MLB Draft Notes: Schedule, live blogging. Would you still take Gray? Should the Cubs take Manaea?

MLB Draft Notes: Schedule, live blogging. Would you still take Gray? Should the Cubs take Manaea?

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

Viewing Schedule

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
  • MLB.com

Saturday, June 8:

  • 11th through 40th Rounds
  • 1 p.m. ET
  • MLB.com

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:

Pros

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Cons

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. Astros: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
  2. Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
  3. Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B-OF, San Diego
  4. Twins: Kohl Stewart, RHP, H.S (TX)
  5. Indians: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
  6. Marlins: Austin Meadows, OF, H.S. (GA)
  7. Red Sox: Clint Frazier, OF, H.S. (GA)
  8. Royals: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
  9. Pirates: Reese McGuire, C, H.S. (WA)
  10. Blue Jays: J.P. Crawford, SS, H.S. (CA)

 

 

Filed under: MLB Draft

Comments

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  • I love Appel. So to take Manaea in round two would be too much Boris. Besides, I think Manaea doesn't end up signing with anyone and does another year of college in hopes of being a top 5 guy again next year.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Too much Boras indeed!

    I tend to agree on Manaea. If Boras can't go to a team he wants with the money he wants, he may pull an Appel and go back for senior year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What if the Cubs drafted nothing but Boris clients for the first 10 rounds? Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul, I think the universe would be sucked into a black hole or something.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    LOL!

  • I see that McGuire might get picked higher than Denney. Where do you think Denney will get picked?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Probably late first round, so Denney has a slight chance to slide to the Cubs 2nd pick right now. He's had a bad year after a strong offseason had him as high as a top 10 pick. Some are questioning his bat speed.

    I think he may be the 3rd catcher taken now.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Probably late first round, so Denney has a slight chance to slide to the Cubs 2nd pick right now. He's had a bad year after a strong offseason had him as high as a top 10 pick. Some are questioning his bat speed.

    I think he may be the 3rd catcher taken now.

  • A few things:

    * If I'm an Astros fan, I'm pretty happy with the way things are playing out. Last week they would have had to reach to Colin Moran to save money on their first pick, but the Gray Adderall stuff means they can have their cake and eat it, too, assuming of course that they view the Adderall stuff as a pretty minor hiccup.

    * This is a pretty good year to have a 6 or 7 pick. Since that may be our location in 2014, I hope it's still possible for us to get a guy like Clint Frazier.

    * Re: Manaea. I can't help but be reminded of a guy named Bobby Brownlie. How'd that work out for us? In the MLB Draft, there may not be such a thing as getting value with later picks; players get passed up for legitimate reasons. So I voted no on that one.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Agreed on point 1. If I'm the Astros, I may see this as a chance to have my cake and eat it too. They potentially get the top player in the draft and save money. I'd do it if i were them. Word is that Gray doesn't get past the Twins, so teams aren't that worried.

    I think Frazier is an exciting player. Some questions and not as polished as Almora or talented as Buxton of last year, but that bat speed is potentially a big plus.

    I have to admit I thought about Brownlie too. Potential #1 pick who slid to the Cubs, who were picking in the 20s at the time. Looked like a steal, but Brownlie never regained his stuff and never came close to the majors.

  • I voted "no" on Manea for a lot of the cons you listed. When you factor in the injuries, the OK performance at Indiana State, and the fact that you'd probably have to overpay to sign him (it being Boras and all), I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. There are other prospects without all those red flags you can snag at 2. I don't think you gamble on picks until later in the draft.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Yes, I agree. If they could get him for slot, that's one thing. But it's going to be a case where he will want top 10 money.

  • The only way the Cubs should take Manaea at 2.2 is if they took Gray at 1.2 and saved a couple million. Boras will insist on getting Manaea Top 10 money or he'll go back to school and the Cubs won't have that kind of extra money if they draft anyone else in Round 1.

    Saw on Twitter last night that Kiley McDaniel hears the Astros are starting to lean heavily towards Appel which would make me sad. Still think the scenario with them taking Gray as John described makes a lot more sense for them.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    The two questions do go hand in hand in a way. That would make me sad too if the Astros took Appel. I think he's the ideal choice for the Cubs.

