build, unpolished secondaries, and TJ surgery on his resume will make him available in the second round.
  3. Matt Krook, LHP, HS (CA):  Krook has had an uneven season but he has a great projectable frame and a fastball that sits 90-92 and touches 95.
  4. Andrew Mitchell, RHP, TCU:  Mitchell can throw as hard as Hursh, but only when he comes out of the bullpen.  As a starter, he's more in the 91-94 range but he also has a hard slider and a promising change.
  5. Hunter Harvey, RHP, HS (NC): Harvey has reached as high as 97 but his velo is inconsistent right now and secondaries are raw.  Still, arms strength and bloodlines (son of Bryan Harvey) are there.  Had some helium but seems to be falling again.
  6. Dillon Overton, Oklahoma, LHP: Once more highly regarded than Gray, a forearm strain and a drop in velocity has knocked him  into the second round.  He has reached 95 and works in the low 90s when he's healthy.  He also features a hard slider.  He's a rare power lefty when right.
  7. Cody Reed, LHP, NW Mississippi (CC):  Reed has come out of nowhere and may lack the track record for a high 2nd round pick but he doesn't lack the stuff.  He can bring it for a LHP (92-95 mph) and he has the potential for a plus curve.
  8. UPDATE: Chris Crawford tells me he thinks RHP Conner Jones is signable.  Woohoo!  I'd put him up there with Hunter Green as one of my second round arms.  Good athlete with a  heavy, low 90s two seamer and some room for projection.
  9. UPDATE 2: Southside B reminds me that Thomas Windle, LHP from Minnesota is also an intriguing possibility.  Mixed opinions range from #2 starter to reliever.  If the Cubs are among the former, then he becomes a possibility for them here as well.  Windle has a low 90s heater that he drives down low into the strike zone -- a nice fit for Wrigley.  He also has a slider which completely neutralizes LH hitters.
  10. UPDATE 3: I guess it should be said that Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea is an option, but I've got very mixed feelings on that kind of pick.  Maybe I have Bobby Brownlie-itis but a former great arm who's free-falling because of injuries?  It just makes me nervous.

If the Cubs play it more conservatively, they can look at more polished pitchers with solid fastballs but a slightly lower ceiling, i.e. mid-rotation types like Ryan Eades of LSU, Trevor Williams of ASU, Alex Balog of USF, Aaron Blair of Marshall, and Andrew Thurman of TCU.

A few of the names I hope are still on the board when the first day ends

These are all potential 3rd round picks on Friday.

  1. Trey Michaelewski, 3B, HS (OK): Kevin alerted me to this kid and he's rapidly become one of my favorites.  Athletic with a good hit tool and power potential.  He's the guy I want if Cubs go pitcher in the first round.
  2. Chris Okey, C, HS (FL):  The Cubs are woefully short of catching prospects with starting potential and Okey would give them that kind of player.  He may be the best backstop after the top 3 (Reese McGuire, Nick Ciuffo, and Jonathan Denney).  Denney may fall to the 2nd round and become an option but Okey has a shot at being there in round 3.  He's a solid athlete with a good bat, BA compares him to Jason Kendall.
  3. Jake Brentz, LHP, HS (MO): The hardest throwing LHP  in the draft (some reports had him hitting 100 mph)  but he's very raw.  There's plenty of work to be done here but you can't teach arm strength.  I think he's a decent risk at this point and the reward is intriguing.
  4. Ryan McMahon, 3B, HS (CA):  Also athletic he's a good HS QB headed to USC,  but also more raw than Michalewski.  Has some power potential but I don't know if he'll be as good a hitter.  There's a lot to work with here but he may have to be bought out of his commitment.
  5. Clinton Hollon, RHP HS (KY):  Hollon was a first round prospect before the season started but elbow tendinitis ended that idea.  Hollon can throw in the mid 90s and pairs it with a plus slider.  He already has a head start on a change as well.  He's a bright kid and a potential steal at this point.

It's worth noting that a couple of the guys mentioned in the second round section, notably Trevor Williams and Cody Reed, could easily slip into the 3rd round as well.

Next stop...the MLB Draft and some live blogging.  Tomorrow we'll look at rounds 3-5.

