2014 MLB Draft shaping up well for the Cubs

2014 MLB Draft shaping up well for the Cubs

Yeah, it's November and it's Hot Stove season.

But it's also a good time to remember how an organization builds organically and that starts with the draft.   The Cubs top 3 prospects: Javier Baez,  Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora have been acquired in the last 3 drafts.

This year the Cubs have the #4 pick and are poised to add yet another high level long term asset.

It is early, but things are already beginning to take shape and while things can change, the odds are looking good that the Cubs will get the kind of player they prefer.

The 2014 MLB Draft has some college pitching up at the top of the draft along with some good high school bats.   Other than that, there is one college bat that could be a top 5 pick and maybe a few high school arms in the top 10, led by Tyler Kolek.  The one college position player who currently has a shot at the top 5  is NC State Trea Turner.

We can pretty safely assume a few things about the way the Cubs draft...

  1. They go BPA with their first pick.
  2. They prefer college position players if all things are equal.
  3. They prefer players with high floors to go with their high ceilings, so college players are more likely to be picked high in the draft as a general rule, though exceptions can be made when there is a very polished, high floor high school player, as we saw with Albert Almora.
  4. They like to gather as much information as possible.  They scout relentlessly, year-round, and accumulate tons of data.  The more data they have on a player, the more comfortable they are.  We saw this last year when the Cubs narrowed down their choices to Stanford RHP Mark Appel and San Diego 3B Kris Bryant.  Not only did the Cubs scout them heavily that summer, they have scouted them heavily since high school.  They knew them well.

Considering Trea Turner is the top college position player available, we should probably assume he is high on their list.

I don't see a high school position player who is as polished as Almora was.  Alex Jackson has been making the showcase circuits now for a couple of years, so he may be the closest.  Other players such as Jacob Gatewood, Michael Gettys, and Braxton Davidson, aren't as far along yet.  They'd be upside plays but all entail some significant risk.  Right now I'm skeptical the Cubs would go in that direction with the #4 pick.

The high school pitchers offer a bit more polish.  Tyler Kolek doesn't leave much room for projection.  He is physically mature, his velocity has already reached the high 90s, and he has the makings of a plus curve.  The only thing to worry about is command and whether that massive body becomes a problem as he continues to age.

LHP Brady Aiken is an intriguing pitcher.  He's a bit more advanced than Touki Touissant, a 3rd possible top 10 HS arm in the draft.  His command is better and he already looks like he can develop a solid 3 pitch repertoire, but at this point #4 seems a bit high.

Then there are the college arms.  NC State LHP Carlos Rodon is a virtual lock at the top of the draft.  Barring injury, he won't slip to the Cubs and probably won't even slip to #2.  East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman looks like the consensus #2 player at this time, though he is less of a lock than Rodon.

The White Sox pick next and the rumor is they're looking at a bat and may go the high school route to get one with the most upside.  Having  just drafted SS Tim Anderson, it doesn't appear that Turner will be in their sights.  I think they're looking for a more pure bat with some power this time around, so perhaps Jacob Gatewood or Alex Jackson fits the bill.  Jackson is heading up draft boards and has a good shot at cracking the top 5 again.

I think there is a good chance that Trea Turner is there for the Cubs when their turn comes up, but I also think there are still a couple of college arms worth considering.

The first is Tyler Beede.  At this time last year, many were projecting Beede for the #2 spot but command issues became a concern.  What I've been hearing now is that he has made a slight adjustment to his delivery and that his control and command has already improved noticeably.

This is what Don Olsen said of him yesterday on Twitter in a conversation with Kevin Gallo,

He is hitting his spots and working both sides at will. He did not walk a single batter this fall. His arsenal and demeanor can allow him to shine, streamlining his delivery and command can make him untouchable. Adding time to upper half has him syncronized now and a full extension has improve command. hitting the ceiling can make for a solid top of the rotation. His floor is rather high as well.  The only thing in his way is command. If Ty has that down, his approach and arsenal have that (true #1) potential.

Yes, please.

