Recap of the Cubs 2011 First-Year Player Draft

The 2011 MLB First-Year player draft took place last week and the Cubs selected players in all 50 rounds. The Cubs made Javier Baez their first round pick with the ninth overall selection in the draft.

In all, Tim Wilken and his staff selected 29 college players and 21 high school players … 29 pitchers (five left-handers and 21 right-handers), 10 infielders, 11 outfielders and three catchers.

Here is look back at Cubs drafts of the past, the current state of the Cubs system, along with depth charts and each one of the Cubs picks in the 2011 draft …

I asked longtime reader and contributor, Aaron, to provide the analysis of the Cubs most recent draft. A big thank you goes out to Aaron for taking the time to provide this excellent, extremely detailed report on the Cubs system and draft.

The Cubs 2011 First-Year Player Draft

It’s that familiar time of year again … where the Cubs are hopelessly out of contention, and the only thing left to keep most fans interested is the prospects in the minor league system, and the recently completed amateur draft.

But before I discuss the draft, I wanted to point out the past, present, and future with regard to player development.

PAST
In the past 30 years, the Cubs have drafted just 13 guys in the first round that have made it to MLB: Shawon Dunston, Rafael Palmeiro, Derrick May, Mike Harkey, Doug Glanville, Brooks Kieschnick, Kerry Wood, Jon Garland (*traded), Corey Patterson, Luis Montanez, Mark Prior, Tyler Colvin, and Andrew Cashner. That’s a very pathetic track record in case you were wondering.

What makes matters even worse is the fact that despite having some of the worst records in the game during that period, they not only failed to draft well, but they also failed to give a lot of their prospects a chance in otherwise lost seasons. Instead, they opted to fill almost all of their holes with veteran free agents, and most of the time, they would be veterans on the last leg of their respective careers. I firmly believe we wouldn’t be talking about 103 years and counting if they’d just given their own prospects a chance during those terrible years, but I digress …

If you’ve been a lifelong Cubs fan, you’ll note that the Cubs had a particularly difficult time developing pitchers in their farm system in the 1990s, often relying on veteran stopgaps that, like the hitters they went after as well, seemed to be on the downside of their careers. When Jim Hendry took over the scouting department in the late 1990s, it became a focal point of management to pursue power arms in the draft and international free agency. In fact, they came right out in the media and said exactly that if you’ll recall. They drafted/signed such pitchers as: Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Angel Guzman, Carlos Zambrano, Juan Cruz, Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Farnsworth, Michael Wuertz, etc. during the time period prior to Hendry becoming GM.

Even after he became GM, the Cubs stuck to the philosophy of drafting power arms early and often in the drafts, and injuries burned them. It wasn’t until the Cubs brought Tim Wilken on board that they started placing a focus on offense in the draft, and NOT the offense that Hendry and John Stockstill drafted prior to that with predominantly one-dimensional players. The past five years, we’ve seen the Cubs draft or sign internationally very athletic players that are versatile enough to play multiple positions.

PRESENT
For once, we’ve seen an influx of young offensive talent on the Cubs roster. The current roster includes the following players came up through the system: Geovany Soto, Luis Montanez, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Tony Campana, D.J. LeMahieu, Tyler Colvin, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, and even Brad Snyder has been in their system a few years, and while he was not drafted by them, he made the show with the Cubs. In case you’re counting, that’s 15 players that came up through the Cubs’ system. Obviously, with Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Alfonso Soriano, and Marlon Byrd on the DL, that number will drop to 11, but it’s still a very impressive number. Cubs’ teams in the past simply didn’t have that homegrown talent. In fact, the last time a true youth movement happened, which was 1989, the Cubs made the playoffs, and they had 17 homegrown players on that roster, including five in the everyday lineup.

FUTURE
I created a four-deep depth chart listed below. I decided to include Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro, because they have less than two years of service time, and figure to factor heavily into the future. If you research their ages, keeping in mind that the most productive years of most MLB players come around 26-31 years old, then you will understand why they drafted the way they did this year, selecting a lot of high school talent.

It takes most rookies about 1-2 years to adjust to MLB. Most of the Cubs top prospects are 23-25 years old. This means that by the time they’re 25-27 years old, the Cubs should have a good idea if they can be everyday MLB players. If not, there’s a whole second wave of talent in the minors, such as Reggie Golden, Jae-Hoon Ha, Junior Lake, Matt Cerda, Matt Szczur, etc. ready to showcase their skills, and if they can’t handle it, then the wave of high school talent they just drafted should be ready by that time. Once they get the payroll and roster situation under control in 1-2 years, they can start to focus on MLB-ready bats in the draft. Also, due to injuries this year at the MLB level with Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, and their system with the likes of Robert Whitenack, Jay Jackson, and Trey McNutt, and given the fact it is pretty much a lost season at the MLB level, it would be reasonable to assume that next year, they will most likely focus on MLB-ready arms early in the draft.

Without further adieu, here is my four-deep depth chart:

Catcher – Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Luis Flores, Micah Gibbs

First Base – Rebel Ridling, Justin Bour, Ryan Cuneo, Richard Jones

Second Base – Darwin Barney, D.J. LeMahieu, Pierre LePage, Elliott Soto

Shortstop – Starlin Castro, Marwin Gonzalez, Junior Lake, Arismendy Alcantara

Third Base – Josh Vitters, Marquez Smith, Matt Cerda, Greg Rohan

Left Field – Ryan Flaherty, Ty Wright, Matt Spencer, Reggie Golden

Center Field – Brett Jackson, Tony Campana, Evan Crawford, Matt Szczur

Right Field – Tyler Colvin, Jae-Hoon Ha, Nelson Perez, Michael Burgess

So with that in mind, let’s talk about the draft picks, and why the Cubs selected the way they did …

Let me first start off by saying this is one of the first Cubs’ drafts in memory where I feel they actually had a plan. And I will summarize all of this later.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Cubs draft selections:

1 – Javier Baez, SS (HS) 18 yrs old R/R
*Great bat speed, average defense, projected as future 3B or OF. Had 20 doubles, 22 hr, 52 RBI and 28 SB. Described as one of the best pure hitters in the draft. Depending how he adjusts to wood bats, there is a very good chance he’ll advance quickly through the system, especially considering the advanced competition he faced in high school.

2 – Dan Vogelbach, 1B (HS), 18 yrs old, L/R
*Rated as having the best overall power in the draft, average defense. Is NOT tremendously athletic, though he’s surprisingly agile for a guy that once weighed 280 lbs a year ago, and now is down to 240 lbs. Along with Baez, he’s one of the guys I’m most excited about in this draft. He hit 17 hr in just 32 games this year.