Filed under: MLB Draft

Tags: Cubs, MLB Draft


Leave a comment
  • John, get your rest tonight. You only wrote and posted about 18 articles today while doing research and answering emails and getting ready for tomorrow. So it was a light day and night compared to Thursday.
    Thanks for all the good work, and we look forward to the next three big days, days so key to our team's future.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Haha! My physical body needs some rest. I'm going to have to try and nap. Mind is still racing. I'm sure that will crash later.

    You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

  • This is a great resource! Thank you, for putting all these articles out the last day and a half. I love the draft and I really hope that a guy like Trevor Williams really can slip to the Cubs in 3rd. I only saw him pitch against Appel and I know he wasn't that great that night. He however did show some flashes. I have seen Eades pitch a few times this year and I like him. I seem to be higher on him than the industry though and I don't know much about this stuff. It is fun to learn about and I look forward to the articles over the next 3 days.
    Here's to hoping for Appel!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Eades stuff is good. 90-93 mph FB, can touch a bit higher at times. Good secondaries. Solid mid-rotation quality

  • Ready for the next wave and loving the emphasis on "building within". I look back on so many drafts and wonder if the FO had just taken the BPA strategy.

  • In reply to RayA:

    We'd have Matt Weiters, that's for sure. I'm not sure there was any year they really took BPA -- but that was on ownership, not FO. They didn't want to pay for it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    2001 -- which only reinforced to the pea-brains at the Tribune that going BPA was a waste of money.

  • I'd like to take this moment to thank Mr. John Arguello, Esq. for service extraordinaire to Cub Denizens around the globe. Excellent work educating all of us on prospects and their scouting reports. I will enjoy this draft more than any of those that came before it thanks to you. I'd also like to thank Kevin Gallo for his contributions on today's draft over the previous months. Great work guys! Much appreciated.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    +1--Great stuff, John. Thnx. The Cubs F.O. is in a great spot to add talent to the organization today & over the next few days:) They've done their homework.

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    They are totally prepared. Should be a good day.

    And thanks!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    You're welcome and thanks Quedub!

    I'm going to enjoy this day!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quedub:

    It was the post-draft week last year that I discovered Cubs Den. Now it's right at the top of my most-visited sites! Thanks for all the work you guys do on the draft and the rest of the year!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Thanks Matt. We'll keep the post draft stuff coming this year as well.

  • Hear, hear!

  • On day one, I hoping for Appel and the best power arm available at #41.

    But the drama won't end after the Cubs 2nd round selection. I'll be following along hoping at least two of the five prospects John listed as potential 3rd round picks will still be there when day two gets under way.

    My personal favorite, whom I have been pining after for a couple months now, is Chris Okey. If he's not there, perhaps other similarly ranked catchers like Dom Nunez, Tyler O'Neill or Andrew Knapp will be.

    Don't know much about Trey Michalczewski except how to spell his name, but I have been following fellow 3B Ryan McMahon and I like his tools, athleticism and leadership.

    Clinton Hollon, who some have as still being available in the 4th round, was actually an early mock draft selection for the Cubs with the 2nd overall back in February before his injury. A.J. Puk is an interesting prep LHP who could be available in the 3rd/4th along with the once much-ballyhooed 3B Drew Ward.

    This should be fun!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I'm with you on Okey.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Some decent catchers in the area. Okey my favorite of the bunch.

    I thought about adding in Puk but there's a feeling that there's almost no chance he signs. I didn't include Ward because I think he moves to 1st. Like the other 2 3Bs better.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have been told Puk wont sign unless selected in the 1st rd , pretty good source from within his HS CR Washington, my stepmom knows a lot of the teachers ect there plus Puks Grandpa was my Orthodontist so she checked for me when I asked. He is committed to Florida if memory serves. His fastball in the spring I was told mid 90's.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    After hear so much about Trey Michaelewski and okey i really hope those two will be left after day one. You can never have too many third base prospects but on the other hand having a catcher with that potential isn't too shaby ether

  • Excellent work as always John, this is going to a long, exciting day for you John. You are dead on, if Appel is there, easy pick for the Cubs....if not I'm with you, they take Bryant. While Gray is exciting with his 100 mph stuff, one can't be certain whether he's a closer down the road or a starter.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Thanks Steve.

    If Cubs like Gray, I'll trust them. The stuff is hard to ignore and we know they did their homework, so if they pick him, they're going to be pretty sure to pass up a college bat.

  • John, you're doing a great job. It felt like Thursday would never get here. Now we just have to wait until 6 o'clock.

  • In reply to PtownTom:

    Thanks and I know! This year I decided to start coverage early and it has made it seem so long.

