Filtering out the smoke and making a final guess: It will be Rodon or an underslot for the Cubs MLB Draft

The more information I have on the draft, the more muddled it seems to get.  Ahh, the days when it was going to be Mark Appel or Kris Bryant or maybe Jon Gray.  It was even simpler when the Cubs had the #6 pick in 2012.  The top 5 seemed set in stone and the Cubs locked in on Albert Almora.

This year there have been a number of guesses.  We’ve been locked in on Nick Gordon since April,  but I pulled a switcheroo and took Aaron Nola in our mock draft…yet neither is anything as close to being certain as Almora and Bryant were.

Information is everywhere, both on and off the record, and sometimes it contradicts itself.  If I were to look at all the list of players who have been ruled out or deemed unlikely, I would be down to just Brady Aiken — and he is not going to get to the Cubs barring extraordinary circumstances.  So if the draft goes as expected and all the info I’ve read and everything I’ve heard is correct, the Cubs will pick….well, nobody.

What’s really happening here is that there is just a lot of smoke being blown around.

I’ll take non-smoking, please.

When so much that is put out for public consumption is just smoke and mirrors, misdirection, and a little sleight of hand, we can rely on historical patterns and preferences. Actions speak louder than words this time of year.

But why bother blowing smoke at all when in baseball there are no trades and thus no concerns that someone will trade up and steal your guy?

It’s more about trying to influence the value of the commodities on the market.  Scouts and front offices don’t work in bubbles.  There is plenty of interaction.  Information is exchanged.  If it appears a lot of teams are buying in on Player A, then maybe Player B — the guy you really want — falls to you.  Silence and/or denials also have a purpose.  You do not want to draw attention to that player and raise his perceived value.  Even if there is no chance any team ahead of you will take him, it could influence the teams behind you to take a second look.  That is only significant in one sense:  If you want to sign that player to an under slot deal.  In that scenario, you don’t want to inadvertently raise his value to the point where the next couple of teams behind you become interested.  It limits your negotiation leverage if the player isn’t expected to fall very far.

But let’s get back to basics, filter out the smoke, and use good old fashioned logic and a process of elimination and come up with the what the Cubs will do…

What we know:

  • The Cubs will take LHPs BradyAiken or Carlos Rodon if they fall.

What we think we know

  • We also think the White Sox are locked in on Tyler Kolek.
  • The Cubs are emphatically a “Best Player Available” team, but that is not clear cut this year so there are reasons to believe they may go under slot this year.
  • We know the Cubs prefer college players and are especially averse to high school arms this high unless they are once in a generation type arms.  Only Aiken qualifies here, possibly Kolek, but we believe the White Sox are taking him anyway.
  • We know they prefer middle of the field players: catchers, shortstops, CFers. and SPs
  • They prefer athletic players
  •  Jason McLeod has stated worries about taking pitchers early because of health concerns
  • We know there is a drop off after the first 2 — or 3 players, depending on who you ask.
  • We know the strength of this draft after the top two or three players is the depth of the draft, particularly when it comes to high school pitching.

What we don’t know

  • We don’t know what the Astros or Marlins will do,    Logic dictates that they would take the top two players but both teams are reportedly considering Alex Jackson.  There is a strong rumor, in fact, that  the Marlins have agreed to take Alex Jackson at #2.  For this piece, however, we are not considering such things.  It could just be more smoke.

What we want to know

  • We know the Cubs will take Rodon if the Marlins and White Sox rumors are true and the Astros take Aiken as expected, but what if the top 3 players are off the board? What direction will the Cubs take at #4?

So, with that information in mind, let’s go about breaking this down.  I will use the 30 players from our mock draft.  We will cross off the top 3 right off the bat because we are considering scenarios outside the top 3 names right now.

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

Let’s also eliminate all non middle of the field players. I know the Cubs took Kris Bryant but that was a special case. There is no bat at that level this year. So let’s cross off: Michael Conforto, Alex Jackson (assuming he doesn’t stick at catcher), Jacob Gatewood, Alex Biandino, Michael Chavis, and Ti’Quan Forbes, who figures to move to 3B. Kyle Schwarber is a borderline case but it’s likely he doesn’t stick either and besides, he isn’t the kind of athlete they like anyway.

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner 11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

Now, because we know the Cubs said they would take a prep arm this high if he is an elite talent (in terms of ceiling and floor), let’s eliminate all remaining high school arms as Aiken and possibly Kolek would be the only ones we feel the Cubs would consider at #4 . Let’s also eliminate Nick Howard, who is a college reliever and won’t get picked as high as 4.

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner 11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

Okay, we’ve cut the options  in half.  Another thing we know is this: The Cubs prefer college players but it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t take one. In fact, we know they took Almora at #6 two years ago. They pick at #4 this year, so let’s presume they won’t take a high risk prep player, which probably anyone outside the top 10.

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner 11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

This is where it starts to get tough. Let’s go to Jason McLeod’s fear of taking an injured pitcher. We know that two are already injured, Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde, and two more, Brandon Finnegan and Kyle Freeland, have some red flags associated with them. The Cubs may just consider all too high a risk at #4.  I’m more on the fence for Freeland.  Finnegan’s size and max effort delivery make him a huge longshot in addition to reported shoulder issues.  But I will eliminate both here.

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner 11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

Okay. This is what we have left. And remember, I am not using any internet rumors or personal information, so we can’t eliminate anybody based on what’s there or anything I may have heard personally. tempting as it may be.