3 – Zeke DeVoss, 2B/OF (College-draft eligible Soph), 20 yrs old, B/R
*Slap hitter, above average defense, and excellent speed

4 – Tony Zych, P (College-JR), 20 yrs old, R/R
*Mid-90′s fastball, tops at 99 mph, projects as closer/set-up. However, I would not be shocked in the least if the Cubs tried him as a starter, just as they did with another closer/set-up type in Aaron Kurcz. Ironically, Kurcz also topped out at 99 mph in college. Zych was described as a “steal” for the Cubs in the 4th round

5 – Taylor Scott, P (HS), 19 yrs old, R/R
*Starting pitcher, sits mostly in 90-92 mph range, but tops out at 94 mph, and has been increasing velocity consistently since focusing on baseball full-time when his family moved from South Africa to the United States. Despite being fairly raw, he has a tremendous work ethic, and seeks continuous improvement in his game.

6 – Neftali Rosario, C (Puerto Rico), 17 yrs old, R/R
*Described as having a plus arm and plus bat. Still very young, and this pick makes a lot of sense, which I’ll get to later.

7 – Trevor Gretzky, 1B (HS), 18 yrs old, L/L
*Wayne’s son. This was their first overdraft in my opinion, though I believe DeVoss was a slight overdraft as well, but this one didn’t make much sense at all. Gretzky is VERY raw and is a classic “projection guy”, meaning he hasn’t done much to prove himself, but Cubs scouts feel he has potential. In my opinion, you draft those guys after the 10th round. It also might be a wasted pick, as his commitment to San Diego State is considered strong.

8 – Taylor Dugas, OF (College-JR), 21 yrs old, L/L
*Classic CF offense, above average speed, excellent plate discipline

9 – Garrett Schlecht, OF (HS), 18 yrs old, L/L
*Local draft pick, make consistent and hard contact. Described as a very solid hitter that “could really hit at the next level”.

10 – Danny Lockhart, SS (HS), 18 yrs old, L/R
*Keith Lockhart’s son. Very good, solid, fundamental player. He will be a tough sign, but he makes great contact and plays solid defense, so it’d be tough not to pay over-slot for him.

11 – Shawon Dunston Jr., OF (HS), 18 yrs old, L/R
*Shawon’s son. He is a very athletic player, has good bat speed, solid baserunning skills, and is solid defensively. While he has a scholarship offer to Vanderbilt, recent comments by his father suggest that he might be open to signing with the Cubs

12 – Jacob Lindgren, P (HS), 18 yrs old, L/L
*There’s not much out there on this kid. The only report I saw had him throwing high 80′s. He’s only 5’11″, so he’s a long shot to make it anyhow. I really cannot understand at all why the Cubs drafted him this high. This was their second overdraft.

13 – Trey Martin, OF (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*He is a lot like Lockhart. In fact, they played in the same league, and both committed to Kennesaw State together. He makes solid contact, is an above average runner, and is an athletic CF.

14 – Dillon Maples, P (HS), 19 yrs old, R/R
*Maples is a tremendously gifted athlete, as he was a standout both on the mound and at the plate. Reports say he reaches mid-90′s with his fastball with advanced polish for his age. As he fills out, scouts figure he can add even more velocity. The Cubs would be fortunate to sign this guy. He has a scholarship to UNC, so they have a tough sign on their hands

15 – Justin Marra, C (HS-Canada), 18 yrs old, L/R
*Member of Canadian Junior National Team. Rated as plus defense, plus bat with above average power

16 – Rafael Lopez, C (College-SR), 23 yrs old, L/R
*Above average defensively. Lopez has a decent bat, but nothing special. I believe he’s the classic minor league back-up catcher, similar to a Chris Robinson.

17 – John Andreoli, OF (College-JR), 21 yrs old, R/R
*Above average defense and speed … but not much else. I don’t really like this pick.

18 – James Pugliese, P (JUCO-FR), 18 yrs old, R/R
*I cannot find anything on his velocity, but I did find his Twitter account, and it appears he might already have a deal in place to sign with the Cubs, given his Tweets. He had good stats with 71 K’s in 57 IP with only 30 hits allowed. Maybe the Cubs found a gem?

19 – Danny Hoilman, 1B (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*HUGE power. 9 hr, 47 RBI as freshman, 17 hr, 66 RBI as sophomore, 25 hr, 84 RBI as junior, and 22 hr, 50 RBI as senior (with the more wood-like bat this year). Those are some big time numbers, and it should translate fairly well to pro ball.

20 – Ben Klafczynski, OF (College-SR), 22 yrs old, L/R
*Described as an athletic outfielder, but with less speed than you’d expect from a CF with a plus bat. Here are his numbers: 11 hr, 35 RBI as freshman, 6 hr, 43 RBI as sophomore, 10 hr, 62 RBI as junior, and 10 hr, 57 RBI as senior (.367 and .368 averages as a junior and senior, which is pretty consistent to me)
**This guy is my sleeper pick for them, as I haven’t heard a peep at all about him from the Cubs, or anyone else, unlike several other players drafted later. The thing I always look for is consistency. I ask myself, “Did this player come out of nowhere? Did he transfer schools to better coaching? Did he grow, or add more muscle? What were his stats prior to being drafted?” Klafczynski really could turn out to be a gem in my opinion.

21 – Andrew McKirahan, P (College-JR), 21 yrs old, R/L
*Nothing more than a situational lefty reliever from a strong college program (Univ. of Texas). He reportedly touches 91 mph, but sits mostly high 80′s. I wouldn’t expect much from him if he even signs to begin with.

22 – Ethan Elias, P (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*Another member of Canadian Junior National Team. My guess is they were scouting the catcher Marra heavily, and decided to draft Elias, as he was the best pitcher in the group. I can only assume this based on an article that just mentions him in passing with the other Canadians they drafted. Click here for report from the Toronto Sun

23 – Bradley Zimmer, OF (HS), 18 yrs old, L/R
*He’s a 6’5″ outfielder with projected power and decent speed. His coach claims he has five-tool potential, but scouting reports say otherwise. The problem is, his brother is the ace starter of the University of San Francisco, which probably means the Cubs have zero chance of signing him, and here’s why … Click here for report from La Jolla Light

24 – George Asmus, P (JUCO-SOPH), 20 yrs old, R/R
*Average stuff, and because of that, he’ll likely sign. I don’t expect much of him.

25 – Rhoderick “Rock” Shoulders, 1B (JUCO-FR), 19 yrs old, L/R
*Has huge power, but is not very athletic, and figures to be a one-dimensional type. However, he’s drawn comparisons to Ryan Howard, and I would say those comparisons are legitimate. They both have similar builds, similar swings, and similar elevation with those swings. They say just like Hoilman, he could possibly play 3B if he loses a little weight. This would be a huge signing for the Cubs to get him this late in the draft.

