MLB Draft Update: Cubs looking for immediate impact? Q & A with Jim Callis, Mock Draft, and more

MLB Draft Update: Cubs looking for immediate impact? Q & A with Jim Callis, Mock Draft, and more

The draft is finally this week and here are some links to tide us over for awhile.  I'm hearing that the Cubs are looking for a player with the potential to give them immediate impact, which almost certainly means one of the two starting pitchers.

  • Cubs Den writer/contributor Jordan Bernfield spoke with Baseball America's Jim Callis about the draft as a part of his Cubs Weekly show (12:00 on Sundays) on WGN radio.  Here is the podcast in case you missed it.
  • Jim Bowden wrote about trading the competitive balance draft picks and speculated on their value.
  • Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider and ESPN wrote up a mock draft and he has the Cubs taking Mark Appel.
  • Fred Mitchell writes that Dale Sveum wants the Cubs to pick up as many arms as they can, "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," Sveum said. "It's a very important part of the day that we're all curious about."
  • Carrie Muskat writes that most of the Cubs talk has been about who they will select in the 2nd or 3rd round.   As much as they say they don't know who they are going to pick first, I think they have a pretty good idea.  They probably have a top two in mind and they'll take the best one left after Houston makes their pick.
  • Bruce Miles writs that Jason McLeod doesn't want to pigeon-hole the Cubs into making a pick based on need, which is presumably pitching.  Could this mean they may actually take Kris Bryant?  We know that one Cubs Den contributor will be ecstatic if that happens.  Bryant  continues to gain momentum as the draft draws near.
  • Could the Astros still take Mark Appel?  Scott Boras says he's willing to play fair if the Astros are.  Boras believes the Astros will spend for who they want.  Of course, he doesn't want to alienate the team with the top pick when he is representing 2 of the top 3 players in the draft.
  • I wrote a piece on Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray for The Ivy Drip, which should appear tomorrow, so please look out for that and I'll keep you posted as to when it's published.  The conclusion?  I have my preference, of course, but although nothing is certain (see Mark Prior), the Cubs really can't lose either way.
  • Keith Law wrote up his third mock draft and he still has the Cubs taking Mark Appel but also thinks that Jonathan Gray and Kris Bryant are in play.  Law believes, though, that the Cubs will take a pitcher.  He still has Colin Moran at the top for the Astros but also writes they may opt for Kris Bryant or one of the two pitchers.
  • On the other hand, Kiley McDaniel of predicts the Astros will take Mark Appel and leave the Cubs with Jonathan Gray as their top choice. He lists what each team is hoping for and for the Cubs he lists Appel.  He also lists additional options for each team and for the Cubs, he believes the 2nd option is Kris Bryant, the 3rd is Colin Moran, and the 4th is Clint Frazier.  So basically his top five for the Cubs, in order, is: 1. Appel, 2. Gray, 3. Bryant, 4. Moran, 5. Frazier.
  • The Baseball America held an "experts draft", which is similar in style to the one Kevin Gallo, Dan Kirby, and I did a while back.  The 5 BA editors take turns making picks and Jim Callis gets the Cubs #2 pick and selects Mark Appel, though he does prefer Gray, who went first to the Astros.  He still hasn't ruled out Kris Bryant either and admits he was tempted to take him.

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    Wouldn't that be a laugher if the Astros do in fact take Mark Appel and the Cubs decide to go with Kris Bryant. Who woulda thunk?


  • In reply to bocabobby:

    In all honesty, we probably won't be laughing. I think they'll take Gray if Houston takes Appel. Still hearing, including just yesterday, that the Cubs will go pitcher.

    I know Kevin and a few others feel differently but the general consensus is that Bryant is a clear notch below the pitchers. And Boras is the agent for Bryant too, so he could also be talking about Bryant going to the Astros, which would actually make some sense if they think he's willing to sign quickly and for a fair deal.

    The Cubs have a rare opportunity here and I don't think they'll pass up the chance to get an ace-level pitcher. They are almost impossible to get outside the draft right now, especially when they are in their prime.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Here is the thing the Cubs will have a high pick next year and there are some serious pitchers on the top off next year. They maybe even better then the one at the top of this years draft. So don't make it sound as if they don't pick one they don't ever get one.

    By the way I think they go over the top heavy in pitching this year including the #2 pick.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    You can't pick based on what's going to happen next year. No way do the Cubs alter their pick based on where they might pick or who might be available a year from now. That's not even a consideration.

    They are a BPA team and, while you and a few others may personally disagree, the two consensus best players are the two power pitchers. They have a chance to get an ace that needs little projection or development in either Gray or Appel. Those opportunities don't come around every year and you can't count on getting the opportunity next year. Those type of pitchers go top 5 year after year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Those type of pitchers go top 5 *or wherever the Cardinals happen to be picking* year after year.

