And With the Second Pick in the Draft...

I hope the Cubs end up getting Jonathan Gray.

Listen, there's very few drafts where the odds are greater than 80-90% that you're gonna land a true elite talent(A-Rod, Strasburg, Griffey Jr. were all no-brainers) and this seems to be one of those drafts where that elite talent isn't particularly obvious. So whomever the Cubs take with that #2 pick will come with all the hype of Mark Prior, but not nearly as much of the talent.

The big names in the draft that the Cubs seem to be concentrating on are RHP Jonathan Gray out of Oklahoma, RHP Mark Appel out of Stanford and 3B Kris Bryant(but probably an OF or 1B) out  of San Diego. There's a bit of a buzz around Georgia high schoolers Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, but seems doubtful the Cubs will go that route.

Now the Astros with the first pick are likely going to take 1 of those 3 off the board and most likely one of the pitchers, leaving the Cubs with a coin flip decision. The power college arm or the power college bat. There's certainly good reason to be scared of any pitcher in the draft, arm injuries can derail a pitcher's career much quicker than any injuries will end a position player. But the history of college hitters taken with the first two picks in the draft isn't particularly eye popping either. So to keep this short and succinct...here's what each boils down to:

Gray - Big dude, expected to be able to eat innings with ease. A fastball that hits 100mph and sits in the upper 90's. Plus slider, that some believe could be a plus-plus slider with a little work. Change-up is average at best at this point. Biggest issue seems to be his control and being sure he stays in shape. Also, being a junior he can return to Oklahoma if he doesn't get the money he wants.

Rather Meaningless Stats: 9-2, 1.55 ERA, .181 Batting Average against, 127 K vs. 21 walks in 110 IP.

Appel - a lot more polish than Gray, can hit high 90's but sits around 94-95. A 11-5 curve that could be his out pitch in the majors and a change-up that's a work in progress, but farther along than Gray's. He apparently can also throw a cutter. Biggest issue is probably that Boras is his agent and could pull a Hochevar if they don't like the deal offered.

Rather Meaningless Stats: 10-4, 2.12 ERA, .203 Batting Average against, 130 K vs. 23 walks in 106.1 IP.

Bryant - 6-5" right-handed hitter with a big arm that many believe will land him in right field.  He'll be drafted for his power, power that plays to all fields. He's improved his strike zone judgement, but hard to tell how much of that is fear vs. pitch recognition. And of course, anyone with that power will likely have a bit of swing and miss in his game. Also a college junior, so he has some leverage in negotiations.

Rather Meaningless Stats: .329/.493/.820 with 31 HR...66 BB vs. 44 K in 228 AB's.

As for why I'd take Gray, it just seems to have the biggest upside of the three. 100 mph fastballs usually have a high rate of reaching the majors, so the floor is pretty high as well. How well he does when he gets to the majors is anybody's guess, but it seems like at the very worst he could be a high end bullpen arm. For whatever reason, Appel makes me think of Hochevar, not really a true #1 pick, but there's no one better around so let's take him. I'm sure Bryant will have a perfectly fine career, but if he was an elite talent, he'd probably been chased after a lot harder after high school. Also, I'd feel better about him if he batted from the left side or had any real hope of sticking at 3b. In the end, the Cubs will get what the Astros don't want most likely and years from now...um....minutes after, we'll all be second guessing the pick.

 

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fwiw, BA thinks Gray goes to Houston, Appel to Cubs

http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/mock-draft-4-0-the-final-countdown/

good point in there that July 12th deadline doesn't apply to Appel, so he can hold a team's bonus pool money hostage. Some rumors that Cubs were trying to secure a deal with Appel last night. Don't see that happening with Boras.

slightly updated BA mock draft

http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/mock-draft-4-1-one-more-last-chance/

still Gray over Appel, then Bryant to Rockies

Mayo's over at Milb.com

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130606&content_id=49792594&vke...

http://www.baseballamerica.com/chat/?1370541628

BA chat happening for those interested.

