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MLB Draft Notes: Marlins ramping up scouting efforts on Alex Jackson and could Sox pick Nick Gordon?

MLB Draft Notes: Marlins ramping up scouting efforts on Alex Jackson and could Sox pick Nick Gordon?
Alex Jackson

It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Marlins were going to draft Tyler Kolek just a few weeks ago but I was just told that the Marlins have been leaning heavily now toward OF'er Alex Jackson.   It was described to me as "Kris Bryant heavy" in reference to how the Cubs revved up scouting efforts on the slugging 3B just as everyone was assuming they'd take whoever was left between Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray.

Jackson is the best hitter in this year's draft in terms of upside and has a lot of polish because he basically plays year round between the sunny California weather and the countless showcases he's been invited to attend over the past 2 years.

I'm told it's all about the bat for the Marlins and that they'd strongly consider taking him 2nd even as a corner outfielder.

The Marlins are said to also like Brady Aiken very much but it would seem that Houston will take him first -- it makes too much sense as I think he has clearly become the best player in the draft with Jackson now 2nd.  The Astros will almost certainly see who will sign for less (with Carlos Rodon possibly part of that equation as well), but getting Scott Boras to go significantly underslot again could be a problem -- and if it is, then you have to go with the BPA, which is Aiken.

It also seems to indicate that teams have soured somewhat on Carlos Rodon, who had another pedestrian outing yesterday ( 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks on 27 batters faced. Finished w/ 11 swinging strikes. 109 unofficial pitches).  I've actually been told for over a month that he could fall to #4 but it seems more plausible than ever of late and that is because the White Sox are making things interesting as well.

If Aiken goes first and Jackson goes 2nd, then the White Sox are left with a choice of Rodon, Tyler Kolek, and...Nick Gordon?  I hear that the Sox still very much like Kolek, but may be down on Rodon (and it doesn't help that he's represented by Jerry Reinsdorf nemesis Scott Boras).

So scenarios are unfolding as follows...

Scenario 1

1) Astros - Aiken

2) Marlins - Jackson

3) Sox - Kolek

4) Cubs - Rodon or Gordon

Scenario 2

1) Astros - Aiken

2) Marlins - Kolek

3) Sox - Gordon

4) Cubs - Rodon or Jackson

If the pitchers go top 3, we revert to previous scenarios (G0rdon. Jackson, Nola, or a college hitter on a huge underslot).

This is fun, isn't it?

 

Filed under: 2014 MLB Draft

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  • *Crosses fingers* Rodon falling to the Cubs would make me giddy. If not I'd still be fine with Jackson or Gordon.

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    It's more plausible now than at any point so far.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Are the Cubs high on him, though, or have they soured as well?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not that I'm aware of. I think soured was a bit of a strong word. I think he's knocked down just enough to make Jackson and Gordon that much more enticing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just for the sake of argument, John, if both Kolek and Rodon were to slip to #4 who would you take? I like both, but Koleks big arm doesnt come along very often.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I would take Rodon, but I'd be happy with Kolek too.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought I read the other day, I think on BN, that they love Rodon and Aiken but only like Kolek.

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I wrote that here but it came from Keith Law, not my own info.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's right. Couldn't remember for a second there, I've read a lot of draft stuff this week

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Was it Sahadev Sharma on The Game this morning saying there is no way in hell the Sox will pass on Rodon if he falls to them? And also that Cubs fans were creating this idea that the White Sox don't like dealing with Boras so that's why they will pass on him if he's there.

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    That the Sox don't like Boras is well-established around baseball and some suggest that the Reinsdorf led CBA changes were made with an eye toward Boras.

    Put it this way, when is the last time the Sox took a Boras client in the first or 2nd round? Was it Bobby Seay (who didn't sign) in 1996? That the Cubs fans created this just this year is 100% false. If someone told Sharma that, then that someone is mistaken or being less than forthcoming.

    If they do draft a Boras client, it's because of the system in place now that limits bonus amounts.

  • You're killing me Smalls. Seems like the reports are changing daily. A week ago people were reporting Rodon had re - established himself at 1.1 and now he could reasonably be available at 4. Draft talk is a lot of fun this year.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Haha! I know the Marlins have always liked Jackson but hearing that the recent scouting effort is comparable to the Cubs late scouting push with Kris Bryant grabbed my attention

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    Gordon to the White Sox would make a lot of sense and would also make me sad -- no better way to kill a promising young high schooler's future than to put him in that system.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He is going to need patience with that bat.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    If I were him, I would strongly consider going to college if the White Sox picked me. As you said the other day, he isn't hurting for money and it could destroy his career.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike, can you elaborate on how the Sox organization would adversely affect Gordon?

