Cubs Notes: MLB Draft mocks, Trivia, Pizza, and Prospects

Cubs Notes: MLB Draft mocks, Trivia, Pizza, and Prospects
Nick and Tom Gordon

So this is going to be a kind of catch-all for many of the things going on around the league and around this blog... a veritable hodgepodge, if you will.

Monday Morning Mailbag

I want to note here that I'll be starting a mailbag to answer questions.  As you might imagine, I get quite a few questions via email and as much as I'd like to answer all of them, it is getting increasingly difficult as the blog grows.  I will forward all questions into a mailbag folder and answer as many as I can on Monday mornings.

So if you asked me a question this week, I will have some answers for you on Monday.  Thanks to everyone for their questions so far.

MLB Mock Draft Madness

The mocks are starting to come in pretty steadily now and there are a couple major players who came up with a new one today.

  • Jim Callis of has a new mock today and in it he has the Cubs taking Nick Gordon and passing on Tyler Kolek.  This is not out of the question at all based on what I have been hearing of late (they really like Gordon...a lot).  And keep this in mind -- the Cubs said they would take a prep pitcher this high if they felt he was a once in a generation type player.  But then you had Keith Law mention in one of his previous mocks that the Cubs love Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon (especially Aiken from what I understand), but only "like" Tyler Kolek.  At first I thought, "Ok, he is their 3rd choice then."  But if you couple that with the Cubs philosophy of only taking a prep pitcher this high if he is very  special, then well, "like" isn't very special is it?  We all heartbreakingly found this out in our high school days at some point or another -- the Cubs like Tyler Kolek as a friend, but they don't like like him, you know what I mean?
  • Callis is the latest to mention a potential underslot deal for Max Pentecost but I have to think this is a fallback if Aiken, Rodon, and Gordon are all gone.  There's 40 some picks until the Cubs 2nd pick comes and while they may save a lot of money, there is no guarantee there man will be there.  One scout thinks that Jake Bukauskus is the only guy worth shoveling a lot of bonus pool money his way, so the Cubs could be taking a risk that he a) will still be there and b) will actually sign.  Nobody has more firmly committed to college than Bukauskus, who has sent letters to all teams not to draft him.  There are, however, some other interesting high ceiling arms and perhaps the Cubs could spread that money out to more than one of them.
  • If you read my minor league recaps yesterday, you know that both the Cubs and Sox sent out their big guns to see Aaron Nola throw 7.1 impressive innings yesterday.  I think that Nola is a greater possibility for the Sox than the Cubs given that one of the guys they sent to see Nola, Kenny Williams, has a  penchant for drafting players who don't require much development.  The Sox may still take either Rodon or Aiken if they are there (and Callis does mention they prefer a college arm), but if not, don't be shocked if they take Nola.
  • Speaking of the draft, one last reminder here that tomorrow  I will be at the Baseball Prospectus event at Pizza Serio in Chicago from 2 to 5 pm (or later).  From 3 to 4 pm, I will be on a Q and A panel along with Bruce Miles, Dayn Perry, Sahadev Sharma, , Jordon Gorosh, and our own Mauricio Rubio.  Matt Cassidy of FutureSox was also added while  Harry Pavlidis will keep us all in line and moderate the panel.    There will be free pizza and there were many Cubs Den readers at our last event, so come on by if you can.  Read the details here.

Baseball Prospectus on Cubs Prospects

Austin Diamond of BP spent some time in Arizona and got a look at the Cubs two biggest IF A signings: Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez.  Here are some snippets from that report:

On Torres:

 ...will no doubt get stronger, but body is closer to mature; well proportioned; athletic; medium frame; physically reminds me of Robbie Alomar, but Ruben Tejada was probably a better suggestion that I heard; looks very natural at the plate; stands slightly open; has a cocky bat wag, holding hands by back ear; high leg kick load with hands moving to back shoulder; shows natural balance and timing at the plate; short to the ball; strong base with good hip rotation and leverage; I would not project him to be a power hitter; but looks like he could eventually get to at least 10-plus...