26 – Michael Jensen, P (JUCO-SOPH), 20 yrs old, R/R
*5-3, 2.00 ERA 63 K’s in 68 IP. A lot of scouts were very high on him, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon too. Could be another Trey McNutt or Nick Struck?

27 – Taiwan Easterling, OF (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*Might be another Glenn Cook (Miami), a player the Cubs signed that was a star football player, just as Easterling was, as the star WR for FSU. Unlike Cook, he took up baseball again in college his junior year, and had some success, batting .302 this year with 1 hr, 17 RBI and 5 SB in limited action in only 106 AB’s. He did walk just 7 times versus 23 K’s, so he has a long way to go, but he’s very athletic.

28 – Chris Garrison, P (JUCO-SOPH), 21 yrs old, R/R
*Good size at 6’4″. Went 8-4, 2.64 ERA with 62 K’s in 61 IP. Also had a .192 BA against, which is really good

29 – Drew Weeks, 3B (HS), 17 yrs old, R/R
*Not much to report here. His senior average was .470, and he hit .395 overall in high school, but had just 22 doubles, 3 triples, 8 hr, 54 RBI in three seasons. Weeks is already listed in the recruiting class for North Florida post-draft, so I’d assume that means he won’t sign. Click here for report from North Florida’s website

30 – Alturo Maltos-Garcia, P (JUCO-SOPH), 19 yrs old, R/R
*11-1, 2.11 ERA in 94 IP with a very good 139 K’s, albeit with 64 walks. The problem is, he suffered an elbow injury in the playoffs, and sounds as if it’ll be TJ surgery. In the past, the Cubs have not shunned these guys recovering from TJ surgery, so it’s possibly he’ll be signed.

31 – Ronnie Richardson, OF (College-draft eligible SOPH), 21 yrs old, B/R
*Very small at 5’6″, but has plus speed, plays good defense, and was on the US Junior National Team. It’s highly unlikely he’ll sign, considering he’s a sophomore and can improve his draft status the next two years.

32 – Pete LeVitt, P (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*Good size at 6’5″, and was drafted his senior year of high school by the Cubs in 2008. Went 10-3, 2.93 ERA in 101 IP with 40 walks and 99 K’s. Problem is, the only scouting report I could find says he throws 88 mph tops … If that’s true, and it’s not an old report from when he was drafted in 2008 (the scouting service didn’t list a date), then he doesn’t have much of a future, unless he adds about 4+mph on his fastball

33 – Sheldon McDonald, P (College-5th yr SR), 22 yrs old, L/L
*What’s with the Cubs and drafting Canadians recently? He was part of Team Canada, and even spun a no-hitter for them. His scouting video looks all right, and he reportedly hits low 90′s. He’s the classic late round pick low-ceiling, high-floor type of guy.

34 – Bobby Kelley, OF (JUCO-FR), 19 yrs old, R/R
*In just 39 games, hit .400 with 15 doubles, 9 hr, 42 RBI, and 10 SB. It’s hard to believe he’ll sign, as he might hope to improve his draft stock. If he does sign, it looks like he might have a bright future ahead of him.

35 – Ian Dickson, P (College-JR), 20 yrs old, R/R
*I know it’s the 35th round, but this is one of those curious picks, just like Hendry drafting Jocketty’s son a year or two ago with no apparent merit. Dickson last pitched in 2010 with a 7.71 ERA and 23 K’s in 23 IP, but 36 hits allowed. Again, like LeVitt, they’re both 6’5″, and the only scouting report I had, said he was at 83 mph with his fastball. However, as with LeVitt, I’m not sure if the report was from high school or not.

36 – Trevor Garcia, IF/OF (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*Finished with a .388 avg, 13 doubles, 3 triples, 6 hr, 34 RBI, and 18 walks vs 24 K’s. He’s a classic utility guy that can play anywhere. He projects as a decent bench bat

37 – Steven Maxwell, P (College-SR), 23 yrs old, R/R
*5-1, 3.13 ERA in 63 IP with 18 walks vs 53 K’s. He’s a starter, and missed time with a biceps injury earlier this year. His scouting video looks decent, and he reportedly hits 94-95 mph tops, but sits comfortably in the 91-93 mph range consistently

38 – Casey Lucchese, P (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*Drafted last year by the Cubs in the 39th round. He improved his draft stock dramatically this year … (note sarcasm). He was their closer, and was 3-2, 3.95 ERA in 43 IP, with 25 walks vs 48 K’s. According to reports, he sits mostly in the 92 mph range, but with good sink on his fastball. He’s a middle reliever at best in pro ball.

39 – Ricky Jacquez, P (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*He lasted until the 39th round for two reasons: #1-because he’s 5’9″, and #2-because he signed with Univ. of Texas. I’ve seen reports that said he throws as high as 99 mph, and others that say he tops out at 97 mph, but sits mostly in the 92-94 mph range. Just like a few years ago with Sonny Gray, it’s HIGHLY unlikely they’ll sign him away from college, unless they offer 1st-2nd round money, and I do not see that happening at all, even though he struck out 20 in a game this year.

40 – PJ Francescon, P (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*6-2, 3.28 ERA with 6 CG and 2 shutouts. In 68 IP, he struck out 66 batters

41 – Austin Urban, P (JUCO-FR), 18 yrs old, R/R
*Selected in the 27th round in 2010 by the Orioles out of high school, but attended a JUCO to be draft eligible again. He struggled with command, and that is, perhaps, why he fell this year, and will likely go back for another year to try to improve his draft stock again. He tops out at 94-95 mph

42 – Brad Zapenas, SS (College-JR), 21 yrs old, R/R
*Classic defensive specialist with no bat. I don’t understand these types of selections or international FA signings. If you can’t hit, you can’t play everyday, in my opinion, no matter how good your glove is.

43 – Jeff Calhoun, P/2B (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*Two-way player. Hit .398 with 9 doubles, 7 triples, 7 hr, 45 RBI, and had a 11-3 record, 1.61 ERA, in 74 IP with 28 walks vs 127 K’s and 7 CG with 3 shutouts

44 – Kenny Socorro, SS (College-SR), 22 yrs old, R/R
*He’s a fringe hitter without much power with 1 hr, 27 RBI this year and had a .337 avg. He projects as a backup.

45 – Tanner Kichler, P (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*Good size at 6’5″ and good projection. The problem is, he isn’t likely to sign.

