Gunther's Barely Informed Day 3 Recap of the Cubs Draft (picks 21-30)

Gunther's Barely Informed Day 3 Recap of the Cubs Draft (picks 21-30)

This is fourth installment of my eventual five part recap of unnecessary and belated draft coverage. The first part of the day 3 recap can be found here.

This morning I was sad to find out the Yagu's wonderful draft tracker is out of commission for at least the time being. I am hopeful that it will come back soon because I shudder at the thought of actually having to keep track of this stuff myself. Well in the mean time I will do just that as I repost my estimates updated with the information we have on the current budget (read not much)

1st Round $4,621,200:
C Kyle Schwarber (Confirmed Signing Bonus: 3.125 Million/My Estimated Signing Bonus-3.8 million)
2nd Round $1,250,400:
RHP Jake Stinnett (My Estimated Signing Bonus-1 million)
3rd Round $714,900:
C Mark Zagunis (Confirmed Signing Bonus-615K)
4th Round $480,600:
LHP Carson Sands (Estimated Signing Bonus-1 million)
5th Round $359,900:
LHP Justin Steel (My Estimated Signing Bonus- 360K)
6th Round $269,500:
RHP Dylan Cease (My Estimated Signing Bonus-1 million)
7th Round $201,900:
RHP James Norwood (My Estimated Signing Bonus-250k)
8th Round $161,800:
LHP Tommy Thorpe (My Estimated Signing Bonus-100k)
9th Round $151,000:
RHP James Farris (My Estimated Signing Bonus-50k)
10th Round $141,000:
RHP Ryan Williams (My Estimated Signing Bonus-10k)
Estimated Total Spent- $8,185,000
Total Pool- $8,769,810
Difference- $1,259,810

The Cubs have signed a number of players so far including Justin Steele, Jordan Brink, Kevonte Mitchell, Tommy Thorpe and several others. We do not have bonus information on anyone besides Kyle Schwarber and Mark Zagunis at this pointn. The amount that Schwarber signed for makes me think that my estimates for Sands and Cease are low at this point. The other possibility is that the Cubs are going to load up on the overslot guys on day 3 which they appear well on the way with 7 draft picks between rounds 11-20 indicating they will likely sign. Continuing on with the day 3 we see perhaps the most interesting group of draft picks from day 3. This group has a few Kong candidates (if you are unaware of what I mean here read the first day 3 recap or know that I make reference to the move The Scout for some reason), but those candidates might also be the least likely to sign of any Cubs draft picks.

21 619 Charles White OF JR


The Cubs continue a trend here of taking players with connections to players taken in the top 10. I am not sure if this has been standard practice for the Cubs and I am just becoming more aware of it as I am going through the draft picks. Or if this is a new pattern by the Cubs front office. It does make sense given how much the front office values information that they would lean towards taking players that they have seen more. White is an intriguing prospect for those that are looking for the Cubs to draft a table setter type. Here is a scouting report from last year about Charles White:

The Report: White is a dynamic centerfielder and has the ability to take over a game purely with his legs. Featuring plus speed, White finished top-5 in the nation with 39 stolen bases. He routinely disrupts a pitcher's rhythm when he reaches base, which he did in nearly 45% of his plate appearances.

The Good: White's speed will make heads turn. He is as good a bunter as you will ever see and uses his speed to track down balls in centerfield that seem impossible to get to. He's an excellent slap hitter and sprays the ball to all fields for a high average (.350). On top of all that, Charlie is tough to strike out (17 Ks in 214 ABs) and possesses an above average arm.

The Bad: Many scouts will not roll the dice on White's style of play. Without any power potential, teams must bank on the fact that he can hit for a high average all the way up to the Major Leagues. Additionally, this was Charlie's first season as an everyday starter.

I usually fear the no power/speed guys (e.g. Tony Campana), but there are two things that jump out to me about White. That is good bunter and tough to strike out. If you are not going to drive the ball out of the ballpark you need to put the ball in play as often as possible. Brett Butler is my ideal in terms of leadoff (I mean Rickey Henderson is of course the best all time but he is freak in terms of abilities with power/speed combination). Butler was an amazing bunter and never struck out so he managed to pile up high OBP with little power. I doubt White meets that potential, but actually like the pick here that appears likely to sign as well.
Kong potential-5%

22 649 Joey Martarano 3B FR



Martarano is an interesting pick, and does two interesting things for the Cubs. He, along with Schwarber, increases the power potential of the Boise roster and also means that the Cubs '14 draft class can beat up any other teams draft class. Martarano was rated among the best power hitters in the 2013 draft out of high school. The Cubs affiliate in Boise is probably the biggest selling point for Martarano as he can play baseball and then football for Boise in the fall. Martarano didn't play baseball last year, but in 2013 he was a highly rated prospect headed into the draft. The Cubs might have gotten a steal at this round being able to sign Martarano with no bonus pool impact because of the opportunity to play football along with baseball. Here is a scouting report on Martarano from last year:

Update: Not much has changed here, Martarano is still very raw, very talented and still has very high upside, but he's failed to make big improvements this year. He's a little scary, and will take an overslot bonus, but he'd be a good get for any system.

