Today's links are going to be draft-heavy again. There is intrigue again at the top because of the Jonathan Gray situation and the general unpredictability of the Houston Astros draft strategy.
NOTE: I am going to load up on coffee and live blog the draft on Thursday and Friday so you'll get instant analysis and reaction. We've been tracking players for about a year now, so we're more than prepared to give you the scoop on the Cubs draft strategy and the players they select. Make sure you check in early and often tomorrow for the best Cubs-dedicated draft information.
Here is some important draft info for those who want to follow the process...
- Thursday, June 6 through Saturday, June 8
- You can watch on MLB Network (first 2 rounds only) or live stream on MLB.com
Thursday, June 6:
- First and Second Rounds
- 6 p.m. CT
- MLB Network and MLB.com
Friday, June 7:
- Third through 10th Rounds
- 12 p.m. CT
Saturday, June 8:
- 11th through 40th Rounds
- 1 p.m. ET
The Sean Manaea Conundrum
There's a lot of excitement about the possibility of former top 5 prospect LHP Sean Manaea of Indiana State falling into the second round and being available for the Cubs. While I think the scenario is very intriguing, I also look at it with some trepidation. The reason is that we do not know which Sean Manaea the Cubs would theoretically draft. Here are some things to consider:
- When right, Manaea sits in the mid 90s, throws a wipeout slider, and a change that also has plus potential. He also shows good command. That profiles as a front line starter. This was the pitcher that wowed scouts at the Cape Cod League.
- Even if he can't recapture that stuff, he was still a pretty good pitcher at Indiana State who was considered a first round talent. His stuff was more like a 3rd starter when healthy (91-94 mph FB, good slider, average change). If you get a mid-rotation lefty who can be occasionally dominant, that alone is a nice weapon for your team.
- His agent, Scott Boras, is not making his medical records available. Does he have something to hide? Is he trying to steer the draft in a particular direction, perhaps to a team with multiple first round picks that can easily re-allocate pool money?
What is the extent of Manaea's injuries? He's had some arm soreness and issues with his hip? Is there a more serious injury in his future? Will the hip injury linger as they sometimes do?
- Manaea's velocity was down into the mid 80s at times toward the end of his season. His slider seemed to flatten out and his change looked average at best. Moreover, the pitcher with the front line stuff hasn't been the guy scouts have seen most frequently.
- Even when healthy at Indiana State, Manaea was a good pitcher, but not a front line guy. Would that pitcher be worth punting the rest of the draft so that you could pay him what's expected to be a large bonus? I'm not sure.
It's an intriguing idea, but certainly not a no-brainer. What would you do?
News and Notes:
- A couple of days ago I talked about the possibility of the Astros taking Jonathan Gray and perhaps getting a discount. Yesterday, Keith Law wrote about the same subject, talking to a source who believes Jonathan Gray will take a huge discount if taken near the top. If the Astros believe Gray's increase in performance has nothing to do with the Adderall use, then they could wind up drafting him and saving a lot of money for later in the draft. I would think this has to be very tempting for them given how they approach the draft. It seems the use has brought in more questions about Gray's judgment than his performance.
- Possible 2nd round target RHP Aaron Blair of Marshall also tested positive for Adderall.
- Need to get a look at some of the players we've talked about? Baseball Prospectus has video of some of the best prospects in the draft.
- UPDATE (11:20): Jim Bowden of ESPN believes the risk on pitchers is too great and that the Astros should take the best hitter, which is Kris Bryant.
New Top 10 Mock
- Astros: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
- Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
- Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B-OF, San Diego
- Twins: Kohl Stewart, RHP, H.S (TX)
- Indians: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
- Marlins: Austin Meadows, OF, H.S. (GA)
- Red Sox: Clint Frazier, OF, H.S. (GA)
- Royals: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
- Pirates: Reese McGuire, C, H.S. (WA)
- Blue Jays: J.P. Crawford, SS, H.S. (CA)
Filed under: MLB Draft