The other name to watch if both Hoffman and Rodon are gone is a LHP out of Hartford named Sean Newcomb.  He's another big kid at 6'5" with two plus pitches -- a slider and a fastball that reaches 97 mph.  The change is coming along as well.

Here is what Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel said about Newcomb,

Multiple sources have predicted Newcomb will have a coming-out party this summer with Team USA, with one scout saying he thinks Newcomb will go in the top 10 picks next June. Why are they so sure? The 6'5, 240 pound lefty hit 95 last summer in a very short stint on the Cape and has hit 97 this spring with comparisons to Jon Lester, if you're into that sort of thing. His upside is right there with Rodon and if he can show it with positive results over the summer, he could easily enter the spring as my top college pitcher.

It's a good year to have a top 10 pick and as of now it looks like the Cubs should have plenty to choose from even if they steer away from the solid high school crop this year.  Between Rodon, Hoffman, Turner, Beede, and Newcomb, the Cubs have 5 solid college players to choose from.  Then again, maybe they'll surprise and go with a high school arm or bat, but I'm just not seeing that at this point.

For those pining for that impact, top of the rotation arm, the Cubs may finally get their shot at one in 2014.

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  • At this point in time, I think the Cubs will get a really good player in this draft. Any one of Rodon, Hoffman, Beede, and Turner would be perfectly fine with me. Heck, I wouldn't be mad about Kolek either.

  • In reply to NathanE:

    I'm liking Newcomb if it's not Rodon, Hoffman, or Beede. Not that I would complain if it was Turner, but I'm not seeing Kolek. I could be wrong on that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, how do the top 4 college pitching prospects compare to Appel and Gray. I personally was higher on Gray, and he did pitch a level higher than Appel and smoked him statistically. Do you think "hind-sight" might have changed the 1-2 scenario last year?

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    All 4 half better overall stuff then Gray but may not have his 100mph FB. Rondon is better prospect then Appel hands down. I believe Hoffman is too and if Beede can keep up what he did his fall he will be the best pitcher to come out of this draft.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Beede really has a higher ceiling than Rodon?

    Also, how polished is Hoffman? Is he projected to move relatively fast through the system or does he need a decent amount of refinement?
    (Not asking if he'll make the big league team the same year!)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I do believe Beede ceiling is high but Rondon all has the LH thing going for him. Hoffman is pretty advanced and I have been told a pretty quick study. He could rise through the ranks quickly.
    To return to Beede if he continues with his command improvement his stuff is going to be make hitters look silly.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I appreciate this. I was of the mind this was a two horse race with Rondon and Trea Turner. Now I have a better perspective.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Then I'll be happy with whichever one they grab.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Thank you for the insight. I am not a baseball coach, so I need input at times in these matters.

  • dont sleep on Aaron Nola John . Just saying . Go back a couple years I was touting Almora month before the draft , i get the same feeling watching , Nola .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I like Nola because he does have that high floor, but I don't know if his ceiling warrants going #4. Doesn't have that workhorse size you like at the top of the rotation.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Bryan I remember hearing you tooting the Nola horn back before the 2013 draft or CWS. He strikes me as the type that will probably be drafted much later than our pick, but still turn out to be legit. i.e., Let's hope the Cardinals don't get him....

  • I've liked the plan of taking a position player at the top of the draft, then take as many power arms as possible the rest of the way. So I'd even be okay with Gatewood, Jackson, Gettys or Davidson.

  • In reply to OscarBluth5:

    I think it's mostly about taking the safest pick early. Don't forget the Cubs would have taken Appel if they had the first pick last year. I think the HS bats are talented but i don't see them as the safe picks this year. I'm not even sure Turner is a safe pick.

  • I think Beede is the one to keep an eye on this season and could be the key to the top of the draft. If his control issues are truly fixed/improved, he could end up being the Cubs pick or even possibly pushing Hoffman down to the Cubs.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Or we could be odd man out if 1-2-3 are Beede-Rodon-Hoffman in some order. Which would really suck.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd appreciate you keeping your reality out of my plan please.

