Lots of good draft stuff today...
Pre-draft Talk and Free Pizza
A reminder that we will be talking MLB Draft on Saturday, May 24th. It will be at Pizza Serio in Chicago from 2 to 5 pm. The format will be a little different for those of you who attended last time . Don't worry, there will still be free food but in between (3-4 pm) there will be a formal Q&A session. Guest panelists include...
- Harry Pavilidis will be co-hosting, and there will be a panel with the usual BP suspects: Ken Funck, Mauricio Rubio from our Fantasy Staff (and Cubs Den, of course), and Jordan Gorosh from our Prospect Staff.
- Bruce Miles (Cubs beat reporter for the Daily Herald since 1998)
- Dayn Perry (CBS Sports/Eye on Baseball)
- Sahadev Sharma (ESPNChicago.com, Vine Line, and Bleacher Nation)
- And me, John Arguello, (ChicagoNow/Cubs Den)
Here are the details from Baseball Prospectus.
Who is in and who is out on the draft
Sahadev Sharma has an interesting piece on the draft that adds some clarity. The Cubs are out on Tyler Beede, something I was told as well a few days back, but I have still included him as an option because I had one holdout. But even he is saying now that it won't happen.
He also rules out Kyle Freeland, no surprise there as I was told was a mid round pick with some teams thinking he may end up in the bullpen.
I was a little surprised at Brad Zimmer, who Sharma said is not under consideration. I hadn't heard one way or the other on Zimmer specifically but the fact that he was a college hitter, lefty bat, and athletic made me think he fit the profile and would at least be under consideration. But for a team to be sold on Zimmer, they must believe he can either play CF or develop power, and I have to presume the Cubs don't believe he can do one or both of those things, which lowers his ceiling significantly. Because I don't have specific reason to believe the Cubs like Zimmer, I will defer to Sharma on this one and cross him off my board for now
Others out include FSU RHP Luke Weaver (who may be more of a supplemental 1st or 2nd rounder these days) and hard-throwing Hartford LHP Sean Newcomb, who's iffy command and iffy competition make him a higher risk despite quality raw stuff.
As for who is in, it's the usual suspects: Th obvious top 3 pitchers (Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon, Tyler Kolek), SS Nick Gordon, and C, 3B, OF Alex Jackson -- and one surprise, hard-throwing but undersized LHP Brandon Finnegan. He also says the Cubs are still in on productive LSU RHP Aaron Nola.
Sharma also does not rule out the best college hitter, corner OF Michael Conforto of Oregon State, or it's best power hitter, C/1B Kyle Schwarber of Indiana, though I am not crazy ab]out either player's defense.
I've been much higher on Gordon than Jackson, as you all know well by now, but Jackson continues to climb boards, as we will see in the next segment. Still, I just can't shake the feeling the Cubs are blowing smoke when it comes to Jackson. Finnegan's size, max effort, and shoulder soreness scares me and I think there are just too many risk factors at #4. Nola is a sure thing but the upside isn't as high, but if they get him at underslot and go upside in the 2nd round, I can probably live with that.
Keith Law Mock: Rodon to Cubs
In what he calls a "dream scenario" for the Cubs, he has Carlos Rodon falling to #4 when the Marlins take Alex Jackson, with the Sox having a preference for Tyler Kolek. (ESPN Insider Only)
As for the Cubs, Law believes the Cubs love Brady Aiken and Rodon, like Kolek, and if they're all gone they will have to explore their options. Those options go from the much-discussed to the more creative.
Law believes Alex Jackson, Michael Conforto, and Aaron Nola (among others that he does not mention)are still in the mix and the creative one here is a rumor that the Cubs will go completely off the board and select Kennesaw State C Max Pentecost and save a ton of money for later round picks.
Interesting thoughts, I know of at least one scout who believes there is a good chance that Rodon falls to the Cubs and the idea of going off the board with Nola (slightly), Conforto, or Pentecost and saving money for later is at least plausible, though it seems like a Plan C move to me right now.
Putting it altogether: My board
The constant here between Sharma, Law, and my own info is that the Cubs will go with go with one of the top 3 pitchers if available. That really shouldn't surprise anyone.
Nick Gordon appears to be the biggest possibility if the Cubs go upside, though Law doesn't mention him specifically. Both Law and Sharma say that Alex Jackson is in play while I have reason to believe they might be blowing smoke there. However, the possibility of Jackson certainly still exists. There is no doubt he is the highest upside hitter in a draft in which the top 3 pitchers may not be around.
All three of us have brought up Aaron Nola and Michael Conforto as possibilities, though both Sharma and I see the latter as very unlikely, while Law doesn't specify as to likelihood.
Wildcards are the Finnegan and Pentecost scenarios, though I'm strangely more comfortable going with the Pentecost underslot scenario. His ability to stick at catcher raises his floor and he looks like he will hit, though perhaps not for power.
Anyway, this is my first official board with 3 weeks remaining before the draft...
- Brady Aiken
- Carlos Rodon
- Tyler Kolek
- Nick Gordon
- Aaron Nola (if underslot)
- Alex Jackson
- Max Pentecost (if significant underslot)
- Brandon Finnegan
- Michael Conforto
- Kyle Schwarber
One thing we can read between the lines here is that the fact that Conforto, Schwarber, and even Pentecost are being considered (and Zimmer is not) indicates that the Cubs have a clear preference for safer, more established, more polished hitters this early in the draft. That would seem to cast a little doubt on Gordon as far as I'm concerned. There has been some doubt among some with regard to his hit tool, though some believe he will hit in time. I don't know enough about him to say how they feel about him as a hitter. Jackson, on the other hand, clearly has the superior hit tool but there are doubts about him as well, most notably his ultimate defensive value.
The underslot scenario appeals to me more than in past years because there may not be a clear cut pick at #4 if the top 3 are gone, especially since there is so much high ceiling pitching talent available in the 2nd round, including the possibility that Jeff Hoffman (very unlikely) or Erick Fedde (more likely) are available in round two. If the Cubs have any doubts about Gordon or Jackson, then I would prefer the Cubs take this route for this draft.
Filed under: 2014 MLB Draft