  • fb_avatar

    Damn, John, now you've got me thinking Moran may be the shock choice.

    Looking forward to tonight, guys. Should be a lot of fun -- as long as the Cubs don't go Hayden Simpson again, in which case the boards will melt down.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha! Throwing a curve on the last day. And nooooo chance there's a Hayden Simpson type pick.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Moran is left handed too. I know that is not to be a big factor overall, but the Cubs best prospects hit from the right side and Rizzo will need a little help. A corner infield of sweet swinging lefties would allow us to relax a bit.

  • John
    Hafta agree with everyone. Your stuff is second to none. Now it's time to kick back, have a couple of scotches & let the Cubs do their thing. Great work man!

    Oh... you're gonna have the top 50 Cubs prospects updated tomorrow morning right? -LOL!

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Thanks Dan! Coffee early but I will allow my self a glass of the good stuff tonight!

    And big list until next week but maybe a preview or some comments on list after picks.

  • as always, EXCELLENT WORK John!

    I would caution you and my fellow denizens against reading too much into Mcleods quote omitting Grays name. He later went on to say that Gray hasn't been on the national circuit like those three have. He also said Gray has been drafted twice (Royals & Yankees) so he's been on the radar.

    Having said that, I think they may choose Bryant over Gray simply because of their floors. I think it's a consensus that Appels floor is a #3 or #4 guy in the rotation, so he's #1. Bryant floor is a middle of the order power hitter so he's #2, and Gray's floor is probably a back of the bullpen arm. This has nothing to do with the Adderall incident.

    Anyways, this should be fun. 6:00pm is going to take forever to get here... I'm okay with whichever direction the FO goes here. They've got a lot more info on all of these guys than any of us do and a helluva lot more experience.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Middle of the order power hitter seems a lot more valuable than a 3 or 4 starter. I think its not really the floor so much as the likelihood of being valuable players to the team. Appel seems to have shown that he can cut it in the bigs right now based on what scouts are saying. Same isnt necesarily true for Bryant.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Well keep in mind, there is a much larger range of opinions as to where their floors are. If you side with Kevin's floor estimate, then Bryant is #1 overall by a mile. If you side with Keith Law's floor of Bryant you have a .240 hitting OF with 25+ HR's. Not exactly worthy of a top two pick.

    Then you start talking probability to reach their ceilings, ETA to the MLB, etc... and it's clear that Appel should be #1 and frankly I don't think it's close. What I meant with my previous comment was that their respective floors could be the difference of our FO taking Bryant over Gray assuming Appel isn't there.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    True, but my gut just said those other guys were at the front of his mind. Nothing insider on that, just the spidey sense tingled a little.

    We'll all find out. It's kind of fun that there's actually some suspense to the second pick -- unless Astros take someone other than Appel.

  • To me its Appel Bryant then Gray as well, although now that I have heard more about Moran, it certainly could be a possibility as well. Not too concerned about finding a guy that can stick at third as long as they can really hit for power and can move to the OF and not 1B which i like about Bryant. On the otherhand Moran seems to offer much greater flexibility for the 2nd round which could be exciting. Idk much about the draft prospects but based on what you've written, it looks like Denney or Manaea and im sure other good talents could slip to the 2nd round and be relatively difficult signings. I still think I'd lean Bryant, because power, especially from RH and non-1B, seems to be increasingly difficult to find. Bryant sounds like he'll hit enough not to be a 3 outcome player

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I think that's what gives Bryant the advantage. That power isn't just nice in itself but it allows him to still be an asset if he has to move to a corner OF spot -- or even 1B really. With Moran, if he can't stick at 3B he loses more value.

    The flexibility is nice but you only take Moran if it's close between him and Bryant and my feeling is that it's not close enough to go that direction.

  • Can someone tell me how much time is typically given between picks? I thought it was 5 minutes, but with it on TV now I thought they might stretch it out.

    Trying to figure out when we can expect the Cubs' 2nd round pick to come in. With 5 minute time slots, it seems like it should come between 9 and 9:30.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think it was 5 minutes last year so your estimate is probably about right.

  • I wonder if the slow pace of the rebuilding will compel Theo and Jed to draft Grappel--because they're almost ready for major league play--rather than a third baseman who could take years to develop, even if they thought the third baseman was the best player. At some point they will feel the pressure to win games, and a major league ready pitcher gets them wins more quickly.

