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MLB Draft: A Cubs-centric mock draft and preview

MLB Draft:  A Cubs-centric mock draft and preview

Written with Kevin Gallo

This has been a strange year for the draft.  Injuries to Mike Matuella and Brady Aiken have shaken up the top of the draft while Dillon Tate has made a Jonathan  Gray-like ascent up the boards.

I speak with contributor Kevin Gallo frequently on this draft and the biggest thing we agree on so far is that nobody really knows that is going to happen.  One thing seems fairly certain -- the top 3 of Tate and shortstops Brendan Rogers and Dansby Swanson are the head of the class and very likely the top 3 picks in some order, though Tate may slip because of personal team preferences.  If Tate doesn't go in the top two, then he will likely slip past the Rockies because his style of working up in the zone doesn't fit with their ballpark.   But  this shouldn't be mistaken for the top of the 2011 draft or the Mark Appel, Gray, and Kris Bryant trio of a couple of years ago.

The following draft is a consensus between the two of us on how it will shake out...

1. Diamondbacks

To me, the best player in the draft is Brendan Rogers   However, we're hearing that the Diamondbacks are leaning toward taking a college player.  That means RHP Dillon Tate or SS Dansby Swanson.  Tate has some serious helium and is the highest ceiling pitcher in the draft.  He is, however, a bit raw when it comes to his command and feel for pitching.  He will take some time but the D'Backs had some success developing another overpowering pitcher who had trouble harnessing his stuff in Archie Bradley.  We think they'll go Dillon Tate on the basis of upside over Swanson.

2. Astros

Brendan Rogers has the higher ceiling of the two shortstops and is polished for a high school player.  He has the tools to stick at SS and has well above average raw power for the position.  In fact, he has the bat to slide to another IF position in the unlikely event he cannot stick at SS.  Yes, they have Carlos Correa but we're talking about the BPA here and best combo of floor/ceiling.  The Astros can emulate the Cubs and accumulate talent and figure out how to sort it out later.

3. Rockies

The Rockies have an easy pick here, in our opinion.  With the team possibly heading toward a rebuild and perhaps looking to deal Tulo, a polished SS with high probability in Dansby Swanson makes a lot of sense.  Nobody ever doubted Swanson's glove but the bat has really come around and he projects as a line-drive  hitter with average power, perhaps more in Colorado.

4. Rangers

The Rangers are likely prepared that the top 3 are gone so they become the pivotal point in this draft.  We're thinking high school OF Kyle Tucker, a Texas native, makes way too much sense.  The sweet-swinging, athletic lefty is one of the fastest risers in the draft.   He certainly had the best swing at the UA game as far as I am concerned.  Tucker has the arm to play RF, which adds to his value.

5. Astros

The Astros get their man at #2 in Rodgers so this pick is gravy.  We think they will contrast this pick by not just going to a college player but to a pitcher as well.  The Astros indicated that they could compensate for the loss of Aiken by drafting a college arm that could move more quickly.  Kyle Funkhouser is the perhaps the second best pitcher in this draft and fits the power arm mold that the Astros prefer.

6. Twins

This is another wildcard pick for us as the Twins are hard to gauge.  They have leaned toward high school players recently and high upside athletic players historically.  The player that fits that bill is Daz Cameron, who has drawn mixed reviews since many thought he was a top candidate to go #1 overall at the conclusion of his junior season.

7. Red Sox

This pick required the shortest discussion between Kevin and me.  We both blurted out SS-2B Alex Bregman at just about the same time.  Kevin believes he can stick at SS, at least temporarily, as more of a grinder type than your usual fluid athlete there, but I am not as sure.  I see him as a perfect long term replacement for Dustin Pedroia at 2B.

8.  White Sox

The Sox like polished players who can move quickly and nobody fits that bill better than switch-hitter Ian Happ.  Happ has been playing corner OF for the University of Cincinnati but there are many scouts who feel he can make the switch to 2B or 3B.  The southsiders have been looking for a long term 3B for years without much success.  They could give Happ a shot knowing that his bat gives him a high floor as he can carry a corner OF spot if needed.  He has an above average bat in terms of both his hit tool and his power tool.

