Cubs Draft Update: Pitching Injuries Muddle Cubs Draft Picture

The recent elbow injuries to RHP Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina) and RHP Erick Fedde (UNLV) that resulted in Tommy John surgery for both college right handers have taken two pitching options off the board the Cubs could have selected with the fourth pick in the upcoming draft. It is very likely a team will take a chance on both pitchers next month, but it is not likely that either pitcher will be picked as high as they were once projected to be drafted.

As has been reported, the Cubs were very high on Jeff Hoffman, but reportedly “can’t take him at No. 4 now.”

Many thought the Cubs would select a starting pitcher with the fourth pick in the first round, but with Carlos Rodon, Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken likely going in the first three picks, the Cubs could take a position player (Alex Jackson, Nick Gordon, Bradley Zimmer) instead. Patrick Mooney reported the “Cubs aren’t really sold on Louisiana State University right-hander Aaron Nola.” And Derek Johnson’s relationship with Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede “has been overstated” according to Mooney’s report.

Jed Hoyer reiterated last week that the Cubs would select the best player available with their first round pick.

The Tribune reported “the Cubs have collected medical and background information on all of their candidates” but the team has “yet to conduct final meetings with serious contenders and their parents.” Multiple reports last week indicated the Cubs met with Tyler Kolek and his parents. And the Tribune reported LHP Kyle Freeland (Evansville), LHP Brandon Finnegan (Texas Christian) and Alex Jackson rate high on the Cubs board. Finnegan missed two weeks with shoulder inflammation. Finnegan returned Friday and put together a strong outing.

John Manuel released his first mock draft last Friday and he has LHP Brandon Finnegan going to the Cubs with the fourth pick but he thinks the Cubs “will consider Alex Jackson and Nick Gordon.” Jackson is high school catcher/outfielder from San Diego and Gordon is the high school shortstop from Florida, son of Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon and younger brother of Dee Gordon.

Jed Hoyer on the Draft

Jed Hoyer discussed the upcoming draft during his weekly spot on The Kap and Haugh Show (87.7 The Game) last Friday. Hoyer thinks it would benefit teams if the MLB Draft was structured like the NFL Draft in which teams could trade the picks in order to move up or down in the draft. Hoyer talked about how the players are evaluated and that a team is not drafting a player to fit a need but based on the career they think he will have.

Print“We have a little more of an interesting dynamic,” Hoyer explained compared to the NFL, “Because our players aren’t coming right to the big leagues. It underscores that much more you want to take the guy, the person whose career you feel best about in the end. We are not buying seasons or fits, we are buying careers. Given the fact that in the two, three, four years it takes for a player to develop so much can change as far as your needs. You could be on draft day and your starting pitching can be poor in the big leagues and you’re supposed to take a starting pitcher. You can look up and by the time that player gets there you could need offense. I do think you take the best player available. I think you do always factor in, though, at the same time, you might not always take the player with the absolute highest ceiling, because that player may have more risk. I think sometimes it is important to, not only factor in the player’s ceiling, but also the player’s probability. Those are probably the biggest discussions we have and try to balance those things out. Shooting the moon on a player with a high upside and low probability versus sometimes the player that has a higher floor. Those are the fascinating decisions we have to make.”

David Kaplan asked about Jeff Hoffman and if a team would still spend a high draft pick on him now that he’s had Tommy John surgery. Hoyer said he did not want to talk about Hoffman specifically because “he feels terrible for the kid.” Hoyer did not rule out a team selecting Hoffman high in the draft.

“In general we have a very thorough medical process in the draft. We have many people working on that, really all spring,” Hoyer said. “It’s really hard. I wish we had a combine like the NFL where we could go and get measurements and do MRIs and stuff like that. But, unfortunately we don’t. A lot of these players are still playing and still in season, so it is a little bit less exact. We try to do as much as we can to dig on the medical, to make sure we have a feel for it. I think there is plenty of examples of guys who have been taken high in the draft that were injured or recovering from injury. Sometimes that’s a good educated risk.”

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  • John_CC

    This season has already got me down and now the #4 pick is even looking weak. Tell me its just me but is Alex Jackson really a #4 to get excited about?

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Yeah good thing their tanking in the Majors to draft in the top 5.

  • Roland Bowman

    If this years #4 pick is going to be really weak, I imagine they will not offer who ever they pick much money. There is a chance the pick won’t sign and the Cubs would have the #4 pick in next years draft.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    I think Beede is worthy of the #4 pick.