  • I really hope the cubs go1-2 in this draft with appel and green but i fear that he wont be there. John if you had to rank to upside for the pitchers left after green who would be the top 3 with upside?

  • Just linked a mock by Jim Callis. Not only does he have Cubs going Mark Appel, but he hears rumors the Cubs are already negotiating a deal with him. Giddy!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I am diagnosing you with a bad case of Mike Martz Giddiness. is the second round also tonight? I can totally see Appel, who comes from a well to do family (and seems to place money somewhere lower on his list of priorities) pricing himself intentionally out of a hapless Houston situation into the Cubs lap. . .

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Where is the link? I don't see anything on an Appel deal.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    It's in the comments about the Astros pick...

  • Chris Crawford just posted his latest mock and has Appel going 1.1 and the Cubs taking Gray. Though he does add in his comment that he would “put the odds of Appel ending up a Cub though at 50 percent.”…

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Thanks. Just updated. Depends on what happens with negotiations.

    Boras talking with Cubs, probably about Appel. Seems like he won't let Astros low ball again. Astros could up the ante if they want Appel bad enough.

  • On my way to bed on the other side of the world. We'll have a draft pick shortly after I wake up, while John will already be on his 8th cup of coffee! Great analysis, as always, John!!

    Just watched the Japanese evening sports news and got to see some highlights from Cubdom past! McGhee with a homer! Murton with a sayonara (walk off) homer! Ahh, Hendry's group of 'AAAA' draft picks and trade pickups :)

  • fb_avatar

    Great stuff as usual, John. Thanks.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Thanks Joao!

  • Sorry I haven't been on much putting together a mass list for BLF with notes I will be on for the draft along with notes.
    Hursh is throwing mid 90s and has hit 98 this year.

  • Interesting bit on Manaea in Callis's mock draft this morning:
    "This version doesn’t find a first-round home for Indiana State lefthander Sean Manaea, a candidate to go No. 1 overall before his stuff declined amid ankle, hip and shoulder ailments this spring. Teams received his medical records this week, and two sources told Baseball America that they revealed a labrum tear in his hip. There was no structural damage indicated in his shoulder, though one of the sources said his club would want more information, which it won’t have before the draft."

    So they have released his medical records to all the teams. A labrum tear in the hip with three areas of injury is a big caution flag in my book.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Steer clear!

  • fb_avatar

    Sean Manaea's freefall has to be on the Astros minds, too. I suspect they'd love to walk away from the draft with Gray and Manaea, even with the injury concerns. (Or I'm just trying to talk myself into a scenario where Appel ends up a Cub -- one of the two.)

  • Up until now, I've been thinking that the Cubs should go with a pitcher in the 1st round, but now on draft day, something tells me that they should stick with their philosophy of the best position player on the first round and pick Kris Bryant. If he's a genuine middle-of-the-order power bat, he's in the middle of the order every day, and the Cubs need a real 3B, even if if it arrives 2 or 3 years from now. Stick with the philospohy and don't yield to a gut feel that could give you an every day sick gut every time Bryant comes up to bat for someone else. Pitching can come from anywhere in the draft or from free agency, there are plenty of examples of that throughout MLB, and pitching is here today, gone tomorrow with an elbow or shoulder injury that strikes out of nowhere and puts that young flamethrower on soon-to-be-forgotten memory lane instead of on the road to the Hall of Fame.

  • John,

    What group would you include Tom Windle of Minn. in ? The Blair/Balog group of lower ceiling pitchers or the doubtful group (Ziomek)


  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Round 2 and he's another guy I'd consider. Some think he's a potential #2, others think he's a bullpen guy. You know what? Let's add him to the list. We've had him there before, so why not -- and it really depends on what Cubs think of him. If they side with the group that think he's a #2, then it's a definite possibility.

  • Jim Callis ‏@jimcallisBA 4m
    Rumblings #Astros might be team to pop Manaea, at No. 40. Not sure what cost would be but they have $9.2 mil for top 2 picks. #mlbdraft

    Would mean they need some savings at 1.1....

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Nice. They won't get Manaea if they go for Appel or Bryant, must mean Gray or Moran for them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    HEY! I had this scoop a half hour before Callis! (Okay, so it was just a wild guess, but I'm in academia. Ergo, I foresaw this and am brilliant.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    LOL! Excellent logic. Nice intuition too..

