Cubs Draft Tracker Ticker - Day 1

ROUND #1 (19). Andrew Cashner, RHP (TCU)
R/R, 6'6, 180, 21 years old
COMMENT: Was drafted by the Cubs in the 29th round of the 2007 Rule 4 Draft out of Angelina JC in Texas, but he did not sign, opting instead to transfer to TCU where he was arguably the #1 closer prospect in college baseball in 2008 (43.1 IP, 14 H, 24 BB, 65 K, 2.08 ERA, .104 OBA, 0.95 WHIP), ... Throws a 96-98 MPH fastball that runs in on right-handed hitters and moves away from left-handed hitters. but what made him the pitcher he is now is when he junked his mediocre curve in favor of a 84-85 MPH power slider... Power arm would profile very closely to that of Jose Ceda, one of the Cubs top pitching prospects...  

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ROUND #1-S (41). Ryan Flaherty, SS (Vanderbilt)
L/R, 6'3, 210, 21 years old
COMMENT: Good defensive player but with below-average range for a SS...Played 2B for Team USA, which is probably the position he will ultimately play in pro ball... Had 35 game hitting streak at Vanderbilt, and improved his power stroke in his junior year... Hit 324/411/543 with 14 HR and 63 RBI (led team) with 39/46 BB/K in 303 PA, 10 SB (2 CS), in 2008... Nickname is "Flash"...

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ROUND #2 (65). Aaron Shafer, RHP (Wichita State)
L/R, 6'4, 205, 21 years old
COMMENT: Rotation starter with an 88-91 MPH fastball (down from 91-94 from before he suffered strained elbow in 2007), a "12-6" curve, and a solid change-up..

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ROUND #3 (97): Chris Carpenter, RHP (Kent State)
R/R, 6'4, 215, 22 years old
COMMENT: Had Tommy John surgery in 2005 and additional elbow surgery in 2006...Power pitcher with 92-96 MPH fastball that has touched 98, a hard, tight curve, and OK change-up...27/74 BB/K with only 49 hits allowed in 65.2 IP in 2008...

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ROUND #4 (131): Matt Cerda, SS (Oceanside HS - Oceanside, CA)
L/R, 5'10, 175, 17 years old
COMMENT: Hit 542/647/1.075 with 16 HR in just 139 PA at Oceanside HS in 2008... Signed NLI with University of San Diego... Was the catcher on the Oceanside Little League team that advanced to LLWS in 2001
... Will likely move to 2B at higher levels...

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ROUND #5 (161): Justin Bristow, RHP (East Carolina)
R/R, 6'4, 213, 21 years old
COMMENT: Throws 90-92 "straight" fastball, a cutter, and a "filthy" curve... pitched two CG shutouts in 2008 season... Transferred from Auburn, where he was a teammate of Josh Donaldson... Played 3B at Auburn, before moving to the mound in 2007...  

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ROUND #6 (191): Josh Harrison, 2B (U. of Cincinnati)
R/R, 5'8, 177, 20 years old
COMMENT: 2008 Co-Big East Conference Player of the Year... Hit .378 (.433 OBP) with 22 doubles, 25/20 BB/K in 282 PA, and 32 SB (8 CS) in '08... Well below-average defender (19 E in 59 G)... Nephew of ex-MLB OF John Shelby...

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Comments

Cashner? wtf? I can't believe it, Cubs suck...they're so cheap.

 /sarcasm

Howry, Wood, Eyre could all be gone after this year and who knows when Cashner will be ready to contribute in the majors. Sounds like he has great stuff.. 

Jim Hendry totally needs to bring more 2nd basemen into the organization. It's the only way he will ever realize his dream of 13 2nd basemen and 12 LHP's on his MLB roster all at the same time. Don't EVER give up on your dream Jimbo!

Hold On Now! Stockpiling middle infielders is Wilken-the-genius's idea! He likes to draft CF's, SS's and 2B's because he thinks the up-the-middle guys are the best athletes and most adaptable to other positions.

