2012 Cubs Draft Tracker Ticker - Day One

1st ROUND (6):
Albert Almora, CF
R/R, 6'2 180, 18 years old
Mater Academy - Hialeah Gardens, FL
COMMENT: Rated best HS defensive outfielder and 2nd best HS hitter in draft by Baseball America... Gold Glove quality defender right now... has average arm strength but with outstanding accuracy... is line-drive hitter with plus bat-speed... has just average speed for a centerfielder but is an above-average baserunner and base-stealer... was named tournament MVP while playing for Team USA 18 & Under squad at Pan American Games in Columbia last November... signed NLI with U. of Miami...


Pierce Johnson, RHP
R/R, 6'3 180, 21 years old
Missouri State
COMMENT: College junior... Ranked 6th in NCAA D-1 in K-per-IP in 2012.... 4-6 with 2.53 ERA in 14 GS for the Bears in 2012, with 85 hits allowed and 28/119 BB/K in 99.2 IP... Throws 92-93 MPH fastball that has touched 96, a mid-80's cutter, and a hard-breaking curve... Has had several injuries in his career, including broken hand senior year in HS, forearm strain freshman year in college, dislocated knee-cap while pitching in Cape Cod League in 2011, and more forearm issues this past season...
NOTE: This was compensation pick received by Cubs for losing Type "B" MLB Article XX-B FA Aramis Ramirez


Paul Blackburn, RHP
R/R, 6'2 180, 18 years old
Heritage HS - Brentwood, CA
COMMENT: Athletic pitcher with 90-92 MPH fastball that touches 94, curve, and change-up... Excellent control... Impressed scouts in Area Code Games (HS All-Star) in 2011... Signed NLI with Arizona State...
NOTE: This was compensation pick received by Cubs for losing Type "B" MLB Article XX-B FA Carlos Pena


Gold Glove quality defender right now

Holy over-hype Batman! I'm sure he's great and all, but yeah...a bit much.

especially matched with that
has just average speed for a centerfielder

unless he reads balls like Andruw Jones or Shoeless Joe Jackson.

I know that's not directly from AZ Phil, who hasn't seem him play yet.

I am surprised. Someone splain it to me.

This team has ZERO top of rotation pitching.

Thete wasn't one "worthy" pitcher at 6??

explanation #1, it's the MLB draft, rarely what you draft today will make an impact when you want it to...so you pick the best available player based on your evaluation.

#2, the top of the rotation pitching in this draft was suspect. Appel, Gausman, Zimmer, Fried...no one thinks any of them are sure things.

#3, allegedly a draft deep in HS pitchers, the Cubs are probably hoping to unearth a few Matt Moore's in the later rounds.

little doubt they'll be taking a lot of pitching in subsequent rounds.

Cool. Thanks for splainin' it to me.

Indeed, as stated, lots of HSers this draft.

Guess its really a dice roll...

BA write-up on Almora


60 tools across the board, speed is the most suspect of tools.

His instincts allow him to play center field at a high level; one scout said he was a 40 runner with 80 range and said he played center field like some players do shortstop, being instinctual rather than reactive like almost all outfielders.

Muskat tweet: Jason McLeod says Almora was top player on their board. "He fits the criteria of what we were looking for."

so much for Stroman rocketing up the board, still out there after 15 picks.

Nationals pick up Giolito with #16, $2.125M slot

Appel's slot was $2.9M fwiw.

Both are allegedly in the $5-7M range in terms of asking price.

this should be fun, see how they handle the rest of their draft.

Giolito and Strasburg could be a nice combo though

in 4 years? sure

a lot could happen between then and now, like Giolito's elbow exploding or Strasburg's again.

Very true...fortunately we have Wood and Prior on top of our rotation and have no need to worry about injuries :)

it was thought by some this kind of draft would penalize small market teams for a variety of reasons, but 2 smaller markets have bought into 2 of the biggest $$ names so far.

woo, draft strategies.

good start for Appel

@jperrotto It would appear Mr. Appel may not be happy about his No. 8 selection. He declined to do a conference call with Pittsburgh media.


if he didn't go top-3 the money ticked away quickly out of his pocket.

