Cubs select Fresno State RHP Ryan Jensen in 1st round of 2019 MLB Draft

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For the second year in a row my draft preparation goes for naught as the Cubs select a player ranked outside the scope of the players I investigated. The team chose Fresno State RHP Ryan Jensen (MLB: 99, BA: 109) with the 27th pick in the 1st round. Jensen's size, 6'0" 180, wouldn't suggest he is a power pitcher, but that is precisely his game.

With a bonus pool total of just $5.827M (5th lowest) the Cubs may be eying Jensen as a below slot signing which will allow them to sign higher ceiling prep talent later in the draft. Jensen features a fastball-slider combo and many scouts project him to make a quick ascent to the Majors as a reliever. His plus fastball reaches 98 as a starter. He's been able to maintain a high velocity deep into games. You wonder if he could hit higher working exclusively from the pen. His slider projects as an above average offering. He's also shown flashes of a usable slider, but hasn't needed to lean on it at the college level.

Filed under: Draft, MLB Draft, prospects

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  • I did not see this coming either. But I think (hope) you’re right they are going underslot w/this pick to take some chances later.

    Some got what they wanted with a power pitcher. I’m hoping he’s a starter that makes the future rotation in the bigs, but his stature says reliever, possibly closer.

    Let’s see what round 2 gets us...

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    They have so little money we might see a lot of unknowns picked with the Cubs honing in on one or two players they really want.
    Btw, how is the bonus money determined? Why only $5M for the Cubs and $11M + for other teams?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think it has to do with their slots within each round of rounds 1 thru 10. Including sandwich round/comp picks. MLB puts a dollar amount on each pick. So #1 OA pick will get more bonus $$ than #2 & so on down the line.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I didn’t see you had already answered

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    It’s cool. Virtually the same time, LoL...

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It’s based off the number of picks you have in first ten rounds I believe and how high the picks are. So if you are picking number 1 and have multiple bonus picks you will have quite a bit of money to spend

  • I don’t like the size as 6’0” is probably 5’10” in reality. Maybe a back end power arm but I never trust small guys as power pitchers to hold up long term over the course of a MLB season.

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    In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    One if my favorite pitchers of all time is Billy Wagner, listed at 5:10 and yet had a plus plus FB. He had 442 saves and a WHIP of .998. He should be in the HOF. Anyway, height doesn’t really matter.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The way I look at height is like this: If 2 pitchers have equal talent I will take the 6'5" guy rather than the 5'10" guy. But I'm not going to like you BECAUSE OF your height, or even largely because of it.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Do you know how tall Greg Maddux is? You guessed it, 6'0". Now I am not saying he will be Gregg Maddux but I won't doom him to failure just because of his height.

  • In reply to John57:

    John did you ever see the scouting report for Greg Maddux. Scout said if he was 6'3" or bigger he would be the number 1 pick in the draft. Plus Maddux even then was never considered to be a power pitcher. He was not even 6' tall. But i hear you though little guys have and can succeed. One of the reasons Cubs switched Edwards to the pen little guys with big arms usually doesn't hold up. There are several exceptions including Pedro Martinez. Plus i never said i didn't like the pick, and like to give each draft class a good 2-3 full years to before giving it a grade. The 2016 draft without a pick until rd 3 has some interesting developing prospects in the system.

  • My guy Misner is off the board. I think Miami took him.

  • My first thought was “reach.” My second thought was “underslot.” We’ll see what happens , I guess.

  • In reply to seattlecub:

    My first thought was that MLB scouts missed ranked another prospect.

  • There’s another power arm out there that I like for the Cubs to get. LHer Antoine Kelly. 6’6” 205Lbs, throws mid 90s hit 98 out of Wabash, IL JuCo.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    But they’ll probably go college bat... Chase Strumpf... Ha ha

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Holy cow piatties they did!

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    You've made a couple of good calls today. I don't know if you've seen this:

    https://twitter.com/tedcahill/status/1135757627667992577?s=19

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes I saw it last night on another site. The dude can hit, but don’t tell that to our good buddy RB... :o)

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    Seth Thomas chosen by TB.

  • I love this pick. Get him signed and in the bullpen ASAP. They can use him this year. This is type of pick I was hoping for last year. This pick is even better if it's for under slot.

    If they had gone the development route I like Seth Johnson and JJ Gose too. Rays got some good potential with those two.

  • Ok. A college pitcher, Jensen & a college bat, Strumpf on day 1.

    Dang it, Brewers took Kelly...

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    How is the draft order picked? More specifically, how did the Dodgers get to pick ahead of the Cubs?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    regular season final standings. We had more wins. The one game playoff with Milwaukee meant they would pick right after us.

  • Really solid mechanics. He doesn’t pitch or look like a 6 foot guy. Has good plane on FB and SL comes from nearly identical arm slot.