9. Cubs

This is going to be a fun draft for Cubs fans to follow if you are the type that likes to look deep into the amateur ranks.  There are plenty of options here, though we don't like any of the bats this high unless Happ falls to them.  This is the year we believe the Cubs will finally take an arm.  There are two Vanderbilt pitchers available in this scenario, something that may appeal to the Cubs with Derrick Johnson able to give insight.  Carson Fullmer is one option.   Fullmer has a mid 90s fastball that reaches 97, a potential plus curve, and an advanced change which could give him 3 above average pitches.  The problem is he is undersized and throws with some effort, so some see him as purely a bullpen guy.  Another option is Walker Buehler who looked liked he was a top 5 candidate until some struggles this year.  While 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA is anything but a disastrous season, he has been hit a little bit more than you would expect from someone with his stuff (mid 90s FB, plus curve, and potential for an above average change-up).  He is similar to Fullmer in some ways in terms of stuff and questions about his build (Buehler has a skinny frame).  There is rather long arm action as well, something that I personally am not a fan of because it makes it easier for a hitter to track the path of the ball. That, in turn, may explain why he has been hit more than he should.  Local product Tyler Jay (University of Illinois) is yet another good arm with size/durability concerns though Kevin believes he sticks as a starter.  He could go in the top 10.  Other options include Brady Aiken, Kolby AllardNate Kirby and Mike Matuella all of whom once projected as potential top 5 picks but have been bitten by the injury bug.  My favorite, however, is high school arm Mike Nikorak, who has a much more durable starters build than the Vanderbilt arms to go with a fastball that has reached 98 but has enough movement that I saw him miss plenty of bats at a few ticks lower than that.  He also flashed an an excellent curve that I think will be a second swing and miss pitch when he learns to command it and be consistent with it.  Other than Underwood, the Cubs lack high upside arms in their system and Nikorak has a better chance to be that then the college arms, in my opinion.  He has low miles on his arm coming from a cold weather state and there is still plenty of projection left.  He is raw and we'll need to be patient, but if the Cubs hit here then I think it could pay off big time.

I think it boils down to Buehler and Nikorak and my pick, if you haven't figured it out already, is Mike Nikorak,  Kevin feels the same way but thinks there is a good chance they take the more polished Buehler in the scenario we laid out here.

Here is what I wrote about him after the Under Armour game earlier this year, when he was projected more as a low 1st round pick.

The RHP shows all kinds of projectability from an athletic 6'5", 205 lbs frame, quick arm but easy delivery that to me was more fluid than either Russell's or Hooper's.  Flashed a couple of good curves.  This kid looks like he is just scratching the surface.  Definitely someone I'm going to watch.

Read more detailed info from Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America at this link.  Video included in that link in which you can see that fluid delivery to go with the great arm speed on the fastball, but you can also see why he is still raw.  Sometimes doesn't get on top of that curve and you can see a change in arm speed with the breaking stuff.  But the raw tools are what make him potentially available for the Cubs.  If he were more polished, there would be no chance he dropped to the Cubs.

2nd round

We believe the Cubs will go with a bat here and we liked Skye Bolt to start the year but he has continued to struggle with the bat and doubts have crept in that he won't be anything more than an a 4th or 5th OFer.

One thing I remember the front office, specifically Jason McCloud on unsigned OF'er Isaiah Gilliam, talking about is that the Cubs will sometimes pick players knowing they can't sign them, but instead select them with the intention of getting to know them on a more personal level and building a relationship.  So when they become eligible again, the Cubs already have a head start as far as signing them.  Gilliam will be available again for this draft and he is certainly a possibility, as is 2012 late round flyer OF Rhett Wiseman, who is having a solid year with the approach they like at Vanderbilt,  I don't think Mike Moody's favorite, DJ Stewart, will slip this far.

If the Cubs go with another pitcher, there are plenty to choose from, but we are going pitcher and then hitter this time around.

What say you?

se

Filed under: 2015 MLB Draft

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  • fb_avatar

    Isn't it Dansby?

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Yes, not sure why on Earth I wrote Darby originally. Been following him for years now. Fixed now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The Arizona sun is getting to you! :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John!! McLeod not McCloud.