On Jimenez:

...physical presence with a projectable body; big frame; strong hands; in the mold of a Jorge Soler or Vladimir Guerrero; big strong legs that look a little heavy; tough player to judge because he looks like he is still figuring out how to efficiently use his body; raw; stance at the plate is balanced and natural; loads his hands well, and stays relatively balanced on takes; stable lower, staying balanced through the swing; plus bat speed that should project to at least plus-plus raw power; swing is presently way too long and sweepy to the ball; has no present feel for the barrel against live pitching; ball jumps off the bat...

Baez ripped by Round Rock announcer

I don't often talk about announcers but I had to mention this...

In perhaps the most ridiculous display of announcing homerism and bias since the last time Hawk Harrelson spoke into the mike, the Round Rock announcer spent the entire game ripping Javier Baez.  From "the longest, loopiest swing he has ever seen" to downplaying balls hit over the outfielders head that "wren't really hit that hard (including a "wind blown" HR that traveled some 450 feet)" to ignoring a spectacular stop to say that Baez had "no business throwing that ball than I had trying to throw a ball into a coffee cup on the field", it was about the worst display I've seen of bias against a player since Bob Brenly nitpicked every Starlin Castro imperfection.  It was only Baez's flaws that were relentlessly pointed out.

Even as Baez pounded out 2 doubles, a long, long HR, and showed good strength and adjustment to fight off a pitch to RF for a single, the trashing continued.   Even the color analyst, who had more valid criticisms early, seemed to grow weary of it,  He pointed out that Baez's defensive play showed tremendous athleticism and skills, then later hoped out loud that Baez wouldn't bat the next inning because  he was killing them (to which the play by play guy said nothing and changed the subject).

I'm fine with criticizing opposing players and Baez certainly has flaws...but for Pete's sake, show some professionalism and keep things balanced.

One positive:  It made me feel lucky to have the excellent, professional announcers up and down the Cubs system that we do.

Wrigley Trivia

I know there are some Cubs trivia experts on this blog and some of you may be interested in a free trivia event.  Here are the details.

  • What: Printers Row: The Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown.  The winner will receive a Wrigley Field prize pack.
  • When:  Next Wednesday (5/28)
  • Where: Harold Washington Library (400 S. State St.)
  • Who: Chicago Tribune's Rick Kogan and Stuart Shea, author of "Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines" will officiate the event to celebrate the centennial of the iconic stadium.  Audience will be paired with
    • Mark Jacob, Chicago Tribune deputy metro editor and co-author of “Wrigley Field: A Tribute to the Friendly Confines"
    • Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune baseball writer
    • Christina Kahrl,

Additional information here:

Today's Lineup:

  1.  Bonifacio, CF
  2. Lake, LF
  3. Rizzo, 1B
  4. Castro, SS
  5. Valbuena, 2B
  6. Castillo, C
  7. Schierholtz, RF
  8. Olt, 3B
  9. Jackson, SP








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  • Seems RR has figured out its better to stagger your lefties and righties in the lineup instead of bunching them together.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    That seems to be the pattern lately.

  • John....

    Completely off topic... but with the draft coming soon could you post the dollar amt of the first 10 picks?

    Have a happy, safe Memorial Day. Same to everyone else here!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I'm sure I can find that pretty easily.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

  • Saw a tweet from Callis where someone asked him to compare the power and hit tool of Jackson to Bryant. Callis said they are similar at both points of their career.

    WOW is all I can say if that is true. Even if he projects to be a corner OF, one could see why he could go Top 3.

    Going to be a fun two weeks....

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I really think the Marlins will take him. I think he's different than Bryant but I guess we'll find out.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    How good was Bryant in HS though? At that point, he hadn't reached the Bryant status of college, so I would think there are lots of hitters at Bryant's level in HS. Or am I misunderstanding the question?

  • In reply to springs:

    Bryant was a very good HS player, would have gone 1st round if he didn't have such a strong college commit.

