What if the Astros pick Appel? A look at the pros and cons of drafting Jonathan Gray vs. Kris Bryant

What if the Astros pick Appel? A look at the pros and cons of drafting Jonathan Gray vs. Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant

This is going to be a draft heavy few days and our major league stuff will focus on the game previews and recaps while we will still do the minor league recaps for prospect fans.

But onwards with the draft news, which keeps pouring in...

There has been increased speculation that the Astros may indeed take Mark Appel after all, which would leave the Cubs with a tougher choice than what many of us expected just a few days ago. Previously it was close to a slam dunk that they would take Gray, but now the chances that the Cubs opt for Bryant have increased to some degree.

Today ESPN's Jim Bowden wrote that the Astros should take Kris Bryant and stated his reason as the reliability of college bats. We've often linked a study by the blog Puckett's Pond that asserted the same thing. You can look up the exact figures at this link, but the gist is that college hitters are 10% more likely to make the majors, 12% more likely to make it within 3 years, and 3X as likely to be a player with a career WAR of 20 or more.

Bowden's analysis is much more anecdotal, but the point is the same.

As part of our last piece, we linked some pieces and took some polls. 2 out of every 3 readers would not take Manaea if he's there 2nd round, but the other poll was closer so we'll continue it here. But first we'll talk a bit more about what the pros and cons are if the Astros take Mark Appel.

Jonathan Gray


We can start with 100 reasons, as in the mph on his fastball. Power pitchers of this caliber are rare, especially so in the Cubs system. In fact, Gray would easily be the Cubs top pitching prospect if the Cubs were to select him.

The ability to obtain elite level pitching through means other than the draft is becoming increasingly difficult. It's a simple case of supply vs. demand. Opportunities to obtain young, ace level pitchers are becoming increasingly scarce, whether that's through free agency or trades. That makes the acquisition of such pitchers extremely expensive in terms of dollars and/or players.

Gray has front line stuff. The consensus is that his fastball rates an 80 on the scouting scale and that his slider is at least a 70. That's two plus-plus pitches. He also currently has an average change-up and average command, with obvious room to grow in both those areas. The upside is huge.

There is also the money factor. Gray is rumored to be willing to take less money than the other top 3 picks and this helps mitigate the risk somewhat by allowing the Cubs to spread that money over more potential impact talents in the later rounds. What they lose in terms of higher risk can be made up for to some degree by selecting a tough sign or two that slips, a safety in numbers approach much like the Astros took last year.


There is some risk here. The most recent concern has been his use of Adderall but that doesn't seem to concern scouts much, at least not publicly. I agree too that it probably had little to do with his pure stuff and ability. However...

There's also the concern over Gray's physical conditioning, which was lacking before this season. Could his weight loss have to do with his use of Adderall -- and if so, can he maintain his physical conditioning without it?

It's an important question because Gray's better conditioning resulted in better stamina and the ability to maintain high 90s velocity late into games. It's that ability to maintain velocity which helped cement his status as a starting pitcher and a potential ace-level starter.

The Adderall also is thought to improve mental focus and energy, both of which can also help Gray, especially late in games.

It should also be noted that there was always the question of track record with Gray. He was considered a late first round pick before the season started and this year he has vaulted up the charts to a potential top 2 pick. Considering the risk of taking any pitcher, that risk is increased without a solid track record, such as the one that exists with the draft's other top college arm, Mark Appel.

Kris Bryant


Kris Bryant has his own "80" tool, and that is power. It's his standout tool but by no means his only one. Bryant is a solid athlete with a good arm who has improved his defense at 3B. Even if he doesn't stick there, he could be a very good corner outfielder.

But the bat is the reason you take Bryant. Not only does he have 30-40 HR potential, but he's a very patient hitter -- a trait that is sorely lacking in the Cubs organization. Given the front offices desire to increase the plate discipline in the system from top to bottom, Bryant is a nice fit without being a "need" reach. He's a legit top 3 pick.

And while we talk about how rare top power pitchers are in baseball, we can say something similar about the scarcity of RH power hitters in the game. The Cubs have such prospects in their system, most notably Jorge Soler and Javier Baez, but Bryant increases the odds that the Cubs will eventually graduate a middle of the order power hitter to the majors to complement the LH hitting Anthony Rizzo. And if they wind up with 2 or 3 such hitters, will anybody really complain? At the very least it gives them tremendous assets with which to make trades.