    From an Article on the Phillies draft

    Tyler Beede checks a whole lot of boxes as a Pitcher. Physically, he’s 6’4″, 215 lbs with a frame that could add maybe another 10 pounds of muscle with no issues. All that screams inning eater. Now, is he a top of the rotation inning eater becomes the question. There’s a bit of a wide range of outcomes possible here. His raw stuff flashes Ace potential. He throws two different fastballs, a 4-seamer with good movement and mid-90′s speed that he’s comfortable moving around to change eye-level. He also shows a 2-seamer that he uses primarily to left handers. The 2-seamer has strong arm-side tail and works in the low to mid 90′s. His 2-seamer induces a ton of grounders and he could probably use it more often, as it can be swing and miss. Both Fastballs could easily end up being Plus or better pitches.

    He backs those two Fastballs with a pair of breaking pitches that can use a little refinement, but also flash above-average or plus. Thie first is a Curve ball with swing and miss potential, when the pitch is on and Beede has command, he can leave hitters looking helpless flailing at this 80 mph offering. We haven’rt even talked about what could be Beede’s best pitch, his Change-Up. He throws it in the high 70′s (about a 12-15 mph difference from his fastball, and 2-3 mph slower than his Curve) and it moves on two planes with good vertical sinking action and it tails to his pitching arm side.

    All of this sounds fantastic right? Well, it is. What isn’t fantastic is Beede’s release point. Overall his delivery is picture perfect. He has a fluid, easy delivery that doesn’t look max effort. However, his release point is a bit transient. If he can iron out his release point issue, he’s an almost certain Ace and he’d be strongly challenging Rodon for the top spot in the draft.

    Rodon is where he is on Draft boards because he has excellent Command, which allows his stuff to play up (and he’s a Lefty), if Beede can get his Command in order, look out, he’ll be stellar.

    Just for the sake of reference, in 2013 Beede struck out over 9 hitters per 9 innings. He also walked 5.6 per 9. Prepare to get a teeny bit excited: In 2 starts so far in 2014, Tyler Beede has 18 K’s and just 2 BB’s

    • bpot92

      Beede very well may be considered but I think the fact that he has missed some time coupled with control issues might make the Cubs think twice and just draft the top player on the board. He may very well be at the top come draft but I’m sure none of us will know who they will draft until the name is called.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        Any chance one of the pitchers that had TJS is still there in the 2nd round?

        • TheWrongGuy

          There’s always a chance.
          But with the supplemental drafts picks other teams get(lottery draft picks and qualifying offer picks) and with what the Royals did in last years draft to get S. Manea. I don’t see the Cubs getting a chance at either of the TJ pitchers.

          “hint* Houston owns Baltimore’s lotto draft pick in the trade of Bud Norris. They also picked in the same style as the Royals when they picked C. Correia as he was rumored to go lower that year and they picked up Lance McCullers Jr., now a top pitching prospect in their system.

          The Cubs I believe will probably take Nick Gordon or Alex Jackson. The FO has history with N. Gordon’s father, Tom “flash” Gordon also a former Cub and BoSox. Alex Jackson is a need variety pick being a catcher. This FO loves picking up the middle type players, C/CF/SS, early(A. Almora/J. Hannaman) or huge bats(Kris Bryant).

          I agree with most here in the need to draft pitching but I just don’t see it happening, in the first round.

        • bpot92

          I agree with TheWrongGuy. There is always a chance but look at what Giolto(?) did. He was the top prep pitcher coming out and was being considered for the top spot before an arm injury and the Nationals took him at 18 i believe and he had TJ surgery but has pitched well last time I checked. I am willing to bet Hoffman gets taken in the late first or as an extra pick. If a team has two first rounders ( dont know if any do off the top of my head) then they may take a flier on trying to get a top 4 pick late in the draft. A team like Toronto also likes high upside pitchers so they could take one of them mid first.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    I’m more concerned about Baez and Almora than this draft pick.

    • paCubsFan23

      Good point. I’ve been following their stats, too. Though I think I’m more worried about Baez than Almora. The Ks are getting BJax scary there in AAA for Javy. Can he make the MLB adjustment? Almora is still only 19. These are the first challenges he’s probably ever had to face in baseball, and I think he has the right head to beat them. We shall see, though. Man, I’d love to see Baez become the next Gary Sheffield (hitting wise). Go Cubs!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Brett Jackson could hit in AA, but the jump to AAA killed him off. Let that be a guide to you concerning the difference between AA and AAA and ML pitching/hitting.

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

    I hope the Cubs take the best player at #4. Don’t overpick a pitcher.

    However the injuries to Freede and Hoffman could work to our advantage. By all means we should try to grab them both in later rounds. If we could grab them in rounds say 4 and 5 I’d be all for it.

    • John_CC

      Most folks say there is little chance they will be available after the supplemental 1st round, let alone 4th or 5th.

      I know it’s only May but I am completely disenchanted already. I hope that they just go all in for the #1 pick next year.