Cubs draft 2014; Day 2 is in the books. The reports have been consistently confident regarding what the Cubs were able to add with young, upside arms. Here are some thoughts on both day 2 and day 3 from our draft expert/contributor Dan Kirby.
DK: The Cubs did outstanding on day two of the draft, headlined by an athletic catcher who can hit and defend his position well in Virgina Tech junior Mark Zagunis, who went in the third round.
They also nabbed two high upside arms in the fourth and sixth rounds with 6’-3," 200 pound southpaw Carson Sands out of North Florida Christian HS, and 6’-2," 200 pound right-hander Dylan Cease out of Milton HS in Georgia.
Cease may need Tommy John surgery, but he can hit the upper-90s when healthy and, at worst, could be a future shutdown closer. They should be able to lock up both of those guys with the savings that will surely be left over from the Kyle Schwarber and Jake Stinnett selections.
A lot of college guys went in rounds 3-10 -- per usual -- and I don’t see that many that really excite me left on the board. There should be a lot of high school players taken today and teams will be trying to pry a lot of them away from their commitments with over-slot deals.
Tough signs/ Not likely
Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Stone Bridge HS (VA)
There is a near-zero chance the Cubs will be selecting him today. There just isn’t going to be enough money left to try and woo the fireballer away from his commit to North Carolina. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, the right-hander can touch 100 mph and adds a deceptive change-up but the Cubs will have to wait until 2017 to get a crack at him unless another team coughs up the cash.
Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Osceola HS (FL)
Another kid I don’t see the Cubs going after, Weisenberg is a Stanford commit and those guys usually honor their commitment. Not to mention there won’t be enough money left to toss his way either. The 6’-5," 195 pound right-hander sits 90-93 mph with his fastball and can touch 95. His slider is inconsistent but shows plus when on, and his change-up is still developing. A lot to like here, but again, not likely.
Jeren Kendall, OF, Holmen HS (WI)
Kendall is committed to Vanderbilt. He’s a plus/plus runner -- maybe the fastest in his class and has a strong arm in center field. At 5’-10” and 170 pounds, he has some surprising pop in his bat and a solid approach, but again, Vanderbilt.
Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)
Marshall was inconsistent with his command down the stretch, but the projected late first round/comp round pick must be considered a tough sign since he is still available. He is an LSU commit and they are another team that likes to keep their recruits. The 6’-2," 190 pound southpaw has one of the better curveballs in his class and a low-90s fastball with life. He adds a solid change-up and he has a good feel for his stuff. If I’m a betting man, he is off to Baton Rouge.
Keaton McKinney, RHP, Ankeny Hs (IA)
McKinney was looking for a seven-figure deal and it now appears he will be heading off to Arkansas. A big righty at 6’-5” and 225 pounds, McKinney has a plus change-up and it was taught to him by Jeremy Hellickson. His fastball sits 89-92 with late life and he has deception to his delivery. His breaking stuff is still developing, but he should remain a starter and has nice upside, especially with that change-up.
Sean Bouchard, 3B, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
Bouchard is a teammate of first-overall pick Brady Aiken and has some nice upside in the power department. At 6’-3” and 190 pounds, he is very athletic and has good bat speed. There are concerns about the hit tool, however. He has a cannon arm and his soft hand and actions at third project to him to be a plus defender. All that being said, he is committed to UCLA and it is reportedly a strong commitment, especially at this point.
David Peterson, LHP, Jesuit HS (CO)
Peterson would likely be getting first-round talk if he didn’t break his leg at the start of the season. At 6’-6” and 210 pounds, the southpaw still has a lot of projection but scouts didn’t get a chance to really see how much he improved this year. He can touch 93 mph with his fastball and it has great life to it. His change-up is already an above-average offering and his slider is still developing. Peterson will take time to develop, but with his size and arm from the left side, it could pay off huge. Committed to Oregon.
Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, Lawrence HS (KS)
At 6’-8” and 265 pounds, the right-hander is pretty much all fastball right now. It can touch 98 mph, however, but he has been up and down with his velocity this spring. That’s understandable since he had Tommy John surgery after his sophomore season and just started throwing again over the winter. His curveball shows promise and his change-up is still developing. He is a project, but you can’t teach size and 98 mph. Committed to Missouri.
Tommy Doyle, RHP, Flint Hill HS (VA)
Virginia is yet one more college that does well keeping their recruits. Doyle is another one of those pitchers who is all about projection. Able to hit the low-90s now, his 6’-6," 215 pound frame suggests a lot more to come. While he works mostly off his fastball now, he shows a good feel for an upper-70s curveball and his changeup is still developing. He has a fast arm and good command of his stuff.
J.J. Schwarz, C, Palm Beach Gardens HS (FL)
A Florida recruit, Schwarz, is one of the better prep catching prospects still available. The 6’-1," 190 pound right-hander has a mature approach at the plate and raw power. He projects to an average defender but has a real chance to stick there as he has good actions behind the plate and a strong, accurate arm. He is an alumnus of Team USA Baseball and I happen to want all of those players. He also has the whole bloodlines thing.
Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS (FL)
Another kid with bloodlines, Cobi’s dad, Dane Johnson, was a second-round pick by the Blue Jays in 1984 and is currently a pitching instructor in their system. Cobi has been taught well and has a great baseball IQ. He missed a lot of time this season with elbow inflammation but is fully healthy now. His fastball has been sitting 88-92 mph and he adds a curveball that shows plus. His change-up is still developing, but he has a good feel for it and he creates a lot of angles and deception with his stuff. At 6’-4” and 185 pounds, there is still projection left. Committed to Florida.
Jake Godfrey, RHP, Providence Catholic HS (IL)
Playing in the Cubs backyard, the 6’-3," 215 pound right-hander is a workhorse-type pitcher who can touch 94 mph with his fastball and should add more as he matures. He also has the ability to spot it wherever he wants. His curveball sits 75-77 mph and is considered one of the best in his class showing great depth and spin. He adds a solid 78-82 mph change-up that he has a good feel for, but doesn’t use it often. He has great mound presence and solid command of his stuff. Committed to LSU.
Evan Skoug, C, Libertyville HS (IL)
Another kid who plays in the Cubs backyard, Skoug is a powerfully built kid who can drop bombs from the left side. At 5’-11” and 200 pounds, he has very good bat speed and a solid approach at the plate. There is still some work to do on defense, but he has a decent chance to stick behind the plate. A great leader, he fits the FO’s mold for what they look for in a player. Committed to TCU.
Jake Latz, LHP, Lemont HS (IL)
And yet one more player who plays in the area, Latz is a 6’-2," 185 pound southpaw who can touch 93 mph with his fastball and he sits 88-90. He adds a solid slider with good feel and his offspeed stuff is still developing. A great athlete, he has a lot of upside and, like Godfrey, is committed to LSU.
Darius Day, OF, Simeon Academy (IL)
Wait, just one more Chicago kid, I swear. Day is one of the older kids in his class which is always a knock on players as it limits their upside. He has some of the best speed in his class, as well as a very strong arm in the outfield. At 5’-11” and 180 pounds, he also has some good pop and is very aggressive on the field. A quick-twitch athlete who is committed to Arizona.
Scott Hurst, OF, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
Hurst is mostly known for his ridiculous arm strength in the outfield, as well as his above-average speed. At 5’-10” and 180 pounds, the left-handed hitter has some pop but is more of a line drive hitter. His approach needs some work, but he is an extremely intelligent player and an alumnus of Team USA Baseball. He also just led his team to a state title. Committed to Cal State Fullerton.