PIT may have to pay a penalty depending on how far they go over budget depending on their draft strategy, but when you effectively pay 75 cents more per $1 you go over budget even boras can't make millions happen for hell of it.

fun fact Pittsburgh is in second place

they're nothing without pat meares.

relatives or neighbors or both?

local law enforcement in a world that's too harsh for cops.

it's rough in the hood, homie.

John Koronka is the area scout that recommended Almora.


for no good reason, I'm disappointed to learn this.

Dear god that name sounds familiar.

He really sucked in 2005

Hey. He was good enough to bring Freddie Bynum to Chicago. I think that speaks volumes.

Stroman finally taken by Blue Jays at #22

Brandon McCarthy is the best...

@BMcCarthy32 Draft comps: do it by race, and if that doesn't work, well just do it anyway.

He really has quite a sense of humor. The ump stuff he wrote on his blog recently was just great.

I guess he was just barely out of getting his driving license when he was with the Sox here.

Give him a bat and send him to Chicago.

Cubs "grab" Jairo Asencio off waivers from Tribe.


Anyone post this previously?

No doubt the bullpen will be tremendously upgraded.

I am psyched!

incredibly 3/44

So - you'd say, 6/88, then?

Maybe 6/88 with a no-trade clause.


maybe next year MLB Network will deinterlace all their video of prospects before they put it on tv...some of this is painful to watch (all that lines-all-over-the-video looking stuff).

Lance McCullers Jr. still out there apparently...no idea his signing demands.

he has a lot of leverage because he could go another year and be a 1-3 pick...he's got the stuff.

it's hard to handicap how teams will play under the new rules...there's a number of ways to approach it and new leverage to both sides.

he was expected to go pick 1st round for a lot of people.

from the department of you-can't-make-this-shit-up, June 2nd...

“It’s frustrating, the whole draft thing is frustrating,” McCullers said. “I’ve done nothing than get better since I’ve been ranked No. 1 forever, and no one in the country had a better year than me on the hill.

“If Major League Baseball wants to undervalue me, then I’ll show them what I’m really about three years from now.”


“I think it’s going to push a lot of high school guys who wouldn’t have considered going to school more in that direction.”


McCullers threw 136 pitches for the win in the Class 6A region finals before turning around and throwing 93 more over six scoreless innings in the state semifinals.

a shrubbery

Thank you!

holy hell...victor roache's (MIL) father is a tank.

larry dierker's hairpiece selected L.McCullers with the 41st pick for HOU.

this is interesting given the savings on their #1 pick.

at least they got a college pitcher in the mix.

Cubs at #43 take Pierce Johnson, RHP Missouri St

"plus fastball, plus curve" according to John Hart

starter or reliever, some sort of minor arm injury.

MLB comparison is Zach Stewart. Well, NOW I'm salivating...

Jim Callis‏@jimcallisBA
#Cubs take Pierce Johnson at 43. Might have been mid-1st-rder before forearm strain in April. Potential No. 3-4 SP

Pierce Brosnan?

MLB network coverage on Pierce Johnson...announced by Fergie Jenkins:

closest mlb comp: Drew Storen
Two plus pitches, fastball, breaking ball
J. Mayo: he came back at the end of the season to show his forearm strain wasn't a serious injury.
Comp pick for Aramis Ramirez

Cubs at #56 take Paul Blackburn, RHP Heritage HS, Oakley, CA

"committed to Arizona State, potential for 3-plus pitches"

MLB draft ticker on Blackburn

After a big performance at last summer's Area Code Games, Blackburn has continued pitching well this spring to keep him firmly on the prospect map. The NoCal high schooler has a good fastball that hits 92 mph consistently and will touch a tick or two higher on the radar gun at times. His two secondary offerings – a curve and a changeup – both have the chance to be very effective pitches. He's generally around the strike zone and thanks to his athleticism and sound delivery, his command should only improve with experience. The Arizona State recruit has some projectability, meaning his already pretty good stuff has room to get even better. That should get him off the board early enough to keep him from heading to Arizona.

this is what $10M for Carlos Pena bought the Cubs btw :)

I'm good with that.