There is also the track record of college hitters succeeding and having an impact in the majors, which as noted earlier, is much more reliable than college pitching, especially when it comes to high impact level.

For what it's worth and just to show you that Kevin isn't the only one with a man crush, Bowden gushes over Bryant in his scouting report. He grades him as a 70 power hitter and a slightly above average hitter at 55. He has no questions about his bat speed, saying he has turned around 95-97 mphs, which if true, negates many of the concern about the level of competition. He calls him an elite level talent who is the complete package and a better hitter at the same stage than his own all-star 3B pick of a few years back, Ryan Zimmerman. He also believes he can stay at 3B and has room to improve. His report is very similar to Kevin's.


While most seem to think Bryant has the skills to stay at 3B, he's a big kid and there's always the concern that he'll outgrow the position as he continues to mature physically. This is similar to a concern I've heard from Jim Callis of BA. Callis feels, as we do, that if he does need to move, that is somewhat mitigated by his solid athleticism and his ability to play a quality outfield if needed. He probably won't need to move to 1B, at least not until later in his career.

There are always mixed opinions on his hit tool. Most think he'll have an average hit tool, which is to say he'll hit around .270. Others, such as Keith Law, grade him lower, a 45 on the 20-80 scale and thinks he could dip into the .250s or even .240s. To be fair, Law is the only one I've seen with this low a grade on his hit tool, but it needs to be mentioned as an opinion that counters the consensus.

Filed under: MLB Draft


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  • This team needs NEEDS pitching. Front of the rotation pitching.

    With that being said a lineup for the second half of the decade that includes the potential of Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, & Baez to hit behind Almora, Castro, & possibly Alcantara looks pretty damn good to me.

    Im okay either way they go. If its Bryant perhaps Thurman, Balog, Hursh, etc at #41 would serve as a pretty good piece of the rotation.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    No doubt. But I don't think they should take Gray if they think Bryant is the better player long term.

    Appel, on the other hand, I would take over either player.

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    Great analysis, John. As pointed out in a comment for a different story, does the number of third base prospects in the Cubs system affect Bryant's status or would the team just shuffle guys to other positions to make everything work?

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    Thanks! I would never worry about position. 1) Bryant would be better than all of them with the possible exception of Baez if he moves there and 2) You can always move players around. Both Baez and Bryant are athletic and instinctual enough to move if needed.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Isn't Villanueva our best 3B defensively?

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    I mentioned this yesterday but now it might be the best way for the Cubs to go if the Astros do in fact take Appel. Draft Bryant and go after David Price with a full court press. This would be another epic year for the FO as far as adding talent to the system.

    Then you extend Garza.

    Starting rotation of:

    And look how the draft of Bryant would solidify our infield!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    That's one strategy they could take. Bryant would give them depth with RH power hitters. The biggest question for me is how much you want to give up to trade for Price.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Alcantara and Baez might already have the future infield solidified.

  • Wow, the vote is 50% to 49% in favor of Gray with my casting of ballot for Bryant. I don't know why but I just have never felt that comfortable with Gray. It is partially because of his steep ascent up the draft boards and in part because of his history of not being in peak shape and then testing positive for a stimulant that is known to make you lose some weight. I personally don't care at all if he is an Adderall junkie if he never gets caught and continues dominating. I feel safer with Bryant than Gray and that is the reason I would choose him between the two. I hope Appel is still on the board as he seems like the best choice in my opinion.

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    In reply to Tide23:

    I can see the argument for either one, frankly.....

    Looks like the Twins have the easiest choice in the Draft. If I am them, I take Gray, Bryant, Appel....whoever is left

  • In reply to Zonk:

    If Astros take Appel then those 3 will likely be gone when the Twins select at 1-4. I have been reading for weeks now that they are pretty sold on Kohl Stewart.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    It's a close one, one of our better poll questions in a while in terms of divided opinion.

    And yeah, Appel being there makes things a lot easier.

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    Wow, poll results are close on this one.......

    Where does Bryant figure to sign in terms of slot? Everyone seems to think Gray would leave the Cubs with a big pile of $ to spend elsewhere.....Manea, perhaps, with that 2nd rounder?

    Would you rather have Bryant, or Gray AND Manea?