46 – Scott Weismann, P (College-JR), 21 yrs old, R/R
*Throws a 93 mph sinker, and was the team’s closer where he limited hitters to a .128 avg. Given his switch to closer, and the success he had in that role, it’s doubtful he signs, and will likely try to improve his draft stock for next year at Clemson

47 – David Ernst, P (HS), 18 yrs old, R/R
*Not a very good ceiling throwing just 91mph tops, but sits mostly in the 86-88 mph range. He did throw a no-hitter, however, in the high school championship game, so you never know…(it was in North Dakota though, so consider the competition)

48 – Sam Howard, P (HS), 18 yrs old, R/L
*Sits in mid-80′s…not likely to sign

49 – Antonio Gonzales, P (HS), 18 yrs old, L/L
*7-4, 2.18 ERA in 70 IP with 28 walks vs 69 K’s. Not likely to sign

50 – Cody Edwards, P (JUCO-SOPH), 21 yrs old, R/R
*Good size at 6’4″ and primarily sits in 88-91 mph range, topping out at 93 mph.

The Cubs haven’t appeared to have a real strategy until this year. This draft was known as a pitching-heavy draft, and the Cubs figured they could wait, and nab some good arms late. In my opinion, they didn’t really do a good job of drafting pitchers, and seemed to really make a few reaches at the end for some fringe guys, but overall I like the draft for the Cubs, as I believe they set themselves up very well for the future with the waves of talent I discussed earlier.

Historically, MLB teams sign about 60% of their draft, which would mean signing 30 picks. The Cubs drafted 11 college seniors (assuming all of them want to continue their careers, that’d be 11 guaranteed signings), so they’d need to sign 19 others to reach the typical 30 signed picks.

Here would be my list of the 19 other players they need to sign in order to have a successful draft:

Javier Baez
Dan Vogelbach
Ezekiel DeVoss
Tony Zych
Neftali Rosario
Tayler Scott
Trevor Gretzky
Daniel Lockhart
Shawon Dunston Jr.
Darien Martin
Dillon Maples
Justin Marra
Bradley Zimmer
Rock Shoulders
Michael Jensen
Jay Calhoun
Steven Maxwell
Ricardo Jacquez
Austin Urban

Keep an eye on the 19 guys I just listed. If they sign almost all of them, it’ll be successful. Out of that group, Ricardo Jacquez will be the most difficult one to sign, but if they offer enough bonuses for the rest, they have a very good shot of being one of the best teams in this draft class coming up together. A rotation that includes: Jacquez, Maples, Jensen, Calhoun, and Scott would be outstanding

Combine them with:

C – Rosario
1B – Vogelbach
2B – Lockhart
SS – Baez
3B – Shoulders (provided he loses some weight)
LF – Gretzky
CF – DeVoss
RF – Dunston Jr.

That would be something else to watch that team. Hopefully Tom Ricketts follows through with what he told Tim Wilken, and they spend big on this draft, as I thought the Cubs did an outstanding job getting bats in an otherwise weak offensive draft.


Javier Baez


Dan Vogelbach


Zeke DeVoss


Tony Zych


Tayler Scott


Shawon Dunston, Jr.

For additional video of the Cubs’ draftees: Click Here – CubsNewsCast

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Aaron, thank you again.

    • Aaron

      No problem Neil….happy to do it…also, I am re-posting what I just put on the previous thread, as I believe some might be interested:

      In case anyone cares, I have a list of the Cubs draft signings thus far:

      18th rounder James Pugilese, RHP, Mercer County CC19th rounder Paul Hoilman, 1B, East Tennessee St20th rounder Ben Klafczynski, OF, Kent St32nd rounder Peter Levitt, RHP, Mt. Olive (NC)33rd rounder Sheldon McDonald, LHP, British Columbia36th rounder Travis Garcia, U, Martin Methodist (TN)38th rounder Casey Lucchese, RHP, College of Charleston40th rounder Patrick Francescom, RHP, Trevecca Nazarene (TN)42nd rounder Brad Zapenas, SS, Boston College44th rounder Kenny Socorro, SS, Marshall

      *Pugilese had already tweeted shortly after the draft that he had a deal in place with the Cubs, so that’s not a shocker. He’s a JUCO freshman, so that was a little surprising he signed that quickly. He had good stats, but there’s not much info otherwise on that guy.

      As for the rest, Hoilman, Klafczynski, Levitt, McDonald, Garcia, Lucchese, Francescom, and Socorro are all seniors. The only above average players out of that group are Hoilman, Klafczynski, and McDonald…Garcia projects as a bench bat, but I’ll add him to that list as well.

      Zapenas was LUCKY to even get drafted, and that is an understatement. He was a college junior, and is the classic “all glove, no bat” type of player.

      The only college seniors still left to sign are: 37th rounder Maxwell, 27th rounder Easterling (still playing for FSU on road to Omaha I believe), and 16th rounder Lopez (same as Easterling).

      That means their other 37 picks are going to be pretty difficult to sign, as they’re all primarily high school or JUCO (that have scholarship offers to good schools in both cases)

    • cubtex

      Do you know if there has been any discussion on drafting Zeke DeVoss as a 2b prospect instead of cf? With the Cubs lack of speed in the minors at 2b…that seems like it would make more sense to me on why he was picked in the 3rd round. I understand he does a pretty descent job at 2b.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Great, grrrrrrrrreat post! Thank You!

  • Ripsnorter1

    I know it is a little off line with this thread, but here’s a great article for ya’ll to read:

    “Forget Quade, Look at Hendry!”
    http://espn.go.com/blog/SweetSpot/post/_/id/12347/forget-quade-look-at-hendrys-record

    It describes the cluelessness of the Clueless One.

    • Tony_Hall

      Keep writing them articles about all of JH’s mistakes!  Tommy Boy can’t ignore the facts forever.

      Hire a senior statesman that has been around and done it before to be the VP Baseball Operations, so that he can clean house and get this team organized.  Then he can  hire a younger, modern GM.  His last job (as this person wouldn’t be necessarily staying around for decades) woud be to bring in a new President that is a Business Baseball person.

    • Aaron

      Very good link Rip…It tells the “why?” about what I’ve been saying all along about the Cubs, although I did not agree with his assertion that managers don’t matter all that much. It was very evident in Piniella’s first 2 years with the Cubs that he was out-maneuvering other managers on a regular basis. Typically, they say managers only can affect the outcome once the bullpen is used, but I disagree with that. They can affect the lineup before the game even starts, and a lot of the time, they get the players they want out of Spring Training. 

