Following on my previous two poss on the 2012 and 2013 drafts, here is an overview of the Cubs 2014 draft and where the players are now. Here again it only shows those draft picks who signed with the Cubs and lists their draft number, current age, position, current organizational level, and a brief snapshot of their 2014 performance. Another positoin player, Kyle Schwarber, is the headliner here; but the Cubs drafted 10 pithcers in the first 12 picks, many of them teenagers. While most debuted at low levels and only played the last part of the summer, there is a lot to like about the level of success of many so far.
Cubs 2014 Draft
Players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) are placed on a club's Negotiation List.
I've got the draft signing block in the left sidebar up already with the Zagunis signing in there. Otherwise the final day has begun and I will be updating very sporadically.
11th Round Pick #319 - Jordan Brink, RHP from Fresno State - Junior
There have been some interesting pitching prospects in recent Drafts who came late to full-time pitching, including first-rounders Braden Shipley in 2013 and Kyle Zimmer in 2012. While Brink isn't quite that high-profile, he has the chance to do well now that he's focused only on the mound. An outfielder for his first two years at Fresno State, Brink split time between playing that position and pitching as a sophomore then turned to pitching full-time in 2014. He's athletic, if a bit undersized, with the makings of two plus pitches in his fastball and spike curveball, which looks like a hard slider at times. He's working on developing his changeup. The jury is still out on whether Brink can start long-term -- sometimes a bias against undersized right-handers -- or he'll end up in the bullpen. Either way, his arm looks like it has a shot to pitch at the highest level.
12th Round Pick #349 - Tanner Griggs, RHP from Angelina College (TX) - J2
Had to look up Tanner Griggs. Can touch 95mph, sits 90-92 and adds a solid slider, decent CH, control issues. Could be bullpen.
Day 2 of the draft has just started and the Cubs are on the clock and will likely have their pick by the time I stop typing. As for Day 1, we know all about Kyle Schwarber at this point and how he's truly the player the Cubs scouts desired. Second round pick Jake Stinnett sounds like he'll be an easy sign and at some point (probably near or after Round 10), the Cubs will likely go for a few reaches in hope of signing some players that were deemed unsignable. If you're interested, Stinnett will pitch in the super regionals tomorrow versus Virginia and I believe all games will be televised on the ESPN channels.
As for Round 3, here we go... (UPDATE: Done for the day, hope they can sign most of these guys)
3rd Round Pick #78 - Mark Zagunis, C from Viriginia Tech - Junior
A three-year starter at Virginia Tech and a Johnny Bench Award semifinalist, Zagunis is an athletic catcher who has performed in one of the better college conferences in the nation. The ACC standout has shown a propensity for putting the ball in play and hitting for average, albeit from a slightly unusual setup. He's shown some extra-base pop in the past, though not as much in 2014. He runs extremely well for a catcher and has shown that his athleticism plays well in the outfield. His arm is average but on target, and his other skills say he could stay behind the plate full-time. The team that believes he can continue to hit might think he has the chance to be an everyday backstop in the future, and it will draft him accordingly. At the very least, Zagunis' versatility provides a team with options if catching doesn't work out.
So the big 3 pitchers went to the first 3 picks - Aiken to Astros, Kolek to Marlins and Rodon slips to White Sox. That left the Cubs in the position to do pretty much whatever they want. The reality is that after the first 3 picks, there was no obvious #4, or 5 or 6 or 7. Some guys really liked Nick Gordon and Alex Jackson, but they're projectable high schoolers and if they were sure things, let's face it, they'd be going top 3. No one passes a sure thing bat for pitching unless it's Strasburg coming out for the draft and that's what the 3 teams just did ahead of the Cubs.
Up until last year, MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) slots could not be traded.
A club could lose a draft slot for signing a Type "A" Article XX-B free-agent (and it still can, although now they are called "Qualified Players"), or could gain a pick or picks if the club offered salary arbitration to one of its own Type "A" or Type "B" Article XX-B MLB free-agents and then the player signed with another club (and it still can receive one "compensation pick" between the 1st and 2nd rounds for losing a player to free-agency, as long as the player spent the entire previous season with that club AND the club offers the Article XX-B free-agent a one-year contract with a salary at least as much as the average salary of the top 125 salaries in MLB the previous season AND then the player subsequently signs with another club prior to the Rule 4 Draft).
But Rule 4 Draft slots could not be traded under any circumstances.
However, the MLB Rule 4 Draft Competitive Balance Lottery (CBL) was established per the 2012-16 CBA, and these draft slots CAN BE TRADED.
The Cubs have been playing out the string since about May...maybe June, but they can 'eff with the Pirates and Cardinals playoff jockeying this week. More importantly though, they're trying to at the very least maintain the 4th pick in the draft. The Astros clinched the #1 spot for the third year running yesterday and Miami and the White Sox should wrap up the #2 spot here by mid-week with a 4.5 game lead over the White Sox, who are 3.5 ahead of the Cubs. The Cubs could very well drop to the 5th spot in the draft as they own just a half game lead over the Twins, although the Cubs do own the tiebreaker against both the Twins and White Sox. Mathematically they could drop farther than the 5th spot, but that seems unlikely at this point (full draft pick standings in the left sidebar).
Remaining schedules for the candidates after the break...
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.