I think Cashner is a great prospect in general, but am worried that the Cubs believe they can help a pitcher improve command issues (despite Pawelek, Huseby and others to the contrary).

Speaking of Ceda -- what's the scoop with him? Looks like they have him starting at Daytona? Are they trying to build up his innings? For a guy who supposedly had a (long) shot in spring training, he seems to be struggling quite a bit at A ball.

From what I understand with Ceda, the Cubs aren't trying to convert him to a starter, just trying to help him work on his secondary pitches. They feel that he is more likely to work on these if he goes 3-4 innings every fifth day rather than just comes out of the bullpen for 1 and done. He is so overpowering in short appearances that he can just rely on his FB to get him through those most of the time.

When did the Brewers win 6 in a row?

The last six days. :)

Nice piece on Cashman from Houston Chronicle -

http://www.hcnonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=1972...

Was drafted last year as AZ PHIL had mentioned (I think he mentioned...)

The big question mark about Cashner is whether he can throw strikes. He he can, he could up in the big leagues real fast (see Max Scherzer). If he can't, he could spend the next four seasons in Extended Spring Training.

Monthly article about Cubs sale going and books opening in about out today-

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AkoItOiho1Bl...

Been reading this since January.

I know this isn't draft - related, but was still psyched to read about Guz's continued comeback in AZ Phil's report. Come on, Guz - we're gonna need you soon, buddy.

Carlos (Mexico) is posting questions galore in the BP.com draft forum, and just asked about the Cubs

hi carlos!

Yes, that's me. I love me some MLB draft :)

Oh, and I hate Ryan Flaherty. He'll net me some street cred, though, when I win that bet I made with Rob.

We made a bet?

I just said I was going to mock you. 

It's 2008 by the way.

I was unaware that Oneri bore such a resemblence to the Emperor from Star Wars.

Cashner: I throw a fastball and a slider. My fastball usually sits 95-96 mph and touches 97-98. The other day I think I was 95-97. Usually every once in awhile I get it up to 98. I think I hit 99 once and 100 once this year. My slider – it just depends on how fresh my arm is. Sometimes my slider will sit 85-86 or 87-88. The majority of the time, it has been 84-86, but every once in awhile it’ll be 87-88.

the interview on scout.com also says that most scouts consider him a starter...at least for now.

RHP Aaron Shafer, Wichita State - 21 years old, 6-5"

who the hell puts the music behind these scouting videos?

with 4th round pick

6-4, RHP, Kent State, 22 years old

somewhere Steve Stone is beaming.

First Edmonds, now this?!?!?!?!?

Wes sent sound: cry

2nd and 3rd round picks for Shafer and Carpenter...

Carpenter sure wasn't hitting mid-90's in that scouting video on mlb.com

Matthew Cerda
5-9" lefty-hitting SS from Oceanside HS

It could be the love of Mike Fontenot, but the Cubs have now drafted three middle IF over the last two years that are have little power, speed or defensive skills (Darwin Barney in 2007, Flaherty and Cerda this year) but are decent hitters for average. Flaherty and Barney both had reputations as great "baseball players" though.

Personally...I like top draft picks with great performances or speed or projectability. We certainly have drafted them -- few players are more projectable than Vitters and Cashner's high 90s fastball cannot be taught. But similar to Hendry's love of players from Notre Dame or his high school alma mater, our new scouting director has an interesting desire to draft short defensively average middle IFs who hit for decent average but have no power or speed.

If you're including Matt Cerda in that characterization, I dunno... Hit 542/647/1.075 with 16 HR in just 139 PA

Pretty decent slugging #'s -- doesn't sound like a hitter with "no power". I know it's only HS stats, but it's all we have to go on. Do you know something else regarding his power potential?

Just Baseball America's comments, which I extrapolated some from his size:
"Just 5'8 175, Cerda projects as a second baseman as a pro thanks to below average range. He has an average arm. His best tool is his bat, as he has a quick compact swing with extension and full finish." Sounds to me like a good hitter for average. At his size, I doubted power though. So...not fast, not a good fielder, small and perhaps a good hitter for average.