Major League Floor

Martarano has some flaws in his game that need to be polished for him to reach his potential as a big leaguer. If he is unable to mature as a hitter, he could find a niche as a backup infielder/pinch hitter type to provide right-handed power off the bench.

Major League Ceiling

With continued strides as a hitter and some tweaks to his swing, Martarano could be an all-star level hitter at third base and post big power numbers. His profile is somewhat reminiscent of current Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks or the Cardinals' David Freese.

Kong potential-10%

23 679 Isiah Gilliam OF HS



So the first tweet should sufficiently squash your enthusiasm raised by the next two tweets. Gilliam is probably the highest draft pick that goes unsigned, but he is the guy to hope that the Cubs have tons of money to play with for day 3 picks. Here is one of many drool worthy reports on Gilliam:

member of the 2015 class until a few weeks ago when he was declared draft-eligible for 2014, Gilliam was priority viewing for scouts because they had little track record with him until a few weeks ago. A third baseman up until this year when he moved to first base, Gilliam’s meal ticket will be his bat.

“It is a great body, a body that makes you take notice before he even steps on the field,” the director said. “He has bat speed, natural strength and took some pretty good swings at the NHSI. There is a lot to like there.”

The switch-hitter has above-average bat speed and plus power to his pull side. From an open stance, Gilliam showed some feel to hit at the NHSI, with only one swing and miss and a few line drives back up the middle. His lower half was inconsistent in his swing and he did not create optimal rotational force with his lower half, but has the physical tools to do so.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Gilliam has broad shoulders, a high waist and large, strong legs. He posted below-average run times of 4.38 and 4.42 from the left side of the plate. His reclassification makes the 17-year-old Gilliam young for the class.

The final two months leading up to the draft will be key for Gilliam as evaluators bear down on a player with whom they have very little history.

Here is the MLB.com scouting report on him:

Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Just a few months ago, Gilliam was classified as a junior and a member of the 2015 Draft class. But because he began high school in 2010 and his eligibility is set to expire, he was able to move up his graduation to 2014 and become eligible for this year's Draft. The change left scouts scrambling to see him late this spring.

Gilliam is a switch-hitter and uses his quick, compact swing to generate good bat speed. He produces solid power and drives balls well from both sides of the plate.

Gilliam plays mostly first base now, but he is athletic enough to play in an outfield corner, despite his below-average speed.

Kong potential-35%

24 709 Daniel Spingola CF JR


This is his coach talking about Spingola:

"Daniel is a very talented baseball player. He's been a role player to this point in his career, but now has a chance to start every day and I expect big things from him. He's got good speed and great defensive instincts."

Another college bat with a table setter profile. The excitement level with Spingola is a lot lower than White though.
Kong potential-1%

25 739 Tyler Pearson C SR


This was the word on Pearson when he was drafted out of high school in 2010.

Quick Hit: Pearson is committed to attend and play for Rice in the fall, so like with Griffin a round earlier, this looks like a an unsignable pick but one where the Indians will get to know and follow him a little better this summer. He is a hardnosed catcher with very good catch and throw skills, though the bat clearly needs work.

It seems like the bat really never developed much, but as a senior signing he ought to not effect the bonus pool at all. You can never have too many good defensive catchers in the system, but it seems likely that his ceiling is a backup at the major league level if that.
Kong potential-1%

26 769 Zach Hedges RHP JR


Not much out there on Hedges. Apparently he throws a slider.

“We really got the slider back today,” Hedges said. “We were really focusing on putting it in a place where we can get a K or where they can get themselves out. They’re tough hitters, so it was also a good challenge to battle and know that I had to make really good pitches, but we’re just mixing it up and trying not to stick to a fastball plan.”

Here is the college's statement on Hedges being drafted.

Hedges continued his strong career as the rotation’s most consistent pitcher all season. The Damien High School product led Azusa Pacific’s starters with a 2.74 ERA, while tossing a team-high 85.1 innings. Hedges’ pinpoint control helped the junior register a 2.8 strikeout to walk ratio and a .232 opponent’s batting average. Hedges finished with a 5-4 record, with two complete games and a save. The Glendora native, who appeared in 13 games, surrendered one earned run or less in 10 appearances.

