Archive - Jun 2014
So I packed a PB&J and an apple this morning and planned to take my lunch break at the ballpark. Beautiful day here in Des Moines. It took forever to weave through pregame traffic and get into the lot where I park right next to the main gate. Just in time for the first pitch I slid into a spot and enjoyed the sandwich while I listened to the game on the radio.
Having waited half a season, I thought as the deluge pounded the car in the Principal Park lot, what’s another hour or so?
When the rain relented and while the grounds crew did its pregame thing I went to check for Superman capes and the like in the Backstop Store. No, the notice of Kris Bryant’s arrival in town had been too short to allow for restocking. Nevertheless, I expect there will be a hastily arranged bobblehead night added to the promo slate ASAP.
I'm not around much this week, but a quick note to give you a new thread to chat on. 4th overall pick Kyle Schwarber assaulted the Northwest League for a few days and got a quick promotion to Kane County and the Midwest League yesterday. Then after Kris Bryant won the home run derby in the Southern League All-Star game, he got his promotion to AAA to play along side Javier Baez. I haven't seen what the Iowa roster shake-up will be to make room for Bryant to play 3b, but demoting Christian Villanueva would probably make the most sense.
When looking ahead at the Cubs likely post-2014 MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), whether a player presently on the 40-man roster is eligible to be an MLB Article XX-B free-agent or will be eligible for Salary Arbitration, or whether a player presently on a Cubs minor league roster is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2014 or is eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, will be determining factors.
2014 Cubs Cactus League Extended Spring Training - Final Stats
Players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) are placed on a club's Negotiation List.
I've got the draft signing block in the left sidebar up already with the Zagunis signing in there. Otherwise the final day has begun and I will be updating very sporadically.
11th Round Pick #319 - Jordan Brink, RHP from Fresno State - Junior
There have been some interesting pitching prospects in recent Drafts who came late to full-time pitching, including first-rounders Braden Shipley in 2013 and Kyle Zimmer in 2012. While Brink isn't quite that high-profile, he has the chance to do well now that he's focused only on the mound. An outfielder for his first two years at Fresno State, Brink split time between playing that position and pitching as a sophomore then turned to pitching full-time in 2014. He's athletic, if a bit undersized, with the makings of two plus pitches in his fastball and spike curveball, which looks like a hard slider at times. He's working on developing his changeup. The jury is still out on whether Brink can start long-term -- sometimes a bias against undersized right-handers -- or he'll end up in the bullpen. Either way, his arm looks like it has a shot to pitch at the highest level.
12th Round Pick #349 - Tanner Griggs, RHP from Angelina College (TX) - J2
Had to look up Tanner Griggs. Can touch 95mph, sits 90-92 and adds a solid slider, decent CH, control issues. Could be bullpen.
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.
So the big 3 pitchers went to the first 3 picks - Aiken to Astros, Kolek to Marlins and Rodon slips to White Sox. That left the Cubs in the position to do pretty much whatever they want. The reality is that after the first 3 picks, there was no obvious #4, or 5 or 6 or 7. Some guys really liked Nick Gordon and Alex Jackson, but they're projectable high schoolers and if they were sure things, let's face it, they'd be going top 3. No one passes a sure thing bat for pitching unless it's Strasburg coming out for the draft and that's what the 3 teams just did ahead of the Cubs.