Well the Cubs are really stocking up on college level talent, an indication that they are trying to speed this process along. The latest pick is catcher Mark Zagunis who is an excellent athlete with a good bat, a solid approach, and surprising speed. He has the skills to stick at catcher but he still needs more work behind the plate. Here is Baseball America's take, who ranks him 111th overall,
A successful high school quarterback, Zagunis shows more athleticism than the average college catcher, with plus speed to go with his powerful 6-foot, 212-pound frame. He’s not afraid to take a walk and has a line-drive approach that should allow him to hit for average. His slugging percentage has declined by 100 points this season with less protection in the lineup, with just two homers after 14 his first two seasons. Teams still recognize his overall offensive track record, however, and see an impressive power/speed combination. Zagunis’ receiving and defense remain below-average. He needs reps receiving and blocking, and his above-average arm strength hasn’t translated to throwing out basestealers; he has thrown out less than 20 percent for his career.
Here is MLB.com's take..
Zagunis is an athletic catcher who has performed in one of the better college conferences in the nation. The ACC standout has shown a propensity for putting the ball in play and hitting for average, albeit from a slightly unusual setup. He's shown some extra-base pop in the past, though not as much in 2014. He runs extremely well for a catcher and has shown that his athleticism plays well in the outfield. His arm is average but on target, and his other skills say he could stay behind the plate full-time. The team that believes he can continue to hit might think he has the chance to be an everyday backstop in the future, and it will draft him accordingly. At the very least, Zagunis' versatility provides a team with options if catching doesn't work out.
I had pegged Jackson Reetz as a catching target early but Zagunis has some of the same skills but is more advanced, though he may not have as high a ceiling. Cubs have some great catching coaches so I'm sure they will be excited to work with an athlete like Zagunis. The Cubs are a team that prefers to develop catchers with athleticism since so many catchers in the amateur game wind up moving to a different position. With their good development staff, they're looking to get players they can help grow into the position.
Filed under: 2014 MLB Draft