Aaron Nola
Nick Gordon
Bradley Zimmer
Trea Turner
Max Pentecost
Sean Newcomb
Tyler Beede

We are now down to 7 players and this is where it really starts to get in that gray area. Let’s say the Cubs want to capitalize on the strength of the draft and save money for one of the 2nd round high ceiling pitchers. We know Nick Gordon won’t sign under slot (he has said he wants a “fair” deal) and that Aaron Nola probably won’t, so this is the unkindest cut of all…

1. Brady Aiken 2. Carlos Rodon 3. Tyler Kolek 4. Aaron Nola 5. Nick Gordon 6. Alex Jackson 7. Bradley Zimmer 8. Touki Toussaint 9. Jeff Hoffman 10. Trea Turner 11. Kyle Freeland 12. Grant Holmes 13. Michael Conforto 14. Derek Hill 15. Max Pentecost 16. Michael Chavis 17. Sean Newcomb 18. Brandon Finnegan 19. Sean Reid-Foley 20. Marcus Wilson 21. Kyle Schwarber 22. Michael Kopesch 23. Tyler Beede 24. Jacob Gatewood 25. Erick Fedde 26, Spencer Adams 27. Ti’Quan Forbes 28. Alex Biandino 29. Nick Howard 30. Michael Gettys

So, there you have it. It’s all broken down for you

If Aiken and Rodon are there, the Cubs will take whichever falls (almost certainly will be Rodon if it happens).  If they are not available, then the argument can be made that either Gordon or Nola could be the pick as the BPA — but really, how can we be certain the Cubs believe they are the clear BPA’s? I for one, am not so sure.

But… if the Cubs go underslot, which is what I believe they’ll do as their plan B, then you have a choice of Bradley Zimmer, Trea Turner, Max Pentecost, Sean Newcomb, and Tyler Beede, though we could probably eliminate Beede, who has fallen out of even top half of the first round consideration.

I think there is a sense that there is a significant drop off after the top 3 and that the #4 player may be closer to the #10 player, than he is to the #2 player — so maybe this is the year that you can justify any number of players as the BPA at 4, much like you could in 2012 at the very top of the draft. That scenario spells underslot to me, so that likely means no Nola or Gordon.  Neither are expected to drop far if the Cubs don’t take them and so the leverage isn’t there.  I think that 4 players (Zimmer, Pentecost, Newcomb, and Turner) make the most sense from an underslot perspective.  If the Cubs don’t get Rodon, then they may want to double up with first round talents in the first and 2nd round, and they can only do that by going underslot on the first pick.

See? And you thought this draft was confusing. All we needed to do is clear the air and let the smoke filter away.  Have this narrowed down to a very manageable 4 if Rodon doesn’t fall.  I will also add some wildcard and longshot scenarios to break it down to 4 categories here.

The no-brainer if he is there

  • Carlos Rodon

The best underslot candidates

  • Bradley Zimmer
  • Max Pentecost
  • Trea Turner
  • Sean Newcomb

The wildcards

  • Tyler Kolek (if Sox rumor is false)
  • Brady Aiken (if the Astros surprise and pick Rodon)
  • I won’t rule out Nola if Cubs can get him at less than slot.
  • They really do love one player at #4 over the rest and won’t care about going underslot.

The long shots

  • Kyle Schwarber as underslot (if Cubs think he can stick at catcher)
  • Kyle Freeland as  underslot (if Cubs believe he is healthy, as many teams seem to think – but even the red flag is probably enough to eliminate him)

I have my personal favorites in these scenarios, but we will save that for draft day.


Filed under: 2014 MLB Draft


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  • I'd like Trea Turner on an underslot deal if Rodon isn't there and they have some questions about Nick Gordon. I'm not a fan of going underslot though

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Feeling I get is the gap betwen 2 (or 3) and #4 is a lot bigger than #4 and #10. There is no clear BPA after the top 2 or 3, so I actually think this is the perfect year to do it.

  • The draft coverage is awesome. Unfortunately it is more exciting than talking about the major league team. I like Rodon or Nola best if the realistic scenarios occur. I think Conforto and Pentecost arei ntriguing if they agree to sign cheap. Conforto has really good numbers against quality Pac12 pitching. I watched Pentecost play against Bama the other day and he looks like a gamer but I am pretty much unfamiliar with him other than his numbers and that one look.
    Thanks for the article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Thank you. I think this year's draft is the most exciting since I have covered the draft. May not get the best player, but the thought process is much more involved this time.

  • Rodon goes numero uno.

  • In reply to dumbass:

    If that happens it will be interesting because it probably means Aiken falls to the Cubs. Win!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Don't the Marlins want Aiken if the Astros pass? I think the only reason they have made a deal with Jackson is because they know the Astros are taking Aiken.

  • In reply to NathanE:

    If you go that route, there is a rumor that their top 2 are Rodon and Jackson, so maybe it means the Astros are taking Rodon. That would mean Aiken to the Cubs!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Gotcha..this draft hurts my brain

  • In reply to NathanE:

    We had to f'ing sweep the White Sox last year didn't we?!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I beleive you said something about someone getting to the podium fast enough if ...............

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If the Cubs get Aiken, I will go streaking on my Colleges quad lol

  • if one of the big 3 don't fall. I think we go Gordon.. total guess

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I have really begun to doubt that, actually. And I am a Gordon fan.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My gut tells me that I don't want Gordon. I don't know why, but I have a bad feeling with him as a prospect.

  • Although, I agree there is probably a big drop off after the first 2-3 picks, I am still a big enough fan of Nola that I would prefer him over an underslot guy. His ceiling/floor combo is hard to pass up if Aiken, Rodon, and Kolek are gone.

    I trust the front office, however, and I do not think I will be mad at any guy they decide to choose.

  • I'm probably a minority, but I'm not sold on Rodon... I have the same feeling I had with Appel last year about his pitch counts and that his great stuff has come and gone and then come back so far this season... And in some of his starts I even wonder why he didn't get better results with his stuff.

    But I also admit that he might be a better option than several names here.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It's a concern, but talentwise he is head an shoulders above everyone except Aiken.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • fb_avatar

    I would be ecstatic if Rodon was there for us. How many would have thought it was possible a year ago for this to happen. But if the big 3 are in fact gone, I still take Gordon. I'd have to say he IS the best player available and I wouldn't want to play games with an underslot deal in hopes of getting another pitcher later.

    If this draft is in fact loaded with pitchers, even if those are HS arms we are talking about, there will be plenty of arms to chose from in the later rounds.

    Now if the top three drafting teams want to play games and let us have one of the top 3 arms, I jump on that and laugh loudly at their foolishness..... How's that for clearing the smokey air?

  • I'm not a fan of the underslot deal either.... all we need is one of those three teams to become enamored with Nola/Gordon/Jackson... and we get a TOR prospect. If not, I'm okay with Gordon/Jackson based on what they think is the BPA.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Did you see my rumor/tweet that there is buzz that the Marlins may have already agreed with Jackson?

  • N-O-L-A not changing what i have heard or the guy i have wanted the Cubs to take this at the start of the college year. Gonna be a blast to watch the first 15 or so picks this year.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Not ruling him out yet. especially if he is willing to take a little less at #4 so they can go overslot later.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm torn on Rodon. There's a part of me that would go crazy if we got him. But we all wanted Appel 365 days ago and he's been an unmitigated disaster. Rodon has been up there with Appel in terms of high pitch count starts. So, if we do get Rodon, the other part of me is scared that a year from now he's struggling to hit 91 on his fastball.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is a legitimate concern.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think it is a bit premature to call Appel an unmitigated disaster. He has had some health issues to deal with this spring and has had a slow recovery. Let's see how he is doing a year from now.

  • I think the Cubs preferences come down to this:
    1. Aiken
    2. Rodon
    3. Pentecost on far underslot deal
    4. Nola on a slight underslot deal

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think Aiken is the only HS kid they are even considering this high. Wouldn't be shocked if they passed on Kolek even if he was available. Kolek is not a good athlete and is already huge. I don't see this FO rolling the dice on a kid throwing that hard staying helathy AND staying in top shape to stay a starting pitcher with his frame. Rarely do guys his size stay that way, they tend to just get bigger.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Agreed. I think Aiken would be a lock, but not sure they feel that way about Kolek, though there is plenty to like there too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitley a lot to like with Kolek, and if he was 21 I would have less concerns. But 18 year olds that are that big scare the hell out of me. So much can physically happen to a kid between 18-21. He could easily blow up to 280+ pounds. This isn't football where he could switch from QB to TE or OL if he continues to grow. How many guys that big have ever been succesful as pitchers? Sabathia, Rueschel was pretty big,... and now I'm drawing a blank. HS RHP pitchers are already one of the riskiest bets in the draft. If he was as polished as Aiken maybe, but as it stands...

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Broxton and Colon have been very effective. Then there's Felipe Paulino with KC and Tommy Hunter with the O's. Depends on the make up of the individual I guess.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Colon is the only starter in that group, and even he didn't get huge until he was in his 30s. But yeah, I guess he counts. Still, 3 guys is pretty much the definition of outlier. It is not wise to risk a lot on a guy being an exception to the rules.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    How many pitchers can easily throw 100mph consistently? Kolek may be the 4th to the definition to the outlier. Don't count him out.

  • In reply to JLynch2247:


  • John, do you think the Cubs take Gordon or an underslot over Kolek if he's there? You eliminated him in the process so I'm just curious where he would fit in. I think Aiken-Jackson-Rodon is a real possibility, so I'm curious.

    I could see taking Gordon over him, but I think taking an underslot postion player so you can sign prep arms later would be a strange strategy when you could just take the second best prep arm.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    very valid point

  • i have to imagine the cubs have a specific preference of players and have laid out scenarios not dissimilar from ones you've pulled together over the last couple weeks, john.

    i get the sense, though, that the cubs aren't looking at those scenarios and feeling like it's a coin flip between a handful of guys.

    i think, knowing that there's a group of guys likely to be there, they've got a clear preference & as such have locked-in on the most-likely BPAs.

    playing the scenarios out, i think they understand the implications of taking any of them, with regard to signing pool funds. but i don't think they're considering, for instance, taking a player they value less in RD1 because it gives them more funds to snag another player in RD2.

    i think their approach will be to take the definitive BPA on their board in RD1 and if that happens to provide them some flexibility in later rounds, then that's gravy. hopefully they've determined that score objectively and in a way that benefits them to a greater degree than the preparation of the other FOs picking in the top 3...we can only hope.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Thanks. I think we are making the assumption here that there is a "special player" they feel is head and shoulders above the rest. I don't think that is necessarily true. You want a guy to stand out, as Almora did to them in 2012, but you can't force that to happen if that player isn't there.

    I am going off of scouting opinions (not rumor) that such a player doesn't exist this year at #4. The Cubs may feel differently, but I haven't gotten that indication.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    tks john...well-reasoned. certainly appreciate the work that goes into Cubs Den and this article in particular.

    my real hope is, with so many opinions floating around, that the difference in perspectives on the talent at the top of this draft from professional evaluators means good things.

    ...that's how the astros ended up with appel instead of kris bryant, after all.

    given the cubs' "guiding principles" for the draft and very deliberative evaluation process, i just hope it's resulted in something that clearly establishes a preference at pick 4.

    it's wishful thinking, for sure...but, hey, i'm entitled to some of that as a cub fan..!

  • In reply to ratay1:

    I agree, actually and I am not necessarily saying they didn't, but I thought this would be a good thought exercise for breaking down your options. There is a step when I eliminate Gordon and Nola, but to be honest I haven't eliminated them at all. I did it because I didn't think they'd be underslot guys.

    I hope the Cubs really do think that one of these guys is head and shoulders above the crowd and that the choice is clear for the Cubs. I'd much rather have the sure think in the first round -- but if it isn't there, I don't want them to force it either.

  • John, this a very well thought out and in-depth analysis, and incredibly useful for discussion.

    I do have a problem with this statement, however:

    'I think there is a sense that there is a significant drop off after the top 3 and that the #4 player may be closer to the #10 player, than he is to the #2 player -- so maybe this is the year that you can justify any number of players as the BPA at 4'

    You're making the assumption that in all of the scouting the Cubs have done with this year's draft class, that they haven't found anybody special in that group (#4-#10) of players, and that they are all pretty much the same, using their own analysis.

    I find this highly unlikely. There is someone in that group that they like more than the others (for whatever reason) and that is the person they will choose.

    Now will they try to convince that person he is an underslot, to save money to potentially improve their draft class? Maybe, but they probably don't save much if anything at all, and that has to be a secondary concern. Their primary concern has to be to take who they think is the best player available, and that is who they will take.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    great minds think alike..!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I actually find it very likely. It seems to be the consensus around the industry as far as the people I have spoken with (admittedly not Cubs people). And the Cubs going out to scout Pentecost pretty much backs that up. If there was a special player at #4, why scout a non-special guy who may be #10 in this years draft?

    In 2012, most thought there was a consensus top 5 but the Cubs locked in on Almora because they believed he was a special player. The fact they seemingly haven't locked in on anyone that way this year tells me they don't see an Almora in this draft. Maybe it is Gordon, maybe Nola, but there is no strong indication like there was 2 years ago.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe the Pentecost scouting is a smokescreen. Is it possible he may be available in the 2d round? It just seems hard to believe that they would get cute with an underslot signing with the 4th overall pick in the draft. This would be a case of overthinking an issue, IMHO.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    He won't be available in the 2nd round, but you are right in that it could just be a smokescreen or at least maybe not their top target. Lots of options being discussed,

  • This is a really great article, but I think it's overanalyzed to the point of losing perspective. With a number 4 pick in the draft, you have to get value equal to a top 5 talent. The players drafted in this range NEED to be franchise altering players to make your pick worthwhile, and I don't think that gets done by going the underslot route that the Royals took last year (Really reaching on the first pick) which would be like taking Zimmer, Turner, Pentecost, or Newcomb to me. Even that plus your overslot pick does not add up to the expected value of a top five talent in a draft. I don't think there's a chance of that happening.

    Now, the route the Astros went makes more sense. Sure, they reached past Buxton, but they did not reach far at all and still got a top five talent plus McCullers. To me a comparable situation would be if the Cubs draft Nola. You said that he would likely not be an underslot candidate, but I vehemently disagree. Any combination of the top three and the Cubs taking Nola lets Gordon slip to the Twins, who are as good as a lock to take him. Therefore the soonest Nola goes is to the Mariners at 6. The difference between the Cubs at 4 and the Mariners at 6 is a whopping 1,045,300. Throw in the fact that he has no leverage as a college arm and there is more than enough room to work an underslot deal from 500k to 900k, which is enough to get the Cubs 37 pick up over 2MM. This is the only underslot I would consider, because I think Nola (Top 5-6 talent) plus an overslot does in fact equal out to the talent you expect from a top five pick. (Side note: Even if the Twins were going to pick Nola, the slot difference is +750k, so there's still room for a significant underslot)

    The other thing left out of the article is the probability that the Cubs draft best player available, which is arguable the most likely outcome. To me that's in this order: (excluding Aiken) Rodon, Kolek, Gordon, Jackson, Nola. I don't think the Cubs get cute, it will be one of these five with the only underslot chance coming if it's Nola or Gordon.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    agree...can't afford to be cute with pick 4. they've deliberated and determined a clear order of preference for the players likely to be available at pick 4.

    no coin flip & no taking a player they clearly like less than another in order to save draft pool funds.

    ...if it so happens that the best player on their board is signable under slot, then that's just icing on the cake. but imagine they've thought through all those contingencies, too.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    "no taking a player they clearly like less than another in order to save draft pool funds."

    This is really my thinking. Couldn't agree more with that and you last paragraph.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Again, why are we assuming they like that potential underslot player clearly less than the guys above him? The idea that many think it is anything but clear is the point here.

    We also don't know the Cubs board, we can be assured it is different than the ones we've seen on line. What if, say, Pentecost is ranked 5th on their board, right behind Gordon?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In that case I agree. I guess my point is, that they won't pass on Player A regardless of whether it's Pentecost, Gordon, Joey Pankake, whoever, if they have him internally rated as head and shoulders above Player B regardless of how much Player B is willing to go underslot. "Internally rated as head and shoulders above" is the key phrase here.

    If they really do have the players internally rated that closely together as you and a lot of experts seem to think, I think they go underslot for sure as you say and I totally agree with your thinking in that case.

    I think they have probably targeted a player that they think is better than the rest of 4-9 and will take him if he's there no matter what. If it's someone like Gordon or Kolek, they'll take them even if it's at slot. If they think Pentecost or Nola or someone else is head and shoulders above the rest, they will take them and get the underslot as well (have their cake and eat it too). If they haven't identified a player that stands out, they'll take the one from the group that will give them the most money to spend on the second pick.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    It's possible. I think there has to be a clear preference. That is not to say there isn't one, there may be that one guy they really like. I certainly can't rule that out and with the Cubs usual preference for BPA, they may well have singled one or two guys out.

    In fact, I would not at all be surprised if that were the case but I wanted to explore the alternatives if A) they did not have a preference or B) they may 3 preferences and they are all taken.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Why should there be a clear hierarchy? Hypotherically, what if you grade player 4 at 70 and player 10 at 67.5? And what if player 10 is willing to sign for $1M less, allowing you to get a second player who grades out at say, 60, with your second pick?

    I think if you don't see a sure fire impact player at #4, then I think the line can be a lot more blurred than what you guys might think.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Thanks, but you are assuming there is a top 5 talent in this draft. Just because a player is ranked, it doesn't mean he is that caliber of player in a normal draft.

    Scouts have told me it's kind of a mess after the top 2 and some think the gap to #4 is larger than the gap from #4 to #10. If there is little difference between #4 and #9 on your board, but choosing #9 allows you to be able to afford #20 on your board at pick #45, why wouldn't you do that? More value that way.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right, I get what you're saying, but I guess my line of thinking is more along the line of ratay's. The "consensus" top 4-9 is really muddled and that's for sure. So if we were drafting on our knowledge then what you say is absolutely correct. If 4-9 are neck and neck, take 9 because then you get number 20 later with the money you saved. But I have to believe that within the Cub's scouting department they have identified one or two of the 4-9 that they believe are head and shoulders above the other six players, and will not pass those one or two over for one of the other six just to save money for the second round. Then our guesswork gets dicey, because I assumed the one or two they targeted were the #4 and #5 consensus which could be very wrong. But if I'm right, they're not getting them much underslot. If one of the players they targeted as better is the #8 or #9, then you are right and they get a big underslot.

    So that's the long winded way of saying I think you mapped it out perfectly to the point that from there the decision is up to information that's only in the Cubs draft room. But I think it's a mistake to leave Nola and Gordon off the list because it's very possible the FO thinks they're head and shoulders above 6-9 and wouldn't pass up the player they really feel is better just to save money for later.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Picks in this range do not need to be franchise altering. In fact, they rarely are. They don't even need to be great players in order to be worth the financial investment, they basically just need to be MLB contributors at some point to be worth it.

    The general consensus is that this is not a very good draft class, especially in the college hitters, which is generally the safest area a draft can have. There is a possibility that there are not even 4 frachise altering players that will be drafted throughout all of the teams this year and the chances are those players won't all be picked in the top 5.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I really disagree with your statement on the Royals here. Their play was Dozier was brilliant because it got them Manaea, who had top of the draft talent. He's been one of the best pitchers taken in last years' draft, with peripherals well above his results in advanced A ball. I think the Astros would take that from Mark Appel right now without thinking twice.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It ended up being a good move, but it's risky. I wasn't arguing that it was a bad move at all, just the fit to the Cubs for the method behind it. With an already pretty healthy major and minor league system they were in a better position to take a bit of a risk in the draft. But that's not the biggest part to me, it's the pick positioning. At numbers 8 and 34 there is a lot better chance of targeting a player you want at 34 and having a realistic shot of them being there. At 4 and 47, there is a Ton more guess work and uncertainty that the player(s) you targeted will be there for the next pick. For example if a team in a similar situation to the Cubs that year, the Blue Jays had gone that route and taken Dozier at ten with no CBR pick and had to wait until their second pick (47) Manaea would not have been there and the talent drop off from him was pretty significant. At this point I don't think the Cubs can afford that type of risk if they have to reach for the first pick as much as the Royals did with Dozier with players like Meadows etc. on the board still.

  • i agree i dont see Theo or Jed reaching , i think its Aiken, Rodon,Nola or Gordon , i cant see any other name except Pentacost and that is if he is willing to take WAAAAAAAYYY below slot , i mean lowball central . FO knows the get an Elit player next years draft this year get a usable player and dont overthink it.

  • If we do go underslot, who would be some of the candidates for the 2nd round?

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    John has mentioned HS RHP Jack Flaherty a couple of times. The little I have seen of him he looks very impressive. I would totally be down with taking that kid. Good athlete. Frame to get bigger. Looks like he has a clean delivery.

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    I like Flaherty and Bukauskus, though the latter is reputed to be a very tough sign.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But still signable. Otherwise, why would they put themselves in the draft?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I may be wrong, but I don't think you have to declare or make yourself eligible for the draft. You either are or you aren't. You can ask teams not to draft you, but I don't think you can actually stop them from doing it.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Players are assigned a draft number. Somebody has to put them in the draft.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    It's solely based on eligibility, high school Sr's, and college Jr's and Sr's are eligible. The athlete has absolutely no say in it whatsoever, they do not put themselves into the draft.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    There is no promise the player(s) you want in the second round will still be there or even decide to sign so I don't think the FO selects any player at #4 unless they are REALLY happy with that player. If they can save money for later, all the better but not the prime motivation, in my humble opinion.

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    The other guy that gets mentioned a lot is J.B. Bukauskas. Hard thrower. Apparently has a pretty strong college commitment. Might take a a pretty large chunk of change to buy him out of it.

  • You know, Sean Newcomb would be an interesting underslot pick. How many 6'5" 240 lb LH pitchers who sit 90-94 mph and can touch 97 are there? Not too many. We have Derek Johnson to fix any control problems. Then with the money saved we can get another power arm with pick #45.

    But I trust Theo/Jed/Jason to pick well for the Cubs and I will just sit back and watch.

  • In reply to John57:

    I agree....Newcomb, Toussaint and Holmes are my three picks for going underslot. All three could be failures, but all three also could be TOR pitchers if they reach their ceilings.

  • Need to get Kevin to create an alter ego account for the prescient inside scoops!

    I've been smelling underslot in my readings for awhile now. Not sexy, but maximizes potential assets.

    Better to have two cockatiels than one macaw when parrot fever or UCL injuries are rampant.

  • In reply to CGunz:

    I will just say that I have spoken with a lot of people and the consensus is there is no consensus top talent after the top 2 or 3. Opinion varies but there really is no strong opinion among those I have had conversations with.

  • To me if they go plan "B" and want to go underslot, Pentecost has really grown on me. He has an athletic build and a hitting eye that most catchers don't seem to have, even in college. If they could get an agreement from Bukauskus before the draft, that would be a fantastic one-two punch IMO.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Bukauskas has publicly asked teams not to draft him because of his commitment to North Carolina, so there seems to be very little chance he would make an agreement with the Cubs to go in the 2nd round.

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    Hence the whole reason I suggested trying to reach a pre-draft agreement with him, so they wouldn't waste the pick. If they signed Pentecost to $2.5 M and offered Bukauskas top 5 money (like $3M or so), would he really turn it down to go to NC, only for a chance to get, at most, around $6M three years from now?

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    Consider the possibility that he is simply manipulating the draft as others have done in the past.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's definitely a possibility. It just seems like with the new CBA and teams having a specific (and fairly arbitrary) dollar amount where they have to cut off negotiations or lose a draft pick, a high school pitcher would have to have some pretty impressive intestinal fortitude to play that game.

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    But why would he put himself in the draft if he doesn't want to be drafted? I don't get it.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    They are automatically in the draft. It isn't like the NBA where you declare or don't.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    You know, I think this is right, but just about everybody has their price. If Cubs get their guy and save money and Bukauskus is available, I'd dare him to turn down $2M+. Historically, turning down big ti-me money out of high school has been a bad decision.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If the cubs were going to draft Bukauskus, I guarantee Theo and Jed will use as many resources as possible to get him to sign. They would show every statistic as possible to show that turning down that much money coming out of high school is the wrong decision to make.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm pretty sure that's not correct. There is a drug screening or something that must be completed to enter the draft. If you don't want to be drafted, you can just not do the drug screening.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Huh? You realize their is a difference between someone drafting a player and him actually signing, right? Players that are for sure going to college still get drafted in the 30-40 rounds, just in case. The fact that their drafted doesn't mean anything.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    what's the criteria to be in the draft? especially a high school player? am I in the draft?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Did you play on your high school baseball team and finish your senior year this year?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;

    College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old;

    Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

    You also have to be a U.S. or Canadian resident (Puerto Rico & other US territories included)

  • John is there any reason Hill and Chavis are not on the radar for under slot possibilities? Not that I know anything but they seem to be moving up quick. Do you hear anything useful regarding those two?

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    Wouldn't it be funny if they drafted either Beebe or Turner considering those were the guys we thought were going 2 and 3 in December.

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    I want either Nola or a left handed corner outfielder.

  • Draft history might be a guide on the underslot mystery, if that is the direction mgmt is going. Keep in mind that Almora and Bryant were guys who are mature beyond their age. So, I think "maturity," "leadership," or "character," or whatever you want to call it, would probably separate 1-2 underslot candidates from the rest of the pack.

  • John,

    If Kolek is there at 4 do you think the Cubs take him or go underslot ?

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Don't know for certain but gut says they don't love Kolek like top 2 and may try to spread their risk over two picks instead.

  • We cannot dismiss that if the Cubs go pitcher in Round 1, they could go for a bat in round 2. It seems unlikely but not impossible. Hanneman was a surprise 3rd round pick for sure. A guy that left an impression on me is Mike Papi OF/1B from Virginia. He's left handed, can play left field and has the approach the Cubs FO likes.

  • I'm not doubting anyone's ITK insider information, but I'm just believing more and more that Gordon makes the most sense. There's no way Aiken falls to #4, Rodon just scares me, and Gordon at slot value probably isn't all that bad of a deal for the Cubs. Here's why: young, slick-fielding minor league shortstops are an extremely valuable commodity in baseball - i.e. Boston trading away Iglesias to get Peavy and go on to win a World Series last year. Furthermore, Gordon's minor league development time would likely mesh up pretty closely with the end of Castro's contract (which runs through the '19 season)

  • I have an idea/question that I'm sure will get ripped on, because that usually seems to be the case when I see st brought up elsewhere to guys like Keith Law, but anyways:

    Let's say the top 3 picks hold to wow we expected it to play out (at least prior to the latest Jackson rumors), and the three pitchers end up going 1, 2, 3. hen that leaves the Cubs with no one they love at 4.

    In that scenario people say they may shy away from players like Jackson, Gordon, Nola because they'd rather go the underslot route.

    But why not take one of those players and play hardball with them on an extreme underslot, with the worst case scenario that they'll just get 2 picks in the top 5 next year, when they'll presumable have more players they love at the top? And given that they'll likely have an even higher pick next year that gives them all sorts of ways to get creative and manipulate things.

    So I've heard the argument against this is that you always want to grab the payer NOW. And that GM's don't have the time to play the long game like that. There's essentially no value in waiting the extra year. But if there was ever a team/front office that could afford to do this, isn't it the Cubs (Theo's job seems pretty safe to me)?

    I dunno, prob a dumb idea, but just throwing it out there. Curious what others think.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    They won't do it, but I'm intrigued,

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    It's a huge risk since your total bonus pool for the draft is dictated by the collective slots for your selections and the Cubs' first round selection makes up the vast majority of its bonus pool ($4.6M of a total $8.35M). It means you couldn't draft overslot players because if you didn't sign the 4th pick, you'd have less than $4M to sign the remaining 9 players in the first 10 rounds and couldn't really go overslot with any kids after round 10 either.

    Your argument is a very interesting one, but it would be an absolutely huge risk and basically require punting on the draft for an entire year.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    One problem that there might be with this is that the FO might get a bad rep for doing that. They would basically be telling the pick, "You sign for this or go to school." That would be hard to explain to agents next year that you won't do that to their client and have them believe you.

    I do like the idea of two top 5 picks though. If there was a year to do that, you would think this would be the one.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    1) It pisses off a prospective employee?
    2) The entire premise is disingenous, and makes you look like a POS in the eyes of colleagues, players, coaches, agents, media, fans and all non-fans with a moral compass.

    There are hundreds of baseball and business related reasons that this is a bad idea but they are unnecessary to list because I hope there isn't a GM employeed that would get past the reasons listed above to even have to consider more reasons.

  • if the cubs didn't want Gordon. wouldn't they be flooding the rumor mill with how much they like him to possibly sway anyone in front of them to re analyze him and ppossibly take him? or am I up in the night with this line of thinking?

  • Something about Appel has me thinking the Astros will either go underslot like they did two years ago instead of drafting him, or they won't go pitcher at all. Appel has tons of time, but pitchers are not even close to a sure thing. So I think either they are 100% sold on Rodon or they pick a position player. I don't think they'll go the high school pitcher route. They are in the AL and a college pitcher will help sooner. But a bat is safer, and assuming Appel semi figures it out, they have a few arms that should be pitching on the big league team soon. All this said, as I write this I have no idea!!!!

    I could see it going: Jackson, Aiken, Rodon....

    If it does and Kolek is there, do you take him?

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Maybe the Astros take Gordon, the Marlins take Jackson and the White Sox take Kolek.

    Who do you take, Aiken or Rodon? (I know, nice fantasy world!)

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    In reply to springs:

    I take a vacation with $500 million PowerBall I just won.

  • IMO, the theory of going under slot for the Cubs would work best if we had and extra pick in the FA compensation round or CB round.

    That way they would maximize the impact of having more dollars to spread around to more picks (up high in the draft). Too bad we don't have that extra pick, however.

    Otherwise, Cubs are probably best suited to choose BPA regardless of costs, due to this being the #4 pick.

  • Schwarber runs like 2014 David Ortiz

    Pentecost can be in the majors in two years?

  • If the front office doesn't like what's available at 4, could they instead of picking an underslot, pick someone they know won't sign like Bukauskas, and get a compensatory pick next year? Would that free up the #1 money for this year and also give them the extra cash next years pick?

    Does next year's class of picks look better than tomorrow's?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Someone asked that earlier in the thread. The problem is, as someone replied, you lose that money out of your spending pool this year. That would be 4.6 mil gone leaving less than 4 mil for the rest of your top 10.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    From what Mayo and Callis said on the top 50 prospects show, this draft is deeper than last year's because it is much stronger in high school pitching. Meaning this could be a good year to sign a 1st round pick under slot. Hence all the discussion about high school arms in Round 2. Not sure about next year. Probably too early for that.

  • I love the discussion here. Obviously this is a non-sourced type piece and so it is open for discussion and debate in my eyes.

    It's a think piece, but like I said, I will announce my favorites right before the draft ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely sparked good healthy debate. The draft is a ton of fun. Hopefully in two years we'll be speculating who will fall to us in the 20s.

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    I have been saying for a couple of weeks now that my gut feeling is that one of the three teams (and possibly two of the three) are going to try to outsmart everyone with some Jerry Krause type pick. Thus Rodon or Aiken will fall to #4.

  • MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors 45s
    Cubs Designate Jose Veras For Assignment

    It's almost like they were listening to us...

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Cubs also purchased Whiteside's contract from AAA... Castillo has rib cage injury. Not sure if he is going on DL with another move for a pitcher.

    Though it was a mistake to sign Veras, I give credit to FO for moving on quickly from that mistake, once it was obvious he was blocking better players (like Blake Parker)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. Blake has earned an RP role on the team. Veras has not. 'Nuff said. Does anyone know how serious Castillo's injury is? Probably 15 day DL?

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Please some team be dumb enough to claim him, please some team be dumb enough to claim him, please some team be dumb enough to claim him...

  • My brain hurts. I had a dream last night (this is how much I look forward to reading Cubs Den every day) that the Cubs chose Gordon, and I was okay with it. I would also be alright with Rodon and Nola, who has grown on me. I know you pick the best player available, and not out of need, but I think there is a chance that those two aren't mutually exclusive at #4.

    I'm not excited by the under slot action, and tend to agree that this front office will pick who they feel is the best player available. At any rate, I love the hard work that John has done in order to provide good conversation. Love the comments. I am a bit more "old school" when it comes to baseball - a bit more heart/gut than head. I appreciate the creative thinkers here, and love the ideas that are discussed civilly here each day.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Haha! Two days away and I will probably change my mind one more time before then ;)

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    Wasn't the thinking that Gordon could possibly follow in his dad's footsteps and pitch? Worst case scenario, his tools don't develop as a SS and he ends up as #5 or back end of the bullpen? At 6-2, he certainly has his dad's body and hard slider.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Yes, Gordon has a high floor for a number of reasons. Best HS position player in my opinion. Best position player, period, actually.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    Baseball reference has Tom Gordon listed at 5'9", a far cry from 6'2".

  • I stevie wonder if the minor league catcher movement was foreshadowing anything? And I think Brede is going to be this year's Wacha. Top 10 who falls but makes quick impact. I wouldn't be disappointed with him.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    My money is him going to the Cards or Rays and they develop him into a #2 starter.

  • Hello from Bloomington Indiana. Living here I have been to about 20 Indiana University games this season, and I believe that Kyle Schwarber has a real chance to the Cubs pick at 1.4.

    Let me list the reasons:

    1. The guy can just flat hit. He has great bat speed with plus left handed power. I think he is one of the best pure hitters in college, and maybe the best left handed college power hitter in this draft.

    2. I do believe that he can stick at catcher until his late 20's or early 30's. He has a strong arm, and he is athletic enough to at least be a league average defensive catcher, or at least near that. Plus, he runs well....much better than is thought on this board. Because of that, even if he doesn't stick at catcher I think he can move positions to 3rd or 1B, or even a corner outfield spot because I rate his bat at an elite level.

    3. I think many scouts and people on this board are not quantifying his catching defensive abilities in the correct ways. Schwarber has handled an elite pitching staff at IU, and his abilities to call a game, frame pitches, and lead a staff to me do project. Trust me, for an elite college team IU didn't possess a single projectable arm, yet by the numbers the Hoosiers had some of the best pitching in the nation. I give Schwarber lots of credit for that with his game calling and pitch framing efforts.

    4. For this front office, I have to believe that they look at Schwarber and his leadership qualities, underrated catching skills, and dynamic left handed bat and they have to be reminded of a young Jason Varitek.

    5. When you consider positional value, organizational need, the high floor he has with his plus power and hot tool, and the ability to sign him underslot, I think he makes a ton of sense for how this front office evaluates players. Plus, a college power bat by the stat heads is the single safest route to go with your first round pick through the years.

    I freely admit that I could be wrong, but I can tell you that the Cubs have been in Bloomington many times this spring watching the Hoosiers, and no one who watches Schwarber hit doubts that he can be a force middle of the order left handed bat someday. If the Cubs want someone who fits a huge area of need and who can move quickly through the system while giving them some financial flexibility for other draft moves, this could be the guy.

    Prepare yourselves, because I think it is a very real possibility. We will see if I am right in about 48 hours.

  • Great piece.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Thanks. More of a think piece but it's kind of fun to break it down with one oarticular thought process. Obviously this one is mine and not the Cubs and it could turn out differently, but we'll see soon enough.

  • You've probably outlined all of this already, John, so forgive me. But why are we so sure that if Rodon goes #1 then Aiken is going to be there at #4? Are the Sox the only team that likes Kolek better than Aiken?? You're the insider but it would seem to me that Kolek would be more likely to be there at 4 (assuming Rodon is #1) than Aiken. I've been assuming that the White Sox are zeroed in on Kolek because they assume Aiken isn't going to be a possibility. Is Aiken a Boras guy?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    We aren't. But I think it's a moot point anyway because I believe Aiken goes first.

    This piece is just a thought process, there is no sourced info behind it -- just an exercise, really.

    We will have more right before the draft.

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    I might throw-up - like, actually - if the Cubs draft Turner. A questionable hit tool along with above avg. defense and elite speed - for me, that's a highly unappealing Top 5 pick.

    In the event the Top 3 are gone, the rest are intriguing: Nola, Gordon, Pentecost, Newcomb, and Zimmer. And I wouldn't throw out Conforto or Jackson too quickly just because they're not up the middle players. I just don't want them to take a lesser talent, because it saves them money.

    Your analysis is great, but this still has to be the most fluid and mysterious draft for the Cubs since 2010.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Haha! I like how you accentuated his positives even if it was going to make you throw up. I expected it was going to be all bad.

    In reality I doubt the Cubs draft Turner, it's just the way it turned out ;)

  • John, I think you too easily ruled out Hoffman. Their lack of interest could be just smoke and he would be a no-brainer at 4 if he was healthy. The FO has proven that they don't think TJ surgery isn't a big deal. I think Hoffman is in play as an underslot and he is the BPA if the top three are the pitchers even though he is injured.

  • In reply to SteveGA:

    They do not like red flags with high picks. If the Cubs picked, say 10th, then maybe, but they won't do it at #4.

    If they want to get a guy on an underslot deal, then it will be a guy who has less risk because the whole idea is to take risks later. They won't make their first two picks high risk.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I totally get your point John and you're probably correct in believing Hoffman is a bit too risky-- but it wouldn't be too crazy of an idea to consider him at #4 if he would be willing to go underslot. In fact, with Rodon's decrease in velo Hoffman could still be the better pick since he could get it up to 96 when healthy.

    Let's face it... the Cubs need impact talent and an injured Hoffman is far more likely to be that type of player in four 3-4 years than Pentecost or Turner. Right now it looks like Hoffman could go 20th or so- which would be about $2M in slot. The Cubs slot value @ #4 is $4.62M, so if Hoffman would take ~ $3M that would be a considerable deal for signing someone overslot later. Given that Shark and Hammel should bring back some major league ready pitching talent in a month or so, the Cubs can wait a bit for Hoffman to get healthy. I think Steve is onto something here- JMO

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    How about Newcomb on a big-time underslot to get Bautakus(sp) and other in later rounds?

    Newcomb is fluidly sitting 92-94 and can hit 98. Big strong body, nice easy delivery. Should be a mid-rotation innings eater with possibility to be a #2. Alone he might not seem worthy of 4 but when you consider the players he will allow you to sign in later rounds it might balance out.

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