Draft Update and Other Cubs News and Notes

The Cubs are signing the players they selected in last week’s draft and while only one signing has been confirmed by Baseball America, many of the players have already reported to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa … the first stop in their professional career.

The Cubs are working on signing Kris Bryant and are hoping to finalize the contract soon so he can begin his Cubs’ career. Jason McLeod said after the draft they expect him to report to Boise soon after he signs.

Baseball America reported the Cubs’ inked their ninth round pick, Chancer Burks, the Texas shortstop the Cubs drafted as an outfielder, for just a little over slot. Burks received $170,000 signing bonus, $21,100 over the amount for the Cubs’ ninth round pick.

While the signings have not been made official, the Cubs are believed to have already signed Jacob Hannemann (third round), David Garner (seventh round), Zack Godley (tenth round), Jordan Hankins (11th round), Trevor Clifton (12th round), Trevor Graham (13th round), Michael Wagner (15th round), Cael Brockmeyer (16th round) and Kevin Brown (22nd round), plus eight other players.

2013 Draft

While only one signing has been confirmed by Baseball America, the Cubs have signed several of the players they drafted last week and many of them have already made their way to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa.

Daniel Poncedeleon – RHP – 14th Round

The big right hander from Houston posted a photo on his Twitter account of him with the contract that he signed with the Cubs.

Kelvin Freeman – 1B – 17th Round

The North Carolina senior first baseman has not indicated if he has signed with the Cubs or not but a report from the North Carolina A&T website quoted his coach as saying that Freeman would like play a little in the rookie league before playing for the short-season team in the Northwest League.

Giuseppe Papaccio – SS – 18th Round

The Seton Hall shortstop signed with the Cubs rather quickly after the draft and was already at the Cubs’ complex by the time the Record had a chance to catch up with him. The Cubs drafted Papaccio on his 22nd birthday. Papaccio is reportedly a natural at shortstop but the Cubs have asked him if he would be willing to try catching.

Will Remillard – C – 19th Round

According to a report from Myrtle Beach Online, Will Remillard, the Cubs’ 19th round pick is not sure if he is going to sign with the Cubs. Remillard said he was going to play it out the Cape Cod League and see where that goes. Remillard’s coach is sure that he will listen to what the Cubs have to say before making his final decision.

Zak Blair – 2B – 20th Round

According to a report from the Star Beacon, Zak Blair signed with the Cubs shortly after he was selected in the 20th round last week. Blair left for Arizona on Tuesday.

Tyler Ihrig – LHP – 23rd Round

Tyler Ihrig signed with the Cubs on Tuesday according to a report from the Marin Independent Journal. Ihrig is scheduled to report to Mesa this week and could begin his professional career with Boise in the coming weeks. The 22-year old southpaw was 1-2 with 18 saves and a 1.58 ERA this spring.

Tyler Sciacca – 2B – 27th Round

The Cubs’ selected the Villanova product in the 27th round. Tyler Sciacca signed his contract with the Cubs after he flew out to the Cubs’ facility on Tuesday. Sciacca said he was drafted for his defense but his .401 career on base percentage probably did not hurt his stock. Sciacca told the Staten Island Advance that he expects to either be playing for Boise or for the AZL Cubs in the very near future.

Zak Hermans – RHP – 30th Round

Zak Hermans tweeted a photo of him signing his contract and announced he was leaving for Mesa last Tuesday.

One of the players that the Cubs drafted said he will not be signing. The Cubs selected centerfielder Joshua Greene in the 39th round. Greene was hoping to be picked higher and said he was rather disappointed with the draft. Greene was projected to go earlier than the 39th round and will not be receiving the money he was looking for to turn down his scholarship to High Point University. Greene has said that he will not be signing.

Keaton Leach, the Cubs 32nd round pick in the draft, said he is not sure if he is going to sign with the Cubs or not.

Zach Putnam

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, an MRI on the right elbow of Zach Putnam confirmed that Putnam has a bone spur in his elbow. Putnam was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday and replaced temporarily on the active roster by Brooks Raley.

It was known that Putnam had a bone spur in his elbow. Putnam has not had a chance to discuss the next step with Dr. Stephen Gryzlo yet according to the report. The MRI, according to Bruce Levine, was to confirm that nothing else was wrong with his elbow.

Zach Putnam said his elbow felt like it was on fire when the left Tuesday night’s game.