    We’ll see what happens as a starter or reliever. I really don’t see him contributing this season out of the pen. His command is not big league caliber today

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    There are front offices that would go that route and try him if the need was there, the Cubs FO is not one of them.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Oh, he isn't going to be pitching in Wrigley this season. And I'm sure the Cubs are intending to try him as a starter as well. I like the athleticism he shows, so I think it may be a matter of them tweaking his delivery to find something he is able to repeat and keep his arm slot consistent. I've seen some video where his fastball just absolutely explodes, with huge arm side run, even when his velocity is in the mid-to-upper-90s. Good bite on his slider too. He's small but with the word he has had no issue maintaining his velocity deep into games, there is no reason not to try him as a SP.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Worst case scenario for him a power arm out of the 'pen. With the possibility, at this point, he might be a hard throwing--if somewhat undersized--starting pitcher?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yeah. He's a guy that seems to have risen late in the process and some scouts think really highly of him. He is the hardest throwing SP in the draft with a 2 seamer that sits 94-96 with a ton of arm side run and sink, then a 4 seamer that often sits 96-97 (T99). And he maintains it, unlike some of the prep arms.

    Question seems to be the command and the secondaries. Slider is considered avg or above avg but he barely used his change. I imagine the Cubs will make a big effort to develop that pitch.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Totally aligned with your comments. I believe there was a previous comment that he could be in our pen this year.

    He has to remain a starter for a couple of years. This is an arm to be excited about.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    He could be our mini-Wainwright. Bullpen in October and moved to starting rotation the following year. If that's 2020 Oct that ok. If it's this year even better.

  • In reply to berber31:

    I'd be surprised if he sniffs MLB before sometime in 2021, especially if they see him as a starter.

  • In reply to berber31:

    He profiles nothing like Wainwright. He will not be pitching on the MLB this year and most likely not even 2020. I get your excitement, but is not a finished product in any sense.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    If he isn't helping the team this year or next than my excitement level just dropped.

    Not saying it's a bad pick, just think reinforcements are necessary to keep us competitive the next three years.

  • In reply to berber31:

    The reinforcements should already be in the pipeline. People like Maples who we are starting to see maybe fulfilling some of his promise. Perhaps players like Brooks can come up in the next couple years to provide bullpen help.

    Depending on this years draft and instant gratification is just not being realistic when you are not picking in the top 7 or 8 spots.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    You say that, but Finnigan with the Royals and Wacha with Cards made big impacts in the bullpen the year or year after they were drafted. They were late picks too. I'm sure there are others. Just saying it's more than possible.

    They say he has good control. He throws hard. You only need 2 pitches to succeed in bullpen. It's not like there's a plethora of options ahead of him.

    How confidant are you in Edwards, Ryan, and Webster?

  • In reply to berber31:

    And they were both picked higher up in the draft order which I alluded to. Definitely more confident in a Maples, Ryan or Edwards than an unproven kid straight out of college who is a starter, not a reliever. The third round pick would make way more sense being in our bullpen sooner than later.

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    In reply to berber31:

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you are looking to the draft to help this year's (or next year's) team you are in for a lot of disappointment as a baseball fan.

  • In reply to berber31:

    Berber I think he can pitch out of relief fairly soon but I just don’t think the cubs want to go in that direction. They believe he can start and want to at least try to develop him as a starter while working on his secondaries. They don’t need to rush him anyways adbert alzolay is coming, and he’s by far the best relief option in the minors. They can move darvish to the pen come playoff time and they’ll sign kimbrel or trade for another closer. I don’t think relief pitching with strop now returning is such a desperate need that they even need to rush the guy. I expect he’ll be ready much faster then typical prospects though

  • Third round pick is a 6'3" pitcher out of Louisville. Mike McAvene.

  • He was a closer with 7 saves in 21 appearances. 46 K's mnd 9 w in 30 innings.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Nice pick there in the third.

    What round would you take a flyer on the Noah Song out of Navy? Throws really well but will have to serve for 2 years.

  • I think you will see him come off the board here int he next couple rounds. Fifth round the latest.

  • Wow, some dude named Glenallen Hill Jr just got drafted. Wonder if he is a brick wall too?

  • Went for another bullpen arm in round 4. Big 6'7" righty Chris Clarke from USC. Started early in his career but became closer this year.

  • Song just went to the world series champs with the last pick in the 4th round.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I'm interested in what they offer him. Seems a little unpatriotic to offer him under-slot. I don't know if they need the extra dough to sign another player but their management could make a good argument for him to take a few 100k less.

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    In reply to berber31:

    I'm not familiar with Song. Why would it be "unpatriotic" to offer him under-slot?

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    In reply to berber31:

    Sorry, didn't realize Song was a Naval Academy grad. That explains it.

  • also, for the angst concerning drafting a 6' pitcher, the dirty birds have just used their 4th and 5th round draft picks on pitchers 6' and 5'10".

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    My angst is moreso that they drafted a relief pitcher with their first round pick. Was not too happy.

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