  • Preparing myself for Nick Gordon as a Cub come June 5th. If it's anyone else I'll be surprised. They probably only take Rodon instead of Gordon. (I'm assuming Aiken's off the board)

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I don't think Aiken makes it. I know they like Gordon but they like a few players, so we will see what happens at picks 1-3. Cubs plans dependent on those teams and who knows what the Marlins and Sox are going to do...even the Astros are uncertain but can't imagine they don't take Aiken at this point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. Although I have a feeling their draft board is Aiken, Rodon, and Gordon as the top 3

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    That seems very possible. It's funny... for every source I talk to that loves a player, I find another one that doesn't...and vice versa. I think the only guy that everybody likes is Aiken.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What do they cubs do with Gordon? He plays shortstop, can he play anywhere else? Or will h End up being trade bait?

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    In reply to #murica:

    Someone that can play shortstop has the skills to play any position on the field other than possibly catcher.

    But he's a high school kid who is going to need patience with his bat. Optimistic estimates have him ready to contribute in 2018. By then, Castro's big deal will be nearing its conclusion and decisions about his long term future with the club will need to be made.

  • In reply to #murica:

    Trolling! How clever!

    Thanks for re-registering with CN, reading, and commenting though. Much appreciated!

  • If they take Gordon do you expect them to then make a run on pitchers after that? Would Gordon take full slot?

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    Yes and yes. If not full slot then close to it.

  • John, could you explain whether run differential is worth paying much attention to? Given that the Cubs have outscored their opponents, I'm wondering if they're on track for a pretty decent season if they were to hold on to Samardzija and Hammel. Or is the sample size too small? Or is their record so bad to this point that they can't realistically get to 75-80 wins? I guess I'm trying to figure out if run differential is useful for predicting how a team will perform the rest of the season.

  • In reply to October:

    I think it's worth something. It's a raw indication of what this team is capable on both sides of the ball, it just doesn't take sequencing into account. In other words it's not just important how productive you are but also when you are productive.

  • Here's the assigned pick value for every pick in the draft

    If Sox pass on Rondon because of Boras that might cost him $1.1million

  • In reply to ucandoit:


    I think Sox will pick Rodon if he's there unless they truly want to screw Boras out of a million, which would seem petty and i twouldn't really affect Boras so much anyway -- and it would pretty much ruin any chance at reconciliation.

    Now if they like another player that;s one thing, but if he's at the top of their board at the time of their pick, I think they will take him.

    I know that's not what you were saying but it got me thinking ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I meant Rondon would be screwed out of $1.1 million because he choose Boras as his agent.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Thank you ucandoit!!

  • I know there hasn't been talk of it but do you see anyway that Rondon chooses to go back to NCST?

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    I would be floored, he would have to fall past the Cubs and that isn't going to happen.

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    Javy 1 for 2 tonight, but the out was pretty impressive. Worked a full count and fouled off two pitches before finally striking out on the 8th pitch.

  • "Mercy John! Gas! Right size wrong shape. He's squeezin' him Stone Pony. Good guys. Cancel the postgame show. Nobody takes a walk like Carl Yastrzemski in a day game. Gas! Can a corn. Everybody would've fired Tony LaRussa. The other day, Paulie asked me about his swing. I invented the batting glove. Men in Blue got him. Duck snort and the Gigglesnort Hotel." AKA listening to Hawk for any half inning he's ever broadcast...

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    I think I just developed a facial tick after reading that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


    P.S. You know John, I remember once it was the 3rd inning August 23, 1968 in Cleveland. I had a 2-2 count and I developed a facial tick...

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    And I walked back to the on-deck circle to grab some pine tar. Paul Brown was in the front row after a morning Browns practice. He slapped me in the face. The tic stopped and I walked back into the box. The pitcher tried to beat me up and in but left it over the inner half. I yanked it just inside of the foul pole in left Stone Pony. Paul Brown an amazing man.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Hilarious. Must not of had a chopper two hopper during that half inning. Also, Ramirez must not have hit or you would have had 'wood and leather, he is the best shortstop in the game this year'.

  • John I really hope the marlins select Jackson and the white Sox don't pick rodon because of boras. I've been a fan of rodon since his freshman year and really hope he falls to the Cubs. The cubs really need a top of the rotation pitcher and waiting until the supplemental and second round doesn't seem to be working. Johnson and zastryzny aren't really having great years.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    I think there is a non-zero chance that happens, but honestly I am not expecting it.