    Who knows if that's the choice, but those are the types of scenarios that the FO is probably mulling through. It's complicated, and not JUST about that one pick

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Rumors are he wants as close to slot as possible, which is a disadvantage for him vs. Gray.

    It's quite possible the Cubs have already decided.

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    It does kind of feel like we're careening into Bryant. Though Callis still says he thinks Cubs go Gray if Houston goes Appel.

    Maybe they won't be able to work out a contract. That seems to be our best hope right now.

  • I can't see them picking anything other than a stud pitcher. And I would think (hope) that they would take the best available pitcher.

  • I believe that Appel is a wave of pitching by himself. If Houston takes him, I believe we go with Bryant but only if we have traded or some CB picks where we could draft more waves of pitching from there.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Getting CB picks would make it a lot easier to take Bryant.

  • John, I'm in a gambling mood in my old age, lol, and I like the way Houston's Jeff Luhnow operates, so I will take any of your first 7 top picks as the Cubs number 1 pick including the high schoolers Frazier, Meadows, and Stewart, but with a few caveats. First, that as far as human beings can calculate and SPECULATE, Jedstein, et al have concluded that the physical ceilings of these top 7 picks are within maybe 10% of one another. Second, that Jedstein, et al have done extensive family backgrounds and mental evaluations of these prospects and that they all possess excellent mental stability or as you call it, makeup to succeed. If any prospect does not, then, of course, we don't consider him. Third, that our GM, after a thorough job evaluating the talent, has determined that in the first 10 rounds of this draft, the ceilings of the players that should be available to the Cubs in each round will probably be at least starting major league players because of the extra money that we will have to spend after the 1st round. Fourth, that after talking to your top 7 picks, at least one desired prospect has told the Cubs that they are ready, willing, and able to sign a contract with the Cubs for 5 million dollars or less. That should leave us with an extra 1.7 million dollars or more to pay the players we select in the later rounds. With college costs so high and continuing to go up, you will not lure an outstanding HS prospect in maybe the 4th round or later into signing unless you offer a very nice bonus. Drafting a large group of players with the highest ceilings in each round w/o having to worry about signing them would certainly help to offset the problems of losses due to injuries and failures in evaluations.

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    In reply to shalin:

    I think you take the best player and don't worry about the money. I'd rather pay slot to the 2nd pick than above slot to the 32nd pick. The talent difference is immense.

  • In reply to shalin:

    I also don't think these kids are worried about college costs. If they are good enough to be drafted, they are going to college for free.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Of course, these kids are not worried about college costs because if the major league offer is not high enough, they will go to college instead and that's where the extra money comes into play.

  • In reply to shalin:

    You are a bigger gambler than I am. I think you have to take an impact guy when you get the rare opportunity to pick #2. Remember that the Cubs once chose to save money with easy sign Josh Vitters over tough sign Matt Wieters.

    That said, I think Gray and Bryant are both impact guys but Gray will be cheaper. If you don't have one clearly over the other, then that's where you gamble on saving money.

    In my view, the guys like Stewart, Frazier, Meadows are too big a step up in risk. The hitters this year are not as polished as the ones last year (Correa, Buxton, Almora)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Did they have such a strict slot or any slot when Vitters was drafted? That is my qualification for gambling. As a 5th round pick or so, I know the Cubs signed the Shark for 7 years @ 16.5 million in 2007, but what did Vitters get when he signed in 2007? If there wasn't any slotting, then I'd take a Gray/Appel because I want the high ceiling and high floor and pray that I get lucky, lol. Didn't the White Sox owner have a lot to do with the slotting? Btw, I hate the White Sox and Jerry, especially when he held the city hostage to get his ball park.

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    Too many question marks with Bryant to take him that high. If he has to move off 3b he's not worth taking in the top 3, IMO, because it drastically lowers his value. It's not as hard to find an OF with power as it is someone who can play 3B. Also, he's projected to be a .270's or lower hitter, which means he could be worse than that, which also means he could be Pedro Alvarez only with more power, which is still a borderline bust.

    I know the pitchers have higher risk of being a bust but you have to take Appel or Gray. If they wanted a hitter then they should take someone other than Bryant.

  • John,

    If Bryant is the pick what would his ETA be?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I think he starts in A ball, maybe even Kane and will need 3 years. That's probably a con for him because Gray probably makes it in 2 or less.