    But in that scenario, it would mean the Marlins and White Sox opted for expensive college pitchers which I'm not sure is likely, but it would also mean the Cubs get the top college bat for a second year in a row.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Well, the Marlins did spend on Colin Moran this year but, you're right, anything involving Jeffrey Loria, money, and sanity rarely works out so well for the Marlins. I've thought for a while that Turner feels like a White Sox player, so maybe we get lucky.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have a feeling the Marlins go with Jackson.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dont forget Newcombe. We still get him at #4. I'm really liking this 2014 draft. We can't lose.

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    While the coverage here at Cubs Den is unrivaled for all things Cubs, in my humble opinion, I think this article is selling the 2014 draft a little short. I follow amateur prospects pretty closely and most sources have the pitching in this draft as Carlos Rodon and then about 10-15 front of rotation potentials in the next tier, with a mix of high school and college. In addition to the names noted in the article keep an eye on Mac Marshall, Sean Reid-Foley, Michael Cederoth, Michael Kopech, Alex Verdugo, Kyle Freeland, Cobi Johnson, Grant Hockin, Luke Weaver and Chris Ellis...just to name a few. I'm sure there are a couple I'm forgetting.

    What excites me most about this draft is that the talent pool is so deep that it would be a major upset if the Cubs didn't land a second impact talent with their 2nd round pick. I really can't name a free agent out there who I would feel comfortable giving up that pick for in the current pool of those given a qualifying offer.

  • In reply to jmoultz:

    This is a very solid draft. Just knowing the Cubs and what they focus on, I see about 5 players that are great fits for them at the #4 pick. They should get some good players later. One player I like that's a sleeper for maybe round two is Erick Fedde.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I can easily see one of those two scenarios.

  • If Jackson can stay at catcher he moves up a bit in my mind (my wishes don't need to follow the BPA rule). Other than that, a TOR starter that is near major league ready would be cool.

    John, I know it's early, but are you working on your top 5 picks for the 2015 draft yet? (said with equal amounts of sarcasm and sadness).

  • In reply to djriz:

    Haha...not yet :) I leave looking that far ahead to sites like Big League Futures.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John,
    we are planning a staff Mock draft within week.

  • Hey John just wondering are you not very high on kolek or do you just think the cubs are very unlikely to take him because he is a college arm? You mentioned him, but you clearly don't think the cubs would take him. You just think they like players with the higher floor (college players)? I am just wondering because he reminds me of a not a good giolito coming out of high school based on scouting reports.

  • In reply to jswick23:

    A little of both. I think you can get a quality college arm where you have more experience and more information. Kolek isn't your normal HS kid. He's huge and he doesn't project the way Giolito does and he's not nearly as athletic. Improvement will have to come from his secondaries and command. I'm also a bit worried about that body as he continues through physical maturity. Those were my quick impressions when I saw him pitch, but I certainly haven't seen a lot of him, so I could easily be wrong.

  • i think that the only way the cubs take a pitcher is if they think he's a surefire TOR arm. they know how risky pitchers are, but this years crop of college kids has a ridiculous amount of talent and they are all at about the age that most great pitchers start to really figure things out. This coming season is going to be very interesting and i hope that a lot of them live up to the hype.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I think the 4 I mentioned have that potential. Perhaps Kolek. I think this may be the year to pick that arm.

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    I was day dreaming today and I came up with the ultimate dream scenario for the Cubs future starting rotation. In no way am I predicting this to happen but I'd still like to share it.

    1.) Cubs make a trade package centering around Shark and get Archie Bradley from the D-backs. (Probably would have to throw in Alcantara and Vogelbach to make it a reality since many view Bradley as the top pitching prospect in the minors)

    2.) Cubs win the bidding and sign Masahiro Tanaka

    3.) Tyler Beede is available with the 4th pick and the Cubs draft him. Beede develops the command that was avoiding him his career and he reaches his ceiling which is a dominate Ace.

    4.) CJ Edwards adds 20-30 pounds of muscle which silences his critics who think he is best suited for the bullpen

    Future pitching rotation
    1.) Bradley/Beede
    2.) Bradley/Beede
    3.) Tanaka
    4.) CJ Edwards
    5.) Pierce Johnson

    A man can dream can't he lol

  • In reply to gas34:

    Oh man. That would be a fun rotation.

