The Cubs made a couple of interesting picks yesterday in RH power hitter Kris Bryant and LHP Rob Zastryzny but things could get really intriguing today.
There is some real talent slipping because of signability and I'm wondering if the Cubs will be able to save enough money with their top two picks to make a run at a high ceiling arm or perhaps even another bat. There are excellent options available on both fronts.
- Kyle Serrano: 92-94 mph with advanced change. Father is a coach, which helps his knowledge of the game but he's also the coach at Tennesseee, where Serrano is commmited to play baseball. In other words, tough sign, but first round talent.
- Connor Jones: Heavy low 90s FB, potential for plus slider and above averager change. Classic 3 pitch sinker/slider type with the big, strong body to be a mid-rotation type. Very tough sign, as many Virginia recruits are.
- Andrew Mitchell: Former closer at TCU can really bring it -- up to 97 out of the bullpen. Can still hit 94 as a starter and an excellent hard curve, perhaps the best in the draft. Refining his change and increasing stamina and refining command are keys for him. If not, you have a good closer prospect.
- Jake Brentz, LHP: Has reportedly hit 100 mph but extremely raw. A project for someone like Derek Johnson to mold. He has the arm strength.
- Bobby Wahl: Another guy who can reach 97, but Wahl more often pitches in 91-93 range then lost velo this season. Potential for plus slider but inconsistent and relies too much on it which some think is the cause for the drop in velo. Former top 10 candidate.
- Trey Masek: Pitches in the low 90s but was one pitcher some felt was overused at times, which is perhaps causing his drop. He also has a somewhat slight build, which compounds the issue. He's also had rotator tendinitis, which would also scare teams. He's a late first round guy on talent alone, but durability/injury issues have pushed him down.
- Jonathan Denney, C (HS): Like Wahl, Denney was once considered a possible top 10 pick. He has the defensive skills to remain at catcher but had a poor year with the bat, causing some to question bat speed. Kevin tells me he had trouble catching up to anything above 87-88 mph.
- Ryan Boldt, OF (HS): Another potential mid-first round talent, Boldt is one of the better all-around players in the draft. No standout tool but he is athletic and does everything well. A minor knee injury has caused him to slide and now he is a tough sign
- Chris Okey, C (HS): An athletic C with tons of Team USA experience, Okey has more polish than some and potentially a good hit tool.. Some have compared him to Jason Kendall.
- Cord Sandberg, OF (HS): A big, physical, athletic player whom some have compared to Austin Meadows. He's a recruit a Mississippi State with some signability issues but many feel he's signable.
- Trey Michaelewski, 3B (HS): A good athlete with some bat potential, much less likely in round 3 now that the Cubs have drafted another 3B, Kris Bryant, in the first round. If he falls, however, keep an eye on him as the Cubs scouted him and liked what they saw.
Houston is on the clock...
12:05 pm: The Astros take soft-tossing, polished lefty Kent Emmanuel. Good college guy but 5th starter potential.
12:11 pm: The Cubs select athletic outfielder Jacob Hanneman from BYU. He's a draft eligible freshman. He went on a Mormon mission and just returned to school. Cubs must see a little Jacoby Ellsbury as far as his raw skill set. Obviously doesn't have the polish of your normal college player. He's a true CF with the speed and natural instincts to play there. Makeup is off the charts.
12:23 pm: I've never seen such varied reports on Jonathan Denney, especially with regard to bat speed and defense. Obviously there is some concern with either or both since he dropped this far. The most recent reports show concern about bat speed.
12:33 pm: More on Jacob Hanneman. Theo Epstein marvels at his "fluidness" and says he could look better going 0 for 5 than some do going 5 for 5. Interesting because it's difficult to describe Brett Jackson or Matt Szczur as "fluid". They're definitely more of the grindy types. Sounds to me that Hanneman could be a Matt Szczur with better instincts. Hit .344/.415/.553/.968, with a .418 wOBA after two years off. Read more about Hanneman here.