      It sure seems like in Piniella’s last 2 years and Quade’s first year, they managed themselves out of a lot of wins. Piniella sat on the bench like a spoiled little child when things went south, and he left pitchers in to prove a point that they sucked, which neither helped the team, nor the players’ confidence. As for Quade, he’s just plain clueless, as Brenly pointed out. Last year, I could’ve actually made the case for him getting the job as manager based on what he did with the veterans, putting them in position to succeed (even though I WHOLEHEARTEDLY disagree with him playing the veterans down the stretch to begin with instead of rookies in a completely lost season…oh, AND he played Nady, who wasn’t even in their future plans)

      But this year, Quade is the most indefensible manager in the game. Nothing he does makes any sense. He’s completely lost control of the team, and his longest tenured pitcher, Zambrano, doesn’t even recognize him as manager “what manager?” he says.

      Here’s just a short list of things Quade has done wrong:
      -took Hill over Castillo in Spring Training
      -took DeWitt over…….(fill in the blank)…DeWitt was awful, almost as bad as Hill in Spring Training, and while he’s hit better of late, he’s still a bad offensive player that plays poor defense.
      -not getting Colvin regular playing time. Colvin came out of Spring Training hitting something like .260 (which comparatively speaking with Fukudome) was actually very good. Then he rode the pine, and became the resident pinch hitter. Timing is everything for a hitter, especially a rookie, and he did Colvin’s development a disservice by pulling that crap. Colvin rarely got a start and his bat suffered, ultimately ending in a demotion
      -placing Byrd in the 3-hole stubbornly, even though he couldn’t drive anyone in.
      -putting Russell in the rotation, when he’s a LOOGY (I’ll admit, this is probably Hendry’s call mostly, but it didn’t help when Quade himself called Russell a LOOGY, then said he’d be in the pen, and 2 days later, he gets a start)
      -mishandling the pen, and especially with regards to relying on Wood, Marshall, and Marmol during all close games in the early going. This likely will have lasting effects on the pen all year, and we’ve seen Marshall and Marmol already implode recently, and Wood is on the DL now with a blister problem.
      -placing DeWitt in LF
      -placing LeMahieu at 1B….the FIRST time EVER……EVER!!!!!!!!…..that he’s played 1B professionally, or at any level.
      …..and finally…..
      -his refusal to take starting pitchers out of the game when they’re ineffective, leaving them in one batter too long, where they almost always give up a home run it seems, then he’ll remove them. 

      • cubtex

        I have no problem putting LeHahieu at 1st. First point….He pitched some in High School and I am sure like most High School coaches on the day after he pitched they played him some at 1st to save his arm. He is 6’4. Second point….And some of you like Paul or others who are old infielders can back me up. LeMahieu has had years and year of practing bunt coverage as a 2nd baseman taking throws and you almost become a first baseman taking throws for this drill. You practice digging balls out of the dirt all the time as an infielder. First base is an EASY transition for any descent defensive infielder.

        • Aaron

          WOW…..I don’t know how to even respond, other than to have you attend some practices at Fitch Park, and watch when they try to transition an IF to 1B. I’ve seen it firsthand at the small infield practice field right off the street.

          You’re completely off-base with your assertion there

          • cubtex

            Not only have I seen it….I have done it. I have played 2nd and short my entire baseball career and I could very easily fill in at first and feel extremely comfortable. Have you seen some of these big goofs playing first? Your Adam Dunn’s etc ? I am not talking about an entire season but filling in. Wow! Your responses somtimes act like it is brain surgery to fill in at a position for a couple of innings. I am sure Mark DeRosa didn’t play first base until he got in the big leagues either. Good infielders can play anywhere!!!!!!!!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          Speaking from a 3rd baseman that had to play a lot of 1st. It takes a certain mind set to be a good corner infielder. You have to quick vertical movement. You have to be able to understand that a majority of your great fielders knew that the ball could eat them up in a hurry if they were not positioned properly. Gary Gaetti was the perfect example. Always in the right position  Quick hands and able to stretch in a hurry.

          DJ has played some 3rd in his days at Daytona last year and Tennessee this year. Last year he struggled mightily there having 5 errors in 109 chances for a fielding % .954. This year he never made and error at 3rd at Tennessee in 62 chances. Which means his quickness and recognition is getting better. I have listened to everyone jump on the he is a second baseman band wagon but I am not sure yet. I think he a Prado type 3rd baseman. He might never develop the power to be an every day 3rd baseman in the majors

          So finding out if he can play first was not a bad idea. I just wish it would have been at the end of a blow out to get him AB’s instead of the start of a 4 game series against a team that if we get swept then the year is effectively over.If it isn’t already.

           I have not heard one person say he did a bad job there last night but why take a chance with a kids first start in the bigs.

        • GrantJones7

          Do you or have you ever played baseball? Do you know how hard it is to change positions? You dont put your future 2nd basemen or 3rdbaseman (potentially) at FIRST, without ANY PRO EXPRIENCE.
          Sorry but that arguement is not valid at all.

          • paulcatanese

            I am not trying to defend cubtex, he does that very well on his own. But your’e first line is unfair to assume that those who post have not in your’e opinion, played the game.. If you have followed his posts you would find that he is very knowledgable on the game. As far as changing positions, as he said it was a fill in,for one game, and if it was offered to me and I was in the same position as Lemahieu I would have jumped at the offer, and he did,and he pulled it off,Cudos to him. He could have failed,but didn’t and got a chance to play. Tell me ,what did he have to lose? He’s going to be sent down anyway. And believe me after the game sitting and enjoying dinner he had a wry smile on his face and probably thought, stick it Quade.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. As Tom mentioned…1st base has been discussed as a possibility to get LeMahieu some at bats. He is 6’4 with middle infield skills. People are complaining that LeMahieu is rotting on the bench and complain when he plays because it is not his main position. I am sure if you ask LeMahieu…..he would do it again without hesitation.

        • paulcatanese

          Old infielder is right,me. I had played 30 some years in the infield and the two easiest positions for me was third and the easiest first base. It was a little more so when I moved to top fast pitch softball where you had to play 40 ft from home plate to cut off bunts and then retreating back to the bag on ground balls but that was it. Throws, cutoffs,in the dirt all were very easy for me at least. Thats why I had invoked Aram playing over there, but it was not his choice. As a middle infielder you can see what the ball is going to do when whoever is throwing to you and watch the arm angle of the release, and the ball will go that way. Overhand,it will rise,sidearm it will break to the right, 3/4 a little of both, not much. It was easy thats why last night I knew LeHahieu could handle it. OF to 1st a different story, but this was not an outfielder.

          • cubtex

            Exactly Paul! It is laughable to see some of these responses on how hard it is to fill in at 1st base for a polished infielder. Mark DeRosa, Michael Young, even Jeff Baker to name a few. Do you think any of these 3 ever played first base until the big leagues? It is not a difficult transition at all!

