With the draft just a couple of days away, I’m sure most people are getting tired of talking about who the Cubs are going to take with the fourth overall selection. That's why Through The Fences Baseball's draft guru Dan Kirby goes all third round on you here.
Kirby previously gave us some second round possibilities for the Cubs draft here.
DK: Since I already covered possible targets for the Cubs at pick 45, I decided to go a little deeper in a deep draft. There obviously is no way of knowing who will be around in the third round right now and I'll have a better list after day one, but these are some guys who are projected in that range. And since big boards vary from team to team depending on organizational philosophies, here are 20 players I can see being targets for the Cubs -- 10 high school and 10 college:
Mitch Keller, RHP, Xavier HS (IA)
Keller may not be around here as he has been rising pretty fast this spring after adding about six miles per hour to his fastball; it's sitting around 91-94 now. At 6’ 3” and 190 pounds, the right-hander is a good athlete with fluid motions on the mound, two things that bode well for command. He features an above-average curveball and his change-up is still developing but he shows a good feel for it already. He has a great pitcher’s body and there is still projection left. His brother Jon is an Orioles prospect. Committed to North Carolina.
Kevin Padlo, 3B, Murrieta Valley HS (CA)
A late-rising prospect, Padlo broke out at Area Code Games and never stopped impressing. The 6’ 1”, 190 pound right-hander has a strong arm along with the actions to stick at the hot corner. He has raw power to all fields and very good bat speed. He is an aggressive player on both sides of the field and still has a lot of upside, especially in the power department. Committed to San Diego.
Trey Supak, RHP, LaGrange HS (TX)
Another kid who may not be around here, Supak is a player I followed closely and he has been rising all season due to his stuff and size. At 6’ 5” and 220 pounds, the right-hander can dial his fastball up to 95 mph and sits in the low 90s. He adds solid secondary stuff and got better as the season went on, showing good stamina. Over 66 innings, he had 125 K/26 BB, allowing four runs on 31 hits. A lot of upside left and he comes from a baseball family. Committed to Houston.
Trace Loehr, SS, Putnum HS (OR)
A great athlete with an advanced approach at the plate, Loehr makes consistent contact and should hit for a high average at the next level, although he may not hit for a lot of power. He has above-average to plus speed and uses it well on the base paths. He is also a very good defender with soft hands and great instincts in the field. Many believe he can stick at short but he could end up at second due to his average arm strength. At 5’ 10” and 180 pounds, he still has upside and could add power as he fills out. Committed to Oregon State.
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.
Austin DeCarr, RHP, Salisbury HS (CT)
Still new to the mound, DeCarr is a 6’ 2”, 210 pound right-hander who has been sitting 91-93 mph with his fastball and can touch 95 mph. He adds a curveball that shows plus potential and his change-up is solid with room for more. There may not be a lot of projection left, but he has come a long way in a short time and his three-pitch mix should allow him to remain a starter. Committed to Clemson.
Evan Skoug, C, Libertyville HS (IL)
Playing 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 legitimate shot 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.
Jeren Kendall, OF, Holmen HS (WI)
Kendall has some of the best speed in the draft and has been timed at 6.4 in the 60. He also has a very strong arm and has been clocked at 94 mph from the outfield. At 5’ 10” and 170 pounds, he has some sneaky power but that isn’t his game. He hits from the left side and shows a solid approach with a short, compact swing. He is a Vanderbilt recruit but could sign if he gets drafted this high.
David Peterson, LHP, Jesuit HS (CO)
Peterson would likely be getting first-round talk if he hadn't broken 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 improving. Peterson will take time to develop, but with his size and arm from the left side, it could pay off huge. Committed to Oregon.
Cody Reed, LHP, Ardmore HS (AL)
Another kid I followed closely this spring after he starting getting helium a couple of month ago, Reed is a 6’ 3”, 250 pound right-hander who added velocity to his fastball this year and has been hitting 96 mph. Obviously, his size could be a concern, but he is athletic and could probably shed some weight easily. The question is, does he lose his velocity if he does? He also shows the makings of an above-average slider with nice depth and has a good feel for a change-up with fade. Reed put up some silly numbers this spring for Ardmore; over 88 innings, he had 216 strikeouts to just 15 walks. He allowed five runs on 27 hits and he struck out 18 or more batters in six of his 13 starts. There is a lot to like, but there is also some risk. He also is a Vanderbilt recruit and they like to keep their commits.
Aramis Garcia, C, Florida International
One of the better all-around catching prospects in the draft, Garcia is more offense than defense, but shows the ability to stick behind the plate as an average defender. At the plate, the 6’ 2”, 200 pound right-hander has a solid approach and many believe more power will come as he matures. He is an extremely intelligent player and gets praise for his makeup and leadership. Over 45 games, he hit .368/.442/.626 with 14 doubles and 8 home runs and drew 25 walks to 23 strikeouts.