1st question on hoping Appel slips to Boston

"While it's still a bit of a mystery who Houston will take, I think the Cubs are zeroing in on Appel. I don't see Appel sliding like he did last year."

it should be the first cubs 1st round pitcher pick worth getting excited about since a.cashner in 2008...or the brownlie/hagerty/blasco trio in 2002...or prior in 2001 if you really want to raise the bar to rarely comparable status.

says Gray, Appel and Moran probably the 3 closest to the majors.

Moran probably a better fit with Cardinal Nation

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.god...

nicely played.

Re: single best tool in the draft

 I'm going to go with Jonathan Gray's fastball and Matt McPhearson's speed for the best single tools in this draft. Both are 80s though some might be conservative and call McPhearson a 70 runner.

article about abolishing the draft...

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9348666/the-mlb-draft-work-quite-pos...

whatever, but this was interesting and something I never knew:

While no. 1 overall pick Kris Benson signed for $2 million, Boras found a loophole in MLB's rules that allowed four first-round picks to be declared free agents, free to sign with any team.4 One of them was no. 2 overall pick Travis Lee. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks — for $10.2 million. The other three guys got $10 million (Matt White), $6.075 million (John Patterson), and $3 million (Bobby Seay). If there was any doubt before that the draft suppressed signing bonuses, there wasn't anymore.

*footnote*

Major League Baseball's own rules stated that if a player was not offered a formal contract in writing within 15 days of being drafted, he was a free agent. Teams had routinely missed this deadline for years, but no one called them on it. Boras did, and got pilloried in the press for it, but the people who deserved to get called on the carpet were the incompetent lawyers who created a loophole wider than the Kuiper Belt.

 

this is covered in decent detail in "Big League, Big Time" by Len Sherman...killer book about the "birth" of the AZ Diamondbacks (Patterson also signed with ARZ).

value of a pick

http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/top-100-draft-flashback/

The value of the No. 1 overall pick trumps the value of all other first-round picks, including the No. 2 pick. ~snip~ Compare those No. 1 overall values with the same values for players selected with the second pick. Players selected No. 2 overall have accumulated less than half of the value of the first pick, whether in terms of career (199) or median (eight) value. Cumulative WAR totals drop off steadily from there, indicating that, on the whole, and in the 20 years examined, teams are properly assessing player value in the draft.

It goes on to recap the top 10 picks from 1998-2012.

Demographics: 7 high school (2 catchers, shortstops & outfielders), 11 college (6 righthanders)
Reached MLB: 18 of 18 signed players
Washouts: None
Impact Rate: 8 of 18 (44 percent)
Pick Value (WAR): 199 total, 11 average, 8.2 median
Best Player: RHP Justin Verlander (Tigers, 2004)—one Cy Young Award, one MVP, five all-star games, ’06 AL Rookie of the Year
Other Hits: LPH Mark Mulder (Athletics, 1998), RHP Josh Beckett (Marlins, 1999), RHP Mark Prior (Cubs, 2001), OF B.J. Upton (Rays, 2002), OF Alex Gordon (Royals, 2005)
This Year’s Pick: Cubs, who previously selected RHP Mark Prior (2001) at this position

The only spot in the top 10 where there was hasn't been a "washout" over that time period.

g.amsinger on MLB Network claiming m.appel's very high demands (and a threat via s.boras of going to play in indie ball) may drop him in the draft.

grain of salt alert

42m

Interesting, well placed source just told me that Astros are down to Stewart or Moran. Kohl would certainly be a surprise.

if they want to hand the cubs gray...more power to them.

fwiw, slot money is $6,708,400 for the 2nd pick...expect the pick to get 7.5 to 8M I'm guessing.

$10,556,500 is their total bonus money for first 10 rounds for Cubs.

That's too much money for this talent. Not saying they won't give it to one of them. But it's why I'd look at someone other than the big three to cut me a deal.

the 1st of the top-2 season events for the 2013 cubs is about to begin...the other being "what are we going to get in trade for all these 1st year and final year contracts"

...woo, cubs baseball. catch the hypothermia.

