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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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Quick Update(Rob G.): Scout.com has a live blog going for the draft and they'll be answering user questions. The writer running it is hearing that the Cubs will not pass on Casey Kelly if he's available. Also, Parachat is (always) open if you want to chat amongst yourselves.


The MLB Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”) starts at 2 PM ET today, with the 1st round and Supplemental 1st round to be televised "live" on ESPN2. The draft will continue tomorrow (Friday). Last year, the first five rounds of the draft were completed by the end of the first day, and the remaining 45 rounds were completed by the end of the second day.

Nelson Perez went 2-3 with a triple, an RBI, a walk, and two runs scored and 17-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua pitched four strong innings, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-4 sinking of the EXST Mariners in a Beat-the-Heat "Rush Hour Special" (9 AM start) at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.

The EXST Giants smacked 14 hits off four EXST Cubs pitchers, en route to an 8-2 stomping of the Cubs at Indian School Park Field #2 this morning in Scottsdale.

Josh Vitters went 3-4 with a single, a double, and a triple, a walk, one RBI, and two runs scored, Kyler Burke went 3-4 with two RBI and a run scored, and Carlos Perez had four singles, as the EXST Cubs banged-out 19 hits en route to an 8-6 victory over Team China at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

With VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita and about a dozen Cubs scouts in attendance, LHP Mark Pawelek threw three shutout innings of one-hit ball and Las Vegas Durango HS SS Niko Vasquez crushed a two-run homer onto 8th Street, leading the EXST Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the EXST A's at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.

Starlin Castro went 3-4 with a single, a double, and a triple, Junior Lake crushed a two-run homer, Jose Made tripled twice, and 17-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua pitched four strong innings of one-run ball (retiring the final ten men he faced), leading the EXST Cubs to an 8-1 victory over the EXST Angels in a Rush Hour "Beat the Heat" Special (9 AM start) at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning.

The Cubs have optioned RHP Jose Ascanio to AAA Iowa, and have recalled LHP Neal Cotts from the same club.

Ascanio was acquired from the Atlanta Braves last December for LHP Will Ohman and IF-OF Omar Infante, and was optioned to AAA Iowa during Spring Training. He went 1-0 with nine saves at Iowa (2.08 ERA, allowing 14 H and one HR in 21.2 IP, with a 1.01 WHIP, a .179 OBA, and an 8/23 BB/K) before being recalled on May 19th when Chad Fox was placed on the DL with a sore elbow.

Ascanio got into five games with the Cubs over the past ten days, going 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA, allowing one run (earned) on four hits (.235 OBA) over 5.0 IP, with a 3/3 BB/K. He threw one scoreless inning in last night's Cubs victory over the Dodgers. 

The 28-year old Cotts was also optioned to Iowa during Spring Training (March 21st), and had spent the entire 2008 season (up until now) at Iowa, posting a 2-0 record with three saves, a 2.00 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP in 19 games, all in relief (.232 OBA, 23 hits in 27 IP, no HR, and a 10/33 BB/K). Cotts has been particularly effective versus left-handed hitters, allowing just seven hits (.206 OBA) and one walk with 15 K in 9.1 IP (0.78 WHIP).

Cotts was acquired by the Cubs from the White Sox in November 2006 for RHP David Aardsma and LHP Carlos Vasquez. He was selected by the Oakland A's in the 2nd round of the 2001 Rule 4 Draft out of Illinois State, and was traded to the White Sox after the 2002 season.   

Cotts has 3+077 MLB service time and will (once again) be eligible for salary arbitration after the 2008 season. He is making $800K (plus another $75K in potential performance bonuses) in 2008, and will be out of minor league options as of Spring Training 2009.   

As many of you know by now, Thursday is usually Camp Day at Cubs Extended Spring Training.

And so it was in fact today, as the EXST Cubs first had some fielding drills & took BP on Fitch Park Fields 1, 2, and 4, followed by a three-inning intrasquad game on Field #3 (and with no Banana Break in between, either!).

The EXST Giants put up a six spot in the bottom of the 1st inning en route to a 12-7 victory over the EXST Cubs at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this morning. 

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