The Baseball Draft: The Coulda’ Been Cubs

Part 1 Part 2 Trivia Question: Name two current NFL players who were once drafted by the Cubs? I'll end this look back at the Cubs drafts through the years by looking at some of the players the Cubs had a chance at obtaining or gave up too early on. This is all for fun and there are no fingers being pointed here. Just a frivolous look at who could have been Cubbies if the things broke the right way. In Part I, I introduced the all-time greatest drafted Cubs, a list of players drafted by the Cubs and their contributions as Cubs. Here's that list again to spur your memory. Position Played/Round Taken/Career Cubbie Win Shares 1. Mark Grace (1b/24/269) 2. Rick Reuschel (P/3/155) 3. Shawon Dunston (SS/1/112) 4. Lee Smith (P/2/104) 5. Greg Maddux (P/2/102) 6. Ken Holtzman (P/4/75) 7. Kerry Wood (P/1/72) 8. Steve Trachsel (P/8/58) 9. Rick Wilkins (C/23/55) 10. Ray Burris (P/17/49) But what if the Cubs never made a move and all the players the Cubs ever drafted and signed played for the Cubs and contributed just as they did with other teams. Here's the best talents ever selected (and signed) by the Cubs: 1. Rafael Palmeiro (OF/1/385) 2. Greg Maddux (P/2/359) 3. Mark Grace (1b/24/294) 4. Joe Carter (OF/1/240) 5. Rick Reuschel (P/3/240) 6. Lee Smith (P/2/198) 7. Joe Niekro (P/4/189) 8. Oscar Gamble (OF/16/177) 9. Burt Hooten (P/1/164) 10. Ken Holtzman (P/4/157) Signability has always been an issue with the draft and the Cubs have missed out on an assortment of talent for various reasons. THE NEVER SIGNED CUBS P - Jon Lieber (1991/9th) P - Kevin Tapani (1985/9th) P - Mark Langston (1978/15th) P - Ken Forsch (1967/4th) P - Bob Welch (1974/14th) P - Jim Otten (1971/1st) P - Tom House (1965/11th) P - Tom Henke (1980/1st) 1B - Darrell Evans (1965/13th) SS- Khalil Greene (2001/14th) SS - Adam Everett (1995/4th) SS - Eddie Leon (1966/1st) 3B - Jeff Cirillo (1987/37th) 3B - Jeff King (1983/23rd) OF - Ray Lankford (1986/3rd) OF - Terry Francona (1977/2nd) Many of those players were selected out of high school and decided to go to college and there are 2 names missing from the list that you may recognize, although their baseball prowess is unknown. Current NFL-ers Antwaan Randle-El(1997/14th) and Quincy Carter(1996/2nd) were both selected out of high school by the Cubs and in Carter's case even played a few seasons within the organization. Screwing up the draft can happen in many forms, including missing out on superior talent. Here's a list to get your blood boiling, a team of players the Cubs could have drafted but chose someone else. I had to put some restrictions on this list. First, I tried to look no further then 5 spots below where the Cubs picked that year. Anymore then 5 spots and I figured that no matter how well the player may have turned out, it was likely they weren't considered to be that good on draft day, although on a few rare occasions I'll stretch that guideline. I also stuck to the first round of the June regular phase of the draft and restricted it to only one missed pick per year. In other words, the Cubs could only have selected either Billy Wagner or Derrek Lee in 1993 instead of Brooks Kieschnick but not both. The second player at each position is the player the Cubs chose instead. ALL-TIME JUST MISSED TEAM P - Dwight Gooden (1982/5th); Shawon Dunston(1982/1st) P - Jack McDowell(1987/5th); Mike Harkey (1987/4th) P - Roger Clemens (1983/19th); Jackie Davidson (1983/6th) P - Billy Wagner (1993/12th); Brooks Kieschnick(1993/10th) C - Ray Fosse (1965/7th); Rick James (1965/6th) 1B - Mark McGwire (1984/11th); Drew Hall (1984/3rd) 2B - Chuck Knoblauch (1989/25th); Earl Cunningham (1989/8th) SS - Garry Templeton (1974/13th)/Scot Thompson (1974/8th) 3B - Robin Venura (1988/10th)/Ty Griffin (1988/9th) OF - Manny Ramirez(1991/13th); Doug Glanville(1991/12th) OF - Lance Berkman(1997/16th); Jon Garland (1997/10th) OF - Gary Matthews (1968/17th); Ralph Rickey (1968/15th) One pick away from Robin Ventura and Manny Ramirez...nice work Jim Frey, nice work! That '91 draft, Frey could have also picked, Cliff Floyd (13th pick) and Shawn Green (16th pick). Clemens and McGwire were a bit of a stretch, but particularly in the case of Clemens, the Cubs had an opportunity to select a college pitcher over a high school one and paid for it, something many organizations have done time and time again. I truly had to stretch for a second basemen, eventually settling for Knoblauch. Second basemen are RARELY chosen in the first round and many second basemen are originally shortstops who convert, as is the case of Knoblauch. Chase Utley (2000/15th) could have also gotten the nod over Luis Montanez(2000/3rd). There is my look back at the baseball draft through the eyes of the Cubs organization. I hope you enjoyed the pieces and hopefully next year I'll expand on them. Thanks to The Baseball Cube(www.thebaseballcube.com), Baseball Reference(www.baseball-ref.com), Birds in the Belfry(www.birdsinthebelfry.com), Baseball Americaís Draft Almanac, Win Shares by Bill James and Jim Henzler and the 2005 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Look for a preview/review of this years draft next week.