        • Ripsnorter1

          DJ LeMahieu said he hasn’t played 1B since he was 10 years old in Little League. Now transitioning to 1B in his second ML start puts added pressure on a player. There’s something that happens at 1B frequently which may make for problems for a new position player. It’s called “the pickoff play.” MOST FORTUNATELY Dempster kept the Brewers off the bases last night, or else it could have been very difficult for DJL. It is not smart to shoot a player’s confidence, especially a new player to MLB.  

          • cubtex

            Are you serious? I am not trying to sound like a smart a$$…. but the pick off play? Holding a runner on…..catching the throw from the pitcher….and tagging the runner. Explain to me the years of practice needed to master that craft.

      • paulcatanese

        Common Aaron, I agree with your’e whole post except the first base issue. You pitched,played short when not pitching and you were a good athlete, are you telling me that you could not slide over to first and play there for one game? I dont believe that, you played too much ball and I know you could do it. Everything else I agree with.

        • cubtex

          Pitchers and athletes should never go in the same sentence! Lol.

          • paulcatanese

            I know that,but I was reffering to when he played short. Pitchers are in another world, remind me sometime about my exeperience’s with some of them over the years. One, how about boiling shrimp in a sink in aPort Arthur hotel?

          • cubtex

            I know, I was joking. But some of the most unathletic, awkward individuals you ever want to meet. If the didn’t have that gift of throwing a baseball they could not ever play another sport. I would always like to point that out to some old teammates of mine! Ha

          • Aaron

            First of all, I think you try to draw people into arguments just for the sake of it, and most of the time you are way off base. I don’t know if you get enjoyment out of it, or what.

            Secondly, most of the time, when people disclaim, “not to be a smart a$$ or anything”, they actually ARE being one, and I’m guilty of that verbiage as well, so I’m not calling you out on it specifically, but just as an FYI…

            Lastly, your arguments about LeMahieu are indefensible for many reasons…and you probably know this, you just seem to like disagreeing with everything I say (don’t pretend otherwise). And sorry, but I value Brenly’s opinion more than anyone on here (no offense Neil, as I value yours very much), as he has a World Series ring as a manager, was an above average MLB catcher, and has now seen just about everything “Cubbery” from the booth to know what he’s talking about.

            Furthermore, I was actually at Fitch Park several years ago when they were trying to get Todd Walker acclimated to 1B on the practice infield, and he was struggling mightily….IN. PRACTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            And I highly question your baseball acumen when you assert that it should be a no-brainer like playing catch or whatever. It’s simply not. You can be a very athletic player, and still struggle to learn the nuances of 1B.

            #1-It’s an entirely different glove and feel
            #2-Nearly all of the action in the infield goes through 1B whether it be throws from the rest of the IF, pick-offs from the pitcher, pick-offs from the catcher, holding runners on, learning positioning, handling cut-offs, and handling bunting situations.
            **this right here is why I highly question your baseball acumen, because we practiced these things religiously, and everyone had to know their spot on the field during specific situations. In fact, we’d end practice with these drills where our coach called out certain situations and we were expected to play it perfectly, otherwise practice was extended until we got it right…plus we had to run. I can tell you with absolute certainty that ALL of us were expected to master our position, and if you weren’t practicing at a given position on a regular basis, it was somewhat easy to fall into the pattern of what you were doing at the other position. We had 3 guys on my college team that were like DeRosa, and they’d focus on a different position every day. It wasn’t like they played 3B, SS, 2B, and 1B in one practice, getting equal time. The POINT is….It takes practice, and you do NOT have a baptism by fire in MLB regular season. That’s what Spring Training and the minors are for….(as well as EXST and Instructs) They tried this same idiotic strategy with Jake Fox when ARAM went down, not even having him spend time at 3B in the minors prior to calling him up, and it DID NOT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! That should be your case study right there. Your assertions are downright hilarious…..all pitchers are lazy, unathletic, blah blah blah….everyone should be able to play 1B, it’s easy….Really?!?!? Are you sure you want to go down that road?
            #3-The movements are different. In other words, you have to locate the bag on nearly every play on the IF without looking. Plus, you must learn to stretch out, rather than wait for the ball to come to you, as a split second difference can be the difference between safe and out. 

            I could go on and on….honestly, I stopped responding to you awhile ago, because it was pointless…you disagreed with everything I said….and that’s fine…just be honest and call it for what it is, don’t make up a bunch of stuff when you have no clue.

          • cubtex

            You are basing your arguement that is difficult to move to first on Todd Walker? If you read my post I stated any solid defensive middle infielder. Would you consider Todd a solid defensive middle infielder? Why is this so hard? I do not attack you Aaron and say to go circle jerk in a corner like you do with whoever disagrees with you. I don’t base this statement on someone having to tell me. I know first hand that it is not difficult since I have done it and played every infield position that I am sure LeMahieu has as well. Do you honestly believe he has never played an inning at 1st base since he was ten? Never in a practice fielding for tammates or messing around? Cmon….you are not that naive. How many midfle infielders on other teams have played first for a couple of inning or fir a game before who never played it before the bigs? I guarantee the number would blow you away! As I mentioned a couple earlier…DeRo, Michael Young, Jeff Baker. Tony LaRussa moved Albert Pujols to third for a game. Did the different glove bother him. Give some of these athletes some credit. They field grounders everyday. You act like it is like putting a baseball pkayer in a cricket match or totally different sport. I know if I could do it as a college player and someone who didn’t get past A ball… many more players than me could do it including LeMahieu!

          • Aaron

            Yet we go back and forth….

            #1-yeah, I’m basing it completely on Walker, given 99% of the post had absolutely NOTHING to do with him, but yeah, you’re right…LOL (note sarcasm)…It was simply an example, because as you stated, “anyone can pick it up”

            #2-Todd Walker actually was a solid middle infielder, improving his defense dramatically when he came to the Cubs. Look at his player page: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/walketo04.shtml

            #3-(note sarcasm alert) Yeah…..because playing 1B in Little League, at 10 years old, in high school, etc. is the same as playing it at the MLB level. Are you out of your mind? The game doesn’t move nearly as fast as it does at the MLB level, and furthermore balls aren’t hit nearly as hard either. And you’re citing all these examples…..which is great, save for the fact that THEY WEREN’T FREAKING ROOKIES WHEN THEY STARTED MOVING AROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which is PRECISELY my point, and Brenly’s point, and many people on this site that also commented on how ridiculous that move was. And if you played college ball, then you’d know how different it was from even high school. It was a shock to me how much quicker the game moved, and how much stronger guys were. I had to pitch guys completely different, and couldn’t get away with 93 mph heat down the middle. I had to locate. Balls were hit harder too. 

