MLB Draft: Nobody Knows Nothin'

The 2009 MLB draft is going to be a three day event this year starting tonight with round 1 moving into prime time on the MLB Network. That seems pretty dumb. They're going to put a press conference of guys announcing names against actual baseball games. I know I'll be watching the Cubs vs. Astros games instead. In their quest to emulate the NBA and NFL drafts, MLB forgot to notice that the other two sports do their drafts in the offseason when people have no football or basketball to watch. Granted, it would be hard to do it in the offseason, but they should at least put the first round on a Monday or Thursday and jerry-rig the schedule so there's very few games that night or make them day games leading up to the draft (I've copyrighted that idea Selig, don't try and steal it).

The Cubs have the 31st pick in the first round thanks to a few players being unsigned last year by other teams and thus getting two draft picks. The Cubs don't draft again until the second round and pick #79. This is Tim Wilken's fourth attempt at trying to pump up the Cubs system and although the only major league return so far has been Jeff Samardzija, Josh Vitters is quickly working his way to the top of the minor league prospect charts and Josh Donaldson was one of the key pieces in the Rich Harden trade last year. Wilken avoided the topic of who the Cubs might draft in a recent interview at but did say he almost always picks the best player regardless of positional need, but if there is a hole in the system it's left-handed pitching. He does prefer shortstops and center fielders in general, feeling they have the athletic ability to move around the diamond, although he does feel the system is pretty stocked at shortstop and catcher right now in terms of depth.

Who will the Cubs pick with their first pick? I've listed below a few players that have been mentioned in mock drafts and whispers. AJ Pollock's the name you'll see the most but Jim Callis at Baseball America in his morning mock draft doesn't believe he'll last to the Cubs.

(Click on the name to view their scouting report on

Brett Jackson - Center fielder and leadoff hitter for University of California although doubts he could stay at either...321/407/564 line in the Pac-10 with 61 K's to 29 BB's in 218 AB's...consistent contact remains a question mark. 60 speed, 60 power and 60 arm ratings on the 20-80 scouting scale shows his athletic ability.

Eric Arnett - 6-5" right hander from Indiana can touch 96 with a good slider although along with his straight change is still of a bit of a work in progress...has all of one good season under his belt. Most feel he won't last long enough for the Cubs to nab him anyway.

A.J. Pollock - We know the Cubs worked Pollock out thanks to Arizona Phil and he's the name that has shown up the most on mock drafts if for no other reason than he's from Notre Dame...great speed....great approach...learning his way through center field with gap power at best.

Mike Minor - Lefty from Vanderbilt that won't be confused with David Price but has a fastball, slider, change and curve in order of quality...probably not a superstar in the making but folks feel he could be in the majors quickly with a solid but unspectacular career.

Tim Wheeler - Center fielder from Sacramento State is a good all-around player that hits from Lou's favorite side

Jiovanni Mier- Shortstop out of high school in California will get drafted for his glove and then hope he can spray enough singles to make the majors. 70 arm rating according to BP, although the link to his name disagrees... both agree that he has excellent footwork and range. He's verbally committed to USC as well....

Garrett Gould - Right hander out of high school in Kansas has one of the best curveballs in the draft with a fastball that can hit 94 and a change-up that he hasn't had to use much....issues with his delivery and mechanics though.

Drew Storen - Right hander out of Stanford is one of top relievers in the draft with a good fastball and curve combo although control has been a issue...could take the Andrew Cashner route and move to the rotation and work on his change and go back to the pen if that doesn't work out.

On BP's Top 50 prospects, here is how the above ranked: Arnett -21, Wheeler - 25, Minor - 27, Gould - 29, Mier - 30, Pollock - 32, Jackson - 36, Storen -44.

Mock Draft Heaven Below.

Baseball America (AJ Pollock then Brett Jackson)

Baseball Prospectus (Tim Wheeler)

Minor League Ball  (AJ Pollock, RHP Tanner Bushue, LHP Tyler Kehrer)

MVN (Mike Minor)

ESPN (Brett Jackson)

Sporting News (AJ Pollock)

Andy Seiler (AJ Pollock, RHP Blake Smith, RHP Kendal Volz)

Project Prospect (Drew Storen)

Rivals (3B Bobby Borchering)

I'd like to pretend that I know or have some informed opinion about who the Cubs should pick, but I don't...especially at #31. And chances there are very few people that really do except the guys actually scouting these players...and that's sketchy at best. The fact is trying to guess what a player might be able to do on a baseball diamond in 3-5 years is really hard work and although some teams do it a little better than others, and we have some ideas on the best strategy...what happens today can't properly be evaluated until about 2014. Yes, the Cubs have seemed to struggle historically drafting and developing players, but the only constant in that is the Cubs. The scouts (for the most part), scouting director, GM's, players have all changed numerous times and unless the Cubs are really cursed (and if you really believe that please do us all a favor and indeed jump off the ledge), the past has little bearing on the future.

