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).