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MLB Draft Update: The old, dominant Rodon returns, plus video of Aiken, Hoffman

MLB Draft Update: The old, dominant Rodon returns, plus video of Aiken, Hoffman

No game previews on Sundays because of the Daily Minor League Recap, Anarchist's Brunch, and MLB Draft Update but one quick note: The Cubs have sent Chris Rusin back down and have recalled Blake Parker. Brian Schlitter remains in Iowa for now. You can use this space for a game thread as well.

Here is your draft date...

Carlos Rodon back in form

One thing that seemed set in stone as we headed in the 2014 draft is that Carlos Rodon was going to go #1.  But things don't always go as planned.  Rodon has gotten off to a sluggish starts and talk gradually turned toward other candidates for the #1 pick

But the old, dominant Rodon returned this week, putting up a line of 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 K -- but more importantly, showing his customary mid 90s velocity and reaching 98.

According to Aaron Fitt of BA:

Reports of Rodon's demise greatly exaggerated: sitting 94-96, up to 98, slider 87-89, cutter 90-91 both filthy.

Another scout said he changed his approach in a positive way.  Multiple scouts reported he looked outstanding.

So if this Rodon is the one we see for the rest of the year, does he once again become a serious candidate to go #1?

Absolutely.

He most certainly will go ahead of the other college arms and only Brady Aiken and perhaps Tyler Kolek would present a challenge for that spot if Rodon proves that his last outing was indicative of what's to come.

Cubs top executives scout Kolek

The Cubs top executives have been out to see Tyler Kolek recently and we know they've also seen Brady Aiken, Tyler Beede, and Jeff Hoffman in the past.    We've also read that Jason McLeod was very impressed by Alex Jackson, perhaps the only position player with a chance to go in the top 5.

Video on Brady Aiken:

This video is from the previous week but if you want to gain some understanding of why scouts have suddenly gone gaga over Aiken, this video will help.  Aiken has always been a polished pitcher with a good approach, advanced pitchability and command, and a starter's repertoire.  That alone made him a candidate for the first half of the first round, but this year Aiken's velocity has risen into the mid 90s with some reports of him hitting 97.

Weekend performances and updates:

  • With his last performance, Carlos Rodon now has a 2.29 ERA on the year with 21 walks and 72 strikeouts in 63 innings.
  • Another rough outing for Tyler Beede and I think at this point we have to consider him out as far as #1 pick consideration.  Beede went 5 innings and allowed 9 hits and 7 runs 4 earned).  He walked 4 and struck out 4.
  • Jeff Hoffman was better, but still not showing the dominance that people expect from his stuff.  The best news is that he did not walk a batter, but the rest of his line was solid but not special: 6.1 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 4 Ks.  Below is some video of Hoffman

Other Notes:

  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs are in the process of putting together their final top 25 for their draft board.  In case you are wondering why 25 when they have the 4th pick, remember that Pierce Johnson was well within their top 25 two years ago and wound up getting him with their 2nd pick.
  • Dan Kirby of TTFB profiles 10 high school players on the rise.
  • Big League Futures' Matt Grabowski profiles Jeff Hoffman.
  • ESPN's Chris Crawford talks about some pitchers moving up draft boards. Nick Burdi, Jordan Foley and Michael Cederoth are two bullpen arms who could reach the majors quickly. (Insider Only)

Filed under: 2014 MLB Draft

Comments

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  • Even with his early struggles, couldn't see Rodon slipping to us at #4.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I did too, but some were beginning to talk about that possibility. I think it was Law.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Controversy sells... I get that. But no way a MLB Exec lets a LHP that's been dominant for as long as he has with the type of stuff he has not go #1 unless he's seriously injured.

    Regardless of who we get at #4. This draft has the potential to really pay off for us. This prep arms class is talented and deep. It actually lines up with our drafting philosophy very nicely. We can & should attack the SP void in numbers again. We could land some real upside SP candidates for DJ & Co to work their magic on the next 3-4 years...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I could see the Astros passing on him, especially before yesterday. With the velocity drop after heavy workload the prior year, injury concerns had to be creeping in. Add to that the Astros demonstrated proclivity to save money on that pick to spread out through the draft and it seems like something that might happen.

    Kolek screams Marlins. They love high school pitchers with high ceilings and have an enviable record of developing them.