  • Blair will not make it to the Cubs in the 2nd round. Blair called the team that showed the most interest before it was made public. He made it clear it was not for baseball use and the team seem OK with that.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Just as an FYI, and admittedly without knowing the specifics or facts, I'm a Marshall graduate and the amount of friends, acquaintances, and people I knew taking adderall far surpassed any reports from any of my Chicago area friends and their peers at Big 10 schools. Obviously adderall use is high at all colleges, but Marshall has a program specifically for students with learning disabilities called the H.E.L.P. Program. Its worked wonders for their football recruiting. Combined with the fact that they can take kids that don't qualify at bigger schools and enroll them as Props, while giving them a full year in the H.E.L.P. program to qualify academically and get back on track. Blair could be a part of the program, but there is no shortage of Herd athletes in the H.E.L.P. program, diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities making adderall more than accessible.

  • fb_avatar

    The Gray thing is such a wildcard. Because for the Astros to get the discount, that means Gray knows/thinks no other team will offer him as much or that he knows/thinks his performance will drop off next year. Otherwise, he would never accept an el cheapo pre-draft deal and he can simply hold out for what he's "worth," and the Astros are hosed if they use that bonus on other picks. If he's willing to take the discount, and one implication of such is that he fears regression next year, how insane are the Astros to offer him anything?

    For the Cubs, if they really were 50-50 on Appel and Gray, I'd say this pushes them fully into the Appel camp. If they'd decided on Gray's upside, is this enough to at least make it 50-50?

    John suggests that Bryant may be the choice if the Adderall use bothers the Cubs enough, but I don't think he's a sure bet by any means at this point. I've been concerned that his performance is largely based on inferior competition compared to guys like Gray and Appel. Sure enough, he turns into the invisible man in regionals. (4 games, so certainly small sample size applies.)

    All of a sudden, out of nowhere, it's looking like worst case if the Astros do the smart thing and take Appel.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think if Appel is gone, then Gray or Bryant are the only choices. Nobody else worth taking at #2 in my opinion. Bryant has been a top prospect since his high school days. He didn't come out of nowhere.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't disagree, but I think both of them have a lot more questions around them than they did a week ago. (It's interesting that the "Astros are going bat" talk just stopped when regionals started.)

    Appel stands out on so many levels. I keep thinking the Astros can't possibly be locked into their plan enough to pass on him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't think the Astros would change their mind on a short sample size. Their scouts shouldn't be scouting on results. If they thought he had the bat speed, power,. etc. before then that shouldn't change.

    If they do change their mind, it's because of money. One is that we know Gray will take below slot, the other is that there is starting to be a feel that Boras will not take a discount for Bryant. A third thing is that Boras floated out that he may be willing to relax his demands on Appel. I think all of those things come into play. I still think Appel is the top player in the draft and if the Astros think they can get him for say $6M, that still leaves them with a lot of money for future picks.

    Despite last year's pass on Appel, Houston is said to have a good working relationship with Boras, so we can't rule out they just like Appel best but now think there is a legitimate chance to sign him below slot.

    I think Bryant is and always has been the 3rd best player in this draft but if he's too expensive, there is no point in taking a lower rated player at the top. Moran, on the other hand, is a good hitter, but doesn't seem like a guy who should be going first overall.

    I think Astros go Appel or Gray and it's likely the Cubs choose the other with Bryant an option if Cubs are put off by Adderall.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I fully acknowledge that you know more about this than I do, but I'd like to learn something here.

    First of all, I should say that I don't know anything for sure. For all I know, this was just a bad 4 games, and they happen. But my logic for why it may be more was this:

    The scouts know Bryant's tools, and those don't change. But when they get to the playoffs, the level of pitching goes up. When Bryant faces the top pitchers, all of a sudden he's having trouble barreling up the ball or looks defensive against pitches that have more movement than anything he's seen yet. As such, this information let's the scouts analyze him a little better, and he becomes less of a sure thing than he was. For sure, the tools are still there, but there is a question as to whether the he will be able to handle big league pitchers and allow them to play. Not that he can't do it -- but that it isn't as sure as it was before. What's the problem with that logic?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm actually going to address Bryant in an article which is being published as we speak. I hope that answers it, but let me know.