  • For some reason I have in the back of my mind that TheoJed might take Moran. He just seems to be the Ellsbury/Pedroia kind of player that they like.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think Moran is a step down from Bryant talent wise. Only reason to take Moran over Bryant is to save a little money.

  • I'm comfortable with whoever the F.O. deems their best bet. They certainly have the draft record for success & realize they can harvest a great group of talent for the future. If Appel is gone, I believe they'll pick Bryant or dark-horse Stewart.

  • The more I think about this, the ore confused I get. ed, in this interview here with Buster Olney, said as much, you talk about it too much and you start going in circles Interview starts at about 24 min I think.

  • In reply to Josh Sims:


  • In reply to Josh Sims:

    Haha. You're probably right. In the end it might be who we always thought it would be: Appel or Gray.

  • Ha, I hear ya Josh. I bet that 2hr. only 1st pick conversation that Jason spoke about before the Adderall thingy,has the F.O. replaying the possible scenario's for hours now!

  • John, do you think Bryant would skip Kane County?

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I think he'll spend some time there, like Johnson did, but move quickly.

  • Gray is the biggest risk of the top 6 or7. The Cubs should take the BPA NOT named Gray.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I disagree. I think Frazier, Meadows, Stewart are all much bigger risks.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    100% agree. The college crop is thin this year and the High School players will always be the biggest risk in the draft.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    OK take Appel or Bryant.

  • They're all a risk. That's why upside is so important.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I'd say that's why floor -- combined with high ceiling- is so important. That's why there are really only 3 guys to consider, in my opinion.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's why it's interesting to compare the floors of players who play different positions. It's easy to compare Gray and Appel since they are both SPs, but I'm not sure how to compare Bryant's ceiling/floor to the other two. I agree with taking BPA, but I just don't know how to bring Bryant into the comparisons. He's probably a safer pick than Gray, but doesn't have as much upside IMO.

    I just can't wait until the Cubs make their pick, so I can stop fretting over who the best pick would be.

    Looking forward to the next few days and reading John's blogs.

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    Haha! I feel the same way, just 26 hours to go!

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    The concerns about his physical conditioning benefiting from Adderall use is, I think, a very valid one.

    However, physical conditioning as a pro is something I'm not nearly as concerned about.

    After being drafted, not only is there a ton of time no longer dedicated to classes, studying,and the like, but as a pro he will have access to top-flight nutritionists, personal trainers, and fitness/strength conditioning equipment. Epstein has notably invested a lot of money into the Cubs' respectability in these areas and Dan Vogelbach's a good example of what's possible in just one season.

    As long as this isn't an issue with "stuff". I'm still sold on Gray.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Good points.

  • I've been an Appel guy all along. I've also been kinda scared all along that Bryant develops into a Ryan Braun type impact hitter a year and a half-two years out of school. I voted for Gray in the poll though. The difficulty in finding front line arms tipped the scale slightly in his favor for me. I will say, as a former player who used adderal I do have a little concern but not enough to not draft him. He was probably banging one before every start. It helps, maybe a tick or two on the gun and very sharp focus which helps with hitting your spots, especially late in games. Don't really blame him though. A tick or two can be worth a lot of money. He'll run into a teammate in pro ball who has the hook up on something that's not on the banned list yet if he needs it anyway.

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    That's why it's interesting to compare the floors of players who play different positions. It's easy to compare Gray and Appel since they are both SPs, but I'm not sure how to compare Bryant's ceiling/floor to the other two.

    I agree with taking BPA, but I just don't know how to bring Bryant into the comparisons. He's probably a safer pick than Gray, but doesn't have as much upside IMO.

    I just can't wait until the Cubs make their pick, so I can stop fretting over who the best pick would be.

    Looking forward to the next few days and reading John's b

  • Man, this is gut-wrenching!

    I would have to go Appel/Gray/Bryant in that order. We really need the TOR pitching potential.

    What is disgusting and plain old wrong is that the Cardinals get a couple extras picks again this year. Hopefully, we can be as successful as they have been the last 2-3 years.

  • Either the Adderall issue is an issue, or it's not. If it's not, then it's Gray and it's not even lose. If the biggest concern/questions that the Adderall raises is his conditioning & stamina to stay upper 90's late into games, I truly believe our FO has been able to garner something from this kids make-up and work ethic from all of the time spent interacting with him and those who know him the best.

    I see the argument for Bryant too, but I think our FO already knows who they want. There is still a chance that Houston takes either Moran or Bryant and the Cubs still choose Gray over Appel.....