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    In reply to gas34:

    sweet!!

  • In reply to gas34:

    Nice dream. Too bad, I doubt the Snakes are going to co-operate on Bradley. Hes to them what Bryant is to us. Pretty much untouchable. Snakes would rather give you both Corbin and Skaggs rather than Bradley.

  • ive been thinking about the future rotation as well and to me it looks like:

    1. Duane Underwood
    2. Lucas Giolo
    3. Sean Newcomb
    4. Pierce Johnson
    5. Travis Wood

    with guys like cj edwards and arodys vizcaino in the pen.

    a cost controled pitching staff with a lot of nasty stuff and a veteran travis wood anchoring in the 5 spot.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I like us getting GIolito, but love the projection of Underwood being above him. If that turned out to be true, it would be unbelievable. Also, having a lefty hitting mid-90s as your #3 would also be a rather ridiculous load of riches.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Guys like Underwood and to a lesser extent Maples, have that potential. But they are so far away. Lots can happen (ggod & bad) in the next 3-4 years. meanwhile, CJ Edwards keeps proving doubters wrong...

  • Thanks, John, for the fine article. Your articles on the draft really help in bringing some familiarity and perspective on what is out there with the amateur draft. Really appreciate it!

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Thanks Tinker!

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    I think it's safe to say it's a deeper draft class. I think whoever the Cubs get is going to have a shot at being a stud player. To me, Miami and the White Sox are wildcards, because their owners are so cheap, and Houston could shake things up, depending on whether they go BPA like last year or do what they did in 2012. Anyway it goes, I think someone is going to be available to the Cubs that shouldn't be.

    John, I hadn't looked at the mocks in a while until just now. I see Trea Turner has dropped a lot in some of them. What gives?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Law is the only one who is down on Turner. He saw him coming off an ankle injury as did I this summer. He didn't look good but I had seen him before and since. Law as a tendency to overreact and make snap judgement then come back to the pack closer to draft day.
    I do agree I don't live the high leg kick but it works for someone.

  • I'm not sure why you say the White Sox might pass on Turner because they drafted a SS last year? Since when do teams try to fill out their roster on draft day? If that was the case then shouldn't the Cubs pass as well already having Castro and Baez. I just can't imagine the White Sox would be that short sighted. If they like Turner at #3, I think they'd take him.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I think a HS position player is very possible too. They would have to like Jackson's bat and Gettys overall tools. Gettys is a more complete version of Frazier.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I know baseing anything off one look is dumb. But first impressions make a big impact. Gettys athleticism blew me away at the UA game. Without a doubt the best one there. But his bat had me worried a little. I know it isn't very scientific, but the ball did not sound very good off his bat in BP or the game. Nothing like it did for Jackson or Gatewood. And since then, I have read that he has struggled at the plate for stretches.

    I know Jackson gets more pub, but Gatewood looked like the higher upside bat and glove in my short look at them. He has that wiry strength and bat speed that guys like Soriano have. I don't think he can stay at SS, but might still be a 3B. He would be my choice if we went HS bat. Jackson looked plodding behind the plate. No way do I think he could actually catch even in the high minors let alone the majors. He would be like Jesus Montero back there.

    On a side note, I would love to get Alex Verdugo in the second round. He jumped out at me. Kid is a ballplayer.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Gettys is a much less violent swing. It is very smooth for a RHed hitter. The ball still jumps off the bat.

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    In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I agree with you, but the White Sox have been short sighted and blown draft picks in the past. In fact, former GM Ron Schueler drafted his own daughter, Carey, ahead of 14 future major leaguers including Placido Polanco and Bob Howry.

  • Now you've got me all upset, John. Doggone it. Months and months to wait for that June draft!

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Haha! I know. I can't help looking ahead either.

  • John, I love getting this type of insight. Helps make the wait for ST a little more palatable. I appreciate the Cubs weighing high floor as well as ceiling---an insight I picked up here.