Javier Baez

The Javier Baez Show was the main topic of conversation earlier this week. Baez had a huge night with his 4-for-4, four-home run, seven RBI performance on Monday. Dale Sveum and Theo Epstein addressed the improvements he’s made this season at the plate and in the field.

Sveum thought his swings “were pretty good” but what Sveum liked the most is that Baez has calmed his swing down, he’s cut down movement on his swing about “40 percent, 50 percent” according to Sveum and it is a lot more calm and controlled. Theo Epstein also addressed the improvements Baez has made at the plate and also pointed out his swing is more calm and under control.

As for Baez’s defense and those errors that are brought up consistently when Baez’s future is discussed.

Theo Epstein said, “A lot of his errors have been extreme plays at the end of his range or weird things on rundowns or trying to do too much. He needs to polish that up. We actually feel better at this moment about his ability to play shortstop every day in the big leagues than we did on Opening Day because of the way he’s playing shortstop. He needs to clean it up but I have no doubt he can play shortstop at the big league level.

News and Notes

Shawn Camp is scheduled to throw two innings or up to 35 pitches on Friday night for the Kane County Cougars. Camp completed an inning of work in his first rehab outing on Tuesday.

To no surprise, the Cubs television ratings are down and so is their attendance according to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business. Ratings on Comcast SportsNet are down 15 percent but ratings for the 25-54 age demographic are up 31 percent. WGN would not disclose their ratings to Danny Ecker. As for the attendance at Wrigley Field … the Cubs are averaging 32,594 through the first 32 games, down 14 percent from this point last season.

On the Ian Stewart front, the Cubs have not made it known how many games Stewart will miss after being suspended without pay earlier this week. Rumors have suggested the two sides might end up working out a financial settlement on the remaining salary owed to Stewart for this season. The Cubs would then release Stewart so he can move on with his career. Patrick Mooney ran an excellent piece on why Ian Stewart used Twitter so much in the first place … at least before his actions changed his career.

The rest of this season is going to be a test of character for the players and intestinal fortitude for the fans according to Gordon Wittenmyer.

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus sees the Cubs having four prospects ranked among the top 20 in the game and thinks the Cubs now have the second best system in the game.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Dorasaga

    A few things, in bulletin points:

    – the 22nd round pick has a big shoe to fill, his parents to blame (named him a borderline Hall of Famer, Kevin Brown)

    – Baez might improve defensively at SS, or might not. He might learn better swing and better plate discipline, or not. this is only his second full pro season, so I’m crossing my fingers.

    – Is Hoyer shy or something? He’s the GM, talk up. Why’s Epstein doing all the talking this year? Get those snobbish reporters into a hideout room and feed them more info than they were willing to take, because he can.

    – If the other president, Crane, responded all the reporters like Epstein did, I would like him fired. It’s not his job as the higher management to host a day-to-day follow-up of players behavior and performance. The managers should. Or maybe Hoyer is the de-facto President of Baseball Operations, while Epstein is the de-facto GM? Confusing.

    – I would love to see CCO generates a “performance rating list” by position, instead of divided by minor league levels; C – Player AAA, Player low-A, 1B – N/A, SS – Baez, Player high-A… SP, RP, Utility, you know. This proposed list will throw in more light than what we know about the Cubs future now.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think Epstein being the VP is more the face for media and Hoyer is the guy who does the nuts and bolts of the job. Just like Kenny Williams would do all the interviews and Rick Hahn did a lot behind the scenes. I’m sure more people want interviews with Epstein anyway because he was the GM when Boston finally won a world series and we all hope he can do the same with the Cubs.

      • Dorasaga

        good point; u know whom i really will like to see reporters ask as well? the minor league coordinator

    • cc002600

      Not sure what you mean about Hoyer being shy. He is on the radio talk shows all the time, plus he is on the comcast sports talk show all the time, too……to me, I hear him way more than Theo.

      • Dorasaga

        I rarely listen to podcasts nowadays; faster to just skim thru an article written by a reporter or Neil. Now, here’s a question: Do we consider talk shows (whether online, radio, or TV) as journalism?

        • cc002600

          that’s different topic…..but all I know is that Hoyer is out there talking to the media all the time….he is not the least bit “shy”

          • Dorasaga

            it’s a curious thought, cuz do we want more facts? or opinions? when the content comes from baseball “insiders”?

