Cubs Post-Draft Signing Update
With the Boise Hawks slated to begin league play tonight and with the AZL Cubs ready to go on Monday night, here are some updates on signings by the Cubs since the conclusion of the 2011 MLB Rule 4 Draft last week.
So far the Cubs have signed 11 of their 50 draft picks.
The Cubs have also signed three college seniors as Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA), and one more Cuban defector.
The 11 draft picks who have signed are:
RHP James Pugliese (Mercer CC - 18th round)
1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State - 19th round)
OF Ben Klafczynski (Kent State - 20th round)
RHP Pete Levitt (Mt. Olive College - 32nd round)
LHP Sheldon McDonald (U. of British Columbia - 33rd round)
IF-OF Trevor Garcia (Martin Methodist College - 36th round)
RHP Casey Lucchese (College of Charleston - 38th round)
RHP P. J. Francescon (Trevecca Nazarene - 40th round)
SS Brad Zapenas (Boston College - 42nd round)
SS Kenny Socorro (Marshall - 44th round)
RHP Scott Weismann (Clemson - 46th round)
Most of the 11 Cubs 2011 draft picks who have signed could best be described as "low-hanging fruit" (lower-round draft picks and/or college seniors without leverage). The exceptions are Pugliese (a JC freshman) and Weismann and Zapenas (college juniors with one year of eligibility remaining), but the other eight were college seniors (and McDonald was a "5th year senior").
Hoilman, Klafczynski, and Zapenas have already been assigned to Boise, and several of the pitchers should end up there too once they get into game shape.
The three Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) signed by the Cubs post-Rule 4 Draft are:
All three of the NDFA are college seniors (Terry is a "5th year senior").
Durrence will likely play 1B and bat clean-up for the AZL Cubs, Terry will be a back-up catcher at either Boise or Mesa (AZL Cubs), and Johnson will likely provide some college pitching depth at Mesa (AZL Cubs).
I wouldn't be too surprised if Hoilman leads the NWL in HR and Durrence leads the AZL in HR. They both have plus-power (Hoilman won the HR Derby at the 2010 College World Series and tied for 3rd in NCAA D-1 in HR in 2011, and Durrence hit 10 HR in league play plus two more at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional).
In addition, the Cubs have signed their fifth Cuban defector since December, adding LHP Frank del Valle to the organization. Del Valle pitched for the Cuban Junior National team about five years ago, and he joins catcher Yaniel Cabezas (Boise), OF Mayke Reyes (DSL Cubs #1), OF Rubi Silva (Daytona), and INF Rafael Valdes (Daytona) as the newest Cuban-Cubs. And the player considered to be the first Cuban defector (ex-DET OF Barbaro Garbey) is the hitting coach at Daytona. (Maybe it's time to bring back those 1990's Cubs road jerseys that Harry Caray thought displayed "Cuba" on the front).
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.
Fully agree on Addy -- hope he is our SS for a long time. I'm just surprised he has 4 errors already -- the last 2 on routine plays.
Guess how many Carlos Correa has?
I would still rather have Russell, right now, than any shortstop the team has had in many years. The future is bright enough to wear shades.
EDIT: Gonzo WOULD have been my favorite, 'cepting a certain error of a double-play ball...
Hi Phil, made it home tonight safely. Looks like Cease is getting better each outing. I see Crow did ok today too. I will be reading your write_ups everyday. Great seeing you while there!