  • This may be a stupid question, but does anyone know how much impact Adderall use can have on a pitcher? Would it help with stamina? Perhaps 1 or 2 MPH on the fastball? In other words, is there any chance that Gray's sudden spike in performance has been, at least partially, enhanced by the Adderall use?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    More to do with stamina, mental focus, especially as game wears on. It doesn't help you physically, but it does at least give you the illusion of having energy.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Yes, it can have an impact. Remember, there are two amphetamine compounds in Adderall. That's why all those hockey players and other athletes used Sudafeds by the handful in the '90s -- speed counteracts tiredness, gives you ooomph in the late stages of the game, allegedly helps with focus. That's why it's a drug of choice on campuses (even when you're three weeks past finals a la Gray).
    I vote no on Gray.

  • I say no to Manaea...just too many question marks, and as others have said, it is in his best interest to probably return to college and get back that top 5 potential. Funny to think that before the college season started that I was kind of leaning in his direction, simply because he is a lefty and was afraid that Appel had possibly been overworked at Stanford. Now I prefer Appel to all others simply because he's done it consistently, and seems like a safer bet to help out the team now. I don't think it can be stressed enough how badly this team needs impact pitching soon, particularly with the way free agent spending on starting pitching is going.

    I would be kind of ticked if Houston chose Appel, though I still think it is unlikely given their inability to reach a pre-draft arrangement last year. We'll all know by tomorrow, I guess.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Weird isn't it? For the most part, the draft hasn't changed all that much. Manaea is the one with the biggest change. Maybe Austin Wilson, but his was more about injury and there were bigger questions anyway. Jonathan Crawford may be another guy who had top 10 potential.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    With all due respect and I apologize for splitting hairs on this one, but I don't know if I agree with the comment of the draft not changing that much.

    Before the start of the amateur season, the contenders for the Cubs spot included Appel, Stanek, Manaea, Meadows and Frazier. Now, guys like Bryant, Gray and Moran are in the mix, along with a darkhorse like Stewart. Also, Stanek, Meadows and Frazier might possibly drop out of the top ten.

    I guess it goes to say that it's nice to forecast things before any given sports season, but the likelihood of it remaining the same is very remote.

    I am happy with the choices the Cubs have at the top, and hope they take Appel or Gray (even with the drug test results). They have much more upside than Bryant or Moran.

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    All are still potentially top 10 guys except for Manaea. Frazier and Meadows still got late consideration at 1 and may still go 5 and 6. Stanek has a chance to go #7. Moran was a top 5 guy at the beginning of the year, slumped early, and then got back to where he was originally projected. Bryant was always a top 10 consideration as well.

    So it has stayed very similar. The one exception is Manaea, but that is only because of the injury questions.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Gray changed an awful lot. I think I heard he was a late first rounder coming into the year.

  • John how many picks to the Cubs have in this draft?

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    I believe there are 40 rounds this year and the Cubs have one pick in each round.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Being somewhat new to actually caring about the MLB draft is that usually how it is? Other than the between round competitive balance picks does a team usually get one pick per round and always in the same order they picked in the first round?

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    It's a little different this year. The CBA has changed so it's harder to get picks in between rounds. Last year, for example, the Cubs had 3 picks before the 2nd round because they offered arbitration to A-Ram and Carlos Pena and they refused. The compensation for that scenario used to be a draft pick.

    Now teams have to offer them a qualifying amount, which is based on the average of the best players in the league. Last year that qualifying offer was around 12M, if memory serves. The Cubs didn't have a free agent worth making that kind of offer to, so they don't have a comp pick this year. A team like the Rays, for example, offered BJ Upton that much money and he refused -- so the Rays got an extra pick.

    The Cubs may have an option for that scenario next year if Matt Garza remains unsigned and is not traded. If he's still here, he's almost certainly worth the qualifying offer and if he refuses, the Cubs will get an extra pick if he signs elsewhere.

    The net result is there are less comp picks overall, but the good news for the Cubs is that means their 2nd round pick (#41) is actually higher than the supplemental pick they had last year.

    Hope that answers everything!

  • Tomorrow I'm only going to look at this site for draft info. No twitter
    or blogs?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    This is the only site you'll need for 1st round and Cubs info. And if Kevin joins us he'll add even more.

