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

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.