Goldstein on the Score right now talking Cubs picks.

didn't notice til now, but m.prior is back.

he pitched his debut for AAA BOS june 2nd.

1ip 0h 1bb 1k

He's gotta be, like, 50 years old by now.

If they get him back, it will be just like making a big trade at the deadline!



spin, spin, spin

Team Epstein actually got all three of the players they targeted in their first and most important moves as leaders of the “jinxed” franchise.


43. Cubs: Pierce Johnson, rhp, Missouri State: Has a lively fastball (up to 96 mph), but was dinged up some this year.

56. Cubs: Paul Blackburn, rhp, Heritage HS, Brentwood, Calif.: Consistent performer touches 94 mph with chance for three plus pitches and command.


2nd round pick, Duane Underwood, HS RHP from Georgia

Hit 98 mph at times, but quite inconsistent. Commitment to U of Georgia

Keith Law approved of this pick. Which isn't surprising really given his love for Epstein, Hoyer et al.

I disagree. He has been fairly voicerfous in his dislike of most anything Cub for at least 10years I have been reading him.

Maybe he likes HoyStein, but that was in Boston. Not here so much, imo.

IMHO any of his anti-Cubs dislike is more remnants from the Hendry era. Hendry might be gone, but his legacy will live on with the players, farm system, etc that he left behind for a few years. Law was on the Waddle & Silvy show yesterday and was pretty complimentary of the new regime and that there is now a "process."

Ok. "From his mouth..."


good rundown on him, ranked as high as #52 on pre-draft lists (Keith Law) and as low as #104 (BA), questions about losing concentration and trouble overcoming adversity.

BA's report on Underwood has him touching 97-98 mph on his fastball at times, but also dropping down as low as 87 mph this spring, with "erratic command" and little feel for pitching.

Underwood is everything you'd want from a high school pitcher: athletic with arm strength, a chance to have three at least Major League-average pitches and outstanding mound presence.The Georgia product will sit in the low 90s with his fastball typically, but he can reach back for 95-96 mph occasionally. His secondary offerings aren't as good as the fastball, but both his curve and changeup have a chance. When he throws them right, his curve can have a very good 12-to-6 late break and his changeup can be very deceptive.He doesn't throw either consistently right now and he does have some issues with command at times. His poise, knowledge of the game and athleticsm say he'll continue to evolve as a pitcher, meaning he could start moving up charts this spring.

3rd round pick, #101 - Ryan McNeil, HS RHP Nipomo, CA

Mayo - "good athlete, headed to Long Beach State"

Callis - "basketball player, started off slow but finished strong, 90-93 mph fastball"


at the Cubs convention this year, I heard several of the Cub field scouts and Tim Wilken say that they like HS kids that play multiple sports. So a basketball player and pitcher is probably just something they look at as a positive.

that never works, look at Jeff Samardzija

/every Cub fan before this year

4 pitchers, 1 position player to start the draft.

Restocking the minor league pitching depth: check.


Sheesh. The Cubs already have a minor leagues full of minor league pitchers, plus five or six more on the major league roster.



No lefties though, huh?

Round 5....Cubs draft 6 consecutive pitcher and first lefty, Anthony Prieto. From BA:

"Prieto barely pitched in high school until his junior season and joined his first travel team last summer, when he reportedly reached the mid-90s at a tournament in Phoenix. Scouts haven't seen that kind of velocity out of the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder this season, when he missed the first six weeks with a forearm strain. Since returning, Prieto mostly has dealt fastballs at 88-90 mph. Though he's not physical, he generates his heat with an effortless delivery that allows him to throw strikes with three pitches. Both his changeup and curveball show promise. He has signed with Howard (Texas) JC. "

4th round pick, Josh Conway, RHP Coastal Carolina

In the smaller Big South Conference, Coastal Carolina has built a pretty good program that saw four players get drafted and sign in 2011. This year, it could have been Conway's turn before an elbow injury ended his season and required Tommy John surgery. Once a two-way player, Conway gave up hitting completely to focus on the mound in 2012 and it was paying off. Coastal Carolina's Friday starter, he’s a bit of an undersized right-hander, but one with a pretty good three-pitch mix. A good athlete on the mound, he throws a fastball, slider and changeup, all of which have the chance to be solid average offerings. Without truly overpowering stuff, he’ll have to continue to improve his command and keep hitters off-balance. Pre-injury, he had the chance to join teammate (and 2011 second-round pick) Anthony Meo as a fairly early Draft pick. Now a team will have to be willing to draft him and let him rehab under its watchful eye.