    Can't wait for the draft. Coverage here is always superb.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, any chance you or KG think Aiken might last to the Cubs 2nd round pick? If hes healthy, hes as likely good as anyone.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    No chance. Hoffman and Giolito still went into the first despite their arm troubles

  • I like fulmer. I hope he makes it to cubs. As for 2nd round what about tyler jay? Do you think he'd make it that far as well is he a type of player cubs would pick?

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    Jay won't make it to the 2nd round.

  • I'd be so tempted to take Matuella or Aiken. Just seems like 9th is a great spot to grab a top 3 talent with an injury

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Matuella's back and Elbow scare the hell of me.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    What about Aiken? Is the TJ success rate high enough theses to risk what is hopefully the Cubs last protected draft pick for the next decade?

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    Wasn't a normal TJ surgery there were complications.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Would you take him if he fell to the 2nd round?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I think those come two come down to the medicals.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I was thinking the same. Last top pick for a while hopefully so getting a stud pitcher would be nice if the medicals on Aiken look ok.

  • In reply to jmarsh123:

    Unfortunately, they don't. Lot of risk. As much as I like him when (and if0 he is healthy, not sure he's a good gamble at 9.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ike03:

    I was told by a national crosschecker that he LOVED Fullmer & his makeup. Not worried bout effort in his delivery or being 5'11". Their organization is out on Aiken & Matuella due to type of injuries. They are interested in HS arm Allard. Funkhousers control concerns them. Also, saw Happ recently. Felt he will always have problem with striking out.

  • fb_avatar

    If they really love Aiken as much as they say they did last year...I can totally see them reaching for him here w/ their first pick.

  • John, where would you rank Torres and Jimenez in this draft class?

  • In reply to tirofish:

    Torres would be a first rounder. Probably top 10.

    Jimenez considerably lower, though I wouldn't rule out a late first round grade if for nothing else than his body type and athleticism.

  • fb_avatar

    Also, McLeod was at Vanderbilt this last week scouting guys...and with the Derek Johnson connection, I could totally see them taking one of the Vandy guys @ 1 and even going for Wiseman at 2.

    Then maybe entice David Price next year w/ even more Vandy love. haha

  • In reply to Chris Lattier:

    It would be fun

  • Why no mention of Ashe Russell? I haven't seen him except for a few video clips, but IIRC KGallo was pretty high on him.

    I have seen a bit of DJ Stewart. His approach at the plate and combo of power/avg from the left side profiles nicely with this FO's criteria. He seems more athletic/faster than Schwarber, though he's likely just a LF and lacks the positional flexibility this FO desires. IDK if his Bat alone is worthy of a pick this high (hey didn't we say that about Schwarber at #2) but he's not going to make it to us with our 2nd round pick either.

    I think they will likely employ an under slot (but someone they feel strongly about ala Scharber) again this year and load up on the HS arms again later.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Isn't there a limit on the number of "Russell's" that can be in any team's system?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to wthomson:

    Yes, but that is why we use first initials. For instance he will be A. Russell as opposed to A. Russe...Shoot, that doesn't work.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    We talked about him but some (relatively minor) off the field issues might cause him to drop a little bit. Probably rules him out for Cubs. On the field, Kevin likes him a lot, as does a scout I know. I see some effort in the delivery, but then again, I saw him when he needed to pitch just one inning. Did show good velo and snapped off a very good slider, though, that would be a plus slider at MLB level if he can do it consistently.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Several crosscheckers were at Purdue this weekend watching Maryland players. They wanted to watch Ashe Russell on Saturday, but game was washed out.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Here are some things that have happened off the field that make me think he isn't a good fit for the Cubs.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Are you at liberty to share those?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Don't want to put it into the public.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'll DM you on twitter

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It must be the blonde hair. Add some tats and he reminds me of a Matt Latos. He provides you some good years but inconsistency over the life of his career.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Expect him to climb back up the board. Scouts have been out in full force at each appearance. He's hit 96, with a wicked slider. Just pitched 6 innings with 9 K's no runs and one walk. On the personal side all I have heard he is a great kid, well respected by his coaches at school and the summer travel league coaches. Heard he will be on Fox Sports 1 in Indiana this evening at 10:30.

