Draft Pick Rock Shoulders agrees to terms with Cubs

Roderick  Shoulders decided to forego his college commitment to USF and sign with the Cubs.  The appropriately nicknamed “Rock” Shoulders is a big first baseman at 6’2″ and 225 lbs with good power potential.  Click here to see some of that power on display.

In my Cubs draft wrap, I pegged Shoulders as one of the 10 most intriguing draft picks the Cubs made this year.  He was a 20th round pick out of high school but went to junior college to improve his draft status.  Despite having a good year (.318, 14 HRs and 58 RBIs) and ranking in the top 20 nationally in both HRs and RBIs, Shoulders inexplicably slipped in the draft to the 25th round, part of that reason may have been his commitment to play college ball.  The Cubs felt Shoulders was a steal that late in the draft and reportedly game him “3rd round money” to sign.  Shoulders will report to rookie-level Arizona by the end of this week.

 

Hat tip to Wesley on another find!

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    I was just curious if you knew his OBP and his BB:SO.

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    Never mind I found it.

    http://www.njcaa.org/colleges_college_player.cfm?category=stats&sid=7&divid=0&slid=3&collegeId=1363&teamid=114629&athleteid=324042&seasonselect=529

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks for the link, Michael! Looks like a very solid walk rate-- around 12-13%, not surprising since Boston originally drafted him last year. Power, patience...this will be one of the more interesting new draft picks to watch.

  • Nice pickup by the Cubs, the one thing that is lacking in their system is power hitters.

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    They've made a real effort to add power with picks like Baez, Vogelbach, Gretzky, Schlecht, and Shoulders. Their signings in Latin America -- Acosta, Malave, and Marcano all have good power potential as well. You hope that at least a couple of those guys pan out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good stuff! Keep on adding assets! Saw Rusin pitched a gem for Iowa last night! 11K's over 7 shutout innings. Abner had 3 more hits for Daytona...looking good.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Rusin looked a lot like Jamie Moyer yesterday (the Mariners version)...didn't he? He flat out dominated. He can seemingly locate the pitch wherever he pleases. And that changeup makes that 87-88 mph fastball really play up a few notches. That was a work of art yesterday.

    Abner has been on fire for about 3 weeks now. Maybe he's figured it out? If so, the Cubs have themselves a steal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We've had some good luck of late, plucking prospects from Cleveland. Maybe they'll need something else before the month ends..ha!

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Maybe this will be the hitters version of Chris Archer...a talented, but extremely raw player who maybe needs a fresh start. Both had gotten lost on Cleveland's prospect radar. Maybe Abreu can find himself with the Cubs. So far, so good...although it's only a small sample size.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hope so! He was on fire when we got him, and he's kept right on going. Hopefully he will start next season at AA. Get Vitters to AAA at least, and lets start moving these guys along. Either get them up to the big club, or trade them. I like what I'm seeing in the minors. In the past we would have our talent burning in the system way too long. As you pointed out, Struck and Rusin have pitched across all three levels this year, and I think McNutt did last year. I can't remember a time when the Cubs did such a good job of accumulating assets.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    The Cubs are lining them up at the gates. Lots of players are just a step away now. Last year it was Castro, Cashner, Colvin, and Barney. This year, however, there's been a gap -- only fringe prospects or guys who weren't quite ready were available earlier in the year.

    Now I'd say the Cubs have quite a few players who could contribute by the end of this year and, hopefully, all of next year...

    Slight disagreement with Vitters, though. While I wouldn't mind seeing him get bumped to AAA, I don't think they should rush him to the bigs until he gets a bit better with pitch selection.

  • Yes sir, looking forward to September. I hear ya on Vitters. You know from other comments of mine, I'm probably out on an island on Vitters. I just think he would be best served to sink or swim with the big club. With his talent and plate coverage, I really think the only way he will learn better pitch selection is by facing the best of the best. Better pitching will force him too, and if he doesn't, his career will be dead very quick.

    I see him as a 20-25 homer guy at best. A lot of people compared Beckham to Paul Molitor, but I see Vitters being more like Molitor. Maybe I'm too optomistic on Vitters, but I really like a kid that doesn't seem to be overmatched. His progress is interesting. At each level he's struggled at first, then has made a big jump, without really exhibiting more patience. I would like to see more patience as well. I just don't see it happening at any point in the minors.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    That may well be true as far as allowing to sink and swim. He seemed to have no problems with major league pitchers in spring training. He didn't look overmatched at all.

    I'd like to see Vitters have a year where he totally dominates in the minors, then see what he does when teams start pitching around him. I look at LaHair's plate discipline and his walk rate went up from 8% to 10% to 12% his past 3 years in AAA. I wouldn't want Vitters to be in AAA for 3 years, but I would like to see what would happen once he got a chance to be comfortable in a league. The Cubs didn't include him this year in their midseason promotions, and the extended time in AA seems to have helped him. He's really hitting the ball well lately.

    It's really hard to say what's the best way. It really depends on the player. Castro probably would have gotten really bored if he had to repeat a year, while Geovanny Soto really reaped the benefits of staying in AAA an extra year...I'm really not sure what the right plan is for Josh Vitters.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not sure how much I'm reading into LaHair's increase walk rate. Especially with him beasting at AAA. I'm sure pitchers are working around him much more frequently, driving that rate up.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    That's definitely true. The two go hand-in-hand. Power hitters always get pitched around and, unless your Alfonso Soriano, you get your share of walks because of it. That's what makes it really hard for a guy like Darwin Barney to take a walk....what's the worst that could happen if the pitcher throws it down the middle? Probably a single, so he has nothing to lose by throwing one strike after another.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very true. I think Barney is the perfect #8 hitter in the NL. He can make contact, bunt, run a little bit. You need a guy that can expand his zone, and put it in play when you're hitting in front of the pitcher. Nothing is more frustrating to me, when Quade hit Soto 8th. Don't need a guy with patience in that spot. There were numerous times(usually in Garza starts) where we had 2 outs, men on 2nd and 3rd or 1st and 3rd, with Soto up before the pitchers spot, and he walked...effectively ending the inning with no runs scored. He would take 2-3 close pitches and I wanted to bang my head off the wall....dude..you have a guy who is hitting .035 behind you!

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    I think Vitters trade value might be as high as it is going to get. If the Mets make Wright availble this winter and Vitters was part of the price to be paid, I wouldn't shed any tears over him. Geiger and Candelario look they might have higher ceilings anyways.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'd part with him for Wright, provided he's healthy. There's a also Baez (whenever they sign him), as far as possibilities at 3b. Top Dominican signing Acosta may be able to play 3rd as well.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I would have no problem with that move.

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