Comments

One of the great disappointments of the 90s, aside from letting the best pitcher in the league leave, were the injuries to Mike Harkey. The guy had great stuff. I was at the first game he ever pitched, the second game of a double header against the Phillies, and Harkey hit the first MLB batter he faced in the head with a pitch. Early the next season he almost threw a no-hitter against the Padres.

Because he was a black guy and threw hard sportswriters said he might be the next Bob Gibson or Fergie jenkins. (why are Dominicans always compared to Dominicans, blacks to blacks etc? Or maybe that's more of an observation than a question. I know the answer) Anyway, with all the injuries, he ended up being the next Scott Sanderson.

By the way, Harkey hitting the first batter he faced in the head was not an example of his great stuff. He actually didn't pitch that great his first game.

Quincy Carter and Matt Mauck?

Excellent series of columns this week, Rob.

Mike Harkey . . . proof that a great arm doesn't necessarily guarantee a great head. I'll never forget the sight of him sliding headfirst on the wet tarp.

Of course this is an exercise in hindsight, and there's nothing wrong with that. In this case, it's the best way to judge true success. But at draft time in '88 Ty Griffin looked like a great pick. He'd been a solid college player, and had great numbers in the Olympics. Still, Ventura became one of my favorite players ever, and had been one of the best college hitters ever.

As for Gooden over Dunston, again true in hindsight. But I'm pretty sure that anyone who picked first in '82 would have taken Dunston, who had hit about .750 as a HS Senior.

Saxfan,

Maddux took some run and slides on wet tarp too.

>Maddux took some run and slides on wet tarp too.

Correct. But, in true Maddux fashion, he came out of that physical activity uninjured.

Lunkhead Harkey couldn't say the same.

This is all just for fun as I mentioned and as far as my young memory goes, Dunston was the consensus 1st pick that year.

In the case of Griffin though, I do think the Cubs should have known better. Second basemen are RARELY chosen in the first round, there's Griffin, Chase Utley, Rickie Weeks and then.....
well I'm sure there are a few but they are hard to find. Most of the better second basemen found in the draft were originally drafted as shortstops.

Ventura was considered the greatest college hitter ever at the time and we all know the Cubs futility at that position over the years. Generally I advocate a pick the best player available strategy for the draft rather then trying to fill holes, but the Cubs did at the time have a certain Hall of Famer at second base and since Griffin was out of college, we're talking only 2-3 years before he SHOULD have been ready for major league duty. Were they thinking of moving Sandberg back to 3rd? If so, why not draft the accomplished third basemen and leave the Gold glover alone.

Who knows what Frey and Co. were thinking at the time (How many times can you ask that question), but it's all fun to look at.

Didnt the cubs draft Carlyle Holiday too? I could be mistaken.

Quincy Carter and Matt Mauck?

Unfortunately I had no idea who Matt Mauck is, so I missed him. But apparently he's with the Denver Broncos now and was drafted in 1997, playing a few years in the minors with the Cubs.

The other one's gotta be Antwaan Randle El out of Thornton High.

Ouch, Dotel could miss 2 seasons with reconstructive elbow surgery.

OF ñ Manny Ramirez(1991/13th); Doug Glanville(1991/12th)

Wow. That hurts.

Mauck was the QB for LSU during their (shared?) championship season a couple years ago.

He was already 24 or something at LSU because he played a bit of minor league baseball before going to LSU for football.

Ty Griffin over Robin Ventura was a freaking joke. I'm sure they did that due to money. I'll bet they thought that Ventura would want too much of it. The Cubs needed a third baseman forever and Ventura was the Golden Spikes Award winner with a GREAT GLOVE at third.

As far as Duntson was concerned, he may have been rated higher but it was still a mistake as Clemens was also highly rated and a pitcher. Shortstop? Not worth it.