  • Tom U

    The player with the potential to be this year’s Tim Saunders may be Giuseppe Papaccio. The Seton Hall product hit .356 in 233 at bats with a .410 on base percentage.

    • JasonPen

      While both of those numbers are excellent. The OBP is only high because of the high Batting average. That means a relatively low number of walks.

      • Ripsnorter1

        That’s a quibble. The man is hitting .356!

        • JasonPen

          Starlin Castro had a high OBP too… And you see what happens when the hits stop falling in…. He has a worse OBP than Adam Dunn (who is currently below the Mendoza line).

          It’s just something to watch out for when judging a young player, you want some sort of gap between the AVG and OBP. Just kind of a early warning sign. Everyone has a high BA n College.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You’re right. Everyone does have a high BA in college.

          • Ray Ray

            I always get a kick out of people say how this kid doesn’t take many walks in High School or College. If you are a good hitter…do you want to work the count or hit? The coach wants that kid to swing the bat because he is probably hitting close to .400 or better. Lets not analyze these meaningless stats until they get to pro ball. Just like the old saying if you are from the Domenican, Venezuela etc….Nobody had ever signed a pro contract by not swinging the bat. You don’t face the type of pitching that you do in High School or College on an everyday basis that this is too important at that level

          • JasonPen

            Well, you can still work the count. I’m not saying its an “end-all” stat. But at the same time, look at our new 1st round pick. His walks were really high and he still had 31 HR.
            .329 BA with an OBP of .493.
            That’s the kind of spread I’m talking about.

            And again, nothing against this guy. He was a good pick for where they got him. I wish him the best of luck.

    • paulcatanese

      He’s my new buddy, and haven’t seen him play a lick. But a natural shortstop (post above, Neil),

      Great, now the Cubs want or are asking him if he wants to try catching.

      Kind of like the Army, draft a brain surgeon, and move him to the mess hall to carve meat:)

  • Bryan

    You have to wonder what Castro is now thinking relative to Theo’s optimistic comments about Baez’s ability at shortstop.

    • JasonPen

      I think Theo is doing what any good GM/ President does. He is preparing to sell high with Baez. There is a reason they are keeping him at SS. He will be gone before too long. Don’t go out and buy a Baez jersey anytime soon.

      • Ripsnorter1

        That is a very bold prediction. I would not agree with you at this time.

        I could be wrong.

    • 07GreyDigger

      As a major leaguer, I don’t think you can worry about those kind of things. They draft people every year at all kinds of positions and especially at ones that you play. All you can do is play your game and not worry about what may or not be coming down the road.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree with Rip on this one. Unless Baez does something unforgivable in the near future he will remain with the Cubs.
        They will at this point keep him at shortstop, comfortable, and further develop his hitting skills, which leads one to believe that he could be a superstar with the bat he does hit the ball a long way.
        Until he would self destruct (if he does)
        he stays, and the Cubs will worry later on where to use his glove.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Dave Sappelt…not one of my favorites….but a leader among….complaining minor leaguers named Ian Stewart.

    “It all began almost a year ago when Iowa Cubs OF Dave Sappelt started complaining about not being called up to the major league club after the Reed Johnson trade. Sappelt, an undersized right-handed hitter who hits LHP well, fit the description of Johnson’s job – a fourth outfielder who can pinch hit – but that wasn’t the case. The front office decided to leave Sappelt in Iowa and he was infuriated. The man took to Twitter (@SappySappelt6) to subliminally let out his frustrations, often offending Des Moines, IA residents. The same happened when he was demoted this season, with his final comment being “back to the trenches”. Then came Ian Stewart….”

  • cc002600

    Is it me, or is anyone surprised that Bryant would start at Boise ? That seems low to me. ……I’m sure they will move him up quickly, so not a huge deal, but still……

    I would have thought he might start at Daytona….the guy is almost 22.

    • SomeGuy27

      He probably won’t go to Daytona primarily due to the weather. August/Sept deals with a lot of rain-outs meaning inconsistent AB’s. My guess is the thought is Boise til they end, then AFL, next year AA.

    • TheWrongGuy

      By starting him at Boise they place him in a low profile area/league. So less pressure in a high pressure organization for a high draft pick to let the dust settle sort of speak so he can play baseball and not worry about the media as much at this level. Bryant being a high draft pick with high aspirations everyone will be watching him if he was in FSL vise the SSlowA ball league. That’s just my opinion. But it holds true to how this FO does things like Albert Almora last season and Soler and Baez.