  • As to Gray: Unless he's done so privately, he hasn't owned up to being caught for Adderall use. Also, Boras cannot leak Gray's medical info to selected teams -- he must give it to all 30, or none at all (legally, that is....).
    At the very best it's a disturbing lapse in judgment by Gray. At the worst, the Adderall use accounts for his recent weight loss and "toning", and maybe an extra mph or two on his 4-seamer.
    Either way, to me, this is a big Yellow Caution Flag on Gray.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Boras doesn't represent Gray, so I'm thinking you meant Manaea? I do think he's not releasing them to any team.

    I'm not so much worried about Gray's velocity as to whether he can still sustain it late in games.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, John. You are right, it's Manaea's medical record. To me, that's another reason to skip Manaea this year -- if he was OK, Boras would be broadcasting it all over. It's not something he can selectively leak.
    Let someone else take Manaea, or let him go back to school and CCL and prove that he's healthy. If so, he could go top 3 next year (and who knows, we might be there too). If not, we don't want him any year. We've had too many pre-injured pitchers.
    Gray? If he can't sustain velo late, then he's not the Ace we'd be looking for. If he's just a closer candidate, then he shouldn't be a first-rounder. Lotsa ifs......

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    It'd have to be a team that trusts Boras when he says that Manaea is fine. Most teams will steer clear and that's probably what he wants -- then he probably hopes a team with multiple picks later in the first round gambles.

    That's his best case scenario because at that point, he can demand top 10 money or simply say he'll return to school the way Appel did. I don't think he signs for low first round slot. I think it's a calculated gamble on his part.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You're right, the Team willing to take Manaea in Rounds 1 or 2 would have to be willing to take Boras' assurances but personally, I could never get there based on said assurances. Boras is an advocate for his client and has no fiduciary responsibility to any Team.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Agreed.

  • My best-case scenario is the Astros take Gray and the Cubs take Appel.

    We wil have very few chances to draft this high again, and need to take the highest impact pitching talent available.

    I'm a little leery of Gray right now after the whole Adderall controversy.

    No matter what, the Cubs absolutely have to get this one right tomorrow. Huge pressure on FO, but they get paid real big bucks, so I don't feel too sorry for them.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    As long as Cubs feel that Adderall has nothing to do with his performance, then I think there is a good chance they take him -- and they get the added bonus of saving money and perhaps taking a stud in the 2nd round.

  • The Adderall stuff with Gray really isn't an issue for me. This might actually work well for the Cubs since the Atro's could likely take Gray/Moran/Bryant... we get Appel who is #1 for me. If they take Appel, I'm still okay with Gray as 1A and we might save some $$$ to employ a bit of the Astro's strategy for rounds 2/3.

    Manaea?... IDK, I was a huge fan, still am. But really we have more questions than answers. Love his upside as a TOR Ace, but the secretive medical records thing and Boras games... I trust Theo &Co will have enough info to make the right call. But we have sucked at dissecting medical info so far (how many post TJS candidates have actually worked out yet?... I know it's still early). So with all these questions & risks, I'm inclined to look elsewhere.

    All the BS with the new CBA... why wasn't something done to limit the control of an Agent? I don't get it. If this was another sport, Boras wouldn't be able to withhold his medical records. They would be available to every team.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Players union is very strong. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but I do agree teams should have access to medicals. Manaea is such an unknown that it's high risk -- but as we've seen with Puig, sometimes an unknown turns out pretty well.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    An agent can either withhold the medical records or release them, but he must do it across the board, to all 30 teams. (Legally.)

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Yes, and players can't hire agents.

    Teams can't negotiate with players before the draft.

    Etc.

    Think that's what you're getting at by saying in parenthesis (legally). He's not supposed to, but teams and agents can find ways to convey the information.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Yes, that's what I meant. There's "legal" and then there's "under the table" in the sports business.
    And that's one reason why it's sensible business to have a good relationship with agents, especially Scott Boras. I trust that Theo and Jed are on top of it and will make those Gray Areas (pun intended) of inside knowledge work for the Cubs.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    "The Adderall stuff with Gray really isn't an issue for me."
    I agree only on how it effects his physical potential. The benefits of using are not nearly what steroids/HGH would be and so I don't think this affects his physical potential at all.

