Cubs 2014 Draft - Day 2 (Rounds 3-10)
Day 2 of the draft has just started and the Cubs are on the clock and will likely have their pick by the time I stop typing. As for Day 1, we know all about Kyle Schwarber at this point and how he's truly the player the Cubs scouts desired. Second round pick Jake Stinnett sounds like he'll be an easy sign and at some point (probably near or after Round 10), the Cubs will likely go for a few reaches in hope of signing some players that were deemed unsignable. If you're interested, Stinnett will pitch in the super regionals tomorrow versus Virginia and I believe all games will be televised on the ESPN channels.
As for Round 3, here we go... (UPDATE: Done for the day, hope they can sign most of these guys)
3rd Round Pick #78 - Mark Zagunis, C from Viriginia Tech - Junior
A three-year starter at Virginia Tech and a Johnny Bench Award semifinalist, Zagunis is an athletic catcher who has performed in one of the better college conferences in the nation. The ACC standout has shown a propensity for putting the ball in play and hitting for average, albeit from a slightly unusual setup. He's shown some extra-base pop in the past, though not as much in 2014. He runs extremely well for a catcher and has shown that his athleticism plays well in the outfield. His arm is average but on target, and his other skills say he could stay behind the plate full-time. The team that believes he can continue to hit might think he has the chance to be an everyday backstop in the future, and it will draft him accordingly. At the very least, Zagunis' versatility provides a team with options if catching doesn't work out.
4th Round Pick #109 - Carson Sands, LHP from North Florida Christian HS (Florida State commitment)
Along with Matthew Railey, his North Florida Christian teammate and fellow Florida State commit, Sands has seen his stock increase this spring. Sands' rise has been partly attributable to the strength gains he has made over the past year. That led to a jump in his fastball velocity, and he now throws the pitch in the low 90s, regularly touching 94 mph. He also throws a solid 12-to-6 curveball and has a good feel for his changeup. He repeats his delivery well, allowing him to throw strikes with all three of his pitches. Sands' strong season, size, stuff and projectability have helped push him up Draft boards as more scouts see him pitch.
5th Round Pick #139 - Justin Steele, LHP from George County HS in Mississippi (Southern Mississippi commitment)
Not since 1999, when the Braves took Matt Butler in the second round, has a Mississippi high school pitcher signed out of the first five rounds of the Draft. A lefty with a loose, quick arm, Steele should end that drought this June. Steele baffled scouts at the East Coast Professional Showcase last summer, when he ran his fastball into the low 90s but later dipped to the mid-80s. He has done a better job of holding his velocity this spring, working at 88-92 mph and reaching back for 94-95 on occasion. He's better when he throws with less effort in his delivery and gets more quality life on his heater. Steele's curveball used to stick out more for its shape than its velocity, but he has boosted it from the upper 60s to the low 70s as a senior. His changeup has some movement, but the Southern Mississippi recruit tips it off by slowing his arm speed and doesn't trust it much. Though he's athletic, his lack of size and true command could have him destined for the bullpen.
6th Round Pick #169 - Dylan Cease, RHP from Milton HS in Georgia (Vanderbilt commitment)
Cease is one of the hardest throwing high school pitchers in the 2014 Draft class, but he was dealt a significant setback this spring. He suffered an elbow injury that has kept him off the mound since March, leaving his future uncertain. When healthy, Cease throws his fastball from 91-95 mph, topping out at 97 mph. He doesn't have a physical frame, instead generating his velocity with athleticism and arm speed. There is some effort to his delivery, and the rest of his game may remain inconsistent until he refines it. His mid-70s curveball will range from a below-average to an above-average pitch, and his changeup shows flashes of becoming an effective offering, but he'll need to throw it more often. Cease, who plays with his twin brother at Milton High, is committed to Vanderbilt.
7th Round Pick #199 - James Norwood, RHP from St. Louis University - Junior
A year after going winless and battling an elbow strain, Norwood is poised to become the highest June Draft pick out of Saint Louis in history. He figures to go in the first three to five rounds after displaying one of the best fastballs among college starters in this year's class. Norwood's fastball has been clocked up to 98 mph, and he usually operates at 91-95 with some sinking and tailing action. He doesn't miss as many bats as that velocity indicates he should, because he lacks a quality secondary pitch to keep hitters from focusing on his fastball. He probably would be better off working on one breaking ball rather than throwing both a curveball and a hard cutter/slider, and his changeup is still a work in progress. Though he has a strong build, Norwood features enough effort in his delivery to raise questions about his long-term durability as a starter. He'll remain in the rotation for now, but his ability to refine his secondary offerings will determine his ultimate role.
8th Round Pick #229 - Tommy Thorpe, LHP from Oregon University - Junior
9th Round Pick #259 - James Farris, RHP from Arizona University - Senior
Farris has been a member of Arizona’s starting rotation for the last three years. As a sophomore, he started the clinching game of Wildcats’ 2012 College World Series championship. Farris doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but knows how to use it and commands all of his pitches well. His fastball sits in the upper-80s and he can manipulate it to add or subtract velocity or movement depending on the situation. His changeup is his best pitch and he also throws a curveball, though it’s a below-average offering. Farris was selected in the 15th round last year by the Astros, but elected to return to Arizona for his senior year. He could be a solid option this year for a team looking to save money in its Draft budget.
10th Round Pick #299 - Ryan Williams, RHP from East Carolina University - Senior
No immediately available scouting report, but here's a stats page. Another signability pick that will hopefully leave money for them to get Sands and Cease (and to a lesser degree Steele and Norwood).