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If the Stros grab Appel maybe the Cubs use the above strategy.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If it's Gray, possibly but if they pick Bryant I think it'll be tougher to do.

  • fb_avatar

    Existential question re: Dominic Smith and Kris Bryant. What exactly constitutes "too cheap" for the Rockies?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dominic Smith is an excellent hitter, some think the best pure hitter in the draft. Definitely one of the guys who stood out when I saw the UA game in the fall. if you think Bryant can't play 3B, then Smith makes some sense, albeit with more risk.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Plus the Rockies have a very young talented 3B in Nolan Arenado, so they'd probably move Bryant anyway.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Don't forget that that Rockies are set for the decade with HOFers Colvin and LeMahieu.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Yes, they'll continue to haunt our Iowa AAA team ;)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    With the Mocks having him going in the mid-teens, this feels like a reach.

    But I guess it was a little unfair of me. Given how the MLB draft works, you can't really manage your pick position and if they think he's the best in the class, they really have no choice but to take him third.

    Kinda the Hayden Simpson argument, though this is nowhere near that big a reach.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not that big. I've seen Smith as high as 10 in mocks and some speculated he could even go a little higher. But first time I saw him as high as #3. I'd rather go Bryant because he's the college bat. Smith is talented but you want as close to a sure thing as possible at 3. Having said that, Smith will be a stud and they'll look like geniuses.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Negotiating ploy by the Rockies?

  • Thanks John and others for making this a pretty cool day. In the past I followed in passing. This year due to this site, I have so much more knowledge of many players. Now my biggest problem is hoarding the TV and getting my wife to understand and accept me watching the draft.

    I am still in Appel's corner.

  • It's finally here!!!!! When I woke up this morning n realized it was Thursday, I rushed to my phone to look up cubs den as if it was X-mas morning. This year for X-mas I really, really want Appeal and Overton, screw my front two teeth. Great work as always, but especially liked yesterday's article on what happens if the Astros take Appeal.

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    Haha! Thanks. It does feel like Christmas! Can't wait to open our presents.

  • Exactly what are the rules dealing with contract offers and other pre draft communications with prospects? It doesn't seem possible to make real deals unless you are at 1:1. Are these just feelers that the player is not obligated to hold to.

    Seems like its all about misdirection to me.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Could well be misdirection by the king of misdirection himself, Scott Boras. He could be trying to make sure the Astros don't try and lowball him again like they did last year. The feeling is that they came in with an offer well below market value and Boras either talked to the Cubs or pretended that he did. Either way, it looks like he's going to try and force the Astros into abandoning their usual draft strategy if they want Appel.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    It kind of feels like the Astros and Boras are playing chicken. If Boras blinks, it will be a first.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    My thoughts as well. And if Boras has a feel that Cubs will pay the price (which I'm guessing is between 6-7M), then he has no reason to blink.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    There's yet another layer to this. Boras is not a stupid man. He knows that the big contract is not the first one under this CBA -- though he will fight tooth and nail to get the highest signing bonus possible -- but the first and second extensions his client signs. He can either sign with the Astros -- who are having financial issues and haven't signed a big extension since the days of Bagwell and Biggio -- or with the Cubs, who have just given big money extensions to Rizzo and Castro and figure to be flush with Cash when Appel nears the "buyout the option years" contract.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good point. Boras does seem to like to steer his clients to big markets for obvious reasons. Population-wise, Houston is a big market but they don't operate that way.

  • Interesting look at college pitchers drafted with the first two picks. Based on career WAR, over half of them turned out as strong regulars or better (12 WAR or better), plus a couple more are still in the minors (Cole, Hultzen) or are too young (Strasburg) to make the list.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    The odds do get better at the very top of the draft with college arms.

  • Two new mocks. KLaw has Appel going first and Gray to Cubs. Mayo of has the opposite -- and suggests Bryant still in play but that Cubs will stick with Appel.

  • Earl Cunningham......Ty Griffin.....Bobbie Brownlie.......Luke Hagerty......Mark Pawelek.......Karl Pagel.......Vance Lovelace......Ryan Harvey........Dave Masters......Hayden Simpson...........Don Schultz.......Bill Hayes........Herman Segelke

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Man what a buzz-kill

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Shecky Greene.....Soupy Sales......Jakov Smirnoff....Rupert Pupkin......CubStalk....