    The problem I always saw with the Rodon slipping to the Cubs scenario is that the White Sox love advanced college pitchers. Very hard to see them turning down the potential upside in that slot.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Also, I'm confident they were seriously considering Beede in that slot after his nuclear hot start. So, clearly, they were exploring options. I could see other options off the table after yesterday. The stuff is still in there so saying no becomes a difficult thing to do.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I didn't think he'd drop to the Cubs but I wouldn't say it was out of the question. Timed often in the low 90s with mediocre command -- if that is a permanent change that's not a dominant pitcher anymore. That's more of a #3 guy -- and I know scouts who were beginning to wonder if that's what he was. There is no guarantee the velo would return.

    I'm pretty sure the teams at the top are breathing a sigh of relief right now.

  • I really like how Aiken was using his breaking stuff for his out pitch for many of those Ks. It looked like he had good BP command and kept the ball down in the zone. He made his catcher work.

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    In reply to Gator:

    There's a lot to like about Aiken and I don't think he'll be there for us (though if Rodon starts pitching like Rodon again that could change) but I'm always scared of guys who suddenly find velocity right before the draft. See: Zastryzny, Rob.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree with your thoughts on the increased velo, but did Rob Z have the increase all year? I thought it was only for a period of time right before the draft, whereas Aiken really has had it (so far) all season. Add in the age difference and Aiken's increase is something that seems more reliable.

    Unless something changes significantly between now and June, Aiken would be my ideal pick: If Rodon falls to us, something is wrong that scares me away and I think Aiken's upside is as high (if not higher) than all others while his good command of other pitches also gives him a rather high floor as a #3 starter.

  • In reply to Gator:

    He does seem to have an advanced feel about how to set up hitters. Combine that with his new found velo and you really have something there.

  • At this point I will be happy with any of the top pitchers for our first pick.

  • I think so too. There are questions with all of these guys and talking the other day, we were saying how any one of the top 4 guys could end up being the best in the draft. They all have the ability.

  • There are many factors why a top player might lip to #4 and even
    to the Cubs in the 2nd round.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Yes and sometimes you can capitalize on that. You always have to be ready and opportunistic as the Cubs were with Johnson.

  • Could the Cubs conceivably have the top two pitching prospects in their system after this draft? It seems that any one of Kolek, Beede, Hoffman, or Rodon would be rated higher by scouts than Edwards and with all the pitching talent available our #45 pick might turn out better than Pierce Johnson.

    If the Cubs are able to deal Shark, Schierholtz, Barney, Carville, et.al. and receive some top 5 pitching prospects in return, the pitching depth in the organization could take a massive upswing this summer.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I'd say they have a good chance of getting their top pitching prospect but I don't see them picking up their top two unless someone drops and also has a huge debut.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Agree, this June & July is so important in acquiring young top pitchers

  • Love the draft updates as always . Big thanks .

  • In reply to walterj:

    Thanks Walter.

  • Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech Kopech

    I love how Kopech is using video in between starts to adjust to become near dominant. He has the right approach to be a great pro. But, somehow, I don't think he would last to the second round. And at #4, he would be a big risk,

  • In reply to historyrat:

    I like all of those guys too ;)

  • Boom goes Rizzo! That dude is En Fuego!

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Did I hear correctly JD saying "Boom" when he hit that? He seems to be taking Cashner's 1 hit shutout personally.

  • John, which pitcher has the best mechanics. Too many pitchers having TJS these days.

  • In reply to Fitz:

    They're all pretty good at the top this year. Have heard some concern from one scout with Hoffman, but other than that nothing on the other 3 guys.

  • In reply to Fitz:

    There's a saying that goes "There are two types of pitchers, those who have had Tommy John and those who are going to have Tommy John." Nowadays at some point in their career most pitchers will have it. I'd be more worried about the prep pitchers though, high schoolers who already throw 95+ put a lot of wear and tear on their arms at a young age, add in a breaking pitch and that's a lot of stress on a teenagers elbow

  • In reply to briney212:

    Exactly what Dr. James Andrews was saying the other day. In fact, he has researched it and it seems anything above 87 at that age dramatically increases elbow problems.

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    In reply to briney212:

    That's damn near what I say about women: There are two types of women in this world and only two types. Those that are on medication and those that should be.

  • C'Mon EJax! Damn. This bullpen is gonna get worn out if JAX makes am early exit today.

    Arrieta gonna be able join the rotation again soon, right? Don't like having shaky EJac and Vill in the rotation at the same time. Plus, that young bullpen is gonna find it hard to develop if they are overworked.

