MLB Draft

UPDATE: The MLB Rule 4 Draft Competitive Balance Lottery has been postponed until Wednesday 7-18.


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The Rule 4 Competitive Balance and Forfeited Draft Pick lotteries will be held next Monday, and while it does not appear that any MLB club will be forfeiting a 1st round pick as the result of exceeding its Signing Bonus Pool by 5%+ (although it could  still happen), 12 MLB clubs will definitely be awarded Competitive Balance draft picks in next June's Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft).


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Reader Real Neal breaks down the first round of the draft in a variety of ways to see if there's an optimal strategy and how have the Cubs done relative to their drafting position.


 

Two topics are always
in hot debate this time of the year, when it comes to the MLB draft.
How have the Cubs done, and who should they pick?

With that in mind, I am
taking a look at 10 years worth of first round picks to try and help
answer those questions. I am only looking at the top 30 picks each
year (yeah I know the Cubs draft 31st), just to simplify
things. The 10 year range I used was ’96 to ’05. It’s just
too early to tell what is going to happen with highschoolers only
drafted three years ago. I used WARP3, even though Baseball
Prospectus has got something a bit wonky going on with their WARP3
scores for 2009, which seem exaggerated. I figured since the
majority of these players are still playing, though, that the slight
wobble could sort of build in a little projection.

To start off with, here
is some general charts, which should be self explanatory.

The 2009 MLB draft is going to be a three day event this year starting tonight with round 1 moving into prime time on the MLB Network. That seems pretty dumb. They're going to put a press conference of guys announcing names against actual baseball games. I know I'll be watching the Cubs vs. Astros games instead. In their quest to emulate the NBA and NFL drafts, MLB forgot to notice that the other two sports do their drafts in the offseason when people have no football or basketball to watch. Granted, it would be hard to do it in the offseason, but they should at least put the first round on a Monday or Thursday and jerry-rig the schedule so there's very few games that night or make them day games leading up to the draft (I've copyrighted that idea Selig, don't try and steal it).

The Cubs have the 31st pick in the first round thanks to a few players being unsigned last year by other teams and thus getting two draft picks. The Cubs don't draft again until the second round and pick #79. This is Tim Wilken's fourth attempt at trying to pump up the Cubs system and although the only major league return so far has been Jeff Samardzija, Josh Vitters is quickly working his way to the top of the minor league prospect charts and Josh Donaldson was one of the key pieces in the Rich Harden trade last year. Wilken avoided the topic of who the Cubs might draft in a recent interview at Scout.com but did say he almost always picks the best player regardless of positional need, but if there is a hole in the system it's left-handed pitching. He does prefer shortstops and center fielders in general, feeling they have the athletic ability to move around the diamond, although he does feel the system is pretty stocked at shortstop and catcher right now in terms of depth.

Who will the Cubs pick with their first pick? I've listed below a few players that have been mentioned in mock drafts and whispers. AJ Pollock's the name you'll see the most but Jim Callis at Baseball America in his morning mock draft doesn't believe he'll last to the Cubs.

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So MLB.com is doing a minute and a half "previews" for each team leading up to the draft on Tuesday. You can find the Cubs version by following this link (Mlb.com has something against embedding video files). If you don't want to waste that minute and a half of your life, let me summarize the "preview" portion of the video.

"This year's first pick falls at number 31 overall and with a deep pitching crop, the Cubs will likely take advantage."

The other 1:22 of the video is reviewing the ineptitude of the past Cubs drafts.


Soriano, Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Fontenot, R. Johnson, K. Hill, A. Blanco and Wells go against Hairston Jr., Willie Mays (aka Chris Dickerson), Phillips, Nix, Hernandez, Gomez, Gonzalez, Hanigan and Arroyo in today's series finale.

 

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We've had a few draft history pieces over the years, a 3-part series I did back in 2005( the third part is particularly gruesome) and one by reader "Real Neal" last year. Reader "Wiscgrad" has put one together for this year and I'll be adding it to the "TCR Junk Drawer" as soon as I get a moment. Unfortunately, I'm having some issues getting it translated to HTML (particularly the pictures), so the PDF file is down below for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Chicago Cubs Draft History (PDF File)

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