  • Perfect Game posted their mock which goes Gray-Appel...interesting bit in the Cubs comment: "The Cubs are expected to pick one of the two college righthanders between Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel. Should they have their choice between the two, Gray would get the nod."

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Thanks Northside, you're a huge help as I try to keep up!

  • John, is your Appel asking price tweet from a link or a source?

  • In reply to CubsML:


    Quick note, whenever you hear me saying "Hearing" or "Just Heard", I'm referring to a source. Just prefer saying it that way and it was recommended to me by a professional that I trust. I think the word "source" sometimes gets overused.

  • Best pick the Cubs ever had, was traded for Sutcliffe.......I am talking about Joe Carter..........I did remember him playing for the Cubs for a short period of time....and he butchered a few plays in left field.........

    I believe the Astros will pick Appel....have him pitch with them this year.....and then Astros will trade Appel after a year to a contender like the Yankees, Dodgers or Red of Scott Boras inner secret plans for his client to be on his team.

  • Sneaking out between assays to catch tidbits and updates. Thanks for all the diligent work, John!

  • In reply to CGunz:

    You're welcome. Thanks for reading!

  • fb_avatar

    Sure hope Green or Overton is available in the 2nd

  • In reply to Darin Spangler:

    Two very intriguing lefties with plenty of upside, especially Green when it comes to upside.

  • In reply to Darin Spangler:

    I think Overton will be available in the 3rd Round.

  • fb_avatar

    Any chance the Cubs would take the 3B from Notre Dame in the 2nd round if they get Appel in round one?

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    Eric Jagielo. I think if he's there they'd be thrilled but I don't think he gets out of the first round.

  • I've been pitcher this whole time, but im starting to drink the kgallo koolaid. I've heard the projections for the top 3. I just keep thinking what Trout, Harper, and Stanton bring to their clubs at the plate and don't see it coming from anyone in our system. That's not to say we wont have some good hitters come up in almora, baez, and soler, I don't see any of them developing into the prototypical clean up hitter.

    Appel certainly has the ability to give the club a chance every fifth day, but Bryant, he has the ability to help the club win everyday. You have to score to win and I picture Bryant as a Aramis Ramirez if he could take walks and had good interview skills. (sorry for the rip, but seriously I could never understand a word that guy said.)

    John I was interested what your opinion was regarding what level each of the top three could be assigned. Feel free to give me the high/low.

    Thanks for all your work I'll be tuned in all day.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to northside disciple:

    There's another way to look at that though.

    When Bryant is playing, he's involved in maybe 1 of every 7 at bats. (1 of 9 at the plate, and a few more in the field as a third baseman.)

    Appel is involved in around 1/2 the at bats in the game he starts, if he's an ace and consistently goes 7 or 8 innings..

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's some good insight, thanks. I guess I value having an impact position player a little higher than an impact pitcher.

    I've always been more jealous of stud players than stud pitchers.

  • In reply to northside disciple:

    Assuming first that all Cubs draftees seem to go to AZ for a bit at first...

    I think Appel could start in the majors but it's more likely he starts in A ball, probably the FSL (Daytona), and then goes to AA next year.
    I think Gray starts at Kane and goes to Daytona next year and I think it's the same for Bryant.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You just reminded me that Bryant would have to get used to wooden bats on a fulltime basis, which might make his progress a bit slower than a pitcher's would be.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Good point. I think he will, but sometimes there is a period, which is probably why they won't start him too high.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would not be surprised to see Appel go to Kane County first, just to get exposure to the market and media--throw him to the Lions Den so to speak.

    Might have already been mentioned in the comments, but it sounds like Boras would be happy having Appel wind up in Chicago over Houston and the games being played is trying to make sure Houston goes elsewhere. Bigger market, better long-term value in Chicago over Houston in his eyes.

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Good point. I can see that too.

  • My pick is Appel, and if taken go with Bryant. Can't lose with either guy. Gray wasn't even talked about before this year. Appel has sustained success and you can't overlook the power by Bryant. Would really be great at Wrigley.

    Also, after the series in Anaheim, I am a fan of Todd Hollandsworth. I would take him before Jim "2 sihouettes in" Deshaies. Todd has excellent insight.

  • Gotta go with Colin Moran...of course that's only because of the Carolia connection.