(takes step off soapbox)

Well, Happy Drafting Day!



I would imagine that one of the holdout kids, Purke et al, will be available at 31. Wonder if Wilkens will take a gamble on his first HS arm in the first round. I would bet not. I think he takes the best college arm available, maybe the guys you mentioned or the kid from AZ St.

I must say that I would be very happy to take a good college arm rather than AJ Pollock or Brett Jackson. I am definitely scared of Jackson's Ks. And AJ Pollock doesn't seem to be a first round college hitter -- but perhaps my view is skewed by the concern of Hendry overpaying for his love of ND.

Although I would prefer either Jackson or Pollock over someone rated much worse (i.e. if Wilken pulls another Tyler Colvin in the first round).

Yeah, I don't want any college hitter with high K rates, unless he's hit 20 HR's in the ACC, SEC or Big 12 and walks a ton.

Lidge to DL, sprained right knee was making him suck...Paul Bako called up by Phils.

Cameron suspended 2 games...

WSox call up their 2007 #1 pick, Aaron Poreda.

I don't think Bako really has the arms to close out games when the bats are a little slower.

The White Sox calling up their #1 in 2007 and #2008 ties in nicely with that article.

not sure why an extra catcher was needed, but that's what they did. Ryan Madson will close.

I don't want Brett Jackson. Having such major contact issues with an aluminum bat is a huge red flag for me.

I like Wheeler, would love to see Arnett or Jared Mitchell (LSU) fall to the Cubs. And there's a possibility of a prep arm falling because apparently they all have outlandish bonus demands.

AJ Pollock as well...

talks about RHP Kyle Gibson possibly dropping far because of contract demands. BP has him as ranked at #12.

He's got Storen all the way at #10 to the Nats as did Callis this morning. Apparently Nats need a signability pick at #10 since it's one of the picks for not signing their pick from last year and if they don't sign him, they don't get another one next year.

Jacob Turner is another guy that Callis thinks the Cubs could sign if he drops. High school righty out of Missourri, #4 on BP's list.

Keith Law has been double clutching all day long and has now made his 4th revision. Here's the latest:

31. Chicago Cubs

Andy Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State: They could still go with Cal outfielder Brett Jackson, whom I projected them to take last week.

thnx...#35 on BP's list.

also going up against the NBA Finals...brilliant.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 is tonight, too.

Yeah, I'll be at the bar so I can watch it all, but they need to move it to Monday (NBA only Tue, Thur, Sun) and hope to dodge the NHL, and have an off day for MLB. They're not going to make shit from the draft anyway, so they're probably not all that worried, but it would make sense not to compete against their own product.

Looks like some signability guys are falling (Matzek was a near lock at 6 to the Giants).

i hope to god they stay away from brett jackson...his aluminum bat does more talking than his swing, imo.

1. Nationals: San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg.
2. Mariners: North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley.
3. Padres: Georgia HS outfielder Donavan Tate.
4. Pirates: Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez.
5. Orioles: California HS righthander Matt Hobgood.
6. Giants: Georgia HS righthander Zack Wheeler.
7. Braves: Vanderbilt lefthander Mike Minor.
8. Reds: North Carolina righhander Alex White.

10. Nationals: Stanford righthander Drew Storen.

From BA's (free) blog. It looks like the Tigers at 9 might go for one of the prep arms asking for Porcello money or might go cheap. The Rockies won't go for Matzek, Purke or Turner either. Let's hope these guys keep falling!

I can't imagine the Cubs have anything more than slotted money available this year considering the ownership situation. Maybe they can get creative and draft a few unsignable guys to make up for one overslot signing, but not sure it'll be enough to cover one of the big names.

BA has linked the Cubs to Jake Turner should he fall. It might be a case by case basis in regards to guys going over slot.

i'm the greatest of all time...thank you.

*raises arms*

Draft Parachat?