    Fixed that for you.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    All I am saying is that its not a once in a 10 yr chance, the way people are acting.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    the last time the Cubs had a chance to draft someone of this talent at pitcher was Mark Prior in 2001 (save last year when Appel dropped and economics played a role in that one)?

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    One way or another we're going to get a great player. I'm good with however this shakes out.

  • I'm very curious who they'll grab with the 2nd and 3rd picks too. Let the waves begin!

  • John, assuming the Astros don't take Appel, do you see the Cubs making a quick hard-ball play with Boras? Let's say the Astros take Gray, do you think the Cubs would be willing to say "Ok, here's a slot offer. Take it now or we're going with Bryant."? Seems to me the Cubs could have a lot of leverage in that situation if they wanted to use it since the slot values fall off considerably fairly quickly.

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    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Boras also represents Bryant. Either way Boras is gonna get money for his guys, imo

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Boras also represents Bryant, so that probably won't work. At any rate, I think Appel will get less than slot, probably around $6M or so, leaving the Cubs with anywhere between and extra $500K and $1M to spend on later picks.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you really think Appel will get under slot? Why would he settle for that? Just curious

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Yes, I think he will. At this point, Boras wants market value and that should be about $6M. He doesn't have as much leverage and I don't believe he'll overplay his hand when he knows getting his client to the big leagues will lead to more money down the road. Much more important than getting and extra $500K or so. His aim right now is to get market value -- something he reportedly wasn't offered last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No way Appel has give complete control of all money to Boras there is no way ho goes under slot. If he goes for 6 there is no way the Astros can pass that up.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'm pretty certain he will. They reportedly offered Appel 3.8M and signed Correa for 4.8M, and spread a lot of it around the draft, so I think it's very possible they pass up $6M for Appel. Only Buxton got that much last year.

    And when I'm speaking of 6M for Appel, that is not a low point. I think he will sign from anywhere to 5.5 to 6.5M

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Since when has Boras ever gone the slot projection. I don't see it going for any less then 7 mil.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    MightyGin, first I don't think any team wants to piss off Boras, but I think Bryant is also going to be a Boros client. Let's just hope if the Cubs pick a Boros guy, the player wants to start as soon as possible and forces Boros to sign quick. An unsigned 1st round draft pick is like a wrapped birthday present, you know it's there, but you really want to see what you got.

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    Just thinking out loud here but what if the Cubs do in fact go after Bryant in the draft and decided to go "all in" for David Price in Free Agency? Oh my, we would be stacked!!!!

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    My gut is saying their board goes:
    1) Gray
    2) Appel.
    3) Unnecessary

    We'll see though. Going to be a really fun night.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree. At least that it's the two pitchers and a 3rd choice is irrelevant. We've heard it's split between the two pitchers. Contrary to reports, I'm pretty sure the Cubs have decided on their preference. If they hadn't, they'd be spending more time on it than Jason McLeod admitted they have -- which is very little.

  • the reason they've been hashing over our 2nd & 3rd picks for 4+ days is they see some significant value and potential impact there.... wonder who it is?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I've made a few posts on the subject. I'll make one more before the draft and link the old ones.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Really what I'm wondering, and I'll admit to reading in between the lines on McLeods statements... Are they looking at potential ETA to the MLB team with picks 2 & 3 vs the highest ceiling guys like before?... Even with signability questions.... if Manae falls to their 2nd rounder, no way they can't take him. If they spent everything on Appel & Manaea, can you imagine a better haul from this draft? never gonna happen, but still....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That haul is potentially exciting but it scares me too.

    I think we have to be careful when we evaluate Manaea as the top 5 pick/front line starter guy. There's no slam dunk that he's that pitcher. You may end up paying big bucks and punting your draft over a guy who, in all honesty, carries a lot of uncertainty right now. Is he 1) the guy with front line potential, 2) the 91-93 guy with solid to above average -- but not necessarily plus -- secondaries he has shown for most of his career, or 3) (in the worst case scenario), the guy who had trouble touching 90 at the end of this season and has recurring hip and/or arm issues.

    Personally, I don't know. That is beyond my scope of knowledge/info. You don't want the 3rd guy and the 2nd guy is more of a mid to late first rounder type -- so do you want to pay big bonus money for that? I'm not sure. You definitely do it if you think he's the first guy. But my gut tells me he's the second guy.

    All it takes is for one team to think he's that first guy to be gone before the Cubs get the chance. If he's the 3rd guy, then no freaking way. If it's door #2, that's a tough decision. It's a lot of money for a #3 type starter -- but I'd strongly consider it if I thought he was healthy and hope he can show the stuff he showed in the CCL.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Boras isn't releasing Manaea's medicals to anyone. Which is odd, because most teams I'm assuming won't draft him without those medicals.