Anyone else wondering if drafting players whose stock might have fallen due to injuries is Theo's new Moneyball?

Jim Hendry already wrote that book.

this new draft format has proven itself to be a disaster right out of the gate.

highschool kids have heavy leverage to pull 1 season at a community college or pulling a few years at a 4-year school now more than ever.

guys like m.appell are/were supposed to go top-3 based on their actual value and how much loot it's going to take to sign them.

agents may work hard to actually ruin this year's draft for the sake of getting rid of the framework. it wouldn't be the first time they put their interests ahead of the kid(s) for the sake of loot...not like the player doesn't want more loot, too.

Seems like it's just a way of limiting what young players can earn. Don't see a benefit to anyone here.

I think it could work, but the numbers are set waaaaay too low.

Anytime Reinsdorff and Selig get a wild hair up their ass, shit like this happens. Someday, Jerry will finally get his hard salary cap in Basketball. Meanwhile, he continues to lead every effort in baseball to do the same thing. For over a decade he has refused to spend money in the Rule 4 draft either assuming or, more likely, hoping the majority of other owners would do the same.

If your owner's team has deeper pockets, big market revenue, or just likes to spend money on amateur talent, isn't that what a 'free-market' economy is supposed to do? The fact that some baseball GM's are better at scouting and developing that talent than other organizations is whose fault?

Anytime the 'powers that be' start legislating how you can/cannot spend your money, the hair on the back of my neck goes up.

so far it seems there could be a record # of 1st round picks not signed along with a stupid amount of highschool kids not signed.

it should be interesting/ugly. MLB/owners are going to have to really stick to their guns if they want to convince the agents this isn't just going to "go away."

...last year's #5 pick (a highschooler) got more than the slot for this year's #1.

The CBA is set up to protect those already in the union - current MLB players. If teams can't spend $20 mil on the draft or on Cubans and other foreign players, they'll have to spend it on MLB players in free agency, contract extensions, etc. Or I suppose not spend it. But that's not going to happen.

they should have given rounds 1-3 flat money rather than slotting everything so sharply after the first 3 picks, then again mid-1st round.

there's not enough millions to get things done unless you're a top-3 team getting those extra millions of flexibility.

...when your #1 decides to go on a bargain hunt, though...kinda screws things up. astros picked a highschool kid who should have gone round 1 with their 2nd pick. they actually have some flexibility over where to throw loot thanks to how they played the draft.

If my source is accurate that Appel turned down $6 mm from Astros, #Stanford RHP is a huge egg in #Pirates basket. Bucs draft pool: $6.6 mm.

Cubs draft pool is: $7,933,900 fwiw.

I think you made the point, Rob, this week...'have you read the latest CBA on the Rule 4 draft?'. Has Appel and Boras? I mean, what exactly is the leverage they think they have? The Pirates are going to go so far above the slot guidelines that they're going to pay a 100% tax and lose a couple of 1st round picks in 2013, 2014? Really? I had no idea Boras had those kind of super powers.

LeMahieu looks like the one recently traded (or Rule 5'ed) Cub who is getting significant playing time, starting the last five games for the Rockies at 2B, during which he is 6 for 17, all singles.

Marwin Gonzalez has appeared in 36 games for Houston but mostly as a PH or late-inning sub.

Colvin is slumping--not hard to picture. Flaherty is showing defensive versatility at 2B, SS, 3B and RF while he tries to point his BA in the direction of .200.

As MIKE C pointed out over a month ago (and I too lazy to check) Colvin's nice stats at the time were mostly generated in Denver.

I thought he was on the road to productivity at the time.

But, Maybe he will turn out to be a total bust - or full-time Camp Director at his own camp?

Recent comments

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  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).