            #4-Pujols came up as a 3B. You’re doing revisionist history here, saying he didn’t play there. That’s how they got his bat in the lineup. He was also an OF, just as he was in college, and the minors. In college, he was a 3B and 1B at his community college, playing a little OF too. So NONE of those positions were foreign to him when he came up with the Cardinals, and they used that to their advantage getting him ABs.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Aaron,

        I have to say it: Quade is the dumbest manager I have seen in MLB. He’s much worse than Dusty, and worse than Jim Essian. IN-credible. Your short list of failures is just that: a short, incomplete list. Neil probably wouldn’t want to pay for all the bandwidth it would take for a comprehensive listing.

        Quade and Jim Clueless together make the Laurel and Hardy of MLB. And Ricketts–he’s an empty suit with a lot of heartache heading right in his direction at a high rate of speed. I predict he’ll rue the day that he talked his father into buying this organization.

    • cc002600

      As this article points outs, the lack of plate discipline on this team  and the organization as a whole is appalling. To me, that might be the biggest reason as to why this team sucks, and will suck moving forward…..

      It’s a continuing theme year after year, with notable exception being 2008. And gee, how many games did they win that year ?  I don’t think its a coincidence. ugh.

      sooooooo cub

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Good story Rip.

       I was one of those guys that said last year it didn’t matter who was the manager because there was not enough talent to contend for anything yet. I am still in that club. It won’t matter who is in the dugout till we get better players on the field.You could have Connie Mack in the dugout and this team would still be horrible. Too many guys with the same problem. Too many first pitch swingers. Nothing against the young guys but come on there has to be a balance. You need guys that work counts not just hack at air as soon as the ball leaves the pitchers hand.

      I know that Quade has made some questionable moves but atleast he is cheap and replaceable. Lets worry about getting the talent level up before we worry about who the manager is or should be. I bet if we went back to Sandberg and told him what was going to happen this year. The talent that came in and what he would have as far as young guys on the bench, he would tell Hendry to take his proxie managers job and have the ownership call him when Hendry gets fired.

       I have defended some of the guys that are here but lets be honest. Put our lineup against the Phillies head to head for a season and we would not win 50 games.

      • paulcatanese

        Connie Mack,Thank you Richard i could not remember his name the other day when I posted about the old stadium. I think now it was called after Mack,not sure,my memory sips sometimes,slips not sips.

        I sure would have enjoyed watching Stengal manage this bunch, and as I had said a long time ago Mike Ditka, he knows as much or more than Quade.

        I do agree that Sandberg would do exactly as you say, and who knows he may have and could have been passed over for that reason alone.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          It seems that everyone but Quade that has knowledge of the situation knows exactly what Quade is. A transition manager till we get the talent to contend. If Hendry is fired this year then Quade will be gone as well because the new GM will want his own guy in the dugout. If Hendry gets to stay till the end of his contract then Quade will be here next year as well. It is a who cares situation because I really do not see Hendry being here after his contract one way or the other.

          The one good thing about Quade is here or gone he is cheap. It would have taken a lot more money to get a name manager in here with the upper management in the shape it is in and with no idea how long of a rebuild we are going to go through. I mean we even had Brenly last year before even the interview process say he wasn’t interested YET.

           I think that after we rebuild the talent base of the club Brenly will be on the short list to replace Quade. Which is why he is able to get away with being so negative of the current management with the club.

  • Ripsnorter1

    What I read says that Dunston, Jr. will be a hard sign.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes he will be, Dunston, Jr. has a scholarship to play ball at Vanderbilt.

      • Aaron

        Yeah, I thought he’d be a tough sign too, then Shawon Sr. came out, and all but said he was encouraging him to sign with the Cubs…..

        so, you never know with a legacy pick like this

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          Gretzky pretty much said the same thing about how special playing at Wrigley and how much love for the Cubs his son has.

           You never know. All I can say is that any kid that learns to hit from George Brett has to have a solid upside and must be a priority to get a deal done.

  • Ripsnorter1

    When you speak of 13 MLB players in 30 years of #1 picks . . . .

    If you include only those who played as much as two years as a full time player, (ie, 502 PA) then you’ve only got:
    1. Dunston–he couldn’t take a walk, either. 
    2. Wood–good pitcher ruined by injuries; still a good career.
    3. Prior–injuries ruined a great pitcher.
    4. Palmeiro–great hitter dealt away for–are you ready for this?–Mitch Williams rental! Just to make it fair we threw in Jamie Moyer. 
    5. Glanville–not a great ML player. Adequate. Just above the Derrick May line.
    6. Garland–good pick, too bad we dealt him away for nothing. Thanks Ed Lynch!
    7. Patterson–up and down career. At least he made it. 
    8. Harkey  36-36 4.49 career. Cart wheeling on a rain soaked tarp resulted in a knee injury that effectively ruined his career.

    Derrick May. Was fulltime for 1 year (465 AB); never got more than 351 after that. Part time player.
    Brooks Kieschnick, unfortunately, was a bust. 306 ML AB. 
    Colvin is no lock at all.
    Cashner is hurt. Who knows if he’ll fully recover.
    Montanez is a bust. I hope he gets some playing time, but he is not a ML regular.

  • Tony_Hall

    Aaron – Excellant recap of the Cubs system and this years draft!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    Great post guys. Aaron your love for Amateur Baseball shines through in the depth and knowledge of all the draftees this year. Your definitely one of the reasons I have started reading this page a lot more this year.
    Now if we can get the jaded Cubs fan out of you then we would be in great shape. LOL.

  • Chuck

    Aaron, thanks for the great report.  Living here in Fort Myers, I have had the chance to follow Vogelbach.  Here is a kid who is built like a power first baseman that I compare to a Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder.  With the proper physical training of watching weight, this kid can be a very good ballplayer and a great power hitter.

  • cubtex

    Tom…………This is in response to the question about Jae Hoon Ha and miltary commitment. This also affects Hak Ju Lee now with Tampa. All Koreans must serve 2 years in military before the age of 30. To get the 2 year waiver you must not only play in the Asian games but the team must win a GOLD medal. That is why Sin Soo Choo with Cleveland got his service time waived….They won the gold.

    • Tedtop16

      Aaron:
      Great report. This is the most detailed one that I have seen.

    • GrantJones7

      That is correct, and it is for any Korean player.

      Does anyone know how the WBC and Asian Games match up for our players? Because the Korean National team WILL take underpreforming MLB Koreans over AA or Single A Koreans. So unless our guys are in the MLB, i highly doubt they would get the call to play for them. At this rate Ha might be the only one that matches up.