  • Don't think I want them to pick a guy with a name like Dansby Swanson. Can just picture him in the locker room wearing a blazer with an ascot and a boat captain's hat talking like Thurston Howell III. Not Cubs Way at all.

  • i could see Sands little brother in rd 2 as well .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Possible. A lot of good arms in that 2nd round range. Sands is one of them. I liked Hillman last year but not sure if he has taken the step forward i was hoping for. I don't think he did.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think Sands will be there in the 3rd round.

  • I would not weep a bit to see Nikorak in a Cubs uni. His delivery looks effortless.

  • fb_avatar

    John i do like Mike Nikorak. but i still think u go with someone like Brady Aiken. you might get him with a little bit of discount. even if you don't i think he has upside. Either on of these 2 i will be happy with

  • In reply to Larry:

    There is some serious concern about his TJ. It wasn't a normal surgery.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    Sorry, didn't see your note about complications.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Larry:

    Unless there is evidence that his surgery did not go well I agree with you on Aiken. I go back and forth between Aiken and Stewart. The Cubs said they had Aiken #1 on their board last year (that they liked him more than Schwarber says something). While he may well lose some speed off his fastball TJS isn't the "death sentence" it once was. There is a long list of players who have come back from it and played plenty well.

    I think that either of them would be a good way to go.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Forgot what game I was watching ( maybe dbacks Rockies last night) and they said 1 out of 4 of all MLB pitchers on rosters this year have had TJ surgery.

    I couldn't verify it, but that sounds ridiculously high unless most of them are in the pen and they are counting guys w multiples.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    TJS has almost become a "Rite of Passage" for pitchers. Some are even getting it BEFORE they are injured. 1/4 is actually pretty believable. The re-hab has gotten much better. Because there are so many the rehab specialists know pretty much EXACTLY what needs to be done and when. Most of the MLB pitchers that have had TJS had it before reaching the major leagues.

  • Dansby Swanson homie

  • fb_avatar

    If the draft does go down the way your mock up goes, I think I'd rather see them go with a safer pick. I'd go with a college arm and probably like to see Walker Buehler as our pick.

  • fb_avatar

    This is such an odd draft.

    Part of me says no way they pass on Matuella or Aiken
    I like Matuella but if Aiken was ranked #1 for our FO last year you'd think they go there.

    ...buuuuuut they each have their own complication.

    So I think they go with one of the Candy duo.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Strong chance actually.
    And it hurts to pass on Matuella.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Back issues are scary when it comes to pitcher. Add TJ to the equation and suddenly he is about as high a risk a college pitcher as there is. For different reasons, Matuella and Aiken (abnormality) present much more risk than your average TJ casualty. As much as I like both, the risk is too high. I'd rather take that risk on an equally good but healthy, fresh arm like Nikorak -- even if he isn't nearly as polished as the other two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. I would suggest that with the last high draft pick for the foreseeable future (fingers crossed), and with no/almost no TOR depth in the system, a reclamation project presents an unacceptable amount of risk for management. Which is why a healthy prep arm seems to be a safer bet for the 9th pick.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eldrad:

    Well, I sort-of-kinda disagree.

    I think getting a talent that very recently projected as 1-1 (they both did) would be an insanely high value....
    IF it was just a standard TJS.

    But the complications with both and the lack of available medicals totally throws that off.

    It sucks too. Because maybe his back is fine. Maybe that was a minor thing. Maybe Aiken's surgery was difficult but still successful.

    Getting that kind of player at #9 would be great... but we don't have that information. So... Onward?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Even "standard" TJS has a level of risk that I doubt the current Cubs brass would entertain this year. For example:

    "I find these numbers enlightening, but also quite staggering: In the most recent complete decade (2000-2009), the median result for a major league pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery is appearing in about 60 games or logging about 100 innings pitched over the rest of his major league career. That’s about the number of appearances we would expect from a typical healthy reliever in one season. It’s roughly the number of innings pitched a healthy starting pitcher would amass in half a season. That’s not the sort of post-surgery career one might envision.

    To answer the question I am asking, it is important to include pitchers who did not return to the majors at all. But if you’re curious about the typical post-surgery career for just those pitchers who do get back to major league baseball, the median games played was 102 and the median innings pitched was 167 for all major league pitchers who underwent the surgery between 1974 and 2009. Even these totals hardly make for exciting post-surgery careers."