Interestingly, after my email, the Cubs then drafted Josh Harrison a 5'8 IF who is "just an average runner", "isn't going to have much power with wood bats" and at 2b "made 19 errors in 59 games, doesn't pivot well and doesn't profile at any other position".

Flaherty, btw, is big (6'3) and lanky. So he isn't the best comparison physically. But all these three really confuse me -- do we really need to draft three middle IF who do not have power, speed or defensive ability in the first 6 rounds?

I am nothing more than a fan of baseball -- I don't coach anymore and I never scouted. So I rely on Baseball America and other websites analysis quite a bit. And these sites clearly are not dispositive on the players and where they should be drafted. But the Cubs somehow veer farther from these sites analysis more than other teams (Tyler Colvin, for example, was ranked in the mid-100s when we drafted him with the 13th pick of the first round). And our poor draft history makes me doubt any pick that is off the beaten path.

But if Fontenot leaves after this season, fortunately we will be able to replace him.

If Cerda is 175 lbs at 5'8", he sounds like he may be fairly muscle-y. So he may be able to do the fireplug power thing. The "below average range" and "average arm" kind of sucks, though.

For being an 'average runner' Harrison can steal bases. 22 during the college season and 14 in the Cape Cod league.

From
http://gobearcats.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/har...
Summer 2007:

Played for the Cotuit Kettlers of the Cape Cod League.
Batted .264 in 38 games in the country's most prestigious summer league; added seven doubles, one triple, two home runs, 13 RBI and 14 stolen bases.

I certainly hope my initial opinion was rash -- I would love Harrison to be a quick sparkplug. And the BA blog states that Cerda had a great workout for the Cubs and even tried out for Wilken as a catcher and if he was a good hitting lefty catcher, that would be great.

But as I am going just off of MLB and BA analysis, these players appear to be poor picks. And if the Cubs had a history of making great unexpected choices or had a strong draft history, then I might give more weight to their choices. For now, I am blindly hopeful but realistically doubtful of Flaherty, Cerda and Harrison.

On the other hand, I am actually quite excited about the pitchers we drafted -- they all have the potential to be very good with high ceilings.

The Cubs do not have a history or making great unexpected choices, but I think Tim Wilken does.

absolutely unimpressive, yet not bad draft.

just as expected.

Interesting tidbit from former TCR writer Bryan Smith:

Bryan Smith (4:41:06 PM PT): Kevin mentioned the Cubs taking Chris Carpenter a little bit ago, but I don't want to let the 65th overall pick go unnoticed. Aaron Shafer was, one year ago, considered to be a sure-fire top ten pick. What happened wasn't really a loss in velocity, but a complete loss in consistency. He has a great change up, and if the Cubs feel they can teach him a breaking ball, he becomes a good prospect quick.

Hmm...

PIT announcers have been talking nonstop for 2 innings now about the draft, the draft room, and how pedro alvarez is gonnna be here in less than a year.

phew...things going so bad in PIT that's all they gotta go on.

Things have been bad for PIT this year?

They have the best outfield in the league, and would be over .500 if it were not for the Cubs.

They're in last, dude. Again. Still. Not sure they're talking about how super neato their OF is and how great they'd be if not for Chicago.

6-4 RHP from East Carolina State, Justin Bristow

that should be ECU...well, that's what we call it around here.

justin b. had the pleasure of trashing auburn before and when he got to ECU...caused a bit of issues with the drama queens of college baseball.

a lotta it was based on the perception that he did so badly for auburn over 2 years he didn't have the cred. to be bashing the program.

he was highly sought after by auburn and highly touted til his 2 seasons of mediocre/suck.

“I think we’re going to let this one take its place,” said Wilken. “His delivery is pretty sound and is probably one of the better ones of this draft. He’s comfortable in what he’s been doing I’d suppose. But he has started in the past and we’re going to leave this one open. He’s shown he’s got good versatility to go either way. We’re very happy.”