    OTOH, this does indicate potential problems with character and judgment. Remember, this is a guy who knows what a microscope he is under and what is on the line, but still felt that it was worth the risk to take the adderall. If you consider that he will be under no less pressure to compete as a #1-2 draft pick and possible ace, you have to consider if his mental make-up is one in which he is prone to making poor decisions and/or cannot handle pressure and expectations well.

    We don't have to condemn him, but when a team would be investing a top pick, millions of dollars and years of development in a player it is essential that they can be confident that it is worth the resources as compared to other options at that draft spot.

    At this point, I hope Appel falls to the Cubs, but I would hope that if they ended up with Gray they took a long hard look at character issues and did their homework on this incident before committing.

    Also, I would hope they consider starting him out under a Josh Hamilton-lite type substance abuse program to keep him on the straight and narrow (they can always lighten up when they are sure of his character).

    This organization has too much riding on this draft not to try and hedge its bet and do all they can to make the appropriate pick. Making a Brownlie type bust pick here and passing on a future Harper/Strasburg would be devastating and could set the re-build process back a year maybe more.

    That said, I am optimistic from what I have seen from Theo Corp. thus far and hope that their decision-making proves my optimism correct.

  • I think it's Apple then Bryant cut and dry. We don't need to gamble with the number 2 pick.

  • I hope it's either Appel or Bryant. I'd be very happy with either. I'm not a fan of Gray at all. Even the HS guys, Stewart and Frazier, interest me more. If we were picking at 5 or 6 and he slipped, sure, but not at two. Hoping that's the Astros guy so that Theo and co get their pick, but I doubt it. I think they'll go Appel.

    Another thing on Gray, I find it kind of odd that there is not a single video interview with him on the internet (at least in any of the logical places to look). When I'm looking over potential draft choices, I always like to see an interview or two just to get a feel for the guy as a person. Bryant, Appel, Moran and others all have a bunch. Zero for Gray. Just seemed odd to me.

  • It really doesn't matter who the fans want to pick....what counts is who Theo & Jed will pick.......

    If an agent is hiding medical records on his client....bypass......don't fool around with someone like Boras......the guy already stuck too many bad contracts with the Cubs......

    enough of taking pitchers who have injuries and making a "project" out of them....Cubs had enough of those guys in the system....time to start signing healthy players!

    Whatever happen of not letting the other team best player beat you?.....why didn't Dale give Pujols 1st base in last nights game?....

    Feldman pitched another good game......would be nice if we kept Maholm for this season......or would any of you still believe Jackson is better than Maholm?......maybe we see Vizcaino next June?.........maybe.........

    By Aug 1st, we will have Rusin, Raley, Cabrera and Coleman in the rotation........but Marmol will be our 9th inning mop up guy.

    This Ryan Sweeny guy reminds me of ex-Cub Greg Gross...good contact hitter..........Gross was traded to the Phillies in 1979 along with Manny Trillo for garbage, garbage and more garbage...........Cubs gave up quality to get garbage in return.....

    Soon, the players union will file a lawsuit on MLB for suspending these 20 drug accused players unfairly......no where in the rules or union agreement says these players should be suspended 100 games, most for being first timers ......if it happens, look for a boycott threat for the All Star game.....

    At least A-Rod and Ryan Braun can join Pete Rose, Bonds, McGwire and others and talk about how they threw their HOF chance away.

    Our glorious pitching staff has blown 12 saves, two complete games, and a very high ERA to their credit.....on the bright side, the pitchers did hit 4 HR's already.....

    By the end of 2014 season, no doubt the Starlin Castro trade countdown begins.......many of you will be screaming how Theo didn't trade him after this season......

    Cubs did their "Fan Cam" last night.....anyone see that Triple "D" blond?......Holy Cow......I would love to share a In N Out Burger with her......

    Scott Downs was throwing strikes last night......all you parents out there who has a son who throws left handed, think of the millions he came make if you make him a pitcher.........Downs makes $5 million per year for pitching once every five games for one inning......Fujikawa will make $9 million and never be seen again on this Cubs pitching staff....