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    In reply to Moonlight:

    Reinsdorf is incredibly cheap and doesn't like spending on scouting and development (that's the reason he came up with this insane new draft system). High school players need a lot of help with development to make the transition to the majors. With reports that Gordon's hit tool needs work, that seems particularly germane to him. Without that help, you're leaving him to own devices which -- ask the Hendry Cubs -- fails most of the time.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hmmm the white sox have finished .500 or better 10 times since 2000(and a ring) the cubs 6 times and the white sox are rebounding after last year way quicker than the cubs, it appears the white sox are run better than the cubs to me.......

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    In reply to Moonlight:

    Really, Mike, why do you say that about the WS System. Please tell so I can use it against my WS fan son of mine.

  • John - Is that 11 swinging strikes thrown by Rodon or 11 swinging strikeouts?

    If only 11 swinging strikes, seems low.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    11 swinging strikes and that is very low. Especially for him.

  • So I guess that Big Three pitchers narrative didn't last long. With the way injuries sidelined other top pitcher prospects, plus Rodon's struggles, I can see why both the Sox and Marlins are looking at position players. A few months ago, I'd have been thrilled by the idea of Rodon falling to the Cubs. But now I'm a little wary of him. I think I'd prefer Kolek.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Was reading a report on Kolek how, at 250 lbs, he would be the biggest pitcher taken in recent memory, even bigger than CC Sabathia who was 240 lbs at the time he was drafted.

    Might that size on a young kid shy people away? Is there fear that he could get too bulky? Is some of that baby fat that could still be dropped like Kerry Wood did?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He's just a big guy. Not much he could do in terms of losing weight but concern he could on more is legit.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I know the scouts who downplay Kolek say he has weak secondary pitches. Id be more worried if he was throwing a Kerry Wood CB at that age. Im in the camp that thinks most of these TJ surgeries are from overusing breaking pitches than from too much velocity. It would be really nice if we were able to take Kolek , then maybe a flyer on a rehabbing Hoffman as our 2nd pick.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I prefer Kolek also. Healthier arm and more pitches left in it.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I wonder if people are starting to realize, like has already been pointed out on this blog, that it's riskier to take those pitchers so early because of their college workload. Is it better to attack pitching in the late rounds with volume?

  • I think it was BA that had the Cubs selecting the LHP from Evansville, who you had projected as a bullpen arm. Seems like he has good size an room to fill out. Has a great K and BB rate but of course, I know nothing of his stuff.

    I think the first 3 picks are going to be wild and we will have no idea who will be available at 4.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Their scouting guy has a huge crush on him but throughout baseball the reports are mixed. Some like him as a top 10 guy, some see bottom of the rotation, some see bullpen.

  • John, I know Nick Gordon is a favorite of yours... But all I hear is that he can stick defensively, but there are questions about his power and hit tool... So, I'm asking you for clarity... But why waste the 4th pick on a guy like that? Don't we already have guys like Penalver and Marcos Hernandez, who can stick at SS but have questionable hit tool?

    I think I would go with the guy with the best bat speed and power potential like Jackson, even if he only becomes a trade chip later on... Or just go with a lower upside, higher ceiling guy like Nola and then pay overslot in the 2nd round.

    So, what makes Gordon such an attractive pick in the top 5? Is it lack of talent past the top 5? Is it because Hoffman and others are out of the picture?

  • In reply to Caps:

    Gordon does have hit potential, some like it very much in fact, but most agree it may take some time to develop that hit tool.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I keep hearing that scouts are afraid he might turn into his brother, Dee, but it seems that there are some risks involved with some of these guys... Like most amateur players... After all, scouts were concerned that Bryant was going to K too much to hit for average... Others were concerned that Almora would never develop power, maybe similar to Nick Gordon, so I'll take your word for it.

    Note: About Nola... I mean lower ceiling higher floor.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Lol. Who are you talking too?

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Callis and Mayo said it not long ago as well as others out there.

  • In reply to Caps:

    And both are media about 3 steps behind what is really being said.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    If John and you know some scouts... Wouldn't they know some of them as well? Especially Callis who used to work with Baseball America?

  • In reply to Caps:

    Yes and I am one of them.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Because Gordon has shown that his hit tool is not a concern this year and that he as shown power this year also. The media is a few steps behind what the scouts know. So you can't rely on them to know everything.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    That I know... But I'm also no scout, which is why I'm asking John, because there's gotta be a reason why he's sold on him more than I am.

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    Just when I was starting to warm up to the idea of Jackson and Gordon, this happens. I can't help but think that the José Fernández injury might have scared the Marlins away from Kolek because how hard he throws or Rodon cause how extremely overused he has been the past 3 years.

  • I think Freeland now has to be included in discussion. BA has us taking him and he wrapped up his season in impressive fashion. Any indication the cubs have seriously scouted him?