Keith Law hearing Appel to Astros, as is Heyman.

trifecta, Manual at BA hears the same.

Cubs transaction page says we signed a couple of guys:
Chicago Cubs signed free agent RHP Salvador Jerez.
Chicago Cubs signed free agent RHP Enrique De Los Rio.

Does anyone know about these guys?

phew...cubs avoid the potential appel mess...gray (non-Boras client) come on down and get your car rims money.

kerry wood and keith lockhart are in the MLB studios fake-ass war room table representing the cubs. neat.

KRIS BRYANT! woah.

Cubs go well over time....MLB network guys struggling to fill the time. Comedy.

End up picking Kris Bryant.

Surprise, surprise.

kris bryant...college junior...boras client...leverage + assramming adviser/agent.

good luck allocating that draft money cubbies.

He previously was drafted in the 18th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 and reportedly rejected a bonus of $1.2 million.

2017 Cubs lineup: CF Almora, 3B Baez, 1B Rizzo, RF Soler, LF Bryant, C Castillo, SS Castro, 2B Ryne Sandberg's clone

poor gray...drafted by COL.

Yay. Not a sustained, whooppee Yay, just sort of a mild, yay. This draft didn't excite. Thank you TheoCorp for listening to me on the high draft pitcher thing. It's good to know you read my posts.

as long as they didn't "go cheap" and avoid one of the top-3 it's hard to complain...they got the best available bat in the draft and one of the most exciting college bats in years.

the comparisons to pat burrell aren't exactly exciting, but seem apt. he's got a really wide and somewhat squat stance for a 6'5" guy considering how much power he gets out of his swing.

Yeah, who knows who they would have gotten if Wilken and Hendry had picked. Some guy named Horace McGillicutty from some small Louisiana juco.

i'm still pissed they went with hayden simpson over kaleb cowart in 2010.

when you have the 16th pick in the draft and it's a given there's 0 chance any of the 15 teams before you is going to even make a move on the guy you want that should tell you something...especially when it was the worst kept secret pre-draft that it was going to be simpson as the cubs pick.

cowart's having a crappy 2013...but simpson is in indie ball, and probably not for much longer, and not in a good career move way.

I'm still pissed they took bust-out Vitters over Weiters.

Isn't Simpson done? I think he got hurt in the Frontier league. He'll be lucky to get a chance to strike out Jose Canseco some day.

given his performance in the frontier league (which is low on the totem pole, even for indie ball) he's probably done soon even if he does return from the DL there.

CLE selects the most redheaded player in baseball history...clint frazier

He looks like Scott Farcus!

(Not that I'm dreamy or anything.)

lulz...

he's one of the highest touted highschool hitters in quite a while...well, not including mike trout...who he's compared to.

he supposedly comes with a little bit of an ego, but it's supposedly a healthy "i know i'm good" ego.

Cubs claim they had Appel #1 on board and Bryant #2. Could be just good P.R., but such is the claim.

My guess is they took so long trying to make sure they had some solid parameters on bonus numbers for both Bryant and Gray and then making a final decision.

Moran ...
It's a shame he didn't go to the Cardinals. And bomb there.

bryant to initially play 3rd...as expected for whoever drafted him. good luck sticking there.

bryant confirms in interview he's going to start out in the organization at 3rd.

ESPN draft guru Keith Law's take: Bryant's kind of right-handed power is very hard to find, and even if he ends up in right field he's athletic enough to be good there. He sets up with a very wide base and has no stride, just a toe-tap for timing. It's a quiet swing overall, with excellent hip rotation for power, but his bat speed is just average or a tick better and I worry about his contact rates when he's consistently facing guys throwing 90-plus in pro ball. He can murder a good fastball but I'm not sure how he'll react to better off-speed stuff in the pros.
http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/174...

royals with the first "what?" pick of the draft...hunter dozier (SS), expected to go late 1st round or early 2nd goes with the 8th pick...and not expected to stick at SS over time.

phil bickford (RHP) goes 10th to TOR...was expected to go mid-late/late 1st.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/scott-miller/22356953/budding-slugger-...

good article on Bryant, seems to possess some personality which is always nice. Good grades too...can't hurt.