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    Haha...they can take LHP Kent Emmanuel in 2nd round then too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That works for me John. As a matter of fact if everyone of the picks we make have some sort of connection to Carolina it wouldn't hurt my feelings......GO HEELS

  • fb_avatar

    I think we should just draft Ryne Stanek and Cord Sandberg and consider ourselves done.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Nothing against those guys but that would be a huge let down at this point!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ryne and Sandberg. How can we go wrong?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hah! I missed that.

  • John, if you know, who is the youngest HS bat that is projected as a higher round pick?

  • John, if you know, who is the youngest HS hitter who is projected to be a higher round pick? Curious to follow that guy's development, given some of the studies that have been conducted by BP over the last few years.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Youngest HS hitter is Jake Bauers who is a 1B and more of a 4th/5th guy. Of the elite prospects, the youngest hitter is Dominic Smith, who may go as high as #3 to Colorado.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks. And apologies about the double post. The whole "administrator approval" thing threw me for a loop.

  • In reply to JB88:

    It's a weird glitch we've developed here. It's being looked into. I'm not approving (or disapproving) anything, for the record.

    By the way, another good young hitting prospect is Riley Unroe. Could be 2nd or 3rd rounder.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What about that kid from the Dust Belt (want to say OK) who is a SS and was a junior until recently but reclassified as a senior? I don't recall his name and I don't know if this is enough information for you to identify him.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Drew Ward. I don't think he's among the youngest, though he is young. Maybe started school late? At any rate, he's probably a 1B and there are two other prep 3Bs I like better in the 3rd round range.

  • John, thank you so much for your tireless work and dedication. We all appreciate you and CubsDen.

    I'd be ecstatic with Appel, but I can't shake the giddiness that visions of Bryant and Rizzo in the heart of the lineup, for years to come, supported by Solar, Castro and Co.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Thanks and Bryant not a bad consolation prize by any means.

  • If that I am hearing with a very good possible of Bickford will be available at 41. But will cost. Bryant is willing to drop his price for a couple of organizations from what I just heard.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I thought Bickford was a late riser? What happened to change that?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Asking for a lot of money

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Yes, but we probably should expect that from Boras.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Seen him. He is outstanding on a ton of levels.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I know he's got some serious heat but how about secondaries?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Have a very good Slider that has a hard bit to it. The games I saw he didnt really throw his Change up more then once. He has very good pitch ability too.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Which organizations might he drop his price for if you can say?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Can't say. But he is being very hands on in negotiations from what I have heard.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Oh please, oh please...

    He would be the perfect 2nd round pick. HS power arm with a high ceiling and a pretty good floor. If the Cubs can somehow, miraculously, land Bickford as well as Appel, I promise not to streak through the streets of Santa Clarita, CA.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    what does that really mean for Bryant? I cant see him taking a discount beyond the first two picks, why would he? If that's him saying I want to play on the cubs, where he could blossom into a star, rather than the rocks or twins? I can totally buy that.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    This in recently about Bickford (MLBTR):
    "Other teams believe that the Royals have reached a deal to take right-handed high schooler Phil Bickford with the eighth overall pick, Peter Gammons reports (Twitter link). Bickford, who is committed to Cal State Fullerton, hasn't been evaluated as No. 8 pick material -- Baseball America ranks Bickford as the 20th best prospect in the draft,'s Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 26 and ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) has him all the way down at No. 55."

    If the Royals take a late 1st-/early 2nd-rounder in Bickford at #8, something will be burning in KC and I don't mean rib ends.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    That's what I had heard as well, which is why I was a bit surprised to hear that he'd be available for Cubs later.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    He wouldb a great fit. I heard he was asking for about for about 4 mil.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    that last line gave me a good laugh.

  • John,

    Will there be a live chat?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I'm going to start live blogging at about 4 pm CT. I'll put out a new piece and continually update the article with news, instant analysis of all 1st round picks and Cubs 2nd pick. I will answer as many questions as I can through the blog. It doesn't have the immediacy of a chat, but at least I can make sure I can get to most questions eventually.

  • If the Astros aren't willing to spend for Astros, and they have more money to play with than we do, I guess I'm a little concerned that picking Appel will make it necessary to save on picks 2, 3 or 4. Then again, I don't buy the argument that Appel has real leverage in terms of going to the independent leagues; this kid has already pushed off his pro ambitions for a year, and I suspect he's raring to go. So maybe he's willing to sign for just a smidge more than slot, which is still more than the Astros want to pay him. Plus, from Appel's perspective, the Cubs are the superior organization in a major market, with the resources, system and FO to surround him with a good lineup. Put it all together, and I think that's a winning hand. Gray to the Astros, Appel to the Cubs.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Meant to say "Astros aren't willing to spend for Appel." Too much caffeine...