      I may be wrong but thats what i have read before

  • Daddies3angels2124

    VERY NICE READ…well done

  • cubtex

    The draft is definately a crapshoot. Look at the Rangers draft from 1987 to 2000 and I am sure you will agree. 1987 Mark Petkovsek, Monty Fariss, Donald Harris, Dan Smith, Benji Gil, Rick Heiling, Mike Bell, Jonathan Johnson, R.A. Dickey, Sam Masonek, Corey Lee, Jason Romero, Carlos Pena(yes that Carlos Pena) Colby Lewis, Mike Head, Scott Heard Tyrell Godwin and the last first round pick in 2000 was Chad Hawkins. As you can see…….not many impact first round picks out of those 18 picks. Arguably, Carlos Pena was the best of the bunch. I thought it would be interesting to look at another team in comparison.

  • paulcatanese

    Verry classy Aaron,great job.

  • Ken Hubbs

    Thanks Aaron,

       Great posts on the draft over the last few days and now an in depth summary.  And you followed that up with detailed observations on management after great segues from Rip and Tony.  Neil, your format, coverage, and opinions draw excellent posters like these guys (and many others) and keep me checking in 365 days a year.  Keep it up, guys. 

  • Aaron

    Also…

    Anyone can see the updated signings as they take place, as Baseball America seems to have it all covered:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draftdb/2011xteam.php?team=1004

    you look at the players in bold, and those are the ones that have signed.

    As I mentioned, have tempered optimism here about the Cubs signing most of these picks. 

    I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if they only signed 40% of their picks (teams typically sign 60% if you remember my post).

    The fact is, the Cubs signed 21 high school players, all with college scholarships in hand, and most of them with offers to play at well-known programs, so it’s going to be really interesting to see if they can pull this off.

    They must go all out and get Baez, Vogelbach, Shoulders, Zych, Scott, Jensen,  Maples, Marra, Jacquez (doubtful), and Urban signed. If they get these guys signed, they will likely be in a good place to get the others to sign, because they’ll see the Cubs are willing to shell out the money to do so.

    But keep in mind, there’s usually a strategy involved here. Most teams will want to get all of the easy signings out of the way first, then they’ll target the more difficult underclassmen signings. When they do this, they try to go from the bottom up in their draft. They don’t want one guy setting the bar too high for their other picks. If they still find it difficult to get the kid signed, then they usually alter their strategy somewhat, and let the market dictate where the kid should be at. In other words, they let other teams sign picks around them to set the market, then they try to swoop in, and say, “see, this guy was also selected in the 35th round, and got $25,000 to sign. We’re offering twice that at $50,000….how does that sound?” 

    But with some guys, like Jacquez and in year’s past, with a guy like Gray, they’re often times 1st or 2nd round talent, and getting selected in the 30th round and after, because teams know they’ll be an extremely difficult signing. Sometimes the kids will take the bait and sign, especially if they’re not enthralled with going to school anymore, or if the school they signed with doesn’t have a well-known program. But in Jacquez (Texas) and Gray’s (Vanderbilt) cases, they both had offers to well-known programs. Therefore, the Cubs would have to offer first round money (around $1.5 million or so) to Jacquez to get him to sign, and that simply ain’t happening, as it’d put the Cubs on the naughty list with MLB. The last time the Cubs made a significant reach like that was when they selected Chris Huseby in the 11th round, and gave him $1.3 million to sign. I could see it for Maples (14th round), but there’s virtually  no chance it’d happen for Jacquez (39th round).

    Anyway…getting back on track….once the other teams sign a majority of their picks, then teams start negotiating hard to get the guys they really want, and this is when you start seeing overslot bonuses being shelled out. These signings will often times take place at the end of July or right before the deadline in August.

    I was shocked at all the difficult signings the Cubs chose in the draft. I could easily see at least 7 players demanding bonuses over $1 million to sign:
    Baez
    Vogelbach
    Zych
    Scott
    Gretzky
    Maples
    Jacquez

    In some of their cases, they have to evaluate their own talent, and seek advice from an advisor. What they will be asking (in the case of high school draftees) is where they project to be as juniors. They will look at similar guys in their draft class, and project where they’ll be in 3 years, and conduct their own sort of mock draft. Usually, you get a mix of 50-50 or 40-60 in high school to college ratio in the first round, and often times, which means 15-15 or 12-18 (this year it was 15-18…the extras being compensatory for not signing previous year’s picks).

    Therefore, these guys have to question, “will I be one of the top 15-18 college juniors in 3 years?” 

    If they can’t answer definitively, then they probably need to sign if they’re offered overslot bonuses. Sometimes, you’ll find players think they can be the best in the draft, and get a MLB deal such as a Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg, but those cases are truly rare. Vogelbach can’t improve his stock much, and neither can Zych. In fact, because he’ll be a college senior next year, Zych will likely hurt his stock if he returns to school, as he won’t have any leverage.

    In other news, I saw a report by AZ Phil at the TCR that Hoilman was already in camp at EXST, and hit a 450 foot bomb off Jin-Yong Kim in live BP

  • studio179

    Aaron, a well put together draft analysis.

  • paulcatanese

    Aaron,watched the tape of Voglebach, a pure swing and power, a conditioning program and a few refinements and he will be knocking at the door. Can’t see him bunting,but with that swing,I doubt that he will,ever. Kind of reminds me of John Kruk in stature at this point. Thanks for the tape.

    • John_CC

      I couldn’t think of who he reminded me of, Kruk! Totally.  He’s just 18, so hopefully he’s just a “late bloomer” and will stretch out some, plus having professional training program will help. 

  • Cloycub13

    Nice work Aaron. I followed the draft this year moreso than years past. It was actually fun given the alternatives of watching this MLB team play ball.

    Your assessments fit what I read as they were happening. I 100000000% agree on your must sign guys. With a keen focus on Shoulders and Maples.

    Your mock lineup with those guys signed was actually pretty exciting to see.

    The one thing I will say is if they are able to pony up some dough and make these guys offers that they cannot refuse, the system just got a whole lot more talented and well rounded. Especially with the tremendous void of power in the system at present.

    Great work as always!

  • Holden C

    Neil,

    What a great article.  I really learned a lot about the draft picks!  Im not avid commentor, but I felt compelled to applaud you for this article.  Thanks, keep up the great work!

  • Henry

    If this draft was a weak draft for hitters but strong for pitching why did the cubs not go for pitching this year and try to find hitters next year?

  • ghostofelvis

    well, the Cubs DID sign all of the 19, except for Jacquez(whom as a 5’9″ lefty who throws extra hard, is a likely arm injury eventually-I always thought Kerry Wood throwing that hammer curve and slider in 1998 as a 20yo is what led to his arm problems). Seems this is there most sucessfull draft in a long time. If half these guys make it to the big leagues, id give the draft an A.