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.

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne