The Cubs were active in both phases of the Rule 5 Draft held this morning. They added one and lost two players in the MLB portion, before adding four while losing another two in the Minor League portion. No team had more players involved across the league.
Add RHP Trevor Megill
One of the top relievers available in the draft, the Cubs were able to snag a MLB-ready arm to compete for a bullpen job this spring. I don’t have a ton of info on Megill right now, but he is considered a strike-thrower who can run his fastball into the mid-90s. His slider and change are both considered average pitches as well.
The 6’8″ 235 pounder had success in AAA last year (54 IP, 58 H, 19 BB, 73 K, 4.19 ERA) for the Padres organization. The Pads have a deep farm system and were expected to lose players in the Rule 5 Draft this year due to the roster crunch. Word is the Cubs tried to trade for Megill prior to the deadline for the Rule 5 deadline last month, but ended up getting their man in the draft anyway. The Cubs have had success pulling Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck out of the Pads system over the past year. Here’s to hoping they find similar success with Megill.
Megill was a draft pick of new cubs scouting director Dan Kantrovitz back in 2014, did not sign, was picked by the Padres the next year.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) December 12, 2019
Lose UT Vimael Machin and RHP Michael Rucker
This is a bit of a tough pill to swallow considering the lack of depth the Cubs currently have at 2B and in the bullpen. These are two players the Cubs held back in AA for much of the season, despite repeating the level while having plenty of success, who other organizations have now deemed as potential full season MLB contributors. It isn’t a good look, especially considering the Cubs had plenty of roster space.
Machin is a steady influence in the field and at the plate. He doesn’t excel defensively at any spot on the diamond, but can man any of the four infield spots and even play some corner outfield if necessary. At the plate he will give you a hard fought at bat, showing off some of the best plate discipline and contact in the system as a left-handed hitter. He won’t offer much power, but he did get stronger this season and now boasts adequate gap power and is able to punch more hits through the infield.
I thought he might sneak through the draft given his limited upside, but he definitely has bench utility at the MLB level given his versatility. He was chosen by the Phillies, but then dealt to the A’s for cash. The 26th man on MLB rosters definitely opens up an avenue for a player like him.
The loss of Rucker is a blow as well. One of many college starters chosen by the Cubs in the 2015/16 drafts, he spent some time in relief early in his pro career but then took off when moved to the rotation in South Bend. His early trajectory was not unlike what we saw from Jack Patterson this year. After stalling out as a starter in Tennessee back in 2018, the Cubs moved him to the pen full time last season, and made him repeat the AA level.
Rucker had some bad luck early in the year which dragged down his overall numbers, but pitched well throughout the year. The stacked Iowa bullpen limited him to two appearances in AAA, but frankly I was upset they didn’t give him a bigger opportunity. Out of the pen, his fastball ranges from 92-95, but can touch higher, and it may be just a matter of comfort in the role allowing him to air it more frequently. His slider is a solid secondary, and he also has a show-me curve. It is his changeup that will be a key. It has flashed as an out pitch. If he locks that in he will have weapons against right and left-handed batters.
Cubs add RHP Brock Stewart, 1B (potential P convert) Jerrick Suiter, OF Vance Vizcaino, SS David Masters
I don’t have much information on these players as of now.
Stewart is a 28-year old who had some prospect buzz a couple years back and reached the Majors with the Dodgers and Blue Jays. He was shelled as a starter at the MLB and AAA levels last season, but I imagine the Cubs try him as a reliever with Iowa. Could factor in as an experienced depth piece.
Suiter appears to be a pitcher conversion candidate. He’s struggled mightily as a hitter the past two years, stalling in AA, but once boasted a power sinker as a high school player and was a two-way guy in college for a short time before transitioning to become a full-time position player.
Vizcaino and Masters finished last year as overage players in AA, but had some success. They figure to factor in as depth in Tennessee and Iowa. The Cubs currently don’t have much depth at those positions in the upper levels of their system.
Cubs lose LHP Faustino Carrera and IF Carlos Sepulveda
I was a little surprised the Cubs chose not to protect Carrera on their AAA reserve list. Limited upside as a starter, but he’s killed left-handed batters in his career, so there is some reliever upside. He’s also polished for a pitcher his age.
#Cubs lose LHP Faustino Carrera and IF Carlos Sepulveda.
Shocked Cubs didn’t have Carrera on their AAA roster. Young. Kills LHB.
Sepulveda can really field at 2B and can put bat on the ball. Lacks strength.
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) December 12, 2019