Luke Bonfield, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
One of the best pure hitters in the 2014 MLB draft, Bonfield uses his excellent bat speed to make hard, consistent contact to all fields and he has an advanced approach at the plate. At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, more power should come as he matures and he is a good athlete having been times at 6.8 in the 60. He adds a strong arm and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. Through 24 games, he hit .379/.523/.712 with 14 extra-base hits and 20 walks to seven strikeouts. Committed to Arkansas.
Clay Casey, OF, DeSoto Central HS (MS)
A very good athlete who also stars in football, the 6’-3," 205 pound right-hander has tremendous power potential to go along with a strong arm in the outfield. He has a patient approach at the plate and has a lot of upside once he focuses full time on baseball. Over 38 games, he hit .464/.543/1.009 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI. Committed to Ole Miss.
Raph Ramirez, OF, Pace Academy (GA)
A plus runner with range for days in centerfield, Ramirez also has a strong, accurate arm that should allow him to stick there. A left-handed hitter, he shows a good stroke but needs to refine the hit tool. At 5’-10” and 170 pounds, he is a toolsy kid that just needs some time to put it all together. Committed to NC State.
Alex Destino, LHP/OF, North Buncombe HS (NC)
Destino entered the year with more upside as a pitcher than hitter. At 6’-3” and 220 pounds, the southpaw can touch 93 mph with his fastball and he adds a mid-70's slider and low-80's change-up. With full time focus, he should be able to refine his secondary offerings, work on his command and add a couple of ticks to his fastball. Through 73.1 innings this year, he has 116 K/41 BB and has allowed 36 hits. He was also a complete monster at the plate, hitting .535/.598/1.118 with 14 doubles, 15 home runs and only four strikeouts. He has shown much more power this year, as well as an advanced approach from the left side. His size, power potential from the left side and strong arm make him an intriguing prospect whichever way he decides to go. Committed to South Carolina.
Alex Faedo, RHP, Alonso HS (FL)
Faedo has been rising all season and could go in the first three rounds of the 2014 MLB draft based on his size and upside. At 6’-5” and 210 pounds, the right-hander has a lot of projection and can touch 94 mph with his fastball. His slider shows plus potential and his easy delivery promises for more velocity. His change-up sits 77-80 mph, and he already has a good feel for it. He finished with 68 K/8 BB over 48 innings, allowing five runs on 27 hits. Committed to Florida.
Greg Deichmann, 3B/2B, Brother martin HS (LA)
At 6’-2” and 190 pounds, the left-handed hitter has big time power potential. A very good athlete, he has the actions to stick at shortstop, but a move to second base or third is likely and the bat will play well. His excellent bat speed allows him to wait on his pitch and drive it to all fields and he shows a patient approach at the plate because of that ability. Over 33 games, he hit .391/.562/.977 with nine doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Committed to LSU.
Griffin Helms, C, Norcross HS (GA)
In a class weak on catchers, Helms makes for a big target behind the plate and is a very good athlete at 6’-1” and 200 pounds. He has a strong, accurate arm and has recorded 1.85 Pop times. He was recently clocked at a silly 6.38 in the 60 and could easily transition to a corner outfield spot where his tools would play well. Over 26 games, he hit .368/.441/.528 with three home runs and 12 stolen bases. His strong wrists and bat speed allow him power to all fields, and he has a patient approach at the plate. Committed to Kennesaw State.
Garrett Cave, RHP, South Sumter HS (FL)
At 6’-4” and 190 pounds, the right-hander added velocity this year and has been sitting 90-93 mph and can touch 95 mph. He shows a promising curveball and his change-up are still developing. He has some command issues that need ironing out, and his mechanics is a little funky, but he is an athlete and one of the youngest players in his class. Committed to Florida International.
Jordan Holloway, RHP, Ralston Valley HS (CO)
At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, Holloway has a great pitcher’s body and a loose arm. He sits 88-91 and can touch 95 mph with his fastball and adds average secondary stuff. Many believe he has a lot more in the tank due to his athleticism and easy delivery. Committed to Nebraska-Omaha.
K.J. Harrison, C, Punahou HS (HI)
A great defender behind the plate, Harrison has a strong, accurate arm, advanced receiving skills and frames well. At 6’-3” and 195 pounds, he shows raw power but a questionable hit tool. A very intelligent player, he is one of the younger players in his class. Committed to Oregon State.
Spencer Moran, RHP, Mountain View HS (AZ)
Moran is all about projection. At 6’-6” and 170 pounds, he will likely fill out and add velocity to his upper-80s fastball that can touch 93 mph. His secondary stuff is still developing, but his athleticism and loose, lanky frame bode well for progression. Committed to Utah.
Cam Bishop, LHP, Brea Olinda HS (CA)
Like Moran, Bishop is a guy with a ton of upside but is still a project. At 6’-5” and 215 pounds, he already has the size and can run his fastball up to 94 mph but sits mostly 88-90. His secondary stuff is still developing and his delivery needs some tweaking. He also is a very good athlete and is committed to UC Irvine as a two-way player.
Gage Hinsz, RHP, Billings HS (MT)
Like Bishop, Hinsz has a big, mature build and can touch 93 mph with his fastball. At 6’-5” and 210 pounds, his secondary stuff is further along, however, and his quick arm and easy delivery shows more to come. Committed to Oregon State.
Zach Pop, RHP, Notre Dame SS (ON)
One of the younger players in his class, Pop is a 6’-4," 225 pound right-hander with a mature build already. He can touch 94 mph and sits 88-92 with his fastball and he has some deception to his delivery. His slider and changeup are both developing and his role will be determined by the refinement of those two offerings. Committed to Kentucky.
Jordan Brink, RHP, Fresno State
Brink is a terrific athlete who is still relatively new to pitching. He was generating a lot of buzz earlier in the year when he was touching 96 mph, but he didn’t maintain that velocity as the season went on and his command wasn‘t sharp. He adds a power slider that sits in the mid-80s and the hope is, he can develop his offspeed stuff and gain more stamina as he matures. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, there isn’t much projection left but he does show two plus pitches. Over 13 starts, he had a 2.87 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 62 K/44 BB over 84.2 innings.
A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Stanford
A senior, Vanegas is a familiar name with draft junkies as he has been drafted twice already. The right-hander can touch 97 mph with his fastball and adds a plus slider. He has had to deal with some back issues over the last two years and that could be why he is still available. At 6’-3” and 215 pounds, he has a durable frame and could be a power arm out of the pen. He finished with a 2.33 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 28 K/14 BB over 38.2 innings.
Jalen Beeks, RHP, Arkansas
At 5’-11” and 180 pounds, Beeks can hit 94 mph with his fastball and adds average offerings in a slider and change-up. He has very good command of his stuff and, despite his size, could be a backend starter. He did, however, miss the last couple of weeks due to elbow soreness, which is why he is still out there. Over 13 starts, he had a 1.98 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 68 K.20 BB over 81.2 innings, pitching in the always tough SEC.
Richard Prigatano, OF, Long Beach State (31)
He’s 6’-4," 220 pounds and has very good bat speed. That’s a good starting point. He has shown improvements in his approach over the last three years, yet he is still raw offensively. Defensively, he profiles as a left fielder due to his average arm but he did steal 21of 23 bases, showing good speed and instincts on the base paths. Over 58 games, he hit .300/.419/.389 with seven doubles and just one home, although Blair Field is death to hitters.
Tanner English, OF, South Carolina
English has plus/plus speed and endless range in centerfield. He also has one of the strongest arms outfield arms in the draft and is a terrific athlete. His bat, however, falls a bit short. At 5’-10” and 170 pounds, he can wreak havoc on the base paths, he just doesn’t get on base enough. Over 62 games, he hit .282/.349/.349 with 11 extra-base hits and drew just 18 walks to 46 strikeouts. He did go 21-for-24 in stolen base attempts, however, and has value.
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