    Given we might get Beede, I was struck by Kevin's suggestion that he might have such great potential!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Agreed. I really miss baseball already. This brightened my spirits.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks Hubbs. We're big fans of Beede here but I'm afraid he'll dominate and go before the Cubs can get him.

  • thing to like about Beede is He is a Vanderbilt guy so Johnson should be very in tune with Him if He gets in the Cubs organization. Should be easy to coach up and move quick thru system.

  • Isn't Beade the one from Vanderbilt? Gotta think his familiarity with Derek Johnson would be a plus. Also, you gotta love the pitchers he has cranked out of that program.

  • Whatever happened to the kid with the funky name? Tiki something?

    Wasn't he at one point projected to be a top-five pick?

    Either way, I expect the Cubs to surprise us once again. No one saw the Baez, Almora, Bryant picks coming, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Cubs take someone that they feel should be rated higher than he actually is.

    Either way, the future is getting brighter and brighter.

    Though I continue to salivate at the thought of Rodon wearing a Cubs uniform. I know there's no chance he falls, but checks off every box.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Touki Toussaint , regarded as the 2nd best HS arm after Kolek

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Touki Toussaint? I did mention him but he's too raw to go at #4 right now. He's got the potential for two plus pitches, but he needs to make some strides next year.

  • Once upon a time, even the darkest of times, no one cared about this stuff. Now all our dreams are wired into 17/18 year old arms that haven't really been tested. We're taking hope out of winning A league championships and getting excited over AFL MVP's.
    All of this has taken on a greater importance than what is going on at Clark and Addison. Sad that a loyal fandom, in a major market, has to resort to this. But, for now, it's all we got.

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    In reply to xhooper:

    You would have seen fans this excited back in the 50's too but we didn't have 40 cable channels dedicated solely to sports and the internet. If this web site existed back then, you'd have read John's stories about the future being a couple of kids named Banks and Santo.

  • Also, not sure if anyone saw this (or is interested in seeing this for that matter), but over at SBnation they had a Winter Meetings Simulation and whoever represented the Cubs had a rather fascinating off-season ...

    Non-tendered P Daniel Bard, IF Luis Valbuena, IF Donnie Murphy, and OF Darnell McDonald
    Traded SS Starlin Castro to the Cardinals for P Trevor Rosenthal and P Tyrell Jenkins
    Traded OF Brett Jackson to the Diamondbacks for SS Cliff Pennington
    Signed P Ubaldo Jimenez to a 4 year $64 million deal with a $15 million vesting option and a $4 million buyout
    Signed 2B Kelly Johnson to a 2 year $13 million deal
    Re-signed P Daniel Bard to a 1 year $1 million deal

    I feel as if the team would be WORSENED by these transactions. Cliff Pennington? Cringe. Ubaldo Jimenez for over $60 million after the roller-coaster past three seasons? Pass. Starlin Castro for a pitcher who is destined for closing duties and a young arm who just had shoulder surgery and will miss the next 6+ months? Please.

    I understand Theo and Jed not wanting to go overboard with spending, but hopefully they don't play TOO conservative or take silly gambles.

    Trades. Trades. Trades. PLENTY of available talent out there.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I'm glad whoever represented the cubs at SBnation isn't getting a paycheck from the Rickett's.

  • How about this scenario....

    Trade JS for one of the packages that has been discussed bringing back a couple of high end prospects (Pitt or Wash)...

    Trade Castro to the Cardinals for one of their top young arms and another lesser P prospect....

    Draft Trea Turner next June...

    So you add 3 prospects that project to be TOR guys and draft a high end college bat that can play SS or 2B moving forward.

    Sets the rebuild back a year or two, but certainly bolsters the depth at pitching.

  • Feeling Great for the Cubs in this draft
    Rodon
    Hoffman
    Beede
    Turner
    Jackson
    Nola
    Gettys

    Gonna get a great player at #4 !!!!!

  • Right now, Spellcheck would be the only one Id c onsider trading, and not for anything less than a top 25 player. Id keep Castro at least thru the 2014 season, I still think Renteria might be able to get to Castro where Svuem couldnt.