    Lets hope the Blackhawks get one game in L.A.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    That is a well thought out rant. I like it do not agree with all of it but I do applaud the thought that you put in it.

    Your idea of our pitching staff does not make sense. Even if Baker does not pitch this year we are not going to need all 4 of those guys in our rotation. Not saying they will not be in Chicago just the most starters we are going to need is 2.

    Shark will still be here because we can get more from him in the offseason than we can trading him mid season this year (I still think we will keep him but I can see a scenario where he is traded). So unless you think he is going to be shut down again in August there is at least one less of those guys we are going to need.

    Baker will pitch this year. It may be in September but he has too much to loose to sit out the whole year.

    Garza will stay with the Cubs unless the Cubs get a return better than the qualifying offer and I do not see that happening unless he pitches lights out the next 5 starts. He also has too much to loose to be shut down in August in September. If he is healthy he pitches or we are going to have one serious ticked off Garza on our hands because shutting him down is going to seriously cost him a ton of money.

    Jackson. Like it or not he is going to make at least 30 starts for this team.

    Then there is Wood. He is a candidate to get shut down in the late part of the season but I think he will be in there making his starts just to see if he can maintain his high level he has pitched over a whole season.

    So unless you think all those guys will be in the bullpen I do not see a lot of those guys you mentioned.

  • Man, I am so geeked for tomorrow's coverage of the draft! This will be the "lifeblood" of the Cubs for years to come, as we continue to build thru the draft.

    John, your analysis and insight on many of the potential draftees is greatly appreciated and welcomed. It's refreshing to have a site where most people are level-headed and analytical when it comes to gathering and sharing info on the draftees, instead of simply reasoning from "gut-feelings" or incomplete information.

    Thanks ahead of time for all the late nights and hard work you put into this endeavor for us die-hard Cub fans.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Ha! Thanks. So am I. I need to get some sleep tonight.

    And thanks also for the kind words. It's always nice to hear your hard work is appreciated!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Or take some Adderall and just stay up!

  • Tomorrow will be a very fun for the Cubs . I think people are right with the whole Gray thing with Adderall , I think he will take a discount and sign with the Astros. This makes things very easy for the Cubs to take Appel. It would be awesome for them to pick Appel and Manea but I'm not holding my breath.

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    Callis has Astros leaning Appel if they can work out money.

    Really hope Adderall is a blip.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes. I've read that from others as well, including Kiley McDaniel, who is also very connected.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's possible that it's always been the Astros plan to draft Gray and in an effort to get him to drop his asking price, they leak a story that they are leaning strongly towards Appel two days before the draft.

    With the way the Astros handled it last year and the new CBA's slot system, it's impossible to know who Houston is going to pick until they announce it. We've heard Gray, Bryant, then Moran, then Gray, then Moran and now Appel. I think it's all pretty meaningless.

  • Take Gray at a discount prepick agreement or If no discount I take Bryant if Stros take Appel .

  • Does anyone know when Gray's drug test was taken? I'm guessing it was a while ago and just last week he pitched a pretty solid game. You would think he wouldn't have been on it as recently as last week.

  • Why is baseball the only sport without a Salary Cap or Max Contract or something to keep players from getting paid 30m a year soon?

    they have Max Contracts in Basketball and a Salary Cap, They also have a Salary Cap in Football and Hockey... Aren't those owners just as rich?

    I guess what really makes the owners smart is having a 162game season, I'm pretty sure most fans would be fine with atleast 100games, that's the big difference i'm guessing bc football is obviously just 16 games and basketball 82...

    But I'm still pretty sure Football brings in the most money for owners... and Football is the most dangerous for Players. I mean Lebron James only gets paid like 14.5M a yr because he took a lil less to play w the Heat, and the Max contract is like 16.5m, Ultimately no Player is going to quit playing baseball due to billionair owners bc the Players have a Max contract of per say 18m, what are they going to say, No i'll go play in Japan??? Baseball should have a Max Contract for sure.

    sorry I know off subject

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    If Houston takes Appel, it's a toss up between Gray and Bryant to me, but I was that way before the Adderall. The Adderall doesn't bother me. I doubt he was using it to mask steroids. Steroid users don't lose weight like that.