    Maybe the offense can explode and hang a crooked number this inning.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    BTW, Rusin looked decent in mop up duty and really saved this bullpen yesterday. So there was some upside yesterday.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Can't wait for Arrieta, and possibly Rusin to get a permanent call up, because then we have two capable long guys in the pen.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    My thoughts exactly. So, next time EJax or another pitcher have no control or look bad early, but the game is still close, Renteria doesn't have to make a Hobson's choice between sacrificing the game or ruining the bullpen.

  • If we take a pitcher at #4, then Baez, Bryant, and AA lose prospect status next season, all of the sudden 3 of our top 5 prospects are pitchers (Johnson, Edwards, #4 pick). Who saw that coming?

  • Glad that the rain delay happened. Hopefully gets Jackson out of the game.

  • In reply to Major:

    Just what we need, for our bullpen to have to go 7 innings.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    My thinking as well. This is going to hurt.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And no Villa or Rusin to bail us out today. Well, Grimm, show us if we should try you as a starter again.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    At least there is a day off tomorrow. With Rusin eating up 5 innings yesterday we should have several guys that could be used today. I'd take a bullpen day today over watching more of Jackson giving up line drives all over the field.

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    In reply to Mike:

    The point of yesterday, though, was to give the bullpen a rest so that they could go to two or three relievers today and back onto a more normal schedule. Now we have to use pretty much the entire bullpen and need to sacrifice another game after the off-day to get them back on a normal rest schedule.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He is almost at 70 pitches through 3 so we are really only talking about maybe 2 innings or so. There are a few guys in the pen that need to get some work in and could probably go two innings. When was the last time Wright pitched? It seems like forever. Anyway, I do see you point though but I have faith that Hammel will and Wood will eat up some innings and then there is another off day on Thursday.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Never bothered Quade. He'd just throw a young, developing one-inning guy out there for 5 2/3rds, ruin his arm and set the kid's career back about three years.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    At least the Cubs now stand a chance to win. They stood no chance with Jackson out there.

    Off-day tomorrow, the bullpen can rest then.

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    In reply to Major:

    Dusty Baker and Tommy Lasorda couldn't have said it any better.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

  • In reply to Major:

    Didn't get your wish. Don't worry. Hopefully he'll blow his elbow out.

  • I'm happy keeping Edwin in. Those three outs alone save one guys arm, and he looks like he's under control. The same people calling for him to get the hook are the same people who will be whining about the bullpen later, so I'm not concerned.

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    I really hope Rodon, Kolek, and Aiken don't go 1 2 3. Hoffman has been getting hit too much this year and Beede hasn't been too spectacular either expect those first couple games. Honestly I like Alex Jackson better than those two right now.

  • Gotta like the way Castillo is stepping up with the clutch hits this series. Molina lite.

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    I'm not sure it's worth worrying about whether we get rodon, hoffman, beede, kolek, or jackson - you can scout but you can't be clairvoyant, and they're all going to have ups and downs both before the draft and in their minor league careers. What's important in the 1st round I think is getting a guy who is clearly dominating the competition - any kid with true MLB stuff should be a man among boys when he faces other HS and college kids. Beyond that criterion, it's a crapshoot.

  • Renteria pinch hits using Darwin Barney with a runner on 2nd and one out.

    RR officially lost me.

  • Rodon threw 134 pitches in his start. It is absolutely inexcusable the way coaches are taking advantage of these kids and putting them at huge risk. These coaches are either idiots or monsters or both.

    It's just going to keep happening until these HS players are better informed about the risks of these high pitch counts and start to turn down schools with these abusive coaches. Until these college coaches are held accountable through HS pitchers going elsewhere, this is just going to keep happening and it's disgusting.

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    John, we know it would be out of character for this FO to draft a HS pitcher that high. They know the odds better than anyone, and they play them accordingly. So even if both Aiken and Kolek were there, they probably wouldn't take them. Although, if there were ever a year to go against conventional wisdom, this might be it, but let us assume for conversations sake that Beede and Hoffman continue to be up and down to the point that it's not a lock for either of them to go in the 5 but the Cubs FO still went with the odds and avoided HS pitchers that early, could someone like a Bradley Zimmer, who might arguably be the best all around position prospect in the college ranks this year, sneak into the top 5?

    Alex Jackson only makes sense to me if he can stay at catcher. To many scouts call him a .260-.270 hitter. Assuming they were availabe, if they wouldn't take Aiken or Kolek, they sure as hell aren't going to take Ortiz or Holmes. Weaver and Nola have high floors but not enough upside.

    Bradley Zimmer seems to stand out to me as a logical alternative.

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