  • I really really hope that next year at this time we're wondering who's going to fall to us at number 15 or so.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    finishing in the middle is the worst spot to be , unprotected pick, miss playoffs, less slot money and less chance to get that impact guy in the draft.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Winning 80 games and picking 15th in the draft next summer would be a fabulous thing to happen for the Cubs. Because that means players you are counting on for the next 5-10 years are performing and getting better. That is immensely more important than having a protected draft pick.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I agree with Bryan below...if we are not in contention for a playoff spot in 2014, I'd rather finish with a terrible record and another good draft pick. I want the Cubs to win every game individually, but conceptually I would prefer more losses and get a top 5 pick than more wins and get a pick in the mid teens.

  • In reply to springs:

    I disagree with you. I am tired of people saying i would rather have a horrible record and trying to make peace with being terrible just to make self feel better by getting a high draft pick. At some point he need to see an improvement made. A team will not go from winning sixty games to for 4-5 years in a row to all of a sudden winning 95. You and other Cub fans keep banking on all these guys making us good, it may not happen?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    our impact guys in the minors will be up late this year, their impact wont make us a contender in 2014 . It is better that they get the feet wet yes . Theo also disagrees with the concept of finishing at .500 during a rebuild.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    now 2015 I want to see the jump, if that means finishing mid pack ok , but that is with full seasons of Baez, Bryant ect ect . 2014 Cubs need to stay the course.and build value .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I get by the time some of the talent is up that we will most likely be so far out of it. I just get tired hearing people excepting that and saying we'll get a high draft pick. I would like to see a jump of improvement this year but i am greedy. I just have a hard time believing that a team can lose 60-70 games for so long and the put this high ceiling on bryant and baez and all of a sudden we will win 95 games a year. Even with those guys there will be a learning curve if they can handle major league pitching and coaching staff is gonna have to change the mind set and culture of the organization.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    late in 2014 can be that learning curve but Cubs shouldn't press to appease fans , 1 more year of patience is in order, 1 more protected pick, larger draft pool money and then in 2015 let the kids take the ball and run with it.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't want them to press for me. I want them to improve. It sounds like people are just waiting for 2015 and 2016. It seems like a lot of people are always looking 2 years ahead and looking forward to 2 years from now. A lot can happen. We have no way to know that all these guys will be ready or even help in 2 years.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    the guys we need to improve are mostly still in the Minor leagues. Castro /Rizzo/ Castillo can improve at the MLB level and we still wont be a contender .

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I agree on Castro/Rizzo/Castillo. If Castro and Rizzo can get back to where capable of that would be improvement. If not that hurts, a lot. And we need Castillo to continue to get better. If those 3 can do that and we fix the horrible bullpen, which I think we have improved it. Why not contend?
    Nate does the same year as before, Olt handles 3rd at a average season and barney accidentally hits .265?????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Just doesn't work that way Bryan. You just don't tell players and teams, ok, were going to be good now, so go for it. How about Arrieta, Strop, Sweeney, Valbuena, Grimm, Rondon, Vizcaino? Or Wood taking his game to the next level, or Jackson becoming a more consistent pitcher. Becoming a mid pack competitive would build value in players and give the front office many more options.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Cubbieroninbelleville................ I know I was just talking about guys mentioned in the post but all need to make strides.
    I think Valbuena is tapped out. I don't think he is going improve much. I also think wood is at his level, will always be a nice #3. And Jackson no comment!!!
    If Vizcaino even throws a pitch that would be an improvement.

    So if we are competitive during the year, trade the people doing well to try to stock pile system???? Again always looking 2 years down the road.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Believe me, if we win based on Starlin and Rizzo, Castillo continuing to develop, Arrieta becoming consistent, etc., great. I certainly won't complain.

    But if the improved record is done by signing multiple free agents, losing draft picks, etc., I would much rather stick with our current roster and take our chances. I don't see the benefit of adding Ellsbury, for example, and getting 5 more wins. If my choices are stick with what we have (and bargain free agents added by Thepstein) and get a top 5 draft pick or make a run for talent this year and get to 80 wins (and get a mid teens pick), I'd much prefer the former.