As ROB G notes, USD is one step above a monastery. Except with a preponderance of wealthy stoner kids/surfer dudes. So - he might be a "good kid". And he is a helluva baseball player. Theo also went to USD for Law School.

baseball america "draft analysis" on k.bryant...

----

SCOUTING REPORT: Bryant has shown huge raw power since his high school days in Las Vegas, and has blossomed into college baseball’s premier slugger. He posted a 1.081 OPS and nine homers as a freshmen, then a 1.154 OPS and 14 long balls as a sophomore, but he has taken his game to new heights as a junior, posting a 1.357 OPS and 25 home runs (seven more than any other Division I player) through 49 games. Opponents have pitched him very carefully, but he has remained patient, posting a 56-31 walk-strikeout mark. Bryant’s best tool is his plus-plus righthanded power, allowing him to launch towering shots over the light standard in left field or hit balls over the fence to the opposite field. He has adopted a wider base and a simpler approach at the plate this year, and he has impressed scouts with his ability to turn on inside fastballs or go the other way with sliders over the outer half. His plate discipline and ability to consistently barrel up a variety of pitches make him a safe bet to be at least an average hitter, and many scouts think he’ll be better than that. Bryant’s arm gives him another above-average tool. His athleticism gives him at least a chance to stick at third, although he’ll need plenty more repetitions to master the position. Some scouts project him as a prototypical right fielder. He has average speed and can be faster under way, and he has shown good instincts in right and center.

WHERE HE FITS: As talented as Bryant is, he’s entering a crowded Cubs’ system and will likely slot behind Javier Baez, Albert Almora and potentially Jorge Soler.

Bryant conference call highlights

highlight so far was sitting down and talking to Theo Epstein, says he'll tell his grandkids one day about it

open to playing anywhere on the field as long as he hits in middle of the order (how demanding)

takes as much pride in defense at 3b as his hitting

at the going rate, I think the Cubs 2nd round pick should happen around July 4th.

cards (19th) picks Marco Gonzales (LHP)...1st LHP 1st rounder since 1994 for them

slight surprise pick...but given it's STL he's pretty much a shoe-in for 2016 Cy Young

...and shelby miller hits his 1st MLB HR to celebrate the pick

and they take a 2nd lefty with their second 1st round pick...rob kaminsky (high school kid).

neither are power pitchers...both polish pitchers.

...both polish pitchers.
----
I didn't realize this was an international draft...I thought that was put on hold for a few more years

lulz

Dodger pick Chris Anderson RHP Jacksonville U at 18.

Cubs selected him in the 35th round in 2010.

ryne stanek (RHP) still on the board after 25 picks...he was expected to go somewhere between 10-15 and pre-season was considered a top-10 pick.

TB picks up stanek with the 29th pick.

named 'ryne' after ryne sandberg, btw...and his parents are/were cardinals fans. go figure.

Yankees at pick 26 take Eric Jagielo 3B Notre Dame.

Cubs picked him in the 50th round in 2010.
Downers Grove North HS

hunter harvey (son of bryan hunter if you remember his short flash of brilliance) was drafted 22nd by the O's...he never had any contact with them and the pick was a surprise.

his chance of going to college is around 0.0001% given that there's trained animals with more education desire than this kid.

I wish CRUNCH would have jinxed the Cards pick somehow...

at least neither of the guys they picked project to be anything more than middle-end rotation starters...the m.gonzalez signing is seen as more of a "available soon" type pick with a high floor, but not much further to move on his ceiling.

of course Cardinals get Kaminsky....

Of course the take LHP Rob Kaminsky. He will come back to bite other teams on the ass. Smart org makes another smart move.

and

Good velo from the left-side; excellent sink; power CB that is a money pitch; one of the best in the class.

