Cubs pick college catcher Mark Zagunis with 3rd pick

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

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  • I doubt he stays at catcher long term if his arm isn't very good

  • In reply to TD40:

    Reportedly has above average arm, so his low percentage in throwing out runs is likely more about technique which can be taught.

  • Interesting... another fast athletic player who walks more than he strikes out. Supposedly he had a strained oblique early in 2014, which may explain his sudden drop in power.

  • I guess this is what happens when you're faced with looking at John Baker and Eli Whiteside every day, huh?

  • In reply to cubsfan:

    I'm sure that had NOT escaped the notice of our front office - especially since there is not a wealth of catching prospects in the pipeline with much to favor them on offense.

    Seems like a good choice, especially if they don't think that Zagunis is a lock to stick at C as he develops.

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    Cubs seem to be just sticking to their board. If it works, they're geniuses. If not, "HOW COULD THEY MAKE SUCH STUPID CHOICES!!!!" Gotta give them credit for not taking the easy approach, though.

  • Someone wake me up from this terrible nightmare.

    I feel like Theo just ripped off his mask to reveal some anti-Cubs supervillian laughing at all of us.

    MUAHAHAHAH!!!

    E tu, Theo?

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    Lol. But you and I could go out there and take "toolsy" high school guys, right? Just follow the consensus. Right now, I'm going to assume these guys are earning their money.

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    Draft day, when you can moan about your team getting a guy you’ve never seen play baseball instead of a guy you’ve never seen play baseball.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    LOL- touche

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    I like the focus on college talent right now, and the targeting of players with solid OBPs even more.

    I do wish they could have gotten a true 1.4-type pick out of this, but I'm going to trust that these guys know what they're doing. Hopefully, the underslot pays off with a better haul overall.

  • Have to think some of this extra cash is going to Sands.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Definitely an overslot.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Yup. Plenty of cash left though. Still some HS upside out there that other teams can't sign.

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    Liked the Sands pick then bounced it off my scout friend. Now love the pick.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What did he say?

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Very projectable. Could add a lot to that fastball.

  • like this pick, Keaton McKinney still on the board another overslot high upside HS arm

  • Lets hope they save some money with their 3 picks so they can still
    pick a good 4th pick

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Huh? They just picked their 4th pick, Carson Sands.

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