    We've yet to hear from him as to why he was using it, and it hasn't been substantiated that he even purchased it illegally, and if he bought the OTC version, it's possible he tested positive, even though he followed the directions to the letter. The tests can't tell the difference. That requires a more thorough test, which may not have happened here.

    I can tell you that certain OTC meds for nasal allergies will cause false a positive for Meth.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Ha, Just wrote a pros and cons piece between Gray/Bryant.

  • I don't see the big deal with Gray testing positive for Adderall. It would not change the natural talent-level of the player at all only give him some added focus. Gray throwing in the high 90s with a wipeout slider has nothing to do with Adderall and that is why the Cubs would be drafting him. If the Cubs don't take him it should be because there is another player they believe to be better. Also if Gray really wants to take Adderall he can just go to a doctor and get a prescription its very easy to do.

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    In reply to Matt:

    Here's my fear. The biggest question about Gray coming into the year was his conditioning. Then he improves that and goes on this run. But I read that Adderall can help with giving guys energy -- and it's troubling. Especially with the #2 overall pick.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    i completely agree mike, i think if it was appel who tested positive for adderall then we'd think very little of it, but gray is a guy who just emerged this season. for all we know adderall could be his reason for this large improvement and everything that we all love about him as a prospect right now. i dont think it is, but t/j and co. have said on multiple occasions that they need to hit on this pick.

    personally im an appel guy, he'll be up sooner and he has a higher floor and 3 present plus pitches plus better control and command. however if the stros go appel at 1-1 then i think the cubs should gamble on gray. t/j are big on character and makeup, they will obviously sit down with gray and discuss with him the whole adderall situation. if they believe him and they believe in him then i will have 0 worries about the situation. this will also be a blessing in disquise if everything works out because it will leave the cubs with some extra money heading into the second. third and fourth rounds which could end up paying off big.

  • In reply to Matt:

    I thought about that last thing. How hard would it be for him to get a prescription if he needed it? Guess is it wouldn't be a problem.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Long time reader, first time poster here. John, et al, thanks for all your work in creating such a wonderful site. I for one am not worried at all about the adderall incident, though I am a little bit biased.

    I'm a Senior in college and my sophomore year, I was able to get an adderall prescription very easily. I simply met with a doctor who came to the school regularly for these types of matters. Do I actually need adderall? Probably not. I never take it over the summer or when I am away from school. I just knew it helped when I had a deadline and I could probably get it a lot cheaper legally rather than illegally. All I did when met with the doctor was tell her the things she wanted to hear; I have trouble focusing, I find myself forgetting important things in my life, etc. That was really all it was.

    As for Gray, if it truly is the adderall that is making him preform so well, he should see a doctor and apologize for taking it illegally. He should be humble and recognize that his past actions stand in direct opposition of that person's profession. After he does this, though, he should show how much the adderall has improved his daily life, his work ethic, and his body. The less about baseball, the better.

    All that being said, I am still a big Apple fan and hope we get him. If Houston decides to grab Apple, I say we take their past strategy right from them and roll the proverbial dice with Gray then grab a stud in the second.

  • In reply to 2Mannings1Cup:

    Back in my day we didn't know much about Adderall. We used to take something over the counter called No-Doz, which I believe was designed for truck drivers or something. We took them for finals so I can relate to a degree.

    It doesn't worry me too much either -- even if he did do it for baseball reasons, but I agree that I'd rather have Appel.

  • my hope is that a team like the yankees takes manaea and goes way underslot with their two other picks in the first round in order to sign him. do i think this is likely? not at all, but it is possible and if they do that then there would be a slightly better chance that the guy the cubs want with their second pick will be there.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I think that's a possibility. Interesting thought, Josh.

  • The Adderall thing borders on a teaching and research issue for me and I do not want to get off on a rant here, but I do want to agree with Mike. Adderall is a compound of amphetamines and among the many side effects of amphetamines is that they make users feel invulnerable, boundless energy - and they can overdo and sap the body because the drug masks the usual signals, such as getting tired and/or sore. I regularly see people here concerned with coaches overusing college pitchers - how about them abusing themselves?