Sean Manaea fallen off the board too? Is there an issue?

injured (torn labrum, hip)

ian clarkin (expected to go 15-20) is the only undrafted "shocker" left, i believe.

...scratch that...he just went 33rd to the yanks...hell of a steal if they can sign him rather than going to college.

time to see what the hell was up with KC's strange/stupid/wtf #8 pick of a guy expected to go very late 1st round at best.

...and it's sean manaea.

at least that makes some sense.

still...interesting draft strategy to piss away their #8 pick on...they could have had dj peterson or dominic smith or a dozen+ better players..

Cubs got their dh

vogelbomb says thanks for the shout out.

if MIA was going to piss away their competitive balance pick with matt krook, they should have just traded it away. massive fail. the chances of him not pitching college ball is rather remote.

he would have gone much earlier if he wasn't so insistent that he was going to do the college thing. good luck with that pick, MIA.

Cubs pick Rob Zastryzny (aka Z-man cuz im not spelling that again) with the 41st pick...LHP

never heard of him.

j.mayo not impressed...not in his top-100...doesn't like his stuff. john hart likes his stuff, though he believes he may end up in the pen.

i guess we have to keep in mind what the cubs first pick is going to cost.

i can't even find a scouting report on the guy that's not 2+ years old or from highschool.

BA has him as their #76 ranked prospect (Rob Zastryzny, LHP, Missouri (National Rank: 76) as of June 4th of this year.

Though Zastryzny won just two of his first 11 starts this spring as Missouri got a rude welcome to the Southeastern Conference, scouts aren't holding that against him. A lefthander who can really pitch with his fastball, he should go in the first three rounds. Zastrzyny effortlessly adds and subtracts from his fastball, usually sitting around 90 mph but capable of dropping down to 86 or elevating four-seamers up in the zone at 95. The 6-foot-3, 193-pounder can locate his fastball to either side of the plate and gets good angle, which helps it play up further. His most reliable secondary pitch is his changeup, which shows flashes of being a plus offering. His breaking ball is less consistent, as he will switch between a slider and curveball. Zastryzny throws strikes but will need to refine his command in pro ball.

-Baseball America-

"Zastryszny is a four-pitch starter who lacks a true out pitch, changing speeds and locations to get hitters out in a way that will be tough to replicate at higher levels. Zastryszny will run his four-seamer up to 92-93 and mixes in a two-seamer at 87-88 that has some sink but hasn't kept him from being homer-prone this year in the Big 12. His changeup at 80-81 has good arm speed, and he'll throw an occasional show-me curve at 75-76 with good shape but soft rotation. He's a strike-thrower who drifts off the mound a little early and turns his pitching hand over just as his front foot lands, generating very little torque from his hips to maintain or boost his velocity. I think he's a back-end starter because of his control and left-handedness, although he'll have to use the four-seamer less so he doesn't become a 35-homer-a-year guy."

found that on Espn.com

Fastball (variable, mid 80s to mid 90s), change, slide r, curve. Signable.

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/mizzou/zast...

...still watching the draft coverage...get to see tommy lasorda go to the mic to announce LA's 56th draft pick...it was worth it.

STL picks oscar mercado with the 57th pick...all fielding, no hit, no power SS.

oddly, i was reading about him earlier today. he's got very serious fielding/throwing skills...practically MLB-ready, but he hits poorly even vs highschool competition without a shred of power.

Bring him up!

WAS gets their first pick...68th of the draft.

times have changed.

jacob johansen (RHP)...1-pitch kid, 95-99mph fastball.

COL scouting director on the air (via phone) on the COL game (tied, 5-5 in the 11th fwiw)

he seemed to be surprised/pleased they got j.gray, but at the same time it seems there was someone else they were expecting to snag (most likely bryant). there was more than a few sentences about adapting while the draft is in progress and you don't know what's going to happen in picks before you...but hey, there were 2 teams in front of COL and i can't imagine they thought appel was going to last until pick 3 unless they were extremely optimistic.

speaking of this game...double umpire fail on a single play.

bases loaded, hit to arenado...guy called out at 3rd on a play where arenado throws the ball before he tags the base (while stepping over it)...and guy at 1st called safe when he was out by 1/2 step that you didn't even need a slo-mo replay to pick up on.

run scores...SD up by 1 going to bottom 12th.