  • If Jackson has the power potential of Bryant, especially at a premium position such as catcher, and all of the big three pitchers are selected, how can we pass up on Jackson for Gordon? I know Jackson may not stick at the position, but from the scouts we've heard, Gordon has questionable hit tool (better this year of course). Even if Jackson is moved to the outfield, and the premium the league places on power, I can't see how Gordon is chosen over Jackson. What's the big knock other than possible position change on Jackson? He has great power, bat speed, is it a lack of contact ala Mike Olt? It seems to me as if Gordon is doing what Trea Turner did last year

  • fb_avatar

    Well, Jackson's off to a rough start, but how 'bout that 7 pitch walk from Castro!?

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Loved that Castro AB.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Aaaannnddd, it was downhill from there....

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    i don't know why EJax is messing around with so many change-ups today. This is Petco, you've got good stuff, be aggressive.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have a few questions for Wely too...

  • John... My favorite ripping of Baez was when both announcers were talking about how Brad Snyder doesn't need to over swing like Baez does and he hits home runs just fine...

    And I just had to wonder... Are they really comparing Snyder and Baez? Are they really saying Baez needs to be like Snyder who didn't pan out as a prospect?

  • In reply to Caps:

    Ha! I forgot about that. Snyder is a good AAA player -- but he's 32!! He also praised Watkins -- practically gushed over him, which is nice. Watkins is a good player -- but the disparity between his views on each player was absurd.

  • I don't understand all this Hoffman speculation. TJS or not, no one really expects him to still be there for the Cubs at #40, right? Manea (sp?) went sooner than that with KC, Giolito went way earlier. If no Hoffman, then I think the "underslot" strategy is silly. Go with the BPA and be done with it.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I doubt Hoffman gets past the Blue jays 2nd pick (11th)

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Hoffman won't be there.

  • fb_avatar

    how can the cubs keep playing nate?he had a career year last year and it aint gonna happen again.wont someone please take jackson?

  • In reply to oltymer78:

    Why would you want to trade Ejax? He is having a bounceback year... Everybody here says so

  • In reply to Csanad:

    Came in to the game with a out of career bests, an ERA lower than his career mark.

    But yeah, one bad game and we can throw that all out the window. He's having a terrible year because he's having a bad game.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Come on now John, he has had 1 outstanding game and a couple of ok games... And a lot of very very bad games, and some disasters like today. He does not have a terrible year, he is just simply not a good pitcher, and certainly does not have a bounce-back year. He was a bad signing. Same as veras

  • In reply to Csanad:

    Numbers don't lie. One good start doesn't erase a half dozen bad ones, nor does one bad start erase what had been a typical pre-2013 EJax season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ok, lets come back to this at the end of the season. Jackson had a string of good games last july, before he want back to being bad. Thats his MO. He had his good game for the season last time, i am bracing myself for more of what we are seing today...

    The other intresting thing how the offence does not even try anymore tonight. They just go up and make outs against a spot starter... Looks like they want this game over with as much as those watching

  • Why the lack of respect for Kyle Freeland? I understand there was a marginal medical report on him in high school but the way he has dominated and has an incredible K/BB rate, I don't understand the failure to include him as an option.

  • In reply to tharr:

    He is in about is considered a low D1 School. His numbers don't mean diddy. That and given his a action he is considered a very high risk.

  • All the chatter about announcers being horseshit got me thinking...and you hit on it, lucky are we to have JD aboard?! I'm a huge fan of his!

    I like Len okay but have him as average across the board. Does it annoy anyone else how he says "up against the barrier" (just say wall, man) or "switch batter"? Where the hell did he learn that one!?

    Gotta ask you guys because none of my real friends know or care what I'm talking about.

  • John, which player has a better chance of being the #4 pick in June...Rodon or Nola?

  • Tough as I would say neither, but I will go with Rodon because if he does fall, the Cubs won't pass, while it is entirely possible that they pass on Nola.

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