Wilken was asked if it was unusual to draft a reliever in the first round. He reiterated that Cashner was not necessarily a reliever, or would be in the future.

“He could very well be a starter and a good one at that,” Wilken said.

Wilken said he wasn’t concerned with any possible signability issues with Cashner, who maintained a good relationship with the Cubs after returning to college. Thursday marked the fourth straight year he was selected in the draft.

draft is some funny stuff.

its highly likely the cubs would have never had a chance to draft s.gallagher if he wasnt on a plane in post-9/11 america missing a couple dozen calls from scouts feeling out his signability issues.

a cubs scout called gallagher's dad after not being able to get a hold of him to be told he's on a plane, but could call when he lands if they leave a message, etc etc.

cubs pretty much drafted him immediately.

gallagher claimed to have dozens of messages on his phone when he landed and got a hold of his phone. cubs had snagged him by then. he didn't learn that til many messages in. heh...

great story...hadn't heard that before. I do know that the Cubs gave him 5th round money, for a 12th round pick.

cannot find the original article i read...the internet ate it :(

http://www.cubshub.com/?p=152

there's a brief rundown on that site that references the article shortly into the scouting report.

Eated *

i think the quality of talent in this draft can be summed up by the cubs taking a control issue/high velocity arm that's been used as a reliever, yet there's not many credible arguements (even at best, no slam dunks) you can point to saying "maaaaan!!! the cubs could have had _________ !"

The second guessing only comes AFTER the players are established big leaguers :)....I think the Cashner pick is a good one, he definitely needs to harness that control...I can only see Lou's face if he has yet another reliever who walks too many guys lol

If history is a guide, we won't have to worry about second-guessing. According to yesterdays' SunTimes, "In the 43-year history of the draft, the Cubs have picked 15th or lower 18 times, producing only two regular big-leaguers with those picks: shortstop Roger Metzger (16th in 1969), who was traded to Houston a year later, and Rafael Palmeiro (22nd, 1985), who had his big years with Texas and Baltimore."

However, history is NOT a reliable guide if there has been a substantial change in the organization in charge of the drafting of talent. Phil Wrigley & son were nigh incompetent in putting together a player development organization and there have been some significant changes since Andy the (penny-ante) Clown took his tired, low-budget, minor market act to Baltimore.

The current group has not been in place the past 43 years. That's just the kind of mindless, non-analysis that tells us nothing but gives them something to help sell papers to bitter Sox fans.

Matt Cerda played catcher for the Oceanside Little League team that made it to the LLWS in 2001, so it probably wouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to go back there, especially if the Cubs move him before he becomes entrenched someplace else. If the Cubs would be willing to do it with Steve Clevenger (who had zero catching experience in his background), then moving Cerda to catcher should be a no-brainer. One thing for sure, the Cubs think nothing of trying players at a different position (but only as long as the player agrees). Cerda also grew two inches over the last year (he's now 5'10), and he's still only 17, so initial comparisons to Mike Fontenot may be premature.

Ryan "Flash" Flaherty hit 14 HR in just over 300 PA at Vandy in 2008, so he probably has at least Mark DeRosa-type power. He could develop even more power as he matures.

According to the U. of Cincinnati official statistics, Josh Harrison had 32 SB in only 59 games at Cincinnati in 2008, so he apparently has a little bit of speed. With the 25/20 BB/K in 282 PA, it sounds like he puts the ball in play a lot. I've never seen him play, but Harrison sounds a LOT like Tony Thomas to me.

I know it's random, but Cashner said he left HS at something like 5'9", and grew a ton in college. He's what, 6'5"-6'6" now? Cerda could definitely grow and fill out as he matures. He seems to be a decent hitting prospect at the moment, so if he can stick in either the middle IF or move to catcher, he could be a pretty solid pick.

I'd actually prefer he gives SS a try first, but I think the Cubs have an idea of what to do with him.

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