    --Jon Roegele, Tommy John Surgery Success Rates in the Majors

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eldrad:

    Eh, even the end of that data is 6 years old. TJS success has increased in recent years.

    I think this FO would jump at the chance to take an ace that had a non-notable TJS. Guys like Gioloto or Jeff Hoffman have good value there.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    But recent data, as incomplete as it is, doesn't yet show a quantifiable leap in success rate. In fact, the upper range of "success" (pitchers returning to previous level, or MLB pitchers) is the same for 2010-2012 surgeries as previous (full) decades, at least according to data compiled by Roegele.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    They'll go with BPA based on their scouting regardless of position. They can always trade for or sign FA TOR pitchers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Isn't there some debate as to the back may have caused the TJS injury and/or vice versa?

    Like you said, love the talent; but this comes down to the medicals. The FO will have a lot more info on that than will be shared publicly. Just makes predicting/guessing the draft that much more difficult.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't necessarily disagree that safer is the prudent choice, but I do disagree that Nikorak is equally as good as a healthy Aiken. Obviously we may never see a healthy Aiken. It'll be interesting to see where he goes.

  • In reply to cubbies4eva:

    95-98 mph as a front line starter projection, from the right or the left will play. Take the lay-up and not try to show boat and get your first slam dunk. Tempting for sure, but Nikorak, like John and Kevin have pointed out, has less wear on his arm and is a sure bet. I pray he is still available when we pick.

  • In reply to cub since 89′:

    I don't know about a sure bet, he has a long way to go, but there is a lot of projection there, possibly as a front line type if he develops.

  • Personally, I really like the potential of Nikorak. Potential for 3 plus pitches to go with his frame, seems like a top 10 pick to me.

    If Bregman was to fall to Cubs, could he potentially play CF?

  • In reply to couch:

    I believe he is athletic enough to handle CF. I would love to see the Cubs but I don't see him getting to them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    Like you know what you're talking about. You're the one who thought Bryant and Valbuena were the same guy.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I agree. Bregman is athletic and can transition wherever to get into a lineup. It will be interesting to see how the draft goes since team have seen the Cubs success. They could copycat and grab bats early. If so, it is a perfect chance to grab a future ace. Cubs are sitting pretty with the advent of recent injuries to players that were locks to come off the board in the Top 5 picks.

  • My head hurts...

  • If Isiah Gilliam says he wants to be drafted, what round do you see him going in?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    2nd round is my guess.

  • fb_avatar

    If he's there don't you just take Fulmer?
    Even if he blows out his elbow and rapidly loses velo after 5 years, it will be a good 5 years.

  • what about the CF, Andrew Benintendi? think he will be around in Rd2?

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Yes. Another guy to consider.

  • I really liked Mike Nikorak when I saw him at the UA game last year. He just looks the part of a stud TOR pitcher. However, I thought the best stuff in that game was Hooper, but his funky delivery scares me too much to take him that high. I agree with John on this one.

  • In reply to corleone:

    Agreed on Hooper. He is both scary to opposing hitters and pitching coaches everywhere. Talent is there, but too big a risk at 9.

  • Any chance we take Alex Young out of TCU in the second round? I grew up and graduated high school with him

  • Off topic, but how weird is it to play a game in Baltimore in a totally empty stadium?

    and no comments about how the white sox are used to it?

  • fb_avatar

    Cubs cleared on tampering charges!

    http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2015/04/29/cubs-cleared-of-tampering-charges/

  • In reply to nFarius:

    Sweet.

  • In reply to nFarius:

    Very good. I had a hard time believing Theo tampered after he said he did not. For once I am glad John's connections were wrong.

  • In reply to John57:

    Theo also said Bryant was being sent to the minors for baseball reasons...

    I would like to think all of these guys are stand up, honest people at all times, but I just don't think you get to the level of competition without getting your hands dirty on occasions.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think circumstances sometimes mandate that honesty is not the best policy. Anyone who doesn't agree has never been asked "Does this dress make me look fat...?"