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Totally agree. I know people like Waittillnextyear think it seems like it's always just two more years but I'm all for full-steam ahead in '15.

    The FA pitching crop could be special and if we could sign a good pitcher without giving up a first rounder, that's big. And like you said, one last high pick would be a nice thing to go along with the first wave of big prospects.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Then I wish it was 2015 now. I just don't want to say wait to more 2 years every off season or at least we got a high draft pick to cover up for a terrible year.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    There's a ton of examples of teams making a big jump.

    I realize it seems common sense that you'd expect a slower improvement and buildup in wins, but teams often are able to make significant improvements in record in 1 year.

    That was the point partly made in John's article a couple days ago. I agree with the premise I just think 15 is that year, not 14.

    Pittsburgh won 79 games last year and 94 this year
    Oakland went from 74 to 94 two years ago
    Baltimore went from 69 to 93 from '11 to '12

    these are just a few VERY recent examples. But they're especially relevant because they're teams that made these jumps with the arrival of key, highly rated prospects. (and some smart transactions or signings, not major big name additions)

    I realize it's frustrating, but doing this the right way could very well lead to a similar jump in record. And I have no interest in sacrificing the long term plan. I can wait one more year for that improvement.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Baltimore went from 69 wins to 93 from '11 to '12
    Oakland went from 74 to 94 wins in the same time
    Pittsburgh just went from 79 to 94.

    These jumps DO happen.

    And these teams didn't do that by signing big name free agents to huge deals. They did it with the arrival of hey prospects and some smart deals that wouldn't have looked terribly impressive at the time.

    We're on the right track.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks for those examples. They can happen just not the norm. Here is a question for you of those three teams you mentioned how many of those teams had there prospects out to gain experience or did the just bring up talent and go from 69 wins to 93 or 74-94? Did they add a piece to help them out? I never mentioned blowing it on a FA. I still bitter about Jackson, but different topic :)
    I agree we are on the right track in minors but to put the hopes that the big 4 get us to 95 wins without help is a lot of pressure.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Orioles have gotten a lot of immediate help from Rookies the past two years. Manny Machado played about 1/2 of 2012 and played well and this year was 5th in WAR in the AL. Their pitching is almost all very young. Chris Davis was acquired at the end of '11 and came around for the first time in his career in '12, then becoming an absolute terrible monster in '13.

    Pittsburgh had a good first half in 12 with Cutch playing great and Alvarez playing his first full year but couldn't keep it up by himself. Starling Marte's first year was this year and played great, tying for 10th in the NL in WAR (to Cutch's 2nd).
    Cole was brought up at midseason and played very well.

    Before these breakout seasons, The O's and Bucs both had one star player (coincidentally CFers) that were very good but couldn't do it on their own. When the highly touted rookies came up they almost all contributed immediately.

    The A's have some young reclamation processes and cagy deals (Yoenis Cespedes helped quite a bit in 12) But they also had Josh Donaldson play well in 12 (before making a huge jump this year) and pitcher Jarrod parker played his first full season in 12 after being acquired from the Dbacks and had a pretty great season.
    (The A's are a little different but it's almost an unfair comparison when your GM is Billy Beane who may or may not be some kind of supernatural necromancer.)

    IMO, There is every reason to think that Baez and Bryant will come into Wrigley in 15 and hit the ground running. We all know how high Baez' stock has soared and I believe that Bryant has passed him.
    Add Soler and Almora to that not to far after and I honestly believe that progress can be made in leaps and bounds.

    One last example is a bit different but you might like it.
    From 10-to-11-to12, a three year period the Nationals won
    69, then 80, then 98 games.
    In 11 they got some contributions from Morse and Zimmerman and...Zimmerman (one pitcher, one 3B) Then in 2012 Starsburg and Harper hit the team and made an impact along with a couple key additions on offense and defense.

    I may be predicting less than them, but our 2014 could still be like the Nationals 80 win 2011. Olt could be arriving and if Castro can bounce back and Rizzo can improve, who knows.