You guys must be new Cub fans. Old fans don't enjoy wallowing in our past failures. We had to give that up to keep our sanity after the Lou Brock trade.

Derrek Lee on fire
shall I write him a poem?
Perhaps a haiku

Derek Lee at bat
Pitchers hit like Charlie Brown
Clothes have gone flying

The Triple-Crown King
Derrek rules from on his throne
Who's Albert Pujols?

derek lee: mountain
solid, silent, majestic
man among the boys

derek lee, stoic
like a dime store indian
no offense is meant

derrek lee, solid
my plate, filled with crow daily
still an '07 Yank

Oh, my dear Ron Galt.
"Seven" has two syllables.
Two syllables, dude!

(Lest I seem an ass:
Only faux nitpickery
Was in my last post.)

Can MVP LEE
Make The Chad say, "Sammy who?"
I highly doubt it

Corey Patterson
Makes me cry for every K
Trade trade him away

I realy dont want to, I think thats correct form

d-lee! your bat is
more deadly than the a-bomb.
watch and learn, a-ram.

corey has some Ks
but he's hardly chopped liver.
no more trade talk please.

when you were two-five
i doubt you could play like that.
too much beer and beef.

I thought something odd
To the end of my spiel
A heinous error

:)

The lineup is in
Neifi gets leadoff honors
Can he keep it up?

Perez
Walker
Lee
Burnitz
Ramirez
Hollandsworth
K-Pax
Barrett
Mitre

Perez Walker Lee
Burnitz Ramirez Holly
C-Pat Barrett Serge

I'm tired of all the trade Corey talk. Who would you trade him for? What's the payoff? He's still a valuable part of the offense and stellar on defense.

Dunston had amazing raw tools. arm. speed. stick. He could hit any pitch. Problem was he tried to hit every pitch. The moral of the story: The Cubs never developed him to reach his potential. I know Moneyball says that plate discipline is not easily taught but players are trainable. The Braves draft high school players and teach the right way to play. When a player gets hurt the go down to their system and bring up a replacement. They just stick them in and let them sink or swim. The Cubs never do that. Corey Patterson is this generations' Shawon Dunston.

Corey has unfortunately become that spot in the lineup where I just cringe. I want him to succeed; we all do. But then he swings at junk outside and in the dirt, or at that pitch inside where there's a GAPING hole in his swing. And then he walks back to the dugout with that strained look on his face like, "Man! how'd I miss that?"

Because you NEVER adjust, (K)orey, that's why. You're a strike machine, and pitchers know it.

Pitchers say they sometimes pitch to guys "backwards" just to mess with their heads, or get them off-balance. I think Corey should start hitting "backwards" and see if it changes anything. At this point, anything would be an improvement.

I agree, dbt, who would trade for him? Has there been any indication that he'd be willing to listen to someone else and change his approach? It doesn't appear so. So who would want to inherit that kind of headcase project?

So frustrating for such an individual that has shown flashes of talent and potential.

I sincerely believe that Corey Patterson was ruined by the influence Sammy Sosa had on him. Same goes for Aramis Ramirez who can be seen doing the Sosa homerun hop on deep fly balls.

What value do you put on a number 6 hitter who projects to a 33 HR but only 64 RBI season.

Just an FYI...

From Cubs.com:
"(Derek) Lee entered Friday's game against San Diego batting .389 (74-for-190). Rogers Hornsby holds the modern club record of .380, set in 1929.

The last Cub with a .375 batting average or higher after 150 at-bats was Manny Trillo, who was hitting .378 on June 18, 1977."

NICE!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's hope that Derrek Lee does better than Trillo did the rest of the season. Trillo batted .230 something and finished around .280 .

Brick--
"Oh, my dear Ron Galt.
"Seven" has two syllables.
Two syllables, dude!"

Oh, my dearest Brick,
"Seven" has two syllables,
But "sev'n" has just one!

sev'n may have one. But Sven probably has two!

(rim shot)

What value do you put on a number 6 hitter who projects to a 33 HR but only 64 RBI season.


impossible to say unless he hits in the 6 slot
every day.

The last Cub with a .375 batting average or higher after 150 at-bats was Manny Trillo, who was hitting .378 on June 18, 1977."

.....

Let's hope that Derrek Lee does better than Trillo did the rest of the season. Trillo batted .230 something and finished around .280 .

.....

I was born August 18, 1977. I'm told Manny was distracted by my birth - despite his not knowing me and all. Sorry.

Recent comments

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 26 sec ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 8 hours 28 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 8 hours 29 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 18 hours 10 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 21 hours 8 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 21 hours 20 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 21 hours 29 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 21 hours 35 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 21 hours 53 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 22 hours 29 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 22 hours 47 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 22 hours 49 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 23 hours 7 min ago view