I'll be there once the game starts...

holy crap...i should refuse to watch this based on the opening espn-quality cheese pop-metal crap.

sori, riot, fuky, lee, milt, font, soto, blanco, lilly.

interviewing Ben McDonald just as Nats are about to take Strasburg...

mlb has a sense of humor.

this is gonna be a long and tedious exercise in crapdom if it takes 4 minutes of time filling and pretend mulling-over for pick #1.

uh oh. 10 seconds to mariners pick...I'm riveted...

could it be ackley?

can't jim callis just go up there and announce the first 8 picks in 30 seconds? He seems to know them...

HR just called the Padres one of the most boring teams in baseball...nice.

Bud Selig is the last guy who should be getting TV time during this. The MLB draft just doesn't make this transition well. Most of these players are unknown and even the star players won't have much if any major league impact for 4-5-6 years. MLB's coverage is less exciting than watching bingo in a local old folks home.

no "war room" coverage...whole thing is depending on 4 guys announcing the draft, none of which have any actual scout's knowledge of the kids...

a lot of the actual discussion is musing about why a team would pick that person rather than the person being picked.



Reds take Mike Leake instead of Alex White...

Tigers will now decide if they want to Porcello this draft.

and they did...Jacob Turner...oh look, games about to start

AJ Pollock gone.

I was happy about this, foolishly thinking that would help save the Cubs from themselves...

at #17 to the Dbacks...

leaves Jackson or Wheeler among the more popular names linked to the Cubs.

1 and 1/2 hours for 18 picks...this is just awesome.

I wonder if they will take a gamble on Gibson? Yeah he is hurt but he is the one impact guy left.

If the Cubs take a HS player, I suspect it will be OF Jake Marisnick (Riverside Poly HS), a slightly larger and faster version of Pollock.

Marisnick's BA scouting report sounds like Ryan Harvey.

Shawon Dunston just interviewed on mlb-tv...said he didn't know he was the #1 pick until he got to the minor leagues.
I wonder if they will take a gamble on Gibson?
from baseball america:
Missouri righthander Kyle Gibson, who was a possible top-five pick before coming down with a stress fracture in his pitching forearm. Clubs should be able to evaluate Gibson on the mound by the end of July, and he's a low-risk, high-upside gamble for a team with extra picks. Whichever team plans on popping Gibson hasn't tipped its hand yet, but Arizona makes as much sense as any.

baseball america nailed one!

21. ASTROS. Houston has been attached to Texas high school outfielders Grichuk and Heathcott but wouldn't take a third, Everett Williams. Mitchell could interest the Astros as well, but they now appeared strongest on Mier, who could pass Green to become the first shortstop drafted.
Projected Pick: JIOVANNI MIER.

ten to go...

Submitted by Chifan on Tue, 06/09/2009 - 5:45pm.
I wonder if they will take a gamble on Gibson? Yeah he is hurt but he is the one impact guy left.


CHIFAN: Randy Wells suffered a stress fracture in his forearm last September that knocked him out for the rest of the 2008 season, but I'd say he's fine now.

So if Kyle Gibson misses the rest of the season, I doubt that it really matters much in the long run, since 1st round picks usually don't sign until August anyway.

Gibson throws a low-90's tailing two seam fastball, a mid-80's slider, and a plus-change, so if he's available, the Cub really should consider selecting him.

Gibson goes at #22 to Twins

Soriano, Fukudome doobles...DLee rbi single

2-0 quickly.

Fontenot's #29 old fart now

He has fallen far and health issues may be the only concern. If healthy, he is better than slot by far -- ESPN ranked him #4 in the entire draft.

on the clock now

Lilly Triples and Wilkens picks...

Brett Jackson CF UC predicted.

6' 2", 210 lbs. Bats: Left

John Hart says average power but he's "a hitter"...some concern about K's

Unfortunately, no one else drafted this waste of roster space.

I seriously wonder if the Cubs do any research, whatsoever. Maybe tomorrow I will look into it, but it seems highly unlikely that a guy who strikes out in over 25%'s of his college at bats is going to become a major leaguer. I am not say "impact player" I am saying "gets one cup of coffee so he can go 1 for 6 with 4 K's and never be heard from again" player.

I should have said that there's a chance the Cubs re-work his swing and make him useful. That being said, if that is their intent (which I doubt), you still don't take him #31.

Maysonete threw a brick, 4-0

does that make him eligible for the mason guild?

and a birthday HR, 5-0

Recent comments

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  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.

  • evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.

    i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.

  • Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep in excitement/anticipation. Go Cubs Go!