NAMES TO WATCH IN THE DRAFT (THAT MIGHT FALL TO US)

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Tim Wheeler-OF: The left-handed center fielder is another potential leadoff hitter in center field. He's a five-tool outfielder, although none of his skills really jump out as being all that impressive. At the plate, he shows good plate discipline and an ability to make consistent contact. His power isn't that impressive yet, but at 6'4", 195 lbs., scouts believe he could develop at least fair power as he progresses. He has a slight hitch in his swing, but he has very quick wrists that compensate. His speed is good and he stole 15 bases in 17 attempts this season. Wheeler was dominating at the plate this season, hitting .385 with a .494 OBP and 18 home runs, but unfortunately most of that cam against relatively weak WAC competition. Where Wheeler goes in the draft is a bit of a mystery, as rumors have him linked as high as the Rockies at #11 or lasting all the way to the Cubs at #31. My gut tells me that Wheeler is long gone by the time the Cubs pick, but if he's still there, the Cubs will grab him. Video of him: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=twheeler

Jacob Turner-P: I got a chance to see top RHP high school pitcher Jacob Turner pitch in his final high school game. There was a large contingent of scouts at the game as well as a representative from the Scott Boras Corporation, who is advising the potential top 10 choice. Turner's Westminster Christian Academy lost 3-0 to the Salem Tigers. Turner wasn't absolutely dominant, but he showed the tools that should make him a very high draft choice. His fastball topped out at 96 MPH. I was hoping to see the 98 that I had heard about, but from the radar guns I saw it did not happen. His curve sat at 76-78 throughout the game. It was more consistent than the previous time I had seen him. He could be one of the best talents in this draft long term.

AJ Pollock-OF: Pollock hasn't performed as well this spring as he did last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he was the MVP after finishing second in hitting (.377) and first in slugging (.556). While there's debate as to whether he's a true first-round talent, with a shortage of quality college hitters he should get selected in the bottom third of the round. Six-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Pollock stands out most for his athleticism and pure hitting ability from the right side. He has a simple approach, a quick bat and strong hands. Scouts do say he'll have to stop cheating out on his front side and stay back more on pitches in pro ball. Those who like Pollock say that the rest of his tools are solid, while those who don't say he doesn't have another plus tool and question his power. He projects as a 30 doubles/15 homers threat in the majors, and he's a slightly above-average runner who has plus speed once he gets going. Pollock also has good instincts and a solid arm in center field. Video of him: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=pollock

Jared Mitchell-OF: The best overall athlete in the draft, Mitchell may be the most intriguing players out there. He is very raw since he had been playing both football and baseball for the Tigers. Mitchell has made great strides in his game this year, putting up a .325/.471/.557 line. As you can see by the OBP, Mitchell has impressive discipline at the plate. This has been one of his biggest areas of improvement and Mitchell has been almost been passive at the plate, which caused many of his 61 strikeouts on the season. He is ridiculously fast, stealing 35 bases this season, but still needs to get better jumps. Because of his speed, Mitchell can be a very good center-fielder, but needs work on route-running. As you can see, Mitchell is very much a work in progress and I prefer guys this raw to be high school players, but I am optimistic about Mitchell because of his plate discipline. His power potential is impressive as well, though he needs less of an upper-cut to reduce the strikeouts

Brett Jackson-OF: Jackson is one of the best athletes in this year's class. He is a left-handed hitter and projects to be a very good defender in center. Jackson is known as a gritty, aggressive player and is a leader in the Cal clubhouse. There is just one fairly significant problem with Jackson. He can't hit. Well, that is not exactly true, but Jackson struck out 61 times in 218 at-bats this year (28% of the time) and hit a pedestrian .321/.407/.564. He does have great bat speed and hits to all fields. Jackson has some power, but it does not project to be more than average in the bigs. Base running is another area Jackson needs work. Despite his strong speed, Jackson has just 11 steals and was caught 5 times. Brett Jackson is toolsy, but still very raw. I would be less than enthused with this pick, though he does have more upside than Pollock. Video of him: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=bjackson

Luke Bailey-C: Bailey is a wild card. There is no way he is taken in the first round. Bailey is more likely to be a 4th or 5th round pick at this point. Earlier this year, Bailey was hands down the top high school (and overall) catching prospect, topping an incredibly talented class. He will not go in the mid-first round as originally thought because Bailey had Tommy John surgery in April. This was obviously the main factor in his drop in stock. That said, there are no concerns about his arm or overall defense long-term. Bailey is a very good athlete, making him very mobile behind the plate and a gun reaching the low 90's. Before going down with TJ, Bailey was struggling some at the plate. Once he can find a consistent swing, Bailey should be able to hit for decent average and power down the road. Bailey could be a good fit for the Cubs, as they have taken high upside guys (though mainly pitchers) with their middle round picks in the past. Video of him: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=bailey

*****************my thoughts below***************************************
If Jared Mitchell is available, I say we take him. There's no way you can let this athleticism go. He's like a non-powerful Pujols. You need to watch this video of him. It's incredible watching such a young player take an extra base when it should've been just a single...here you go: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/reports.jsp?content=mitchell

Quite possibly all of these players might be gone by the time the Cubs select. However, if available, in order, here's my preference: Mitchell, Turner, Wheeler, Jackson, Pollock, Bailey.

Mitchell is an incredible athlete who also played football at LSU. He's the real deal


*sources:
http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2009/6/8/902718/cubs-draft-preview-the-rest-of-the
http://www.projectprospect.com/article/2009/06/06/jacob-turner-scouting-report
http://www.anothercubsblog.net/index.php/site/comments/2009-mlb-draft/