    But either way I do think our 2015 will be like the Nationals in 12. maybe not 98 wins but I think the FO will sign some names before the season to complement the arrival of the big prospects. Then all bets are off.

    Lastly, I agree with you that I wish it was 2015 NOW, but for my part at least, I'm not thinking two years down the road perpetually.

  • i agree i wouldnt trade Castro UNLESS a team overpays so much it is impossible to turn down, I am talking a Taillon, Polanco. Glasnow, Kingham, Bell type package .

  • Not really draft related, but two interesting articles came out in baseball stuff today:

    - An old (2005) study on age, by year and position, from Nate Silver: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?%20articleid=4464

    - A look at how much Ellsbury is actually worth, using $/WAR: http://mlb.si.com/2013/11/20/what-is-he-really-worth-jacoby-ellsbury/?eref=sihp

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Thanks, those were interesting articles.

  • a few interesting Rule 5 names . Kevin Munson RHP ARI , LeVon Washington OF CLE , Freddie Lewis LHP NYY

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Lol! Brings back a ton of memories.

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    My hope for a trade involving Samardzjia would be with the Royals, maybe they are desperate enough to go for it and the Cubs could pick up Yordano Ventura, another of their Top 20 kids and get their competitive balance pick.

  • No way the Royals would get Shark without Zimmer in the deal unless they throw Ventura / Mondesi type package . That Mondesi kid is going to be really good .

  • Signing our first 5 picks is a must. Signing HS players might be
    a problem. Keep way from Boras's players

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Keep away from Boras players?

    You do realize that both Kris Bryant & Albert Almora (HS player) are Scott Boras clients, right?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I really hate that because when the time comes, it is going to be very difficult to sign them to a team friendly extension. Boras will want them to hit free agency.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Hard to imagine anyone being exited about dealing with Scott Boras. At least with drafting clients of his, the initial contract is more or less in line with others and it comes with several years of cost control. It also should be easier to negotiate an extension for a really special player early in his initial contract since he hasn't made a significant (relatively) amount of money yet.

  • Grab an impact pitcher that will be ready at the approximate time the kids come up in 2015's end and it sets the stage for years to come. This is going to be fun! I'll be more than patient.

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    Pending the 2014 season, I'm targeting Tyler Beede, and have been ever since Jeff Hoffman's stock exploded.

    But Newcomb looks very intriguing, too.

    Though I agree with the philosophies of BPA and that college hitters usually have the highest floors of all draft types, I'm hoping for one of Hoffman, Beede, and Newcomb (*as of now) instead of Turner.

  • John, you stated earlier in this thread that the Cubs would have taken Appel with their first pick had he still been on the board. I'm not saying you don't have great inside information, but I would think the draft board order would be highly confidential information prior to the draft, and would remain very guarded once the draft was completed. I just think that if it were true, the Cubs wouldn't want Bryant to know that he wouldn't have been their pick if Appel had still been available. You've stated it before, so I'm curious how you are able to state that with such certainty.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    You are correct. I don't know for a fact whom the Cubs would have drafted, but that's my speculation based on what I was able to piece together -- but I could certainly be wrong.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's what I thought the first couple times you said it but this time I thought that maybe you really were on the inside with the Cubs FO:)

  • This next draft is loaded. I would love to get any of the following:

    Beede
    Hoffman
    Turner
    Kolek
    Rodon
    Newcomb

    And I am sure Theo/Jed/Jason will get the BPA when the 4th pick is taken.

  • LSU and Cubs fan checking in... Nola is a better pitcher than Kevin Gausman. Gascan has the beter fastball, but Nola is the best pitcher to come out of LSU since Paul Byrd. His floor is 3rd starter with a most likely ending point as one of the best 2nd pitchers in all of MLB. Passing him up would be a mistake. That said, I'm just a dopey fan who is biased!

  • In reply to JoeA:

    Haha! Thanks Joe for the local insight. Much appreciated. Nola is a guy I like but I don't know if he fits the profile of a top 5 pick. That said, some team is really going to be happy they take him a bit later in the round. My guess is he'll outperform many of the players taken ahead of him.

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