      That’s my 2 cents.

  • paulcatanese

    Am I missing something here, has Bryant signed yet?
    I see the talk about where he will go to play, that’s ok,
    but didn’t see where he has signed yet.
    The thought comes to me comparing him to Appel from Stanford that chose to complete his fourth year before signing. Appel wanted his degree from Stanford ( I agree), and who is to say the same may happen with Bryant, isn’t he enrolled at a Religious University?
    The commitment may be that he feels obligated to remain his fourth year.
    I really have no clue about that, just thinking (which is always dangerous for me), just a thought. Hope he does sign now.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Appel and Bryant are both Boras clients. Reports are saying Appel should be signing in the next couple of days. My guess is that Boras will now turn his attention to Bryant and he’ll sign soon as well.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I have no doubt this guy will sign. Our management is too good at their job to allow a debacle like a #1 pick not signing.

        And what an opportunity for him. Savvy, young front office that has a plan in place and are proven winners (2 rings for Theo). And the chance to be with an organization that after 100 years of futility finally has a long-term plan for success and get to the promised land. Every guy that is on the team that finally wins a world series (probably 2016 or soon after) will be a baseball legend. Bryant has a chance to be one of the biggest legends. He will not pass this up.

        This kid will sign, mark it down. I’d make any bet anybody wants to make.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Let’s see….

          #1 Boras is his agent.
          #2 Bryant is a junior in college.
          #3 Appel last year, in the same situation, rejected the money from the Pirates and played another year of college ball.
          And it paid off big for Appel.

          Yes, I know Appel went #9 last year because teams knew he would be greedy. But I don’t see any guarantees about anything here.

          I wanted Byrant. I still want him. But I know anything can go wrong with greedy Scott Boras.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Boras is also Almora’s agent and he signed. Yet I agree he does have a year of eligibility left in college. Even If we don’t sign Bryant. The new CBA will give the Cub’s the pick again next year like the Pirates got this year since they didn’t sign Appel. I like the chances of our FO to sign him though given their connections to San Diego anyways.

            That’s my 2 cents.

          • Ray Ray

            Agreed. He’s the #2 player picked in the draft. How many former #2 draft picks didn’t sign? Bryant would be foolish not to.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Other factors…mainly our front office and the fact that it’s a storied franchise on the uptick. Guys want to play here and be a part of what they are building. Theo is like a rock star. People believe in his ability because he’s young and proven. he’ll most likely be around for years and as long as he is we’ll be competing. It will take a couple of years but baseball people believe in what he’s putting into place. From what I have read Boras believes in it.

          • Ray Ray

            Boardrider. Again, I love your passion for the Cubs but this is a business. Players do not want to play for the Cubs because of “THEO” Do I think Bryant will sign??? Absolutely, but it is about dollars. He is the 2nd pick in the draft. He would be foolish to go back to college to try and move up 1 spot in the draft. Players will not just sign with the Cubs because of “THEO” Now….if the dollars are close between the Cubs and another team…if the players like “THEO” and the Cubs atmosphere better than the other team then it could mean the difference.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I know what you’re saying Ray. I just think that he will get a good deal monetarily, and add in the prospect of playing for Theo and the Cubs and it will be too tantalizing to pass up. Get paid accordingly to his draft slot and play for this team and this front office. I just think the package is too much. Comparing Appel passing on the Pirates is apples and oranges in my book. You didn’t make the comparison but I think anyone comparing the Pirates drafting Appel is similar to Elway not wanting to go to the Colts or Manning to my Chargers. Those were questionable situations. I think this Cubs franchise is one a stud player would be drooling over.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Not to mention he has family in the area. Always helps.

  • paulcatanese

    GIUSEPPE, MY MAN. Can anyone fathom how many Uncles I have from Chicago named Giuseppe, he has to be good:)

    • Ray Ray

      And I hear he makes a mean Lasagna! :)

      • 07GreyDigger

        Da da da da da da daaa!

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          You should invite him over for some tartuffe paul!

          • paulcatanese

            Been an Italian for 79 years and have not heard of that one(will look it up on the computer), must be the half German on my Mother’s side that leads me to not recognizing the dish.(Actually the wife just filled me in, the horse from the Godfather) if so, good one:)
            But, what the H///, I’ll cook it anyway.

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