  • Well, the one thing I think I'm picking up from the notable 50/50 split in opinion is that Appel is the consensus first choice. When I read that Houston may take Appel I noticed that my feeling for Gray turned into almost disappointment. This doesn't seem fair though. The guy has clear ace stuff and had we polled this question a week ago I'd venture to say that Gray would have won our poll pretty solidly. If, as John and Keith Law have postulated, we end up getting a discount too, I don't see how we don't take Gray. Aces are extremely rare. Having a young ace who you don't have to pay $25 million/year or sell your farm for (a la David Price) are even more so. I'm (happily) going Gray.

  • I'm ready to just get it over with, the FO will make the right pick! Can't wait for John and the special daft blogs. They will be the BEST! John is Kevin going to join you?

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    Kevin will be popping in and out and giving his take. And if the Cubs pick Bryant, he said he's sending video of his reaction :)

  • John: I was asking about Mr. Gallo joining you? I forgot there is a Mr. Law also.

  • He will be jumping up and down for hours. Probably having a few.

  • I still want Appel, but take Bryant if Appel is off the board. They simply cannot afford another miss in the first round, especially drafting this high. Barring a collapse, the Cubs won't draft in the top 5 again next season, so this is their one chance to get a superstar level talent into the system. I go Bryant if I can't take Appel.

  • BTW not to beat a dead horse, but Dave Cameron compared Starlin Castro to Jose Lopez earlier today. That's cold.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I love Cameron, but his comps are terrible sometimes. He comped an arm-weary Aaron Harang to Matt Garza a couple of years ago. I nearly fell out of my chair.

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    I still think there are questions with Bryant suddenly tripling his HR output this year. That's a red flag in my book, and couple that with some scouts, as John writes, projecting him as an average hitter other than power, along with the questions if he can stick at 3b, and those add up to some major questions. I think you take one of the two pitchers, they're more of a sure thing as far as their talent translating to the majors. Of course Gray's control is a bit of an issue, is he going to be A.J. Burnett or can he overcome that and be better? But Bryant might be Adam Dunn.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Or Bryant could be the next Mike Schmidt...... Just say'n

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Could be. Scouts are wrong on projections all the time, but they're not projecting him to be Mike Schmidt. And I highly doubt Mike Schmidt had a suspicious 200% increase in his power numbers the year he was drafted and basically came out of nowhere to be called a "once in a generation talent", which is preposterous. (Not Schmidt, Bryant)

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    In reply to Just Win:

    According to KGallo, the scouts he's been talking to have Bryant's "floor" at the All-Star level and could be starting for the Cubs as soon as next season. That's pretty impressive.

    And why do you call his power "suspicious?" Do you have some reason to believe foul play on Bryant's part? I guess no one can get rewarded for hard work anymore without someone claiming some wrong doings, huh?

    With that said, if Houston takes Appel, I'd be overjoyed to have Gray or Bryant. Just don't think this is a win or lose proposition for the Cubs. It's more of a matter of strategy......

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Bryant has a high floor but nobody has an all-star floor. I think that's a bit of a sell job by some scouts who really like Bryant (part of scouting is selling your guy, after all).

    I'd be okay with Bryant. Appel is the best fit, imo. Gray works too as long as Cubs are okay with his Adderall use. Agreed it's a strategy more than anything. They want BPA and I'm sure they have a player in mind as to who that is, but they have to be ready to adapt.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    No, no reason to believe he's taking anything, haven't heard anything, haven't read anything. I've just learned to be suspicious when anyone has a 200% jump in their HR totals from season to season. We've seen that in MLB and then find out the guy was on something. The other thing that gets under my craw is when a player really isn't on the radar at all and has this monster year and now scouts are lining up to say he's a once in a generation talent. What was he a year ago? Just another reason to be skeptical, even if it's not from taking anything, I just want to see guys put up numbers for more than one season before saying he's an epic HR hitter. He wasn't the first two years in college (although he did hit for better average, and the slight drop in AVG this season along with the HR increase is a normal type of thing instead of just simply raising all of his stats across the board when they do take something.)

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    In reply to Just Win:

    There has to be a certain degree of computability as well. He's an upperclassmen now and he knows that 3B was his spot. He could go out and just play and not have to worry as much about outside issues.