Connor Joe, C/1B, San Diego
A lot of Joe’s draft value depends on teams believing he can stick behind the plate. If the Cubs are one of those teams, he could be a target here. He is new to the position but shows good aptitude there with a strong arm and a quick release. He will obviously need time to refine his receiving skills but he has some offensive upside -- especially power. The 6’ 1”, 205 pound right-hander has very good bat speed and a good approach as well. Over 53 games, he hit .367/.462/.606 with 21 doubles, nine home runs and drew 32 walks to 24 strikeouts.
Greg Allen, OF, San Diego State
One of the few true leadoff-type players in the draft, Allen has plus speed and he knows how to use it on the base paths. He is a great route runner and, combined with his speed and strong arm, has a legit shot to stick in centerfield. Offensively, the 6’ 0”, 175 pound switch-hitter has a mature approach and can hit the ball to all fields. He may never hit for much power, but the Cubs lack top-of-the-order speed guys in their system. Over 63 games, he hit .302/.385/.380 with 14 extra-base hits, 25 stolen bases and drew 30 walks to 31 strikeouts.
Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami (FL)
Suarez is a southpaw who gained nearly eight miles per hour on his fastball from last season. Fully healthy after shoulder surgery he had after high school, he was hitting 95 mph in the fall while showing off a much-improved slider. He continued to impress all spring, sitting 90-93 mph with his fastball while showing excellent command of his stuff. Over 16 starts, he had a 2.95 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 87 K/15 BB over 109.2 innings. At 6’ 1” and 200 pounds, he has solid back-end rotation stuff.
Aaron Brown, LHP/OF, Pepperdine
A two-way stud who has legitimate upside as both a hitter and pitcher, Brown’s future will likely start on the mound, where he was brilliant for the Waves this season. Over 16 starts, he went 12-1 with a 2.07 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 100 K/38 BB over 108.2 innings, holding opponents to a .212 BAA and allowing just one home run. He has a classic three-pitch mix, headlined by a sinking fastball that sits 90-93 mph. He adds an above-average slider and solid change-up. Most believe he can improve on his stuff and command once he starts focusing full time on pitching. The 6’ 2”, 220 pound lefty also shows raw power and the athletic abilities to stick in centerfield. Over 58 games, he hit .310/.349/.539 with 11 doubles and 12 home runs, but he drew just eight walks to 51 strikeouts, raising some red flags about his hit tool translating to the next level.
Mark Zagunis, C, Virginia Tech
Another catcher who is more offense than defense, Zagunis is also a terrific athlete with above-average speed. The arm is average but accurate and his receiving skills should allow him to stick behind the plate, although he could handle a corner outfield spot, too. His power dipped a bit this season but he has a strong track record of hitting over his three years for the Hokies. Over 53 games, he hit .330/.426/426 with 10 doubles, 2 home runs and drew 32 walks to just 20 strikeouts, showing an advanced approach at the plate. He also went 16-for-19 in stolen base attempts. He could be a Jason Kendall-type player.
Jace Fry, LHP, Oregon State
While he doesn’t have a standout pitch, Fry knows how to mix speeds and keep hitters off balance. His fastball sits 88-92 mph and he adds a deceptive change-up and solid curveball. The 6’ 1”, 190 pound southpaw has very good command, can go deep into games and his track record in a tough conference like the Pac-12 is great. Through 16 starts, he has a 1.80 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 98 K/30 BB over 120.1 innings, holding opponents to a .196 BAA.
Adam Ravanelle, RHP, Vanderbilt
Ravanelle hasn’t gotten much exposure because he didn’t really have a defined role coming into the spring. The 6’ 2”, 190 pound right-hander has a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s with sink and he adds a power slider. Through 34.1 innings, he has a 1.31 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 32 K/14 BB, holding opponents to a .150 BAA and allowing just four extra-base hits (all doubles.) His change-up is still developing, but even if he doesn’t end up in the rotation, he has a closer’s mentality and could be a very good one.
Wyatt Strahan, RHP, USC
At 6’ 3” and 190 pounds, Strahan has the size and durability to remain in the rotation. He offers a simple three-pitch mix, and, at worst, he can be a power arm out of the pen. His fastball sits 90-94 mph with sink and he adds an above-average curveball and deceptive change-up. His command can get the best of him at times and that is probably his biggest area for improvement. Over 16 starts, he had a 3.28 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 89 K/49 BB over 104.1 innings. He keeps the ball down and didn’t allow a home run all season.
Brett Graves, RHP, Missouri
At 6’ 1” and 190 pounds, Graves comes with the “undersized” tag attached to his name. While he may lack the size, he definitely has the arm and can touch 97 mph with his fastball, which sits 91-94 with sink. He adds a slider that flashes plus when on and his change-up is still developing. His command is plus and he can spot the ball wherever he wants to. He’s also a great athlete, which bodes well for further development. Over 93 innings this season, he had 64 strikeouts to just 18 walks.
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Filed under: Minor League News