  • In reply to nFarius:

    It's great news, here's the Chicago Trib story I just saw:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-cubs-cleared-20150429-story.html

  • fb_avatar

    There would be all kinds of jokes going around if the Cubs drafted Buehler.

  • Nice recap on the top prospects John and Kevin.

    Was just thinking how fun it would be to be inside the Cubs' inner circle and see which under-the-radar HS or college player they are scouting on a regular basis!

    You know they absolutely have some kids on the radar that they are keeping a low profile on right now.

  • Matuella's medical history (TJ surgery and prior back issues) as well as his limited track record is scary. I would take a leap on Aiken if not for some reports on the severity of his arm injury and subsequent surgery. Being a pitcher, right now, is akin to being a NFL running back; you are bound to be injured and you can find great value at the position in the later rounds of the draft. I have been researching Epstein's draft history and he has never picked as high as he has been with the Cubs and his picks have always been more in line with where the prospect fit in the draft. Seeing that intangibles matter just as much as on-field talent AND being able to get them at an under-slot value being important, a sleeper that I see is Trenton Clark. I like Nikorak as well. He has the build, potential secondary pitches, big fastball and possible command that the FO looks for (I think). Another arm that I like that I feel fits the FO philosophy is Kolby Allard. I feel that these are options if Ian Happ doesn't fall to us as he seems like the most likely. As for the 2nd rounnd, I am absolutely infatuated with the ceiling of Isaiah Gilliam. If he is available, we have to do it,

  • My boys just finished his college career and this year he had four pitchers have TJ surgeries and one had Labrum surgery. You can probably guess how happy he was to catch a young staff in a veteran conference. : )

  • Since I have never seen any of these guys for more than an inning or two...

    In KGallo I trust.

    If he says Nikorak or Fulmer are good options, I'm cool with it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    KGallo and John certainly have more informed opinions than I could ever have. It's really cool to have guys like that in a forum like this ... thanks KG and John!

  • In reply to CubMartyrComplex:

    I trust my own judgement when I actually get to see guys. But I don't follow college ball and I have no idea how I would follow HS ball even if I wanted to.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Best way to follow HS ball are the tournaments/showcases. Unfortunately, other than the UA game, not too many of them in the midwest. I should see more here out west though

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I've enjoyed going to the UA game the last couple of years, but that is the only chance I get to see any of them. I just don't have enough bandwidth. Hard enough to watch the Cubs and the minor league affiliates, especially since spring is playoff hockey time. As much as I love baseball, the rest of the sporting world ceases to exist during a Blackhawks playoff game (though the same thing happens during Cubs playoff games).

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I love the Hawks but I am more of a fan when it comes to hockey. I'd rather watch instructs or a minor league game...or any Cubs related game for that matter. Baseball first, hockey and soccer a distant second, everything else a distant 3rd. The other sports are more diversions for me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, I watch hockey for fun. Honestly, it is the only game I watch for pure enjoyment at this point. Baseball is more of an addiction (though I still enjoy watching the Cubs). Thankfully, I've pretty much kicked my football at this point.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I only watch football now when friends want to watch football and they bring beer ;)

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I trust guys with a lot of experience doing this, I trust Kevin and I trust myself as well because I have been learning about this for years and know quite a few baseball people (one of them since I was young) who, with all due respect, have been in this industry a long time. But as much as I trust myself and Kevin, those are the guys I trust the most. You learn a lot from those guys, things I never would have thought of even as much as I think I know sometimes -- and I am sure Kevin would say the same thing. Don't think we could know as much as we do without help from those guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I trust your opinions, and the opinions of others you pass along. I'm always open to reexamining my evaluations of players. And you have certainly changed my view on more than one occasion. But I also know that I have enough knowledge to form my opinions, and after taking into account the views of others, if I can still justify my evaluation in my own mind, I will stick to my view.