12:38 pm: Some more information on Cubs 2nd round pick Rob Zastryzny. Paraphrasing some info here but here's the gist: Scouts think he can settle in at 92-93 mph with some late movement. Combined with good command and ability to change speeds, he can keep hitters off balance, make them look "silly". They feel there is a lot of upside here.
12:47 p.m. Video on Jacob Hanneman...
12:57 PM: Michael Caldwell calls this one! The Cubs take RHP Tyler Skulina out of Kent State. Love this pick here in the 4th round. He has the raw arm strength and still has upside for a college player. Low 90s fastball with downward plane and arm-side run, potential for a solid slider and/or curveball -- he may have to choose between the two. Needs to work on change up and command. Cubs obviously have some faith in their ability to develop pitchers with the selections of Zastrzyny and Skulina. The pattern seems to be to get guys with college-level experience, good makeup/work ethic -- but yet have enough upside that there is room to grow. Not an easy combo to find but Cubs may have found it here with these two arms. You have to like the potential of what Derek Johnson can do with this combination of traits.
1:17 PM: As promised, Kevin's reaction to the Kris Bryant selection...
1:38 PM: The Cubs select Trey Masek who I talked about in this piece. The concerns about build and injury are there, but so is the talent if he can stay healthy. He's a late first round guy on talent alone, but the concerns caused him to drop. A top 50 type guy who can reach 95 with potential for a plus curve, and an above average change. Concerns about delivery but it does add deception. Great value here.
2:03 PM: Will write my thoughts on Cubs pitching later but here's what I see. Jed Hoyer has talked about growing bullpens "organically". What he means is you draft starters with good stuff and if they don't make it as starter you got yourself some potential bullpen arms.
I think Zastryzny was selected with the idea of being a starter because of his feel/command/stuff -- but Skulina and Masek are good gambles because they have SP potential, but for different reasons, they could end up as bullpen guys. Grow them at home, grow them cheaply with good arms from the draft. Not everyone can stay a starter.
2:30 PM: A very good pick again by the 6'7" RHP Scott Frazier of Pepperdine. I wrote on Twitter that I got the feeling the Cubs wouldn't necessarily punt 6-10 and that was the case -- at least for this pick. Frazier is a legit SP prospect but may end up in the bullpen -- which fits the Cubs pattern in this draft. 91-94, curve, change -- a late first round to 2nd round talent here. Command and delivery issues may push him to the bullpen, but if so, he may have closer potential, intimidating size and can touch 97 in short stints. I'm beginning to love this draft for the Cubs.
3:07 PM: The Cubs select 5'11 David Garner. The Cubs went down 8 inches in height but not so much in velocity. Garner can hit 95 mph, gets a little wild at times, however. I think the size and command issues means he probably ends up the bullpen -- and probably a lot sooner than the previous 3 pitchers selected.
3:49 PM: The Cubs select Sam Wilson, a hard-throwing LHP, who hasn't been a full-time pitcher so we're really talking about getting a guy with arm strength that you hope you can develop -- something that's becoming a theme here. Wilson can hit 93-94 which is tremendous velo for a southpaw. Because he's raw and is relatively new to pitching, it's tempting to say he'll be a reliever, but Wilson does have the makings of 3 solid pitches with his curve and change. He's also athletic and repeats his delivery well -- something that can help pitchers develop good command.
4:14 PM: Here is an interesting article on Rob Zastryzny. The more I read about this guy, the more I like -- the more he seems like he's a late bloomer. He's just now developing a slider? Love that it has potential to get so much better and love that he hasn't been throwing it at a young age. Bodes well for his long term health.
4:40 PM: The Cubs selected an athletic CF Charcer Burke out of a Texas high school. Can't say I know much about this guy so analysis won't be "instant". It's the first high school player the Cubs have taken. I wish that if the Cubs were going to take an athletic CF'er, it would have been Corey Ray from Chicago. At least I've seen him play. Burkes is listed as a SS but Cubs intend to move him to CF.
Filed under: MLB Draft