  • In reply to Taft:

    I need more caffeine.

  • I liked your first update better than your second...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    It doesn't leave much room for other picks but if Cubs think Appel is an impact guy/front line starter then they need to do it. That alone would make draft a win.

    And I do think there are very good 2nd rounders who will sign for slot. They may opt for a college arm like Hursh in that case.

  • Sources say I a majorly confused and have gone through legit stages where I hope Cubs pick all three, so im just gonna pretend not to care until they pick, then in my homer-ism, I will be thrilled with the pick, from a reliable source I should add

  • In reply to Josh Sims:

    LOL! That is an excellent draft strategy.

  • fb_avatar

    Thanks Cubs Den! It's been fun discussing all of the draft scenarios and I can't think of any other place to go true baseball information.

    Go Get 'Em Cubbies!!!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You're welcome and thanks!

  • I'd like to add my thank you to the long list, John. Appreciate your dedicated work. This is my 3rd draft following along on Cubs Den. You make being a Cubs fan even more fun!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Thanks ChiRy! We were still pretty unknown on that first draft day so thanks for being there!

  • Make sure you get some rest now John because tonight will be a busy night for all of us baseball fans

  • Just not Gray. Totally soured on him now. Hope he falls. And wasn't streaming coverage supposed to start at 3pm today on Not finding it. Maybe they meant PST.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think it might be PST. I thought it was at 5, so that would make sense.

  • John, thanks for the great amount of information on the draft. It is fun reading. Any word on picking up more picks either between rounds 1 and 2 or between rounds 2 and 3. With all the names you have talked about, I want more picks. :)

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks. I want more too! Teams not usually willing to deal until day of draft just in case a player they like slips.

  • What happen to all the talk about Meadows and Frazier?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not polished enough. Most of what I heard is they would have ranked behind Buxton and Almora if they were in last years draft.

  • Who has question I will hang out at Cubs Den for the next hour so you have my full attention.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Who are some of the top HS hitters in your opinion, Kevin? I know the obvious ones of Frazier and Meadows, but after that I'm not really too familiar with that group. TIA.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Dominic Smith, Reese MGuire, JP Crawford and a few others could go on for a while.

  • fb_avatar

    Houston's choice should leak fairly soon, no?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    they didnt make a decision until right before they picked last year. So you may not hear anything at all. That being said I am hearing Manaea's health is a major concern and they maybe leaning towards Appel.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Hey Kevin, since you're here for awhile I decided to start the live blogging an hour early. So new post up there and we can start with a fresh thread.

  • I can't believe Hayden Simpson fell out of the top 5.

  • @Kevin - How does Bryant's power tool compare with Giancarlo Stanton's as an amateur? I've heard 80's tossed around for both of them.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I dont know I wasnt doing this when he was an amateur.

  • Kevin, how far away from being MLB ready do you feel Bryant is if the Cubs were to draft him and how quickly could they sign him?

  • JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 1m
    I talked to a Scouting Director picking early in first round:his GUESS was Hou would take Gray;Cubs would follow w/Appel & Colo w/ Bryant

    FWIW...not a big Bowden fan, but I like any news that involves the Cubs drafting Appel...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Me too.

  • David Rawnsley
    Interesting, well placed source just told me that Astros are down to Stewart or Moran. Kohl would certainly be a surprise.

    From Perfect Game...would be nice for the Cubs...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    North Side -- I hope this doesn't offend John -- but you've been as valuable as him today. Thanks for all of these updates.

    On this: holy crap. The Astros have lost it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks Mike! But I'm just a Twitter junkie today. I'm also trying very hard to not be mad at my five year old for having her dance recital tonight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    LOL. We'll miss you.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Agreed, great job today. Will have to buy you a beer!

    My thoughts on this news. It just occurred to me that it makes a ton of sense and that the preference here is Kohl Stewart. The logic is this: If Houston does take Moran, that means one of big 3 becomes available to Twins, so they pass on Stewart and word is Indians, Marlins not in on him. He could fall to #7 if he doesn't take Houston's deal.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's brilliant.

    Love this new CBA.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Doesn't offend me at all. Northside Irish has been outstanding! Always good to have an extra set of eyes.

  • What a day!

Leave a comment