    I have watched a ton of baseball in my life, and honestly, most of it in the last twenty years has not been for entertainment. I enjoy the process, the strategy and the skill it takes and have been examining the game and the players from that perspective since the early 90s. I was the kid that kept running stats for players, by hand, long before the internet. I've been going to games to chart pitches and sequencing instead of keeping score. I took video of guy's swings and watch fielders. I've traveled countless hours to watch minor league games and prospects live, and I've never done it because I was paid to or because it was popular either.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Agreed, just saying that scouting involves a lot of trust, collaboration and for guys like me (and even Kevin) a lot of learning. I trust my judgment and Kevin's as well, but whenever we do stuff it's pretty much a combination of what we see, what others see (that we may miss), and then synthesizing all of that and filtering it through our personal preferences. For instance, I don't like long arm action, especially on the back swing, but others aren't as bothered by it. Don't like that about Buehler and didn't like that about the Under Armour starter Corey Zangari. I think there is some subjectivity to it and we develop our own styles but for me you have to trust other people's judgment and bounce things back and forth. That's pretty much how Kevin and I communicate, not just with our own opinions, but opinions of others that we bring into the conversation.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I get to see them when I umpire the showcase tournaments lol

  • In reply to CubMartyrComplex:

    You're welcome. Happy to share!

  • Astro's are some lucky SOB's in trading what could have been a disaster in Aiken, to the 2nd pick, and now the Dbacks are just going to let them have Rodgers. I think Dbacks are making a big mistake if they don't take B.R. As far as the Cubs, I love the Mike Nikorak pick, that would be great if it did go that way...Size (6'5", 200+, velocity, 2 potential plus pitches, and feel for the changeup already, smooth delivery...I've heard some Syndergaard comps, with likely better command because of his excellent mechanics....Um, yes please! ....and Isaiah Gilliam in the 2nd would be a great pick, I saw the PG Homerun Derby that he got 2nd place in, and he is a beast, he hit one ball into the third deck!

  • Agreed. I'm with whatever KGallo says haha. I don't do nearly enough scouting of the amateur ranks to form enough of an educated opinion.

    I'd love to know more about the TJ complications for Aiken though. If you're talking about a guy who is risky because he might never be healthy, but if he is could be/will be an ace or taking another guy who is risky because his body type and stuff might force him to the BP, in a vacuum, I'm taking the former.

  • I want Funkhouser purely for the name.

  • In reply to Eric:

    It is a great name. Funkhouser and Skye Bolt would be a grade 80 name draft.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    john, question for you and kevin, I know joe McCarthy of Virginia just came back off of back surgery, if he were to fall to the 2nd or 3rd round, with his patient approach, do you think the cubs would be interested.

  • In reply to DLROBERTSON:

    Good question. McCarthy is certainly an interesting bat and the type that fits the Cubs philosophy. The back issue is always worrisome and you wonder if that may relegate him to 1B. The Cubs FO doesn't like players who are limited to a bat only position, so it would depend on how much the injury will affect his solid athleticism long term. IF he can still be a solid OF'er than I would think they'd consider him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I have 2 questions. How comparable is Kolby Allred to Brady Aiken pre-surgery and is Trenton Clark a possibility for the Cubs? I know he is an outfielder and we have way too many of those but it seems that his talent and intangibles certainly fit with the philosophy that the FO has and they can maybe underslot him.

  • In reply to boyd34:

    I liked Aiken better before the injuries.

    Clark is a heck of a hitter but considering he plays LF and doesn't project to be a power guy, I don't see them picking him at 9. If he is available in the 2nd round then yes, but I imagine he will be snatched up by then. As for underslot at #9, I imagine they would only do it if they know something others don't -- and perhaps they see power potential and that he'd be a steal the way Schwarber was.

  • 0.79 ERA and 23 Ks v/s 0 walks on the season. I have to admit, I knew very little and still do about Jeremy Null. 6'7" good downward plane, good velo, and good control thus far. I am impressed and I'm wondering when we will see him talked about as part of the next wave.

  • John and Kevin; What would happen in Nikorak and Bregman both fell to the Cubs? Bregman would be a get and could transition to CF or LF. I doubt both both fall in our laps but anything is possible in this draft. Bregman is compact and versitle. I actually could see Boston jumping all over him, but I could see them doing to same for Tucker. I really don't want Funckhouser and can surely see him falling to our pick. I agree with John that Buehler seems like our best plan B. Sony Gray 2.0?

  • In reply to cub since 89′:

    I don't see Bregman falling to 9. but if he does it is a tough choice. He is a good hitter but maybe not really what Cubs need right now. It will be a tough decision if he or Happ fall to them.

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