However their first round pick goes, the Cubs are likely to stock up on pitching in the draft. Last year the Cubs selected Albert Almora in the first round, but then went on to select pitchers with the next 7 picks (Pierce Johnson, Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood, Ryan McNeil, Josh Conway, Ariel Prieto, and Trey Lang).
It may not be all that different this year and there are some intriguing arms that will be available after the first round.
Let’s take a look at some of the arms we like…
High School Arms
- Kevin Davis RHP (AL): Davis is not a particular big pitcher at 6’1, but he has a good arm with a fastball that tops out at 94 and sits in the low 90s. Additionally his fastball has some sink and late movement. His secondaries show some promise as Davis also throws a power curve in the 78 mph range that has good shape and tight spin. He shows a good feel for a change up.
- Chris Oakley RHP (NJ): We’ll jump about half a foot in size here as Oakley is about 6’7 or 6’8″ with a good fastball that touches 95 with some movement and still has a lot of projection and could add even more velocity. His secondary are still developing, however. He has an easy delivery and adds a mid-70s curveball that has plus potential. He’s also developing a splitter.
- Robert Tyler RHP (GA): Is a 6’5″ lanky right-hander with a fastball that top out at 94. The fastball shows great late sink and run and sit in the low 90s. His best pitch, however, may be his changeup. It sits in the low 80s with great sink. He is still developing his breaking pitch, a curveball that shows inconsistent break.
- Dustin Driver RHP (WA): Driver is 6’2, 210 lbs. with a durable frame and features a fastball that tops out at 94 with good sink and tailing action. He delivers the fastball with good downward plane. There are some mixed opinions on his breaking ball. Some say it’s a sharp curve, though Kevin says right now it looks more like a slurve. His changeup shows a lot of promise also. Driver has a bulldog mentality on the mound.
- Derik Beauprez, RHP, (OH): Beauprez is a big, physical pitcher at 6’5 and 220 lbs. with a fastball that tops out at 93 with good late life. He is still somewhat raw but also very projectable, so it isn’t hard to envision him throwing harder as he continues to mature. He shows a good feel for a change up and his curveball is still developing. Some good tools to work with so he has the potential to rise into the first round with a good season.
- Casey Shane RHP (TX): Is 6’4, 220 lbs with a nasty, sinking fastball that sits in the low 90s and tops out at 94 with plus sink. He also throws an advanced change up with good late movement. His breaking ball is still developing but shows flashes of being a plus pitch as well. His mechanics need some work, something that may account for his command issues. A lot of projection left with the potential for above-average stuff across the board.
- Brett Morales, RHP, (FL): Morales is an athletic pitcher with an easy delivery and good arm speed — though he sometimes throws across his body and loses command. He was mostly 89-93 this summer but has reached 94 in the past. He shows good spin on a curveball, and some feel for the change, although his command, as mentioned, was spotty at times, including at the UA game that I attended last fall. He shows a 12-6 curveball and a good change-up with both having the potential to be plus pitches down the road.
- AJ Puk, LHP, (IA) Puk is an athletic 6’6, 205 lbs with a lot of projection left. He shows good arm strength and his fastball currently tops out at 92 but he has a good chance to build on that down the road. His curveball (mid 70s) shows good shape and depth to it. Kevin hasn’t seen a change up from him nor have I seen any reports that mention that pitch. Puk is a very intriguing draft prospect due to his size and athleticism but a strong commitment to Florida could make him a tough sign.
- Trey Cobb, RHP (OK): Cobb hails from Broken Arrow H.S., the same school that produced top Diamondbacks prospect Archie Bradley. Cobb is about 6’3″ and 195 lbs with a frame that leaves room for some projection. He tops out around 91 from about a 3/4 arm slot with occasional side arm action. He shows great feel for a change-up, throwing it with good arm speed. Cobb throws strikes and changes speeds with his curveball. Overall he displays great pitchability with the potential to throw harder down the road.
- Thaddius Lowry, RHP (TX): is 6’4, 210 lbs with an athletic build. After throwing in the low 90s with his fastball that features some late tail and sink, Kevin reports that Lowry recently hit 95 . He also shows a good 2 plane slider with tight spin and sharp break. He also has a split-finger with great downward movement. It was dominant at times and may well be his best pitch. Lowry also knows how to vary speeds and displays good pitchability. Combined with his athleticism and possible increase in velocity, Lowry could be a sleeper in this draft.
- Carlos Salazar, RHP, CA: Salazar is a late riser on the strength of reports that he has hit as high as 97-98 with his fastball. Right now he could go as high as the 2nd round and could still go up before the draft. His secondaries are still developing with his change-up being his next best offering right now, perhaps a solid to above average pitch. His curveball is a work in progress but shows some promise because of it’s late movement. It did show some improvement at the most recent senior game in January. He has some command issues walking 55 hitters over 77.1 innings, though he struck out 159 and allowed just 30 hits. Lots of arm strength and potential is he can harness his raw ability.
- Trevor Williams, RHP, Arizona State: Williams can throw in the mid 90s but sometimes works a few ticks lower than that. He also features a slider, curveball and change-up. He had a great season last year, goingt 12-2 with a 2.05 ERA with just 13 walks in 109.2 innings. But despite his good velocity and full repertoire, Williams doesn’t strike out a lot of batters (just 59) and gives up more hits than someone with his raw stuff should.
- Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt: The 6’3, 200 lbs Ziomek didn’t have great numbers at Vandy (5.22 ERA) but came on strong in the Cape Cod League where he went 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 36 K/6 BB over 28.1 innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s and tops out at 93 mph wit some run. His changeup looks like a plus pitch at times while is curveball was inconsistent but shows promise.
- Thomas Windle, LHP, Minnesota: Windle is an intriguing pitcher. At 6’4″, 215 he throws and 88-94 mph fastball but he’s very projectable and could velocity as he matures physically. He has the makings of a plus slider and a solid change. He has been mostly used out of the pen so he has a fresh arm — and then impressed at the Cape Cod League over the summer, where he we posted a 2.35 ERA with 47 K/7 BB over 38 innings. If he can continue that improvement with his command, Windle could rise come draft time.
- Kent Emmanuel, LHP, North Carolina: The 6’4″ Emmanuel is a starter who has put up good numbers in his first two years at UNC. He’s not an overpowering pitcher (low 90s fastball) despite his good size. He’s more of a workhorse with very good control who can eat up some innings. He plays up his solid velocity with good deception, an above-average change-up and an improving breaking ball. He also shows great poise on the mound.
- Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU: Eades has all the tools and looks the part — but it hasn’t sown in is results yet. His numbers last season were somewhat mediocre (5-3, 3.83 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 94 innings). Has an ideal 6’3″ frame, a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball with good downward break that has all the makings of a plus pitch. He has also shown a change-up and slider. He has an easy delivery with good command. He’s a very talented pitcher who could find himself going a lot earlier in the draft if he puts it all together.
- Scott Frazier, RHP, Pepperdine: Frazier has great size at 6’-7”, 230-pound right-hander. He features a fastball that is about 91-94 mph, though some reports have him in the mid 90s. He also has hard curveball and a solid change, but like Eades and Williams, it has not yet translated into the kind of swing and miss stuff you expect to see from a pitcher with his size and ability.
***Thanks to Kevin Gallo as usual for his excellent contributions. Also a hat tip for Dan Kirby for his great info as well. This is not an exhaustive list and you can find more information at Big League Futures and Through the Fence Baseball.***
Filed under: MLB Draft