“Zach’s like Joe in that he’s self-motivated. He has quality character, he’s a hard worker and driven. We’re super excited for his progress as a player. To put himself in this position is exciting for him and speaks volumes about what kind of person he is. We’re happy to see a guy like that get this kind of opportunity,” said Svagdis.

Honestly, the most interesting thing about the draft pick is that Hedges went to the same school as Christian Okoye.
Kong potential-1%

27 799 Calvin Graves CF SR


Graves has signed. He was the leadoff hitter for his school the previous two seasons. And what seems to be a trend in taking athletic center fielders by the front office. And that is about it.
Kong potential-2%

28 829 Jacob Niggemeyer RHP HS

Have a little bit of a scouting report here or at least the velocities and pitches he throws:

Fastball: 84-89Curveball: 75-76Changeup: 74-78Slider: 80-81
Position

Guessing there is some projection given the velocity, but probably not a ton given where he was taken. Given his size though 6'3" 230 lbs. there probably isn't a ton of it there. Though a local newspaper article has Niggemeyer reaching higher velocities.

Add a fastball that has reached 94 mph, and you have quite a package in Niggemeyer.

Kong potential-5%

29 859 Gianni Zayas RHP J2


But Zayas is more than just a fun name to say according to Baseball America

Righthander Gianni Zayas, who went to high school in New Jersey, attended North Carolina State, where he threw two innings as a freshman.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Zayas, who has a solid, well-developed build with a strong lower half, sits 91-93 mph and touches 94 with his fastball.

“He has a chance to be a true four-pitch guy,” Updike said. “He has a good, solid fastball and he has movement with a four and two-seamer.”

His 77-80 mph curveball with 11-5 tilt showed plus potential, to go with a slider. Developing his low-80s changeup, which he throws from a lower arm slot, has been a key development for Zayas.

“We went a split-change grip with pressure on the ring finger just so he could have the idea of a different grip in his hand while he accelerates,” Updike said. “He did that for two or three weeks and it started to show. In the last few weeks he has went back to a traditional changeup grip but the idea of the straight changeup has taken hold. It is starting to develop.”

Zayas, who walked 18 in 24 innings in the Atlantic Summer College League, will also look to improve his control.

These two hurlers will be priority viewing for Florida scouts next spring. Seminole State has a strong track record in the draft (especially pitchers), having produced five big leaguers since the 2006 draft. Seminole State’s pitching alumni include a pair of All-Star hurlers, Ryan Franklin and Bobby Thigpen, as well as Robert Person. It has also produced single-digit round selections in the last two drafts, 2013 Angels righthander Garrett Nuss (seventh) and 2012 Marlins righthander Daniel Oliver (eighth).

Reading that makes me more excited than I should be about a 29th round pick, but it also leads me to question whether or not the Cubs will be able to sign him. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Cubs can convince him a $100,000 is enough to start his pro career.
Kong potential-10%

30 889 Michael Cantu C HS



Cantu is the other tough sign/high hope guy in this batch of day 3 picks. Here is the MLB.com scouting report on him.

Scouting Grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 20 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
The position-player crop in Texas is exceptionally thin in 2014, from the colleges down through the high schools. The Lone State State may not have a hitter taken in the top three rounds for the first time since 1981. The best candidate is Cantu, who offers intriguing power potential and raw arm strength.

Cantu can put on a batting-practice show that rivals anyone's in this year's high school class, though his long all-or-nothing swing leads to swings and misses in game action. He has a strong arm, but he often records fringy pop times because his footwork and transfer are slow.

Scouts love Cantu's makeup and leadership skills, which were also on display when he quarterbacked the Moody football team, coached by his father Mike. While he has two captivating tools, there are enough questions about his bat and his agility that he may not get drafted high enough to lure him away from a commitment to Texas.

The odds seem a little higher that the Cubs could nab him than Gilliam, but both are long shots. Again this is the other guy to hope that the savings the Cubs got in the first 3 picks isn't eaten up by Sands/Steele/Cease.
Kong potential-35%

Conclusion
This was the most interesting part of day 3. Gilliam and Cantu are home run picks if they are signable, but the odds are long that Cubs land either much less both. Cantu is slightly higher probability at this point but mostly because we just haven't received any indicators unlike Gilliam who is already not expected to sign. That said Martarano and White are two interesting college position players that I will be interested in watching hopefully at Boise sometime this season. Zayas is the most interesting arm of the bunch, and would love to see him signed without limiting the ability to go after the big guys Gilliam and Cantu. The final rating of this draft will depend a lot upon whether or not the Cubs can pull off signing at least one of those two.

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