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    None that I now of. He is not on their radar.

  • OK, another question... Anyone's got any update on Jorge Soler? Is he going to the DL?

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    Is it possible our top 3 pitching prospects in 13 months are Rodon, Gray and the #1 pick in the 2015 draft? If Epstoyer pulls that off I can live with the losses this season.

    (Hopefully Baez can give us reason to hope again. I am more excited about 1-4 with a line drive single yesterday than I was when he hit 4 homers last year!)

  • Any lesson learned from Appel that is applicable to Rodon?

  • Appel isn't exactly lighting it up this year...

  • What are the chances the Cubs pass on Rodon too if he's there at 4?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I'd say zero.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What if (somehow) Aiken is also there? I'd take Aiken over Kolek, but is that consensus?

    Also, if we do get Rodon/Aiken/Kolek in round 1 and seeing we should get (at least) a decent pitching prospect for Shark (assuming last start is not beginning of a trend) and possibly next year's draft, do we consider a hitting prospect in round 2? (Obviously BPA is likely, though last draft with all the early pitchers appears to indicate the front office made a decision by position).

  • John, I know there's a lot of risk with pitchers. But are teams also starting to get concerned that pitchers have less upside as well? In this age of pitch counts and a minimum of four-day rests between starts, TOR pitchers don't have the WAR as their counterparts a couple of decades ago. And they're also falling further behind the leading position players. Last year, for example, Kershaw led all pitchers with an fWAR of 6.5. That trailed eight position players. So between the reduced value and high injury risk, it it possible that teams increasingly are going to prefer position players in the first round?

  • In reply to October:

    Absolutely. Well put.

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    In reply to October:

    I'd say that's another reason to focus on higher floor, lower ceiling pitchers in this draft. Depth can help soften the blow of drafting poorly a first round pitcher. Depth is also the mantra of this FO.

  • In reply to October:

    you nailed it, thats why when in doubt take the hitter. i think quality hitters are harder to come by than sub 4 ERA pitchers.

    the hardest player to find is TOR but they can be purchased about every year. drafting pitchers is so dicey: injuries, control, etc. Only a couple make it as aces every few years and half or more get hurt (prior,harvey, strasburg,hernandez).

    If Jackson isnt a plus hitter then I would look at one of the top pitchers.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    TOR pitchers can be purchased every year? If you mean true Aces there are only really about 10 in all of baseball , rarest of all Gems . there are by comparison at least 1-2 hitters in every lineup that at least make a pitcher uneasy. Rodon is the only guy in the draft that has ELITE plus pitches if NC State hasn't burned his arm down already . At 4 the Cubs will be lucky to get an elite talent . I do believe they will get a safe pick who will be a MLB level contributor .

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    The FO never locks themselves into taking the "obvious" pick. I would love to know how strong the Cubs are on Rodon compared to other matchups like Kolek. I still would not put it past the Cubs to pick a cheaper pick like Nola with a low floor, just to spread that slot money later on good second round picks. This, unlike other drafts, would really open the door for that idea. The fact that these mock drafts change on the hour shows how no one is running away from one another.

    Wouldn't doubt we hear a couple more names creep up in the next couple of weeks. Given a lack of a consensus top talent level, I would prefer safer picks this draft. I'd like Nola because he's closer to MLB, even if ceiling not so high. After all, we will be getting another high pick next year. Stock up this year with a deep second round.

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    The struggles this year of Rob Zastryzny and Pierce Johnson would incline me to want more depth at starting pitcher this year. That's another reason I'd prefer Nola, the safer pick, with the 4th pick, and save the slot money for later in the draft.

    Rob's control has been awful this year, which is pretty scary. Hopefully its something he can overcome, especially if he never reacquires that good mid 90's fastball that he allegedly had in college, but has not shown in the minors.

  • Dear Edwin, please please please please please please please please continue your hot streak until trade deadline. (Did I miss a please?)

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    I noticed in the game wrap up that Edwin has a 1.80 ERA for his last 3 starts. Maybe Edwin is a little more relaxed this year and we will get good Edwin instead of bad Edwin. Nice job Edwin!!

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    Rodon falling to 4?!
    That would be amazing.

  • I am now hoping and expecting that the Cubs draft Jackson or Gordon. I guess one could roll the dice and hope one of these pitchers manages to have a career, but recent draft history and the increasing odds of injury to young pitchers makes it seem like you are trying to draw to an inside straight when you pick a pitcher versus a position player. http://www.gammonsdaily.com/peter-gammons-high-risk-drafting-high-school-pitchers-with-top-picks/ (Note the reference to the struggles that even Mark Appel is having.) If they last that long (which apparently is doubtful), I would spend second run pick on Hoffman or Fredde, even though they are already out with TJ surgery.

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