Draft Pick 2015 Watch Begins
It was fun while it lasted, a 4-game win streak and a run of 18-13 since May 30th had visions of Cubs' relevance dancing in my head. But then TheJedi receivedt the the quality and depth of prospects they hoped for from Billy Beane and that Cubs 2014 ballon deflated and whizzed off into the darkness. Don't get me wrong, it's not that they really had a chance of doing much in 2014, but it was fun watching winning baseball over the last month.
And sure, maybe Hendricks and Wada provide a close fascimile of the two dearly departed hurlers or Wood and Jackson will make their inevitable improvements and it's all a wash, but more likely, more trades will be made and the Cubs make another run at a top 5 pick. And it had to be a bit of a hit to the team morale when two of your better players get moved. But we all know what was expected this year, although Theo did mention seeing a "light at the end of tunnel", so hopefully 2014 marks the end of the asset gathering and 2015 marks the beginning of the time to try and win some games.
On that note, here is where things stand now...
It's quite the pack at the moment, although if I were a betting man, i'd go Astros, DBacks, Phillies, Rockies, Padres and then Cubs.
As for Theo's tunnel light, I think it's a safe bet that Bryant and Alcantara will be regulars in the 2015 lineup along with Rizzo, Castro and Castillo, with an outside shot of Baez breaking camp. Baez's overall numbers may be a bit lacking at the moment, but the improvement is important (OPS numbers by month: .617, .738, .815, .938). Whether he breaks camp next year or joins the team at some point is certainly a fluid situation. They talked about adding vets and certainly starting pitching would be the obvious position, although I would guess they may look at some outfielders. I don't think we'll know when Russell and Schwarber will show up, but I'm guessing 2016 is a more likely ETA along with Almora arriving around then or 2017. There's also Jorge Soler of course, and if he can ever stay healthy should be in the mix as well for 2015 and certainly by 2016.
And then there's the trade front, they have enough high end prospects to start considering using them to acquire high end talent in trades. Now who will be available and worth the cost is nearly impossible to answer. There's been some talk of Giancarlo Stanton, but I think there was a better shot of getting him last year or last offseason when he was nursing injuries and upset at the organization. It doesn't mean the Marlins won't deal with him, but I don't know if there in such a rush with how well they've played this year, seemingly on the cusp of another run. Other names will pop-up in the offseason as they tend to do and the Cubs are well-poised to strike in the right situation.
As for starting pitching, the big names will be Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields and we'll see if the Cubs go over 5 years and offer any type of no-trade clauses as all 3 will have plenty of suitors. Tier B includes the likes of Justin Masterson, Ervin Santana, and maybe Yovani Gallardo if the Brewers don't exercise his $13M club option. I'm of course working off the premise that the Cubs will go after players closer to 30 than 35 and that's not a particularly long list of availables.
All in all, we're pretty close to a fresh from the farm picked club and that's going to be darn fun to watch. And I certainly look forward to the days of posting playoff watch versus draft pick watch.