    I will also add that US society now has far larger problems with drugs made by pharmaceutical companies than the illegal ones about which we are always up in arms. Historically the first booms for both heroin and cocaine featured pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the drugs for medical use and "losing" much of what was produced. When international agreements forced them to open their books, production immediately fell by 80%-90%. Just because it is legal for some uses does not make it, automatically, "no big deal."

    For me it is a red flag for the second pick in the draft unless the team knows a lot more about it than anyone seems to. Sorry for the OT rant, and I am not a big "just say no" guy, but the easy acceptance of corporate drugs drives me crazy.

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Interesting view Bruno. Nice post/rant.

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    I've read a bit about this, but would like to ask John, how big of a concern is it that Appel's strikeout rate does not appear to be as impressive as some top pitching prospect's of the past?

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    The one concern I've heard about Appel is he's a bit easier to pick up. His mechanics are so clean and he has a bit of a long arm action (see the Rafael Dolis of 2012 for a good example of long arm action),. but he has tweaked them a bit and his change-up helps keep hitters off balance. For what it's worth, the K rate was similar to Gray's despite Gray's huge velocity.

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    Thanks. Even though they call him a near finished product, you would expect there would be work to do. Can't wait for the draft coverage. Good luck! Can't imagine the amount of knowledge you have stored up.

  • I would pass on Manaea in the 2nd round. It's my guess that Boras will advise him to hold out for Top 10 status next year. If Boras was out of the picture, then I might take a flyer. A potential middle of the rotation lefty is worth the risk, especially since we have Derek Johnson to work with him on potential physical problems.

  • My gut is that Boras is trying to steer Manaea to St. Louis. I'd steer clear if I were the Cubs. Also, regarding the new mock top 10...I'm a high school and college umpire in the Los Angeles area and have seen a ton of JP Crawford and Dominic Smith over the past several years. Saw JP from behind the dish three weeks ago. Saw Dominic twice this year in games that I did and was on hand to see him go yard at Dodger Stadium in the CIF finals vs. Mira Costa. Its fun to watch both of those guys hit. Especially from about three feet behind them!

  • If we are going to be hoping for a lefty pitcher to fall to the Cubs at #41, then I'm hoping for Kevin Ziomek from Vandy to be reunited with Derek Johnson. That would be a steal!

    The Adderall thing to me is nothing. Adderall is nothing like other speed and amphetamines. In fact, many players in MLB have Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Adderall. It helps you focus. that's it. It doesn't make you feel invincible, it doesn't add velocity to your fastball, and it sure doesn't allow you to maintain that velocity into the 9th inning like Gray did all year.

    By the way, to those that say Gray "came out of nowhere"... Gray is a junior, Appel is a senior. Appel was drafted in the 15th round out of HS, Gray was drafted in the 13th round out of HS. Appel was projected as a possible 1-1 draft pick as a junior & chosen in the top ten, & Gray is projected as a possible 1-1 as a junior and will definitely be chosen in the top ten. So to me, that "Gray came out of nowhere" thing has no bearing in reality.

    The thing that scares me about Mark Appel is how straight his fastball is... that makes him much more hittable than his velocity would indicate. Major League players can hit a fastball with no movement no matter how fast it's going... Farnsworth, Rocker, etc. have proved that. (I'm not saying Appel has no movement, just not very much)

    Appel's ceiling is probably a Garza type pitcher, which is not bad at all. I also think his floor is probably a 4, but most likely a 3.

    Gray could be a Dominator. He could have a FB/Slider combo like
    the Big Unit, which would make even an average Changeup better in practice. (which he is working on).

    However Gray's downside, especially with the Adderall use, which shows a lack of maturity (not a drug problem) makes me wonder about the choice the Colts had with Peyton Manning & Ryan Leaf...

    Leaf was the much more athletic and high potential pick vs the workman like approach of Peyton, plus you knew what you were getting with Manning.

    If the Cubs want a definite contributor in the future (even if it's as a 3) then Appel should be the pick. Of course that's what also makes me think that Houston will go ahead and take Appel.

    If they do, the Cubs MUST take the chance on Gray. He could be a game changer... I just don't see that from Bryant. In fact, I think of the three, Bryant has the highest probability of BUSTING.

    P.S. If Denney makes it to the 2nd round the Astros will snatch him right before us. (darn)

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