    I think Boras might be doing his best to direct Manaea to his team of choice. By not providing medicals to most teams, he prevents those teams from taking Manaea. Then, he shows the medicals to a team like the Yankees, that has a bunch of picks and a lot of pool $$$, gets a deal done for well over slot and they take him.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    That is a very plausible scenario. I think you may well have nailed it there, Tulane.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    TY John. Ive been searc hing some on the 2nd/3rd picks and see the likelihood the Cubs want to add pitching depth. Right now, Cubs middle infield prospects look pretty good for 2-3 years down the road, so time to load up on top end arms.

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    At this point I just want it to be over. I do not care any of the top 3 that they take. I just do not want to look back 5 years from now and say man we could have had. Lets hope this pick is the RIGHT one. No matter who we take.

  • Couple more mocks:

    Keith Law's newest mock draft:

    Kiley McDaniel of has his latest mock draft:

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Thanks Tulane. I'll add those links.

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    There is no way, in my opinion, that the Cubs don't take Gray or Appel. When is the next time they will have a shot to draft a pitcher with such a high ceiling? If they have their pick between the two (though my hunch tells me the Astros will take Gray) I say the Cubs need to go with the pitcher whose mechanics seem the safest.

  • I would be happy with either Gray or Appel.

    John, what are the odds that the Cubs get the 34th pick from the royals?

  • In reply to John57:

    I think they're lower now since the Royals have faded a bit. But Royals GM Moore has his job on the line and maybe trading a draft pick is a way of getting win-now help without costing him current players or prospects.

  • I noticed that Chris Crawford did not list Manea in the top 39 picks. Wouldn't that be interesting if the Cubs got Appel and Manea. There would be interesting meetings with Boras.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think Manaea is becoming a risk to return to school. He knows he has top 5 talent when on but he was anything but that by the end of the year. Injuries had something to do with that but even before that, Manaea wasn't showing the same kind of stuff.

    The bottom line is some team is going to have to believe that Manaea is the guy from the Cape Cod League. That's the guy who showed front line talent. The guy at Indiana State was good, but looked more like a #3 type starter at best. That's not bad, but if you're going to pay Manaea the big bucks he's expected to demand (and thus punt on more picks later in the draft), you have to be pretty sure the's the Cape Cod guy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But Boras and Theo seem to get along pretty well and Boras might think that the Cubs would be a good team to develop Manaea with D Johnson as their pitching guru. The real money is not in the initial contract but in the next one. Oh well I will be happy with whatever team Epstein/Hoyer/McLoud come up with.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True John, but one thing about hip injuries(ask Bo Jackson) is they tend to linger, especially with hard throwers who have to have hip rotation as part of there mechanics. If Manaea is developing problems at such a young age, could such problems show up again down the road? BTW, if Manaea does slip to # 39, I say take a flyer on him.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Agreed. And that worries me a bit.

  • Every pick is a gamble. If one doesn't work out, that doesn't make it "wrong".

  • In reply to wastrel:

    That is a good thing to remember.
    As long as the FO does its due diligence (which I trust completely that they are doing), and the prospect gets all the guidance that he needs to develop (which we see the Cubs emphasizing), the result is out of our hands.

  • im an appel guy, however i am definitely less confident in that everyday as the draft approaches. however if the cubs do pick appel, i think they should tell him that they will give him a floor of 6 mil dollars and if after signing all of their other higher rated picks they have money left over then he will get that as well. i feel that much like almora last year the cubs and appel will wait and see how the other signings shake out. so the key here is for the cubs to take guys in the 2-10 round range who they trust when it comes to asking price.

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    Hate to hear Callis say the Astros are going pitcher. He clearly knows what he's talking about.

  • And here's a Baseball America experts draft. Not who they think the teams are going to pick, but who the BA experts would pick.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Thanks again, Tulane.

  • Any chance the first pick leaks out early like it used to in football before the rookie salary scale?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Possibly. Last year, the Astros pick didn't leak until moments before the draft, partly because they didn't really know either. Some expect the same scenario this year.

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    If we take Appel or Gray, and they both have to sign by mid-July or so, where do you start them in terms of level? Just curious.

    A+, maybe? Both are pretty advanced, so should be able to skip A-ball

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think I'd start Appel in Daytona but Gray at Kane County.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I should note that both will likely spend some time in AZ first.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    In Gray's case, you would think they want him to actually take it easy a bit, because he put alot of work in late in the reason to pile on

    I suppose the initial objective in 2013 is to just get them in the system, establish routine, meet coaches, and develop a plan for 2014; if they pitch and advance some, that's just gravy

  • For the cubs second rounder, how good is the pitching available in relation to pierce johnson? Would be nice to have another safe mid-rotation starter in the minors

  • In reply to nickdib123:

    I think they'll get a comparable pitcher to Pierce Johnson. Probably a college guy, because that's where the depth lies, but if there's a run on college arms that should leave them with a high upside HS arm.

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    I think if the Astro's take Moran then the Cubs take Gray because of the higher ceiling. But my gut says that the stro's take Gray because of sign ability and the Cubs will go with Appel. But I'm pretty much on board with everybody else that as long as they get one of the pitchers I'll be happy. I'd even be happy with Bryant but I really think they're going pitcher.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I think Moran is their fallback plan but if it's true Gray and Appel both want about $6M+, that won't leave them with the money they want for their later picks.

  • Doesn't picking someone who can make an immediate impact sorta mean you're drafting for need (time wise instead of position) rather than best player available?

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    One player could fit both criteria.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    As Ray said, it's going to be both this year. Just happens to be the way things are shaking out. The Cubs have a need for power pitchers and power hitters, which is exactly what is available to them for the 2nd pick. The pitchers in particular fit in nicely.

  • It seems like with the current FO's shrewd sensibility, that Appel's higher floor and competitive demeanor make him the clear favorite for the Cubs.

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    We're probably overthinking this.

    Gray and Appel are 1a) and 1b). We're going to get one of the two of them. It's just dumb luck which one has a better major league career.

    Let's just trust to the same luck that brought us Christian Villaneuva and Kyle Hendricks instead of Randall Delgado and whatever we get for Matt Garza (hopefully Matt Garza) instead of Mike Olt.

    At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You realize you just spoke of "luck" positively in relation to the Cubs right?

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    Mark Grace was a 24th round draft pick. The Cubs CAN have luck.

  • Whatever happens with the first round happens. Only pick I'd probably get upset with the FO making is Colin Moran, not a fan of downtrading and allocating resources. My board is still Appel, Gray, Bryant. Would love Appel or Gray, Bryant looks like he'll be huge, but I can't pass-up an ace.

    2nd - 3rd rd is what I have my eye on.

    For 2nd rd I was hoping for Balog or Andrew Thurman, but by the looks of it looks like those guys will both be 1st rders (or supplemental 1st). Ziomek maybe, but only because we have Derek Johnson. I like the Hunter Green pick you spotlighted last week John (reminds me a bit of Underwood; inconsistent fb/curve, hit mid 90s, but also low 90s; real nice upside pick). Maybe Ryan Eades, Trevor Williams. Cody Reed looks like he's getting up there in some mocks.

    For 3rd rd, hoping for either Chris Okey or Trey Michalewski (sp?). If not a HS arm.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    That looks good to me!

  • Someone posted once before that Bryant has more appeal to the Astros than most other teams because of that short left field porch. Who knows, maybe something to that.

  • I hope its Appel with the 2nd pick and then two more college pitchers with the 41st and 75th picks. Beyond Appel I'd like to see the Cubs pick up another couple of guys who are reasonably close and can help in the bullpen by mid 2014 or 2015 if they come along like they should. I'm ok with the BPA/Impact talent theory for sure. The thing is that there's already impact talent in the outfield and infield and where the Cubs need impact talent the most is in their bullpen. A lefty with a little bit of stuff would be nice.

  • OOPS!
    Keith Law reporting that Gray had a positive test for Adderall.

    This could shake the draft up......

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Why can't they have Adderall? I realize it's basically speed but does he have ADHD?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You need an exemption, which usually means you need a prescription, which reportedly Gray does not have.
    Apparently lots of college kids use Adderall as speed, the way hockey players and others used to use little red "decongestants". Ruiz of the Phillies was suspended for his second abuse of it.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Could also drive his price down and make him ripe for the Astros to pick and save for later in draft.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    ...that's exactly what Law said. Makes him no less likely, maybe MORE likely to get chosen #1.

    This new CBA takes some getting used to.....this also supposes there are targets lower in the draft you can essentially buy out of college.

    (I also wonder if that's where the $100,000 limit came from; that's about the value of a college scholarship, which is what players give up to sign early)

  • Reportedly Gray didn't have a prescription for it, or at least no one knows that he does have a prescription.

  • Coach from this area talked to a friend of his who scouts for the Padres. He thought Bryant was by far the safest pick, will have a solid career with a chance to be great. Can launch a ball, best young power hitter since Stanton. He thought Gray could be an ace, but would need to learn a lot.
    Appel he felt was a bit overrated, middle of the rotation in the big leagues.
    Is Jordan Montgomery from South Carolina eligible for this draft? He looked very talented on tv the other night.

  • Mark it.

    The top 2 picks WILL be
    1) Moran
    2) Bryant

  • Call me crazy, but I still want Bryant and then attack the SP with quantity.

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