Conor Glassey‏@conorglassey
Gotta feel for Jon Denney, showing up at the #mlbdraft and not getting picked.

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat
Zastryzny (ZAS-tris-knee) was projected by some as a possible 1st round pick. Baseball America ranked 12th best LHP.

---

yeah...uh...i'd like to see this list of "some"

Zastryzny (ZAS-tris-knee)
---
The've had so much success with Samardzija, for round two, they were intrigued to find a pitcher that was an almost an anagram for Sam-I-Am-jiza

I was watching Bryant videos on YouTube. It's amazing to me that the kid generates any power at all. His stance has his feet so far apart, and when he swings, there's almost no movement in his feet and no weight-shifting in his hips. It seems like a good recipe to hit for contact but not power.

How's his swing plane?

Related to Bryant and 3B...I haven't read enough on him yet, but can someone summarize why everyone thinks he won't end up playing there?

I can summarize. Baseball is, in my opinion, the hardest game to play at the major league level of all the sports. Others may disagree but it is very difficult to excel at that level. So I think it is really just a healthy dose of skepticism. The kid seems awfully confident that he can not only play it, but also hit at the major league level today. I suspect the first thing he'll run into is adversity. We'll see how he handles it. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's better karma than just automatically assuming he's gonna suck out there.

Not a whole lot of 6'5" 3B. Troy Glaus is the only recent one who comes to my mind.

Glaus played SS btw at UCLA...defensive spectrum and all.

As for Bryant not playing 3b, well you never know, feeling is he doesn't have the quick instincts and footwork to handle the hot corner at a major league level. But it's not set in stone by any means...

"How's his swing plane?"

given that he can actually move his bat during his swing, it's not an issue.

the whole point of all of this "plane" thing was that i (and others) noticed that once he started his swing there was -0- adjustment on the fly except his "move" where he would pull his shoulder in (which kinda saps power out of the swing and isn't a very steady/stable means to adjust during a swing)...where it started is where it was going to end...which leads to shit contact unless you're barry bonds. guys like vlad (and currently miggy) make a decent living being able to adjust their bat once they start their swing...which takes a lot of strength...to square the bat up on a ball.

while others were busy telling me i was full of shit, we got to see it play out until he finally told the world he was dealing with a long-lingering, multi-year, wrist issue (omfg surprise and shock!).

2 years, 2 players lost, and $4.25m later...

To be fair...we weren't doubting you. We were lightly joshing you for repeating it over and over.

i know it's mostly jokes...some were dead serious, though...and let me know in detailed rants from "theo-jed wouldn't do that" to "the trade wouldn't have happened if his medicals didn't check out" and points in between.

i wasn't the only person who saw it...given he's a slugger more than a natural hitter it was a bit alarming to watch him swing a bat like that.

I read a scouting report that said he had tons of hip movement that provided a lot of torque for power. No offense, but I'm gonna rely on the scouting report.

clearly not a problem for him though...

as for the no movement in his feet, that's a good thing

I am assuming many of you have already seen this, but BA has a slick Draft DB going with drop-downs for everything. Pretty nifty.

Rotoworld blurb:

Mariners released OF Corey Patterson.
Patterson caught on with the M's at the end of the April, but he's been given a pink slip after batting just .175/.224/.270 over 19 games at Triple-A Tacoma. He'll now look for a minor league deal elsewhere.

Conor Glassey‏@conorglassey
#Cubs 3rd rdr BYU CF Jacob Hannemann is one of my favorite sleepers in this year's draft. Jacoby Ellsbury comps, which Theo knows all about.

Have him start a few games in Double A, and bring him up!!!

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