    You keep bringing up this "200%" jump. It's not hard to get huge percentages when the starting point is so low. If we saw a move from 25 HR's to 75 HR's, an eyebrow might be raised. But the guy jumped from 14 as a sophomore to 31 as a Junior. Is that really such a huge jump?

    Now if a guy like Tony Campana hit 5 HR's in a year after having damn near zero each year, should we talk about his percentages also? Probably not since it wasonly 5 home runs.

    See where I'm going with the % idea? We can all get creative when using #'s to support our arguments..... But like I said before, I'd be fine with either guy the Cubs take. I have to trust the info the FO has, is a whole lot more than we have.....

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    *** comfortability ****

    damn spell check

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    And John, Tom, Kevin, etc. thanks for all of the posts and keeping us so well informed about the draft. I've been checking in here without posting for the last month with the Hawks playoff run getting most of my attention, but I still check in here everyday.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    You're welcome! I've been watching a lot of Hawks myself. My wife is a long time big fan and so I'm a fan by proxy.

    Plus I like watching hockey because I can watch it at a visceral level -- I've lost the ability to do that in baseball! I'm always trying to scout, evaluate, analyze, etc. Sometimes it's fun to be a meathead fan, which is basically what I am in hockey.

  • They only reason they should pass on Gray is if they think Adderall is the reason behind him being able to sustain velocity late into games. I don't think him taking the Adderall raises enough questions about his makeup, to warrant passing on him. We don't know him, we (may) know the reasons why he took it, but the fact that he did doesn't define his character or work ethic.

    And besides didn't the FO meet with Gray recently? Not that one visit is enough to gauge one's mental makeup, but they should know enough by now what type of person he is.

    My board still stands: Appel, Gray, Bryant.

    If we passed on Gray for Bryant, I'd hope we can secure a good college RHP. Would love to get Thurman in the 2nd rd, then maybe go best available in the 3rd, whether its HS arm, or C.

  • The Cubs have proven that they can find above average quality pitching just about anywhere. Their problem has usually been good/great hitters. That's why they need to go Bryant.

  • I posted some time ago that if Bryant was essentially a lock to stick at 3B, I would lean towards selecting him due to the higher chance of a position player reaching his ceiling versus a pitcher. But there have been concerns about not only his defense but his bat speed and forecasts that he might only be a .250 hitter. So for me, given their need for an ace, the choice should be Appel, with Gray the selection if Houston drafts Appel. I like the sound of Appel, Shark and Garza at the top of the rotation. I haven't had much time to post of late but have been trying to keep up with reading and there have been many good debates, observations and opinions. Still by far, this is the best Cubs board hands down. Can't wait until tomorrow night.

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    Appel, Shark and Garza does have a nice ring to it.

    But so does:

    1B: Rizzo
    2B: Alcantara
    SS: Castro
    3B: Bryant

    LF: Baez
    CF: Almora
    RF: Soler

    C: Castillo

  • 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. I think their is a high likelihood that he is never able to make a enough contact to display his power, which by the way I think is more like a 70-75.

  • No way that the Cubs will burn the number two pick overall on a college pitcher known to use a banned PED.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't think it's being viewed all that seriously. At least that's not what I'm hearing.

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    I think the 'stros are blowing smoke with the Appel talk. I think they go Moran, Bryant, or more likely Gray and are attempting to both find out what Appel is willing to sign for and drive down the bonus demands of the other three. In the end, I think Appel is there for us if we really want him. The question is if he's Theo's guy or not...

  • In reply to Juan Pablo:

    Agreed. If you assume the front office rumor mill has a purpose besides being honest confession as I'm prone to do especially around this time of year, I think the Astros apparent new found love for Appel tends to weaken their own negotiation position w/ Appel, not strengthen it. This rumor makes a lot more sense however if their intended target is Gray however. In fact, I'll make a prediction that the Astros don't take Appel. We'll see in a few hours how right or wrong my prediction will be.

  • My first choice if he is available is Appel but I will be happy with any of the big 3. Our lineup is so pathetic, in the long run I think that Byant might be our best option. But it looks like we are getting a potential impact player no matter what so Im not particularly building myself up in favor of one specific player and will convince myself whoever we take was the best choice of the bunch. One thing people forget about when drafting a Boras client is it is not just the initial contract that is the problem with him. There is a higher probablility you will lose the guy to free agency without overpaying throughout the players career too.

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